In Season with Chef Staci

We hold outdoor times precious in the countdown to cold weather in this region. The garden is still has luscious produce. The grill is as hot as the oven for meals. Chef Staci Pederson has some easy, tasty ideas for alternative pizzas.


“I love this time of year—fresh tomatoes!” said Chef Staci, executive chef at the Yankton Hy-Vee Food Store, 2100 Broadway (605) 665-3412. “Earlier this season we celebrated desserts with fresh produce and sauces for new tastes with garden vegetables and other foods.” See her additional recipes and suggestions in other posts here at Plant Exchange Blog.

“This month, we’re celebrating with easy grill or oven bake pizzas,” she said.  Pre-made pizza crust, raw crusts or make your own are all options but these recipes feature ease of meal preparation with pre-made crusts. They’re often found near pasta in a food store. It’s important that meats and other firm vegetables in season, such as peppers and onions, be pre-cooked separately for these recipes. Near mealtime, the pizza is ready to assemble for the grill or oven for a quick meal.

Pre-made crusts are available in thin or thick, white or whole wheat, family or self-serving size. For the pizza bases, she has chosen other bases than tomato sauce, though tomatoes are among pizza ingredients. She views these recipes as starting points for you to personalize the pizzas for meals or appetizers.

“The other thing about pizzas is that you can put what you want on them—what’s producing in the garden or extras from the refrigerator. We call this ‘Frankenstein meals’ at our house—different parts from here and there,” she said.

“For these pizzas, the grill heat should be medium to medium high, or the oven set to 400 degrees F. For the hot grill or heated oven, it takes 10 -15 minutes for the pizza; until the crust is crispy and the cheese is melted. These pre-made pizzas can go directly on a grill or on a cookie sheet if you bake them in an oven instead,” she said. “I fill the grill when I cook chicken breasts or steak or hamburger. Then the rest is ready for other quick meals later.”

Her pizza recipes are for dinner, lunch or appetizers. For a breakfast pizza, with the pre-made crust, she suggests a base of Alfredo sauce, a little pre-cooked bacon bits or crumbled sausage or bits of ham, mushrooms and scrambled eggs with grated cheese.

“Individual pizzas are an option too. If you have a kid’s birthday or want to entertain adults with a meal, consider a pizza bar. Have different sauces, meats, vegetables and cheeses with ingredients prepared ahead of time. Guests help select what they want—celebrating with a summertime pizza party!” Chef Staci said.

BLT Pizza

1 Pre-Made Pizza Crust

1 tablespoon Olive Oil

2 cups fresh Mozzarella Cheese

½ pound Bacon—chopped and cooked

1 Tomato—diced

2 cups Iceberg Lettuce—shredded

½ – ¾ cup Mayonnaise

Salt and Pepper to taste

  • Preheat grill to medium or medium high or oven to 400 degrees F. Coat the crust with olive oil. Spread mozzarella cheese over the crust as a base and sprinkle with tomatoes and bacon. Grill pizza or bake on a cookie sheet for 10-15 minutes until the crust is crispy and the cheese is melted. While the pizza is heating, toss shredded lettuce and mayonnaise together and season to taste. Top the finished pizza with the dressed lettuce and enjoy. Alternately, you could top with the lettuce and drizzle with the mayonnaise.


Shrimp and Pesto Pizza with Caramelized Onions and Smoked Provolone

1 Whole Grain Pre-Made Pizza Crust

½ cup Pesto Sauce—Classico or home-made

2 cups or about ½ pound Raw Shrimp—sliced in half or chopped

1 Red Onion—sliced thin and sautéed in olive oil until caramelized

8 ounces Applewood Smoked Provolone—grated

Assorted vegetables you like such as sliced cherry tomatoes, olives. Pre-cook firm

vegetables like green beans and broccoli.

  • Preheat grill to medium high or oven to 425 degrees F. Spread pizza crust with pesto and sprinkle with raw shrimp, onions, vegetables and then cheese. Grill prepared crust on grill or bake on a cookie sheet until the shrimp is cooked and cheese is melted—about 10 minutes. Tomato sauce can be substituted for pesto sauce and shredded roasted chicken for shrimp. Serve with salad or as a great appetizer.


Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza

1 Pre-Made Pizza Crust—coated with Olive Oil

2 tablespoons Ketchup

2 tablespoons Mustard

½ pound Ground Beef—browned and seasoned with Salt and Pepper

½ pound Bacon—fried crispy and drained

1 cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

1 cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Pickle Slices

2 cups Shredded Iceberg Lettuce

2 tablespoons Mayonnaise

2 tablespoons Red Onion—chopped

  • Preheat grill to medium or medium high or oven to 400 degrees F. In a small bowl, mix together ketchup and mustard and spread on the pizza crust. Top with ground beef, bacon and shredded cheeses. Top with pickle slices. Grill or bake until the crust is golden brown, and the cheese is melted; about 15 or so minutes. While pizza is heating, mix together the lettuce, mayonnaise and red onion. Top with seasoned lettuce, cut pizza into desired shapes and serve.


BBQ Chicken Pizza

Pre-made Pizza Crust—coat with Olive Oil

Favorite Barbeque Sauce

2 cups Roasted chicken—shredded

1 Red onion—chopped

Sliced Pickles

2 cups Mozzarella cheese

  • Preheat grill to medium or medium high or oven to 400 degrees F. Spread pizza crust with barbeque sauce and sprinkle with roasted chicken and top with red onion, sliced pickles and Mozzarella cheese. Grill or bake until crust is crispy, and cheese is melted; about 10 -15 minutes.


Thanks for visiting Plant Exchange Blog. You’ll find other of Chef Staci’s recipes and suggestions here in posts or under the “Vegetable” topic.   Enjoy local garden produce!






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