Categories
Grocery Science

The Surprising Difference Between Sweet Potato and Yam

Sweet potatoes sitting in a hanging metal dish against a forest backdrop

Shutterstock / M181

Hold onto your hats, because I’m about to drop some knowledge that might blow you away: Sweet potatoes and yams are not the same things. And most likely, you have never tasted a yam.

If you’re as stunned by this news as I was, you’ll want to know the truth. What have you been serving on your Thanksgiving dinner table? Did you think that sweet potato casserole was really filled with yams? Let’s find out.

What’s the Difference?

Sweet potatoes are the orange or copper-tan root vegetable you’d find at most grocery stores. They’re a member of the morning glory botanical family. Yams, on the other hand, are related to lilies, palms and grasses. They grow primarily in the tropics and can usually be found only in ethnic grocery stores in the U.S. And neither one is really a potato.

Fun fact: These tubers aren’t potatoes. The term “sweet potato” is a misnomer. Real potatoes like your trusty russet belong to the nightshade family.

Not sold yet? You can distinguish a yam from a sweet potato before you even bite in. Sweet potatoes have thin, smooth skin and orange or white flesh. Yams have rough, dark skin with an almost hairy texture, and the flesh inside is often white or purple. While you can find potato-sized varieties of both, yams are typically larger and can be up to five feet long!

And those reddish-brownish garnet yams? They’re sweet potatoes with a false identity.

The taste is equally distinguishing. Sweet potatoes are flavorful and moist while yams are often starchy and dry. Looks like it’s a good thing we don’t use them for our sweet potato pie.

So Why Do Some People Refer to Sweet Potatoes as “Yams”?

Let’s take a look at history, shall we? Back in pre-Civil War America, grocers typically only sold white-fleshed sweet potatoes. When the orange variety was introduced into the market, sellers wanted to distinguish the new species from the old. Instead of explaining how the two sweet potatoes were actually varieties of the same plant, producers and shippers began calling the orange ones “yams,” after the African word nyami meaning “to eat.”

Today, you might still find produce labeled as yams in a grocery store, but more likely than not, it’s mislabeled.

Now that you know the difference, impress your family across the dinner table by explaining that you could never make your extra-crunchy sweet potato fries with yams!


Article by Emma Kumer from Taste of Home.

Categories
Fast Food Recipes

How to Make Fried Chicken That’s Better Than KFC

Plate on a wooden table filled with perfectly fried chicken

For many, the smell of fried chicken incites a trip down memory lane. That greasy (and oh, so good) scent brings to mind family picnics and church potlucks. For me, it triggers memories of sitting in the backseat of my parents ’98 Dodge Caravan, balancing a super-sized bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken on my knees. As a kid I’d beg my parents for that crispy fast food. Now that I’m older I’ve learned to avoid the drive-thu-not just for my health, but because it’s much more delicious (and empowering!) to cook fast-food copycat recipes at home.

I’m the first to admit that deep-frying food is nothing near glamorous. It takes some time, determination and a steady pair of hands-but trust me, the end result is definitely worth it. Plus, deep frying is actually much easier than you’d think. Tender, crispy chicken is well within your reach. Say no to carside chicken and yes to the homemade version with these expert tips from our Test Kitchen.

But first a little more reassurance:

Concerned about spills? Use the right tools.

As with any deep-fried recipe, the elephant in the room is the vat of super-hot oil that will sit atop your stove. (350° to be exact!) The inevitable truth is that oil spits and splashes. Don’t get scared by this; you can tame that beast. Many guides suggest investing in a splatter screen, but the surest way to keep you (and your backsplash) safe is to fry in a high-sided skillet like a Dutch oven or fryer pot. The spitting oil will have a hard time escaping-but if it does, there’s a foolproof way to clean it off any surface.

Grab a gallon-sized resealable bag

The secret to fried chicken’s crispy crust is a healthy amount of coating. But dredging chicken can get messy. Read: flour in all the wrong places. Save yourself some cleanup by coating your chicken inside a resealable plastic bag. Simply add the coating mix, then the chicken and shake! Your spotless counters say “thank you.”

