Weekend Cooking: Pizza Skewers

Since receiving On a Stick! by Matt Armendariz, Anthony and I have been salivating over the recipes–rubbing our hands together and laughing maniacally at the notion of fried spaghetti and meatballs or pineapple wrapped in funnel cake on a stick.  Matt’s food blog, Matt Bites, is a favorite of mine, and his photos are gorgeous!

After much debate, Ant and I decided on Pizza Skewers for our inaugural ‘on a stick’ meal, and I set to work this morning with a light heart and high hopes for a delicious lunch.

The Usual Suspects

For our filling, I used red, orange, yellow, and green bell peppers (we’re having fajitas for dinner).  I was going to use pepperoni, too, but ended up leaving it out.

A bit more than a cup of chopped peppers for filling and topping.

I used a measuring tape to check that my dough was a 12-inch square, but I rolled the dough too thin.  This led to all kinds of trouble as preparations progressed.

I didn't use the full cup of sauce that the recipe called for--it was juicy enough with 3/4 cup.

The next step was to roll the dough into a log and slice it into rounds for baking.  My dough held up but was noticeably thin in areas.  I used a pizza cutter to slice it into 8 pieces, cutting it first in half and then halving and rehalving the other pieces to make sure they were all about equal.  They then went on to a parchment covered baking sheet.

As you can see, the dough is failing already. The recipe calls for it to be 1/2 inch thick. Next time I'll listen!

And it pretty much went downhill from here.  I baked them for 10 minutes, pulled them out and added additional cheese and toppings, and put them back in the oven for another 10 minutes.  The recipe called for 15 minutes total cooking time, but I found them to be a bit doughy inside even after 20 minutes.

Time to make lunch reservations...

My visions for a fabulous photo went out the window, but I did manage to salvage one Pizza Skewer for a quick picture.  I forgot to add the raffia-wrapped wine bottle with the drippy candle in the background!

Boo! My Pizza Skewers were an aesthetic fail.

Fear not, friends!  I will not be daunted by this culinary failure.  I plan to try these again and will avoid rolling the dough out so much.  I will also make them smaller, use less sauce and filling, and bake them for a bit longer.  Next time, my Pizza Skewers will (hopefully!) look more like those in Matt’s photos.

My Pizza Skewers could only aspire to look this good.

This would be a great recipe (and cookbook) for parties or for kids.  There are so many fun meals to impale, but the only downside is that many of them are fried.

Pizza Skewers by Matt Armendariz

  • 8 pop sticks
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (for dusting counter)
  • 1 (13.8 oz) can refrigerated pizza dough
  • 1 cup plus 2 tbsp store-bought pizza sauce divided (I used 3/4 cup total, instead)
  • 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1 cup of your choice of toppings (optional)

1.  Preheat oven to 425F. Lightly grease a nonstick baking sheet. (I used parchment paper instead.)

2.  On a clean work surface dusted with flour, roll dough into a 12-inch square, roughly 1/2 inch thick.  Flour as needed to prevent sticking.

3.  Spread 1 cup of the pizza sauce over dough and top with 1 1/2 cups cheese and half of the toppings (if using).  I also added a pinch of fresh Parmesan cheese.

4.  Carefully roll dough and filling from one end to the other, forming a log.  Cut log into 8 equal (1-inch) rounds and place on the baking sheet. Bake 12 minutes.

5.  While rounds are baking, toss remaining pizza sauce cheese, and toppings (if using) in a bowl. (I skipped this step and just dusted the pizzas with cheese and more peppers.)

6.  Remove rounds from oven and top each with a small amount of the cheese mixture.  Bake an additional 5 minutes (I baked mine for 10 and they could have cooked longer) or until golden brown.

7.  Optional Dipping Sauce: 8 tablespoons (2 sticks) butter and 1/4 cup minced garlic cooked together for 20 minutes, clarified and strained. (I skipped this.)

8.  Thread rounds on to sticks and serve warm.  Serves 4 (two skewers each).

Special thanks to Eric at Quirk Books for sending along this gem of a cookbook!

Weekend Cooking is graciously hosted by Candace over at Beth Fish Reads.

25 Comments

  • At 2011.09.17 13:02, TheBookGirl said:

    I think they look good — too bad you were disappointed with the taste. Glad to hear this first misstep hasn’t put you off the general idea of food on a stick 🙂

    • At 2011.09.17 13:27, Natalie said:

      in recent years, i’ve become quite fearless in the kitchen. in the old days (like, 2009), i kept my cookbooks in the oven and only made toast, soup, and kraft mac n’ cheese. today, i consider myself a regular magellan in the kitchen! i’m going to try again next week.

