Can you all believe its already mid August?? I’ve been trying to live in denial that summer might actually end, but Famous Footwear and Old Navy will just not give it a rest. So. many. back to school commercials going on.
Which isn’t entirely depressing… I love fall. Love boots, changing leaves, football tailgates… my birthday… :)
But most of all (totally not surprising), I love fall food. We start getting back into some comfort food – and there is nothing more comforting than pizza! Especially as a kid.
And the beautiful thing that sets this pizza recipe apart – is that these are COMPLETELY make-ahead. Whether you are a mom trying to feed your kids quick after school, or a working lady scrambling home from work… starving! These are awesome. Make a big batch on Sunday and plop in the freezer - then all you have to do is throw them in the oven for a couple minutes whenever you want to eat em’!
Plus these are the sneakiest little pizzas you will ever find…. that yummy looking pizza sauce is packed with nutrient dense veggies – a healthy dose of zucchini, carrot, and tomato. For a lot of little kids (and definitely some big kids!), veggies aren’t always top on the food pyramid. These are a great way to sneak in some extra produce – your kids (or best friend…) will have no idea.
Yields 12 servings
These can be completely made ahead and frozen for a quick after-school or after-work snack. No need to thaw, just bake frozen pizzas at 400 degrees for 10-13 minutes. I topped mine with spicy Italian Turkey Sausage but play around with the ingredients and top with your own favorites – pepperoni, mushrooms, olives, extra cheese, etc.
For the Pizza Sauce
- 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 medium onion, chopped
- 1 small carrot, peeled and grated
- 1 small zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/4 teaspoons tomato paste
- 1/8 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1/16 (a dash) black pepper
- 1 (14-ounce) can crushed tomatoes (preferably San Marzano)
- 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
- 1/3 cup water
For the Pizzas
- 6 whole grain English Muffins, halved into 12 open-faced slices
- 2 links Spicy Italian Sausage
- 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan
- Make the Pizza Sauce – heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, carrot, zucchini, salt, tomato paste, dried basil, oregano, crushed red pepper, and black pepper, and cook, stirring until soft, about 5-8 minutes.
- Add crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, and water, bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Lower heat to medium-low and simmer 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Assemble and Bake Pizzas - Preheat broiler.
- Heat a medium nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Remove casings from Italian sausages. Add sausage meat to pan and cook, stirring and crumbling meat, 6-9 minutes until golden brown. Set aside while you assemble the rest of the pizzas.
- Lay English Muffin halves on a baking sheet and broil 1-2 minutes, until lightly golden. Spread halves with 1 1/2 – 2 tablespoons pizza sauce. Top with crumbled Italian sausage and mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle with parmesan.
- Broil another 2-3 minutes until cheese is melted. Serve immediately… OR to Make-Ahead:
- To Make Ahead - Place the entire tray of mini pizzas in the freezer and freeze until hard, about 1 hour. Stack in a plastic freezer bag until ready to eat. To reheat, place the frozen pizzas on a piece of heavy-duty foil, add any toppings you like and bake in a toaster oven at 400 degrees F until golden, hot and the cheese is melted, 13 to 15 minutes.
I saw this brilliant make-ahead idea on foodnetwork.com