Practice makes perfect

Don’t be dismayed if a few pieces burn on your first go ’round. Over time, you’ll acquire the right tools, memorize the basic steps and master the movements. In the meantime, I’m sure you’ll find a few takers for the fried chicken you’ve made to practice.

So what are you waiting for? Slip on your apron, grab a pair of tongs and let’s get cooking! Follow along as we take you step-by-step through our favorite recipe for buttermilk fried chicken.

How to Make Crispy, Tender Fried Chicken

You’ll Need:

1 broiler/fryer chicken (about 3 pounds), cut in pieces*

3/4 to 1 cup buttermilk

Oil for frying

Coating

1-1/2 to 2 cups all-purpose flour

1-1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1 tablespoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon ground sage

1/4 teaspoon ground thyme

1/8 teaspoon baking powder

Raw chicken parts on a paper towel-lined baking sheet

Regarding chicken: For this recipe we use 2 drumsticks, 2 thighs, 4 breast pieces and 2 wings. Save the backbone and wingtips for making chicken stock. You can use packaged cut chicken, buy a whole bird and cut it yourself, or ask your butcher to do the job.

Raw chicken parts in a flat dish with high sides having buttermilk poured over them from a measuring cup

Step 1: Soak in buttermilk

Remove any excess moisture from your chicken pieces by patting them dry with paper towels. Place them in a large flat dish with high sides. Time for a buttermilk bath! Pour the buttermilk over the chicken, then cover and refrigerate at least an hour. (Leaving it overnight works, too.)

Test Kitchen tip: Don’t let the chicken soak for longer than 24 hours. The acid in the buttermilk will turn the meat mushy!

What’s with the buttermilk?

Many recipes for fried chicken will use milk and eggs, but we found that buttermilk gives the chicken an irresistibly tangy flavor that helps brighten up the dish. Also, the acidic composition of buttermilk (or alternatively, plain yogurt) helps tenderize the chicken. Tasty and tender, you say? Count us in.

A person taking a drumstick from its buttermilk bath and getting it covered in coating inside a large resealable plastic bag then placing it on parchment paper to their left

Step 2: Coat the chicken

In a large resealable plastic bag, add the ingredients listed for the coating. Give it a shake to combine. Carefully place a single piece of your buttermilk-soaked chicken into the bag. Shake to coat. You’ll want the chicken to have ample coating, so make sure every inch gets dredged. Remove from the bag and lay it on a sheet of waxed paper to dry. Repeat with the remaining chicken.

Test Kitchen tip: Plastic bags work wonders with cutting down the mess, but you can always combine the breading ingredients in a large bowl and toss the chicken that way.

All of the chicken pieces have been coated and placed on the parchment paper and arranged so they are not touching

The secret to making that coating stick to your chicken? Patience. Give the chicken extra time to rest after coating (15 minutes should do). During this time the moisture from the buttermilk will become evenly distributed, helping the coating adhere.

Person using metal tongs to manipulate the four pieces inside their dutch oven of hot, bubbling oil

Step 3: Fry, fry, fry

Let’s get frying! Still a little nervous? Read our guide for how to deep fry with confidence.

In a Dutch oven or other deep skillet, heat 1/2-in. of oil over medium heat until it reaches 350°. Carefully add a few pieces of chicken into the oil, making sure not to overcrowd the pan. Cook, uncovered, for 7-8 minutes per side. Turn occasionally until the coating turns dark golden brown and the meat is no longer pink. Remove and place onto paper towels, keeping warm.

Test Kitchen tip: The key to a crispy coat is to fry the chicken 2-3 pieces at a time. If you add too much to the pot, the temperature will drop too quick, giving your chicken a soggy coating.

After frying your first batch of chicken, wait to let the temperature of the oil return to 350° before adding the next batch.

Test Kitchen tip: Don’t panic if the breading browns before the meat is cooked. Place the chicken on a baking pan and bake it in a 350° oven, until completely cooked.

