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Good Eats

Recipe of the Month: Melanie's Four Square Family Pizza

Jan 30th, 2017

This isn’t your average pizza. This pie combines four different types of non-traditional pizzas into one delicious smorgasbord. The flavors might be different, but they all share the same dough, making this the perfect treat for a party. Whether you follow this recipe by AMLI North Point resident Melanie, or simply take away the concept and create your own four square pizza, it might just be the innovative recipe you need to stir your culinary creativity.

Fair warning here—this recipe will take some time if you’re making it all from scratch. Still, a pizza that combines barbecue chicken, Philly cheesesteak, and Italian sausage will be well-worth the wait.

This recipe was submitted by Melanie as part of our annual social media contest. This time around we asked residents to submit their best fall comfort food recipes in competition to win culinary prizes. AMLI EATS contest winners received Blue Apron subscriptions, Williams-Sonoma gift cards, and two grand prize winners were awarded their own private dinner parties, right at their AMLI communities. They didn’t even have to leave home!

Without further adieu, here’s Melanie’s spectacular pizza.

Melanie’s Four Square Family Pizza

Adapted from Pillsbury and Sur La Table recipes
Pizza Dough
¼ cup (2 ounces warm water to proof yeast
2 ¼ teaspoon active dry yeast or 1 ¾ teaspoons instant (fresh yeast)
3 ¼ cup of unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup water (8 ounces to use later in mix with flour)
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil plus 1 tablespoon for brushing
1 tablespoon of sugar
3-4 tablespoons of cornmeal

Place the warm water in a small bowl and sprinkle with yeast and sugar. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 5 minutes or until foamy. Stir to dissolve. Use a stand mixer with dough hook. First, combine flour and salt. Mix briefly to combine. Turn mixer on low speed and add the yeast mixture. Mix to combine. Add 1 cup of water and 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Use dough hook to knead for 3-5 minutes until dough appears smooth. If prefer, you can also knead by hand for 10 minutes until dough appears smooth. Add flour to surface if you are kneading by hand. Spread olive oil in a large deep bowl. Add your dough to the bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap or damp cloth and let rise to room temperature. Find the size square pan (I used a cookie sheet) or square pizza stone you want to use for pizza. Turn oven on at 450 or 500 degrees. Place pan inside oven for 15-20 minutes.

Use oven mitts to remove pan from oven and set it aside. Remove plastic wrap and towel from bowl. Punch down dough. Use flour and sprinkle your work surface or silpat. Also sprinkle your surface with cornmeal. Toss dough onto surface. Start shaping dough into square. You can separate dough into two balls if you wish to do a smaller thinner pizza. Use rolling pin if necessary. Once desired shape is reached, transfer to sheet or stone. Reshaping may be required. If crust ends appear to be thick move to center to help support toppings. Use desired cheese to create your four sections. I combined shredded cheddar cheese and Italian cheese to create sections. Your dough is now ready for toppings.

Carmelized Onions and Spinach Square with White Pizza Sauce

½ of Spanish onion sliced
1 to 2 cups of fresh (or bagged) spinach
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
1 cup of white wine or white sparking grape juice
2 tablespoons of butter
3 tablespoons of homemade white pizza sauce (adapted by Rachel Ray on Baked by Rachel)

In a pan, add butter and swirl to cover pan. Add sliced onions and then add wine. Turn heat down if splattering occurs. Add brown sugar. Allow onions to cook to thin flexible consistency. Once onions begin to brown, add spinach. With a wooden spoon, saute spinach until wilted.

White pizza Sauce Recipe (you can use store-bought, too!)

2 tablespoons of butter
4 cloves of garlic minced
3 tablespoons of all purpose flour
¼ teaspoon of pepper
¼ teaspoon of salt
1 cup of milk
½ cup parmesan cheese
¼ teaspoon of dried oregano

Melt butter in small saucepan with medium heat. Add garlic and whisk for 30 seconds prior to adding flour, pepper, salt and oregano. Whisk and combine well. Slowly add milk, whisking until combined. Continue whisking until desired thickness is reached. Remove from hit and stir in cheese until smooth.

