My family is knee-deep in birthday season. Between the months of May and June, we have five birthdays spanning three generations, and everyone—from the chronologically young to the young at heart—gets the royal treatment on their special day.
We’re big believers in a home-cooked birthday dinner. Forget the restaurants, the clamorous crowds and the tone-deaf servers awkwardly singing “Happy Birthday” for the 15th time that evening. A real birthday dinner comes from the heart and is prepared by loving hands right at home. That’s our philosophy, anyway.
Ever since I can remember, my Mom has cooked me whatever I wanted for my birthday. And when I say anything, I mean anything. I remember a childhood birthday when I was terribly mad at my sister for filching my Barbie doll or some other such nonsense. I decided the best way to get back at her was to request her least favorite food for my birthday dinner: liver patties. That’s right, liver patties. We ate disgusting liver patties for my birthday dinner, and I’m pretty sure they tasted a lot like revenge.
When I’m not feeling churlish on my birthday, I generally request a tastier dish. One of my all-time favorite birthday dinners is a little number called Popover Pizza. I think my Mom found this recipe in a magazine eons ago, and we have adapted it to our tastes over the years. It involves Italian sausage, big chunky vegetables and a lot of cheese—all flipped upside down. Sound like fun? Give it a try! (Birthday not required.)
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Bake Time: 35 minutes
Preheat Oven: 400 degrees
1 lb. mild Italian sausage
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
4 small zucchini (or 2 large), chopped
2 cups tomato sauce (low-sodium or no salt added)
1 T. Italian seasoning
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup milk
2 T. melted butter
1 cup flour (for my low-carb friends, just leave this out)
½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Chop the onion, red pepper and zucchini into chunky pieces.
In a large pot, brown the Italian sausage over medium-high heat, breaking it apart with a wooden spoon.
Add the chopped vegetables and cook for 10 minutes until they soften.
Stir in the tomato sauce and Italian seasoning. Reduce heat to low.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, melted butter and flour to make the crust batter. (Again, if you’re low-carb, omit the flour. Trust me…it still tastes great!)
Spoon the tomato mixture into a 9x13-inch baking dish.
Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese evenly over the tomato mixture.
Pour the crust batter over the mozzarella.
Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the top.
Bake for 30-35 minutes until the crust is thoroughly cooked and lightly brown all over.
Let the pizza “rest” for about 5 minutes before you cut and serve.
You really can’t go wrong with Popover Pizza. It takes a bit of time to prepare, but it’s quite delicious and entirely worth the wait. So whether you’re celebrating a birthday or just a good day, I recommend you give it a try.