Success! The fresh fried chicken rests on a bed of paper towel on a white plate

Step 4: Rest, then serve

Before digging in, let your chicken rest for a few minutes. This helps the chicken’s moisture redistribute throughout the meat (aka the chicken gets more juicy!). Resting also helps the outer coating crisp up and excess oil drain. The result? Perfectly crisp, better-than-any-restaurant chicken you and your family will wolf down. Enjoy!

Wondering what to do with that oil?

Let it cool. Then strain through a fine mesh sieve to remove residue and store. The easiest place to store oil is in its original container, but spare glass jars work, too. Reuse it for your next Fish Fry Friday.

Plate on a wooden table filled with perfectly fried chicken

Make It Your Own

Now that you know the basics, create your own recipe. You can adjust the flavor of the final chicken by adding extra ingredients into the coating. Here are a few options our Test Kitchen can’t get enough of:

  • Spices: Experiment with almost any ingredient from your spice rack, but rosemary and cayenne certainly add a kick.
  • Hot sauce: Spicy fried chicken, here we come. A few dashes of your fave hot sauce turn up the heat.
  • Potato chips: Yep! This snack food adds a secret crunch that’ll take your fried chicken over the top. See what we’re talking about with this recipe for Potato Chip Chicken Strips.

We’ve tested hundreds of tasty ways to fry chicken. Check out our favorites, here.


Article by Nicole Doster, Digital Associate Editor and Nick Iverson, Lead Test Cook from Taste of Home.

Categories
Grocery Technology

The 10 Best Grocery Shopping Apps

Photo: Shutterstock / George Rudy

It’s the weekly errand we all love to hate: grocery shopping. From standing in long lines to not being able to find a perfectly ripe avocado to juggling your list, keys and coffee while simultaneously pushing a cart, it can be a tough task to tackle.

But fortunately, there’s an app for that, and we’ve rounded up our top 10 tech faves below. Thanks to these grocery shopping apps, you can say goodbye to that dreaded moment when you get to the store and realize you left your list at home (we’ve all been there!).

1. Flipp

The only app that matches coupons from your favorite brands with the circular from your local store, Flipp is designed to maximize your savings while you shop. It offers the weekly ads from over a thousand retailers!

2. MealBoard

Consider this the ultimate all-in-one app: It does everything from managing your recipes to storing your grocery list to even keeping track of what you do (and don’t) have in your pantry.

3. AnyList

The best part about AnyList (besides the fact that it helps you keep a super-organized list) is that you can share your list with anyone. That means your husband has no excuse for forgetting any essentials.

4. Grocery Pal

Grocery Pal is a bargain hunter’s dream. It allows you to browse all the sales and deals at the stores you love to shop at (even non-grocery stores like Target and Walmart) and easily add items that are on sale to your grocery list.

5. Buy Me a Pie!

Make your shopping much more efficient with Buy Me a Pie! Our favorite feature? The fact that you can sort your list by grocery store aisle so you don’t have to double back for forgotten products.

6. Grocery iQ

This one has the word “IQ” in it for a reason: Its main goal is to help you shop smarter. Grocery IQ helps you be a smarter shopper with convenient features like bar code scanning through your phone’s camera. Just snap a pic in the app, and the item can be added to your list for next time!

7. Out of Milk

Aptly named, this app’s defining feature is the Pantry List which lets you know when your stock of certain products is low so you never, well, run out of milk.

8. Key Ring

Streamline your key ring (and avoid accidentally losing one of your cards) by organizing all of your loyalty and rewards memberships in this app.

9. BigOven

Not sure what you want to make for tomorrow’s family dinner? BigOven can help with that. You can connect with friends to see what they’ve been buying and making (to get some inspiration), or you can type in what leftovers you have in the fridge to find recipes that will use them up.

10. Specialty Produce

Kumquats are on sale this week…but you have no idea what to do with them, how to store them, or what they actually taste like. That’s where Specialty Produce comes in. It gives you all the info you need on unique finds, including popular recipes from food bloggers.

