In honor of the late Sophia Petrillo, and the fact that pizza is Italian, allow me to set the scene...picture it: small town in Illinois, 1994. Pampered Chef party, hosted by one of my mom's best friends and put on by the mom of my best friend.
Twenty ladies and their children listen as Jeri works her magic, telling about all the wonders of the products she is selling, just like an infomercial, but even better because she is hilarious and the ultimate people person/saleswoman.
And then, cue the singing angels, she brings out the trays of snacks prepared on/with her miraculous kitchen gadgets. And one of those snacks just happens to be, you guessed it, COOL VEGGIE PIZZA.
Summery veggies, creamy tangy "sauce"...it's like taking a bite of sunshine. When I'm craving warm weather food in the middle of winter, this is exactly what I dream of.
I've changed the recipe a million times, but it always tastes delicious. Cool Veggie Pizza just happens to be one of my all-time favorite foods (if you couldn't figure that out by the fact that I remember every detail of the Pampered Chef party twenty years ago where I had my first taste) and one of my go-to potluck recipes. The girls at work used to go bananas for this stuff, and I guess it's time to share my secret recipe.
Here's your ingredient list:
One roll of refrigerated pizza dough (I generally ALWAYS burn the first one, so maybe buy two just in case.)
Your favorite raw veggies, cleaned and chopped (Dave likes cucumbers, tomatoes, green peppers, and black olives the best, but sometimes I add zucchini or carrots or broccoli.)
One 8 oz package of cream cheese
One cup of sour cream
One packet of ranch dip mix
2 cups of finely shredded Mozzerela cheese
Roll your pizza dough out onto a greased cookie sheet, use your fingers to press it to the edges, and poke a bunch of holes in it with a fork.
Read the instructions on the package and bake for the shortest amount of time recommended.
My dough said 9-12 minutes so I checked it after 8 and it was perfect. Just keep your eye on it...take it out when the edges are just starting to turn golden-brown, like this:
Let the baked crust cool for a few minutes, and when the pan has cooled enough for you to touch it, move it to the fridge to finish chilling out.
Now it's time to mix the cream cheese, sour cream and ranch dip mix.
I never ever remember to set my cream cheese out to soften, so after making this a million times and getting ticked off at myself, I came up with a solution. Just use the mixer!
Kinley liked it so much, she decided to give her little chicken a taste, too.
Okay, "sauce" is done.
If you are making this ahead of time for a potluck or dinner, wait to do these next steps until you are ready to eat it. Cool Veggie Pizza doesn't keep very well, it gets pretty soggy. When I used to make it for work potlucks, I would do everything up to this point the night before and then assemble it right before I left my house in the morning.
Go grab your chilled pizza crust and slather on your ranch cream cheese mixture.
Here's a handy tip: it's really hard to slice Cool Veggie Pizza after you put all the toppings on, so it's a good idea to just do it at this point after the cream cheese mixture is evenly spread.
Now, pile on the veggies...
Just squish the veggies down into the cream cheese by firmly pushing them down with the palm of your hand. That just makes eating the pizza a little easier and a lot less messy.
Now, you can stop there, but Dave had the idea of adding cheese to the top, and since we gave that a go, we haven't gone without.
If you do want to use cheese, now's the time to sprinkle it on.
I made this for our weekly Wednesday dinner with my parents last week and this is all that remained:
Apparently I am not the only one who loves a cold pizza around here! Haha.
This stuff is definitely not healthy, but, man-oh-man, is it yummy. And, hey, it might even get your kiddo to eat some veggies! It didn't work on Kinley--she had mac and cheese as usual--but ranch on anything is usually a kid-pleaser, right?
The original recipe called for Italian dressing mix and it's super yummy in this, too. Just another option.
Talking about Sophia Petrillo at the beginning of this post got me thinking about cheesecake, so I'm off to whip one up.
It'll have to wait a couple of hours though because guess who forgot to set out the cream cheese...