Showing posts with label Ragu Homemade Style Pizza Sauce. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ragu Homemade Style Pizza Sauce. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Writer's Lunch: Crustless Mini Pizzas and my Trigger Thumb by Cleo Coyle


Writing novels for a living appears to be a perfectly safe occupation. As my fellow authors know, however, the writing life comes with one major hazard. No, we don't dodge flying bullets or psychotic killers (though our characters may). What we combat every day is a more sinister villain: Excess Calorie Man. He lurks behind every extra handful of peanuts or just-one-more-silver of pie.

Even when our diet is relatively healthy, the hours of sitting in front of our computers take their toll as EC Man gets his jollies from as little as a sliced-up banana on a peanut butter sandwich or an extra hunk of cheese with your crackers.

As you can imagine, it’s even worse for a culinary mystery writer. Testing recipes, especially delicious ones like that Blackout Cake (Yes, I’m still working on it! :)), give Excess Calorie Man free reign. Well, today I’m going to show you one way this writer reigns him in...with a lunch of Crustless Mini Pizzas

And below today's recipe I'll explain what a "Trigger Thumb" is, not to be confused with a "trigger-happy thumb," which would put us behind bars. 

Cleo Coyle's
Mini Pizzas

Mark Bittman became famous with his 101 foodie idea articles. I swear my mother and aunt could have written one on 101 things to do with Italian squash. As a kid, I took all my pop's homegrown veggies for granted. As an adult, I miss them dearly. This recipe makes good use of zucchini. It's a fun, quickie, kid-friendly lunch my mother and aunt used to make for me as a little girl. Of course, they used homemade red sauce. Today, I took a shortcut with jarred pizza sauce. The brand I picked up was quite tasty, and I can recommend it as a time saver.

To download a copy of this recipe in a PDF form that you can print, save, or share, click here.


Small to medium zucchini (courgette)

Pizza sauce (jarred or homemade)

Mozzarella, shredded (whole milk or part-skim)

Toppings (see note*)

*Note: Use your favorite pizza toppings from veggies to meat--just be sure any meat is already cooked. Topping suggestions: sauteed, chopped mushrooms; sliced olives; chopped peppers; regular, turkey, or meatless pepperoni or cooked and crumbled sausage, etc.

Directions: (1) Cut the zucchini into slices of 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick. You want the slices thin enough to cook fast under the broiler but thick enough to hold their shapes for handling after toppings are added. Place the slices on a sheet pan. Tip: for easy cleanup, line the pan with a sheet of aluminum foil and lightly coat with non-stick cooking spray. (2) Spoon pizza sauce onto each slice. To save time, use jarred. (If you need a recommendation, I like the Ragu Homemade Style Pizza Sauce, "100% Natural.") Sprinkle on your shredded mozzarella and toppings. As noted, because these pizzas are finished in a flash, make sure your meat toppings are already cooked. If using mushrooms or peppers, I would chop them finely and saute them in a bit of olive oil before adding. (3) Place the pan of mini pizzas under your broiler for 1 to 3 minutes--time will depend on the intensity of your oven's broiler. No matter what, keep a close eye on these because they cook very quickly and the cheese can burn fast. Remove with crustless joy!

F o o d i e 
P h o t o s

And now...

<< My trigger thumb, which is being sniffed by the curious Clover. 

The reason I'm mentioning it today is because it may help many of you in the future. For days, I wasn't sure what was wrong with my popping, snapping, painful thumb joint. At first, I feared arthritis was setting in. After a little research, however, I realized what I had was a form of tendonitis known as "trigger finger" or "trigger thumb." While researching this, I learned that this condition is common for musicians and lately for folks who do a lot of texting or thumb-typing on tablets. If you do the latter or known people who do, these links were a great help to me in treating a painful and perplexing condition, and they may be worth keeping in your own files...

* Link 1 from WebMd: click here
* Link 2 on non-surgical treatment: click here

I'm using the icing and splinting treatments now. From experience, I know that ice is very helpful for sports injuries, and it's helping with this, as well. Certainly, if you have any experience with this, feel free to share in the comments. In the meantime, may we all eat with joy--and good health!

A Brew to a Kill: A Coffeehouse Mystery
Now a national bestseller in hardcover

To see the recipes in my latest
culinary mystery, click here.

Yes, this is me - Cleo Coyle
Learn about my books here.

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Eat with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle, author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

To view the
Coffeehouse Mystery
book trailer, click here.

To get more of my recipes, enter to win
free coffee, or learn about my books, including
my bestselling 
Haunted Bookshop series, visit
my online coffeehouse:

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are national bestselling
works of amateur sleuth fiction set in a landmark
Greenwich Village 
coffeehouse, and each of the
12 titles includes the 
added bonus of recipes. 

The Ghost and
Mrs. McClure

Book #1 of 

The Haunted Bookshop
, which Cleo writes
under the name Alice Kimberly
To learn more, click here.