Your weekly trip to the grocery store may never be your favorite thing in the world but, at least with these grocery shopping apps, you’ll be a lot more prepared, a lot more organized and a lot less stressed. And just think: You’ll never have to pay full price for chicken breasts again!


Article by Amanda Tarlton from Taste of Home.

Categories
Hacks

What You Need To Know About Choosing The Perfect Ham

Photo: Shutterstock / gkrphoto

Whether you’re planning a Christmas feast or a just an elegant dinner, there are few main courses that make an occasion feel as special as ham does. But preparing the best ham isn’t always so simple. Before you even turn on the oven, there are many options to consider. Shank or butt end? Bone-in, semi-boneless or boneless? And what about spiral cut? It’s enough to make your head spin. Well, worry not! We’re here to give you the scoop on which ham is best for your holiday dinner.

The Basics

Before we get into particulars, let’s sort out what cut of meat a ham is. Ham comes from the rear leg of the pig and is then salted and dried or smoked. A whole ham can weigh 15-20 pounds and can serve up to 30 people. Unless you’re feeding a large crowd (or want a lot of leftovers), chances are you don’t need to purchase an entire ham. Instead, look for the shank or the butt end.

You’ll need about a third- to a half-pound per person for bone-in hams or a quarter- to a third-pound per person for boneless hams. Want tips on how much of everything to make for your next party? We’ve got you covered.

Shank or Butt?

For a traditional Christmas, Easter or Thanksgiving ham, go for the shank (leg portion). The shank end sports that classic ham profile, so it’s a good choice for a picture-perfect table. The meat tends to be fattier and it has one long bone, which makes carving easier.

While the shank looks pretty as a picture, the butt end (the top half of the ham) is leaner and offers a little extra meat. However, it does have a T-shaped bone inside that can be tricky to carve around. Don’t worry about that, though, because we have tips on how to carve it perfectly.

Bone-in or Boneless?

If you’re comfortable with the work of carving a ham, choosing bone-in is worth the effort. The bone provides the meat with better flavor and texture. As a bonus, the leftover bone is great for making soups and stews.

A semi-boneless ham (the shank bone is removed, but the leg bone is left in) offers a win-win combination of easier carving without the loss of flavor contributed by the bone.

If convenience is more important to you than presentation and bone-in flavor, boneless ham is always an option. With this type, the bone is removed and the ham is pressed into that familiar oval shape. Boneless ham looks like a solid piece of meat because the added salt breaks down its proteins, causing it to re-form, in a sense. Obviously, this makes for the easiest carving.

Spiral Cut?

If you’re not super confident about carving but consider bone-in flavor a must, try a spiral-cut ham. These are sold already cut into thin slices, which then just need to be carved away from the bone. If you want big chunks of ham, this isn’t the way to go; instead, it provides nice, thin slices (perfect for sandwiches the next day).

It’s worth noting that many spiral-sliced hams come glazed, so they’re not a good choice if you’re following a specific recipe. Be sure to read the label to make sure you’re getting an unglazed ham.

City or Country?

One more consideration before you get cooking: Do you want a city ham or a country ham?

A city ham is what’s generally available at the grocery store. These are usually cured by brining and sold fully cooked. City hams may come with added liquids that can dilute the flavor, so check the label.

Country hams are cured with a dry rub, hung to dry and sold uncooked. They may or may not be smoked and can be very salty. Understandably, they’re much drier than city ham. They are either served in very thin slices or soaked for 24 hours before cooking. The chewy, intensely flavored meat is an acquired taste, but country hams (Virginia hams, for example, are considered country) have a passionate following.

Whatever type of ham you try this holiday season, we’re confident you can pull it off! And if you need more tips, our experts have broken down how to cook a ham step by step.


Article by Cathy Jakicic from Taste of Home.

Categories
Hacks

Here’s How To Cook Burgers In The Middle Of Winter

Photo: Shutterstock / koss13

If you’ve always wondered how to cook a burger when the weather is too rough to head outdoors, you’ll be happy to know there are plenty of options. From getting grill marks to re-creating that juicy, smoky flavor, we have you covered.

