Tuesday 17 April 2012

Cheat’s meaty mini pizzas to lighten up your lunchtime

#100 - cheats pizza with bacon

I don’t have any children, but I wouldn’t blame you for mistaking me for a parent if you saw me interacting with my boyfriend in our little flat.

What is it about living with your beloved that makes a young woman suddenly morph into a mother?! Despite never previously having a particular appetite for cleaning, its feels like my life is becoming a constant cycle of washing dishes, airing clothes and tidying things away…just rinsed and repeated as required on a daily basis.

Please don’t get me wrong – I think my man is truly amazing, constantly inspiring and I wouldn’t ever want to swap him. But I do find it equally incredible that someone so hugely talented and intelligent can lose his keys within five minutes of entering our home, and appears incapable of eating a meal without spilling some of it down himself.

My faux-parental responsibility seems most intense when preparing our meals – especially lunch. As a fan of routine who tries to watch their weight, once I stumble upon a snack that satisfies my dietary needs I’ll happily replicate it regularly. Indeed, this slightly obsessive-compulsive tendency probably explains why my residing schoolgirl memory is of cheese and marmite sandwiches. But yet I feel obliged to provide my boyfriend with an interesting and balanced midday meal, as I know that when left to his own devices he will either forget to eat lunch entirely or just head to the nearest fastfood outlet for a fatty quick fix.

The idea for these cheat’s mini pizzas hit me during a lazy weekend at home. I’d been doubly-motherly the night before by inviting one of my man’s many brothers to share a big batch of spaghetti and meatballs with us, and realised that the leftover sauce, mounds of beef and grated cheese would fit just as perfectly on top of a tortilla as they would wrapped up inside it. Due to their compacted size and cooking time, these mini pizzas obviously make an ideal dinner for young children – as well as the perfect snack for greedy grown men!

Since my first experiment I’ve tried a variety of alternative toppings based on what we’ve had in stock – my favourite carnivore always opts for a meat feast, but if you wanted to create a healthier version for your little monsters then roasted vegetables, sautéed spinach or a selection of fresh antipasti would taste just as appealing. This could also be one of those rare occasions when you can enlist an extra pair of hands (big or small) to help you in the kitchen with the preparation process…but if they’re anything like my man you might want them to wear an apron…!

Cheat’s mini pizza (serves 1)

1 tortilla wrap

100g tinned tomatoes or passata

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp dark muscovado sugar

1 handful fresh basil (or 1 tsp dried basil)

30g cheddar cheese

Toppings of your choosing – eg. 2 rashers cooked smoked bacon or 2 – 3 leftover meatballs for a meaty version


Note. One of the joys of this recipe are that all quantities are approximate and can be adapted as needed, as well as changing the pizza toppings depending on what mood you are in!

1. Heat the oven to 200C and place a tortilla wrap on a baking tray or pizza dish.

2. Simmer the chopped tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and muscovado sugar on a medium heat until the mixture thickens. Season to taste, chop up the fresh basil and add most of this in to the pan.

Note: This very quick version of a tomato paste for your pizza base gains some extra depth from the vinegar and sugar, but will taste much better if it has more time to mature. Therefore if you have time I would recommend that you follow the recipe for the tomato sauce that accompanies my magnificent meatballs – this will keep in the fridge for a few days so you can always make a batch in advance as the basis for both pizzas and pastas.

3. Spread the thickened tomato paste onto the tortilla (I also often add shredded sundried tomatoes at this stage).

4. Slice up any cooked meats or other vegetarian pizza toppings into bite-sized pieces, then scatter on top of the tortilla and tomato paste.

Cheats bacon pizza#1

5. Grate the cheese over the top of your mini pizza, then sprinkle over the rest of the fresh basil and a bit more salt and pepper (Jamie Oliver would probably advise you to pour over a bit of olive oil too!).

Note: A combination of cheeses works well if you have these to hand – I like to include some parmesan as well as mature cheddar cheese, but mozzarella or ricotta would provide a whole different level of texture and flavour

Cheats bacon pizza #2

6. Bake the pizza in the oven for up to 10 minutes until the edges of the tortilla are crispy. You might need to turn the oven to the grill setting to ensure that the cheese melts, but I would still recommend baking the pizza first as I have discovered that the base remains too soft otherwise. Once cooked, slice your mini pizza into hand-held portions and serve along with a napkin!

#100 - cheats pizza with bacon


  1. Jamie Lauren Gem18 April 2012 at 00:43

    Love this as I've become a little addicted to pizza lately! Think I'd pile a mountain of baby spinach on top so onlookers would think I was being saintly x

  2. Brilliant, Katy. The topping sounds great - balsamic vinegar is always a win! I despise shop-bought bases and so often if I want pizza I can't be bothered making the dough because it turns into a long night of labour! So I reckon this is a really nifty way to satisfy that pizza urge healthily and quickly! Laura x

  3. Your pizzas look gorgeous!!! So easy to make a pizza now!