Summer time in Michigan means camping, boating, swimming and enjoying the best that Michigan weather throws at us. In our household we take full advantage of those 4 sunny months and are outside all summer. My kids are not lacking for vitamin D, I can tell you that! In the summer we always look forward to our family and friend’s camping trip. The best part is the food! Everyone is counting down the minutes until it is time to cook.
Our group usually consists of 12 adults, and 10 kids all taking turns with cooking and stoking the fire to keep it warm all day. Being a mostly vegetarian, camping with meat lovers can be a challenge. Our camping group tends to cook big meals together over the fire for dinners. The usual suspects are stew, chili, and hot-dogs. Chili was an easy substitute, we made two pots, one vegetarian and one with ground beef. When it came to stew night, I made a yummy batch of hobo pies. (More on these another time, but they are basically a bunch of veggies wrapped in tin foil, delicious!) For lunches, I knew I wanted something fresh, using things from my garden, and I really wanted to try out my cast iron skillet. I have to say I fell in love, with the skillet and the pizza. Not only was this a huge crowd pleaser, but it was so simple.
The fresh spinach and basil are a delicious topping on this pizza, but you could really add anything your heart desires. As we squeeze out every last drop of summer, I hope you try this out if you are sneaking in a camping trip. Just make sure to make lots of dough ahead of time, or be ready to make a bunch on site, because everyone will want a slice!
For the dough:
- 3/4 cup warm water
- 1 packet of active dry yeast (so much easier to use packets camping rather than the jars)
- 2 cups of flour (slightly more for dusting)
- 1 teaspoon sugar + a pinch
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil + extra for coating
For the toppings:
- 1 jar of pizza sauce
- 1 bag of shredded mozzarella
- 1 bunch of rresh basil (about 10 leaves or more)
- 1 cup of fresh spinach
- 1 large tomato
- 2 cloves of garlic
- Cast iron skillet or cast iron griddle
- Clean towel (tucked away in your camping gear just for this)
- Cutting board, knife, measuring cups
- Dissolve yeast packet into 3/4 cup warm water and a pinch of sugar. While the yeast is dissolving, grab a separate bowl and add the 2 cups of flour, 1 teaspoon of sugar and lightly mix.
- When the yeast is frothy and foamy, add this to the flour, followed by 3 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil and mix into the dough. Mix until the dough begins to come together. It might be flaky and loose and this is OK. Squeeze and combine it together until most of the flour has been worked into the dough.
- Lightly flour a surface (I use a small cutting board and this works out just fine) and pour the contents of the bowl out onto the floured surface and knead for about 5-7 minutes, or until the dough is smooth. The dough will be a bit hard and this is totally OK, just go with it.
- Lightly oil a bowl and place the dough inside and turn to coat. Let rise in a warm place until it doubles in size.
- Prepare your toppings: Slice spinach and basil into ribbons and set aside. Dice or thinly slice the garlic. If you want more of a garlic taste use the slices. And lastly, thinly slice the tomato.
- When dough has risen and about doubled in size, punch it down, yep punch it. Take the dough out and split in half. **If you are using a small skillet this recipe makes two crusts, if you use a griddle you could press this out into one larger pizza.
- Press or roll out the dough out into a thin pancake, and begin to pinch, turn and flatten the pizza. You want the crust to have a uniform thickness, except for the edges, those can be a bit thicker. Don’t try to for a raised edge, as you will flip the crust during cooking. **Note- if you are making ahead of time, place each crust on a sheet of parchment paper, set on top of each other and fold the parchment over to cover the top crust. Put the dough inside a Ziploc bag. If you are camping, remember to put this in your cooler last, so it won’t be near the melting ice in the bottom.
- Coat both sides of the pizza with a small amount of oil, place crust inside the skillet, or on the griddle over a hot fire. With a spatula, keep checking the bottom on the pizza throughout cooking time. You want the bottom of the crust to be a dark golden brown. The time will vary depending on the heat of your fire.
- When the crust is a golden brown on the bottom, remove the crust from the heat. Flip the crust, and push down around the middle and edges, to make a edge around the crust. Coat the crust with the pizza sauce and some of the cheese, spinach tomato, garlic, and basil, then more cheese on top
- Return the pizza to the fire. Cook until the bottom is a nice golden brown. Remove from heat, slice & ENJOY!
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Author: Chelsea Crosby