Use the broiler.

The heat’s coming from the opposite direction, but it’ll get the job done. You can boost the smoky flavor with the right spice blend and a touch of liquid smoke in the ground beef. You’ll have to use a Sharpie for the grill marks—just kidding. You’ll have to use your imagination for those.

Use a broiler pan.

A sturdy foil pan or a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil is an option. Position the pan about six inches from the flames. Leave the broiler door open just far enough for frequent checks on the burgers. Flip them halfway through. For most burgers, you’ll cook 4 to 5 minutes per side.

Work the stovetop.

If you’re committed to grill marks, try a grill pan on the stove top. The ridges of the pan will create lines if the pan’s hot enough and will allow the excess fat to drain away from the meat. A cast iron pan is your best bet; the heavier pan will conduct more heat and create better grill lines. First, season it according to the manufacturer’s instructions, then lightly coat it with cooking oil before each use. Remember to pat the burger patties dry and brush them with olive oil before putting them on the grill pan.

Get creative.

As an alternative to the grill pan, you might also consider a relatively small investment in a pancake griddle that has ridges on the underside. If you’re in the market for a new stove anyway—and are serious about your indoor grilling—many have built-in grills or griddles on the range top. But a grill pan will do the job just as well if you’re not up for the investment.

Open the oven.

Yep. If you’re looking for a little more speed and a little less smoke, you can grill inside the oven. Put a grill pan (or griddle) on the oven rack and preheat the oven to 500˙F. Place your burgers on the pan and turn halfway through cooking. Check your progress through the oven window; you won’t want to leave the door ajar here as you would with broiling.

Go the appliance route.

A countertop folding contact grill also can be used for a quick grilling. No need for flipping, and you’ll get grill marks on both sides simultaneously.

Spice it up.

It’s worth noting that while you still want the smoky flavor indoors, you don’t actually want the smoke. The way to ensure that? First, use a leaner ground beef to cut down on the fat dripping as much as possible. For flavor, using smoked paprika, a smoky salt or pepper blend, a spice rub with chipotle powder, an infused oil or a touch of liquid smoke will almost convince you that you have a sunburn from standing over the grill for too long. When paired with any one of these yummy potato salads, and maybe even a pitcher of our favorite sangria if you’re really feeling the need for “sunshine,” you can almost convince yourself that you’re at the perfect picnic.


Article by Cathy Jakicic from Taste of Home.

Categories
#foodbeast Cravings Grocery Hacks Products

5 Aldi Items That Will Up Your Holiday Party Game

For me, the idea of having a holiday party is always more fun than actually hosting it. I get all wrapped up in trying to make everything perfect, then I’m a ball of anxiety by the time guests arrive. But over the last few years, I’ve enlisted the help of my favorite grocery store to take off some of the pressure. Sure, I still go all-out on memorable main dishes and swoon-worthy desserts, but adding these inexpensive finds from Aldi has been an easy way to up my party game without adding stress.

Box of crackers and cheese from Aldi on the countertop
Photo: Taste of Home

Cheese & Crackers

Aldi has a lot of choices in the cracker aisle, but my favorite is their Savoritz 6 Cracker Assortment. From water crackers to multigrain and seeded, there’s a flavor and texture to compliment every type of cheese on your tray for just $3.29 per box. After you’ve grabbed your crackers, head over to the refrigerated dairy case to pick out your favorite cheeses like marinated fresh mozzarella ($3.69 for 8 oz.), honey goat cheese, brie, gruyere and flavored cheese like roasted garlic with tomato and basil–all at unbeatable prices. And just like that, appetizers are taken care of. Thank you, Aldi.

Two flavors of sparkling soda on a countertop
Photo: Taste of Home

Beverages

Aldi is already known for its inexpensive variety of trendy wines and microbrews, which I do love, but I am more drawn to their non-alcoholic libations. They carry craft sodas like ginger, orange and root beer, imported mineral water, Italian-style soda and an assortment of flavored sparkling water. Kids and nondrinkers cheer for the unexpected choices, which feel more celebratory than water, iced tea and cola. These bubbly drinks also do double duty at the bar as mixers for holiday cocktails.