    • At 2011.09.17 13:13, Jac @ For Love And Books said:

      I know what we’re having for dinner!!

      (I just picked this book up this morning, after you mentioned it before!! )

      • At 2011.09.17 13:25, Natalie said:

        i hope you love the book! can you bake the cheesecakes on a stick and then send some to me? i can’t deal with the stress that is baking cheesecake. any food that requires its own special pan scares me off! hope your hubby gets home soon.

      • At 2011.09.17 13:44, Beth F said:

        I love this post!!! I must try this — how cute they look and how perfect for a picnic or an appetizer or a kids’ party. I like Matt’s blog too but I haven’t tried any food on a stick . . . yet.

        • At 2011.09.17 13:50, caite@a lovely shore breeze said:

          I could do without the stick..if they tasted good.

          • At 2011.09.17 14:03, Natalie said:

            ant devoured 5 of them and gave them 2 thumbs up. i am going to try them next week when they are more well done and covered in black olives. 🙂 and the whole thing with a stick? it’s the theme of the cookbook. armendariz puts 80 recipes on skewers or sticks–everything from frozen cocktails to dessert. i thought it was so much fun–whimsical!

          • At 2011.09.17 13:59, Lisa said:

            Definitely sounds like something that would make a fun party food. But that dipping sauce? 8 sticks of butter? That is never going to happen!

            • At 2011.09.17 14:02, Natalie said:

              OMG! i made a teeny tiny typo–lol. it’s 8 tablespoons (2 sticks) of butter. thanks for catching that–i would have been sued for giving someone a heart attack!

            • At 2011.09.17 14:00, Nan said:

              What fun!

              • At 2011.09.17 14:22, Rikki said:

                I don’t think yours look so bad. Much juicier than the original ones. Great party food. My kids would love them.

                • At 2011.09.17 14:43, rhapsodyinbooks said:

                  I also think they look good! I certainly wouldn’t turn one down! (okay, I wouldn’t turn down five or six…)

                  • At 2011.09.17 18:02, Marg said:

                    I must admit I am not really sold on the idea on food on a stick other than something fun for the kids! I have to say though, love that photo of all the chopped up peppers. So colourful!

                    • At 2011.09.18 13:58, Steph said:

                      Well, to be fair, I’m not sure that pizza is one of those foods that really lends itself to being eaten off of a stick in the first place! Still, as long as they tasted good, it doesn’t really matter if they were photogenic. Taste is far more important than looks!

                      • At 2011.09.18 16:58, Beth(bookaholicmom) said:

                        It doesn’t matter how they look as long as they taste good. I had a culinary failure too. I think the idea of eating things on a stick is a fun idea. A party full of foods on a stick would be fun!

                        • At 2011.09.19 12:28, Ti said:

                          I read Matt’s blog too.

                          I think yours came out pretty good but there was probably just too much sauce. His look so much drier.

                          • At 2011.09.20 22:40, Natalie said:

                            It’s strange–I actually used 1/4 a cup LESS sauce than Matt’s recipe called for. I think the problem was that I rolled the dough to thinly. Next time will be better!

                          • At 2011.09.19 20:27, toothybooks said:

                            i don’t think your pizza on a stick came out too bad. sometimes the tastiest item on the menu looks the worse. good luck on your second attempt though!

                            • At 2011.09.19 20:37, Gwen said:

                              They look tasty to me!

                              You know, I have fought with that Pillsbury Pizza crust every time and that was just using it in the traditional way. The pizza dough from Trader Joe’s might work better on a stick.

                              • At 2011.09.20 22:41, Natalie said:

                                That’s a great suggestion! I’m going to try TJ’s brand when I attempt these again. 🙂

                              • At 2011.09.19 21:54, Dishy said:

                                It was a noble effort, Nat. Glad to hear it hasn’t discouraged you! (Between you & me, I’d pick something less cutesie to make next. And not on a stick. Like a meatloaf.)

                                XO

                                • At 2011.09.20 22:42, Natalie said:

                                  but the whole cookbook is ON A STICK! it’s fun! it’s silly! i LOVE it. 🙂 you should make something on a stick!!!

                                  • At 2011.09.24 14:23, Dishy said:

                                    Sorry babe, gonna stick w/ stick-less fare. XO

                                • At 2011.09.20 11:25, Uniflame said:

                                  How original! Even though they don’t look as good as Matts, I’m inspired! Is the cooking book also suitable for vegetarians? Aka enough options?

                                  • At 2011.09.20 22:43, Natalie said:

                                    there are many meatless options–appetizers, desserts, drinks, and some meals. it’s definitely a cookbook to flip through for the photos alone next time you’re in a book shop.

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