This recipe came out of a kick I’ve been on lately of cleaning out the ingredients in my refrigerator and pantry. It was lunch time and I wanted something different for lunch but not something huge and filling. I started scrounging around and found I had some ingredients for a basic pizza, minus the pizza crust but I had a loaf of take and bake bread.
The wheels in my brain started spinning and I decided to try using the unbaked take and bake bread baguette loaf, cut it into a couple of 1/2 pieces, top it with my pizza toppings and throw it in the toaster oven. I absolutely could not believe how wonderful it turned out, and so I thought I’d share this very, very simple recipe with you.
These bites are great for a light lunch, a snack, or even a meal. For example, for over a year now some friends of mine and I have been playing cards and games every Monday. Each week we take turns hosting. We got into the habit of making lunch before we started our games and as you can well imagine that got my juices flowing as to how I could use these wonderful friends as guinea pigs for recipes for this blog. I let them know that was my intent and they said they were all in. So, last Monday I made these bites along with a side salad and a crudités plate of mozzarella sticks wrapped in salami and blue cheese stuffed olives. The lunch was a hit.
The most time consuming thing about this meal was assembling the pizza bites. The wrapped mozzarella and stuffed olives were store bought and there’s nothing to putting together a simple salad. And now, since I’ve had these bites both for a snack and a meal I thought maybe I should write about them.
So, with all that being said, let’s talk homemade pizza bites…
Lesson Learned 1 – Use whatever pizza ingredients you may have on hand: I used pesto, pepperoni, sausage, mozzarella slices and shredded mozzarella, grated parmesan, pizza sauce and Italian seasoning. One thing to be aware of, these bites only need 7-10 minutes to cook so if you add sausage it must be precooked. I thought about adding some green pepper but I didn’t this time. I probably will try it at some point, but I know I’ll need to cut the pieces very small so they at least partially cook. I like green pepper with a crunch on my pizza anyway.
Lesson Learned 2 – Forget measurements: You’ll notice this recipe doesn’t have any type of measurements for the ingredients. What you need will depend on how many bites you make and what ingredients you have on hand. I designed this recipe to be a way to use up ingredients you have laying around in your refrigerator or pantry.
Lesson Learned 3 – Use take and bake bread: The key, at least for me, was the take and bake bread. Take and bake bread is designed to be baked for about 10 minutes so it coincides with the overall baking time of the bites. Using this type of bread gave the bites a beautiful crispy crust which, for me, made it more like a Detroit style pizza which I just love.
Lesson Learned 4 – Make sure you bakes the bites on a wire rack: You want to make the bread nice and crispy. Baking them on a wire rack allows the bottom of the bread to cook and crisp up. Make sure you use a foil lined pan underneath the rack to catch any melted cheese that may run off the bread. That way you won’t have an oven mess that’s hard to clean up.
So give this throw together recipe a try. It only takes a few minutes to make a quick lunch. And if you’re making a bigger batch, count on about 20 minutes to prep them all. I know you’ll just love them. I know I do! Let me know what you think…
Homemade Pizza Bites
Store bought or homemade pesto
Pepperoni, sliced thin
Mozzarella, slices and shredded
Precooked Italian Sausage
Homemade or Store Bought Pizza Sauce
Unbaked Take And Bake Baguette Bread
Basil Leaves For Garnish, optional
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cut the take and bake bread into 1/2 inch slices cut on the bias. Top with either pesto or pizza sauce (you’ll probably need about a teaspoon for each slice). Put a slice of mozzarella on each piece of bread, pre-cut to size. Place two pieces of pepperoni on top of the bite that has pesto. Place crumbles of pre-cooked sausage on top of the bite that has pizza sauce. (Of course you can switch them around anyway you like, I’m just explaining what I did).
Top each bite with shredded mozzarella. Sprinkle each bite with some Italian seasoning. Add some grated parmesan over the tops of each slice.
Place each bite on a wire rack with a foil lined pan underneath it. Bake in oven or toaster oven for 7-10 minutes. Garnish each with some fresh basil. Enjoy!