Two stacked boxes of candies on a countertop
Photo: Taste of Home

Candies

My favorite category of frugal finds is Aldi’s assorted candies, which range in price from $2.99 to $4.99. I arrange them in glass bowls on side tables for guests to discover as they mingle. Must-haves include chocolate-covered pecan quinoa clusters, soft strawberry licorice and dark chocolate covered sea salt caramels. Keep an eye on the kiddos, though. Entire dishes of candy have been known to disappear from my parties.

Wrapped bread on the countertop
Photo: Taste of Home

Artisan-Stye Bread

As a food editor, you’d think I’d have it together enough to manage a loaf of homemade bread or rolls in addition to my other dishes, but I don’t. Maybe it’s because I’m also a mom of young kids (that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it), but Aldi has me covered. They carry loaves of sourdough and rosemary plus brioche buns, ciabatta rolls and more. I slice and toast the focaccia for crostini and include the specialty buns and rolls on the buffet for hot ham sandwiches.

Bag of cookie with some out in a glass cup
Photo: Taste of Home

Cookies

I do love to bake (and have a sweet tooth), so including a decadent homemade dessert, like holiday cheesecake, isn’t usually a problem for me. But, just like the candies, having gourmet cookies stashed here and there for guests to find like unexpected treasures is part of what makes my parties special. Whether it’s creme-filled wafer rolls for $2.99 per tin (think Pepperidge Farm Pirouette cookies), chocolate chip biscotti, anise pizzelles or chocolate-covered butter cookies, your guests will find a favorite.

When I buy special party foods at Aldi, I know I’m not going to blow my budget. I even save enough money to grab a bouquet of flowers on my way out the door for no-fuss tablescaping (who could pass up a $3.99 bouquet of mixed flowers?). Aldi’s cheap party foods give me one less thing to stress out about during the holidays, which is more than I can say about holiday shopping, gift wrapping, Christmas pageant costumes and who has to sit next to crazy Uncle Ed at dinner.


By Peggy Woodward, RDN

Categories
#foodbeast Hacks Technology

4 Types Of Kitchen Knives Every Home Cook Should Have

Knives are an essential part of any kitchen. Without them, you’ll have a heck of a time trying to chop, slice and dice your way to the perfect meal. But how many knives do you really need, and which ones should you get? Here are the best kitchen knives for your arsenal:

(Psst: Looking to stock up on essential kitchen tools? We have the 411 on what you need!)

1. Chef’s Knife

If you’re going to buy only one knife, this is it. The classic chef’s knife is known as European-style, but knife-makers today are creating fusion knives that blend French, German and Japanese styles. These blends can be super sharp and very versatile. Some blades even have divots on the sides (also known as Santoku style) to help vegetables slide off the surface. Chef’s knives have long, tapered blades that range from 6 to 12 inches in length.

When to use it: This knife is your kitchen workhorse and your go-to knife for most cooking tasks, such as mincing garlic cloves, chopping or dicing onions and peppers, and thinly slicing tomatoes or potatoes. Chef’s knives can even be used for breaking down larger items like whole chickens.

2. Paring Knife

Paring knives are small, versatile blades that allow you to cut with precision. They look like mini chef’s knives, with small, pointed tips and a blade that curves ever so slightly. They usually run 3 or 4 inches in length.

When to use it: This knife is well-suited for cutting that requires a little dexterity. It is most commonly used for peeling apples or potatoes, but is also a fine choice for julienning small vegetables, deveining shrimp and segmenting citrus.

3. Serrated or Bread Knife

These blades are so widely known for cutting bread that some brands actually call them bread knives. The blade is long and flat, with little to no taper or curve. The blade consists of sharp, jagged teeth that easily cut through hard foods with soft interiors. They can run 5 to 12 inches in length.

