Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Bad Day, Ending with Good Eats - Creamed Spinach and Egg Pizza

Of course I have to laugh, my week seemed to rival Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Well, maybe not quite that bad, but it was a childhood favorite of mine and has been on my mind as I dealt with family life gone wrong.

But back to my fabulous week...

It was a crazy mix of internet connection issues, a new puppy, a rambunctious & climbing toddler and older kids bent of breaking out the old school tantrums. Yeah, I think those days happen to everyone, right? Let's just call it a collective family funk, shall we?

Well, it wasn't pretty and our patience as parents was tried over and over. We missed our date night in lieu of a fabulous night of discipline and tears. Not Hallmark moments, for sure!

The unfortunate consequence of all the insanity (and sleepless nights) was a complete inability to carve out time for cooking. So we ate out.

I don't think my husband or I were made to eat out more than once in a blue moon. We started to feel the "blech" of too much sodium and processed foods. Yeah, I really do notice. Am I the only one that is so excited to get back into the kitchen after a vacation or long stretch eating out?

So for my first chance back to my "happy place" was for simple comfort food. These Creamed Spinach and Egg Pizzas were easy but from scratch. What more could I want?

Oh, and you know I am always looking for another great egg recipe. My hen count is up to almost 20!

Okay, I totally paired it with a favorite micro brew... which made it even better.

I started by wilting my spinach and creating a rue. Don't be intimidated. A rue is just butter, flour and a splash of milk. It colors slightly, thickens and becomes fragrant. Just don't step away while you are working. You don't want it to burn.

With just a little milk added, it will thicken and start to bubble. That is when you can add the other ingredients.

I thinned the rue with milk, a little cream cheese, freshly grated Parmesan, minced garlic, a dash of nutmeg and my wilted and chopped spinach. Season to taste and this part is good to go. If you like a little heat, go ahead and throw a few crushed pepper flakes into the mix.

For this dish I went with my standard whole wheat pizza crust recipe, which I throw into the bread machine to knead and proof. It takes about an hour and then just needed to be shaped, brushed with olive oil before pre-baking  and then topped.

Why pre-bake? I was worried about the creamed spinach keeping the crust in the middle from being cooked through and crisp enough. This is my own personal thing.

Creamed Spinach and Egg Pizza

You Will Need:

2 lbs. baby spinach
1 Tbsp. butter
1 1/2 Tbsp. flour
2/3 c. milk
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
dash of grated nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese + more for sprinkling on top of the pizzas
Whole Wheat pizza dough
4 large eggs
1 c. Mozzarella Cheese, grated

Bring your pizza dough to room temperature if refrigerated. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees with your pizza stone, if you have one.

Begin by wilting your baby spinach in a large pot of simmering water. It doesn't take long, just let it soften down. Keep adding to the pot until all the spinach is wilted. Squeeze dry and roughly chop.

Then start on your rue. Melt the butter in a frying pan and quickly whisk in the flour. Let it color slightly and become fragrant. Then stir in the milk, cream cheese, nutmeg, garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Let the bechamel start to bubble and thicken. Then stir in the 1/2 c. Parmesan cheese and chopped spinach. Remove from the heat.

Divide the pizza dough into 4 portions and shape your small crusts. Brush with olive oil and bake for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and spoon on a spoonful or two of creamed spinach, making a well in the center to break your eggs into. Then top with mozzarella and Parmesan cheese and a dash of salt and pepper. Bake for 9-12 minutes until the egg is set as you desire.


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