So Rebecca loaded her hefty iron skillet, a bag of wet pizza dough, a jar of locally made marinara sauce, and a bottle of salad dressing from a nearby producer into the car.
I had gone to market that morning and bought sweet Italian turkey sausage with onions and green peppers, a box of fresh blueberries, and a half pound of baby spinach. Plus I picked up a few cookies on market, made by a high-school classmate of Kate’s. That all went into the trunk, too.
It was Friday afternoon, and my daughter Rebecca and I were taking my other daughter, Kate, on a little 30-hour getaway to celebrate her birthday. We could all kind of tell that Kate was a bit bothered by her upcoming birthday. It’s one of those that ends in a “5.”
A few months ago, she and I went to pick up a set of theater seats she had bought at an antique store in a town on the Bay, about 3½ hours from home. She loves this old little village, and as we were loading the quaint leather chairs with flip-up seats, she said, “Maybe I’ll come back here to celebrate my birthday. I gotta do something special this year.”
I came home and told Rebecca—and we looked for a weekend when we could take Kate away to ease her edginess.
Rebecca proposed that we keep the drive-time short and reserved a night at a historic B&B that she and her husband, Rob love. The place is a farm and winery with outlying cottages. We took the “Greenhouse” because it has a kitchen and 2 bedrooms.
“Let’s slow ourselves down and make our own dinner,” Rebecca suggested. “Hey, we’re going to a lovely place, so why would we leave to go out to a restaurant? I’ve got a simple pizza recipe that you make in an iron skillet.”
And so we ate dinner in. When we finished, we asked Kate if she wanted to watch movies or play games. “Could we just visit?” she asked a little plaintively. Rebecca and I were absolutely ready for that. The hours spun by.
Sure, we work together. Sure, we see each other a lot. But for an evening, a night, and a day, we talked about whatever was on our minds and hearts, we explored shops in nearby towns, and we topped it all off with a visit to a meandering plant and garden center which happens to have a good restaurant.
Under its glass ceiling we watched the day drift into dusk, sampled food off the others’ plates, and gave thanks for each other.
Kate said that her mom and sister were good company. I went home and asked Merle how I could be so blessed.
Who doesn’t love pizza—including the cook? It is absolutely adaptable to whatever ingredients you have in the fridge, and it travels well. I recommend it highly for a weekend getaway! Here’s a recipe for pizza in your slow cooker, swapping pasta for the crust. And you don’t need to pre-cook the pasta!!
Pizza in a Slow Cooker
from Fix-It and Forget-It Big Cookbook
Makes 6 servings
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cooking Time: 6-8 hours
Ideal slow-cooker size: 5-quart
1½ lbs. bulk sausage
1 small onion, chopped
1-lb. pkg. pasta of your choice, uncooked
28-oz. jar spaghetti sauce
16-oz. can tomato sauce
¾ cup water
4-oz. can mushrooms, drained
8-oz. pkg. pepperoni, chopped
16-oz. pkg. shredded mozzarella cheese
1. Brown sausage and onion in skillet. Drain off drippings. Place one-third of mixture in slow cooker.
2. Layer in one-third of uncooked pasta.
3. Combine spaghetti sauce, tomato sauce, water, and mushrooms in bowl. Ladle one-third of that mixture over pasta.
4. Repeat the above layers 2 more times.
5. Top with pepperoni. Top that with shredded cheese.
6. Cover. Cook on low 6-8 hours.