When to use it: Use the serrated knife for any cutting task that will benefit from a sawing motion, like slicing baguettes or other crusty bread. These knives can also be used for cutting produce with soft flesh (like tomatoes) or fruits with hard exteriors (like pineapples).

4. Fillet or Boning Knife

The blade of this type of knife is much thinner than those of other styles. The thinness makes the knife very sharp and most ideal for cutting raw meats. The knives can be called by either name, but a fillet knife always has a flexible blade whereas a boning knife can be either stiff or flexible. These knives are not designed to cut through bones, but rather around the bones. They are usually about 6 inches in length and feature long, tapered blades that sometimes curve dramatically.

When to use it: These knives are perfect for breaking down whole chickens or deboning bone-in pork or beef. The ones with flexible blades are well-suited to remove the skin from fish fillets. This type of knife is really helpful if you cut a lot of raw meat, fish or other bone-in proteins. If you don’t plan to cook a lot of meat, you may be able to skip this purchase and use a chef’s knife instead.

Once you have all of your blades, look into buying a honing steel and a sharpening stone. If you buy a knife kit, a steel is usually included in the set. The steel will keep knives as sharp as possible, and the stone can be used when a knife is too dull to sharpen with the steel.

With these need-to-know knife tips, you’ll be slicing and dicing your way to awesome cuisine in no time.


Article by Lindsay D. Mattison from Taste of Home

Categories
Cravings Hacks Hit-Or-Miss Recipes

25 Things To Make With Pizza Dough That Aren’t Plain Ol’ Pizza

Sure pizza is great, but think beyond the circle! From calzones to pinwheels, rolls to flatbread, these ideas will spark your pizza dough creativity.

1. Pizza On A Stick

My daughter and her friends had fun turning sausage, pepperoni, veggies and pizza dough into these cute kabobs. Give our version a try or make your own using you favorite light pizza toppings. —Charlene Woods, Norfolk, Virginia >> Get the recipe.

2. Herbed Cheese Sticks

We love the breadsticks at our local pizza joint. Now I can get that same gooey-from-the-oven treat, but I never have to leave the house. —Heather Bates, Athens, Maine >> Get the recipe.

3. Stromboli Sandwich

I’ve made this Stromboli sandwich many times for parties, and it gets great reviews. You can add ingredients and spices to suit your taste. The recipe is so good I just had to share it with you! —Leigh Lauer, Hummelstown, Pennsylvania >> Get the recipe.

4. Muffin Tin Pizzas

I just baked these mini pizzas and the kids are already demanding more. The no-cook pizza sauce and refrigerated dough make this meal a snap. —Melissa Haines, Valparaiso, Indiana >> Get the recipe.

5. Pull Apart Pizza

We’re huge Notre Dame fans, and we tailgate. A lot! This is one of those recipe that is a sure fit hit with the kids and the adults. Sometimes we get crazy and add other “pizza” type ingredients like olives, or peppers, but mainly we stay with the original pizza pull apart bread–it seems to be a good luck charm for our team! — Provided by Dana Elliot, Culinary Specialist, on behalf of Physicians Mutual Insurance >> Get the recipe.

6. Mediterranean Turkey Pot Pies

Your clan will love these wonderful, stick-to-the-ribs potpies with a Mediterranean twist. I always use the leftovers from our big holiday turkey to prepare this recipe. I think my family enjoys the potpies more than the original feast! —Marie Rizzio, Interlochen, Michigan >> Get the recipe.

7. Spinach-Stuffed Pizza

I had my first stuffed pizza when I attended college near Chicago. I was amazed to see pizza well over an inch thick, with topping on the inside! When I served this version to my family, there are no leftovers. —Nancy Gilmour of Sumner, Iowa >> Get the recipe.

8. Quicker Cheesy Onion Focaccia Bread

Turn an everyday dinner into a special meal with oven-fresh cheese bread featuring convenient bread dough. —Simple & Delicious Test Kitchen >> Get the recipe.

9. Italian Meat Stromboli

As a mother of two, it seems the only time I have to be creative is in the kitchen. I received a similar recipe from a co-worker but decided to add veggies and spices. >> Get the recipe.

