Pizza from Scratch with Onions, Bell Pepper, Chicken Sausage and Corn

It is so surprising that I've never posted a pizza recipe here, because it's something we make so regularly. Although we love eating out, when it comes to pizza especially, home made is just so much better.

I love experimenting with different crusts, sauces and toppings, there are so many options. The crusts don't always turn out perfect, but cheese (just like chocolate), makes makes everything taste good.

Home Bakers Challenge is a new group started by Priya of Priya's Versatile Recipes and we all baked Pizza  for our first challenge.The recipe below is by Giada Laurentis and the only change I made was substitute half the flour with wheat flour. The crust baked perfectly and it had great texture and was not at all soggy. Went along with a simple marinara sauce and some of our favorite toppings and cheeses. 

Pizza from Scratch

1/2 cup warm water (105-110 degrees F)
2 tsps active dry yeast
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
3 tbs olive oil

Pizza Sauce ( I used the marinara sauce that I make often, recipe here )
Cheese, Mozzarella and Sharp Cheddar

Toppings I used:
Chicken Sausage
Corn kernels

Mix the warm water and yeast in a small bowl and let stand for about 5 minutes until the yeast dissolves.
Mix the flour and salt in a bowl. Add the olive oil and stir it in with your fingers. Add the yeast mixture and mix until the dough comes together.
Turn out into a lightly floured surface and knead for couple of minutes until smooth.
Transfer the dough to a large oiled bowl and turn the dough to coat with oil. Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and set aside in a warm area until it doubles in volume, about an hour.
Punch the dough and divide into two equal balls.( Use the dough immediately or store refrigerated in an air-tight container for one day).
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Keep your pizza stone or a rimless baking sheet inside the oven as it preheats. Sprinkle cornmeal over a piece of parchment paper. Place the dough on the parchment paper and roll out or spread the dough with your fingers to your desired thickness, I like a thin crust pizza.
Brush the dough lightly with some olive oil.
Spread some pizza sauce over the dough and then sprinkle the cheese over the sauce, as much as you like.
Top with your favorite toppings and sprinkle some oregano and chili flakes and salt.
Take the pizza stone or baking sheet out of the oven and transfer the pizza along with the parchment paper onto it.
Bake the pizza until the crusts are crisp and brown on the bottom and the cheese has melted and is bubbly.

Mango Strawberry Carrot Smoothie

I have been making smoothies everyday for the last couple of years. Anushka and I, have a smoothie daily for our  mid morning snack and it's the only thing she will have without a fuss.

Smoothies are the perfect way to include a good serving of fruits and vegetables in your daily diet, especially for kids. They are healthy, refreshing and so filling. Use ripe, sweet fruits and fresh vegetables and mix and match them to get various flavors, colors and textures. Makes a wonderful healthy dessert too.

I always try to add vegetables to my smoothies, about a third of the amount of fruits. I have tried a lot of combinations and this is one of my favorites. Use tender sweet carrots and sweet mangoes and strawberries and you'll have a great tasting drink.

Mango Strawberry Carrot Smoothie

pulp of two mangoes
8 strawberries, hulled and chopped
1 big carrot, washed and peeled and chopped
1/2 cup plain yogurt
sugar/honey/ any other sweetener as needed (I usually avoid this)
cold water as needed

Take all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Add sugar if needed and add enough water to get the required consistency and blend again. Serve immediately.