Philly Cheesesteak Square

4 slices of Steak-umm
½ green pepper cut into slivers
½ cup of bella mushrooms thinly sliced. You can use canned but drain.
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 to 3 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
3 slices of provolone cheese broken to pieces
4 slices of white American cheese broken into pieces
2 tablespoons of olive oil

Heat medium size pan with oil. Add 3 to 4 slices of Steakum broken or torn into pieces. Sprinkle 2-3 dashes of Worcestershire sauce. Add green pepper and mushrooms. Place torn pieces of American cheese to section of pizza dough. SeAdd Steakum mixture on top of American cheese pieces. Now add provolone cheese on top of beef until covered.

Barbecue Chicken Square

1 package of Perdue roasted chicken shortcuts or other roasted chicken
½ cup of your favorite barbecue sauce—molasses type
½ of Sargento or Kraft Shredded Cheddar
1 tsp of extra virgin olive oil
Cooking spray

Use cooking spray to coat a frying pan. Once pan is hot, add chicken. Allow it to brown for about 10-12 minutes. While chicken is browning, add sauce to section of pizza dough. When chicken is browned, add to section where you added the barbecue sauce. Now sprinkle with cheddar cheese.

Classic “Italian” Sausage Square

2 links of sweet turkey Italian Sausage with casings removed. Create into small thin bite size patties.
½ cup of canned tomato sauce or you can use your favorite pizza sauce
1 tablespoon of fennel to be added to sausage prior to cooking
¼ cup of fennel to saute in pan
½ cup of Sargento 4 Italian shredded cheese
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

In a sauté pan, heat the pan to medium heat. Add olive oil to coat pan. Add ¼ cup of fennel. Allow the fennel to season the pan. Use the 1 tablespoon of remaining fennel and add it to the sausage. Mix in the shape sausage into small round bite size pieces. Add to fennel in pan. Sauté until fully cooked.

While sausage is cooking, add tomato sauce to empty section of pizza dough. When sausage is cooked, add to tomato sauce on top of pizza dough. Top with Italian cheese. If desired, melt two tablespoons of butter with 2 tablespoons of garlic seasoning. Stir and melt butter and seasoning over medium heat. Once melted, remove from heat. Use a pastry brush to add butter to pizza crust edges. Now place pizza in the oven for 12-15 minutes. Crust should appear puffed and golden in color. Allow to cool for about 6-8 minutes prior to cutting. Using a pizza cutter, cut pizza in squares by cutting 4 rows horizontally first. Now cut vertically to create squares.

Interview with the cook:

How many days of the week do you typically cook?

I try to cook at least 3 times a week. I use the weekends to test new recipes.

Who do you usually cook for?

I usually just cook for my husband and myself. At times it’s a challenge because most recipes are designed to feed usually families of 4 or more. I try to adjust without losing flavor or quality. I am not one who wants to see good food go to waste.

What was the inspiration for your recipe? Is there a story behind it?

I submitted my four square family pizza recipe. My husband and I are big pizza lovers since we are both transplants from Chicago. It’s our comfort almost every weekend. I love it because it allows for a good variety of toppings. You can cut to get multiple small servings AND it allows me to get creative from any leftovers in the fridge or an overstock of pantry goods. I have also loved cooking for the AMLI leasing staff at North Point. I often try to surprise them with lunch or just a sweet snacks. They work quite hard and I just like to show them my appreciation for all they do. They often post my dishes on the Facebook page.

What is your favorite cuisine to cook? Why?

It’s difficult to narrow it down to just one cuisine. The two I most enjoy are Asian and Mexican. Both cuisines usually use a large amount of vegetables and make both offer ways to substitute certain items for a healthier and lower calorie dish. Plus my husband has a thing for quesadillas and I love making baked orange chicken over jasmine rice. I also love to bake.

Where do you shop for ingredients?

We shop for ingredients at Publix, Target and occasionally Whole Foods. I love Whole Foods’ fresh hummus options. I’ve used their hummus creations on pizza. Trust me—it tastes great.

What is the one thing you couldn’t do without in your kitchen?

Just one thing? A good cook needs many tools! I probably could not live without a measuring cup. Accuracy is the key in any dish you prepare. For my baked goods, I could not live without my hand mixer at the very least!

What’s the best part about cooking at your AMLI apartment?

The leasing staff since they are willing to eat my dishes! Little do they know until now they are my official taste testers. I also love my balcony doors. Occasionally if something gets a little smoky (not that happens that often), I can fly those doors open to clear out the smoke in nano seconds!

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