10. Amazing Mac & Cheese Pizza

I love pizza, and I love macaroni and cheese. After lots of experimenting, I figured out a wonderful way to combine the two. The pizza is a big hit among my colleagues, friends and family! —Martha Muellenberg, Vermillion, South Dakota >> Get the recipe.

11. Spinach-Egg Breakfast Pizzas

I like my food pretty, and this breakfast pizza is eye-popping. Bring it to the table with a bowl of berries or grapes and café au lait. —Lily Julow, Lawrenceville, Georgia >> Get the recipe.

12. Sausage, Pepper, and Mozzarella Calzones

Get the recipe. 

13. Quick & Easy Deep Dish Pizza

I was trying to impress my boyfriend with my cooking, so I made this meaty pizza. I think it worked. Here we are 17 years later, and I still make it for our family at least once a month, if not more! —Stacey White, Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina >> Get the recipe.

14. Triple Tomato Flatbread

Tomatoes are the reason I have a vegetable garden, and I developed this recipe as a way to show off my plum, sun-dried and cherry tomatoes. It’s so easy, and will absolutely impress. —Rachel Kimbrow, Portland, Oregon >> Get the recipe.

15. Scrambled Egg Pockets

We used a simple homemade pizza dough to make these protein- and fiber-packed egg pockets, but a store-bought dough works, too. They make a great handheld breakfast on the go, or an easy weeknight dinner. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen >> Get the recipe.

16. Quick Calzones

Leftover meat sauce makes a hearty calzone that tastes like it’s made from scratch. Top the calzones with a sprinkling of Parmesan. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin >> Get the recipe.

17. Cheesy Pizza Rolls

The cast-iron skillet browns these delicious rolls to perfection. My family can’t get enough. Use whatever pizza toppings your family likes best. —Dorothy Smith, El Dorado, Arkansas >> Get the recipe.

18. Bacon Breakfast Pizza

I used to make this for my morning drivers when I worked at a pizza delivery place. And they just loved it. It’s a quick and easy eye-opener that appeals to all ages. —Cathy Shortall, Easton, Maryland >> Get the recipe.

19. Overnight Baked Eggs Bruschetta

I like to spend as much time as I can with my guests when they stay with me for the holidays, so I rely on make-ahead recipes to help make that happen. Because most overnight brunch casseroles are so similar, I came up with a breakfast bruschetta for a fun change of pace. —Judi Berman-Yamada, Portland, Oregon >> Get the recipe.

20. Caramelized Onion & Fig Pizza

This is a sensational variation on traditional pizza. It’s creamy, sweet and a little salty, with a buttery crunch from the pine nuts. I like to serve it with mixed baby greens salad and a vinaigrette. —Connie Balbach, Bemidji, Minnesota >> Get the recipe.|

21. Grilled Cheese & Tomato Flatbreads

This is a combination of grilled pizza and a cheesy flatbread recipe I discovered years ago. It’s a great appetizer or main dish. —Tina Repak Mirilovich, Johnstown, Pennsylvania >> Get the recipe.

22. BBQ Chicken Pizza Rollup

These slices make a fab, filling snack with loads of sweet and tangy flavor. —Tracey Birch, Queen Creek, Arizona >> Get the recipe.

23. Buffalo Wing Bites

The buffalo wing fans in my family were happy to taste test when I invented these snacks. We love them anytime—especially during football games. —Jasey McBurnett, Rock Springs, Wyoming >> Get the recipe.

24. Maple Cran-Apple Breakfast Pizza

When hosting overnight guests, I like to start their day with a giant surprise – a breakfast pizza with apples, sausage and cranberries. Bye-bye, ho-hum morning. —Marybeth Mank, Mesquite, TX >> Get the recipe.

25. Reuben Calzones

I love a Reuben sandwich, so I tried the fillings in a pizza pocket instead of on rye bread. This handheld dinner is a big-time winner at our house. —Nickie Frye, Evansville, Indiana >> Get the recipe.


Written by Amy Lents of Amy’s Cooking Adventures