Semi-Homemade Pizza Braid

We all need short cuts once in a while, right?  As I’ve mentioned before, I actually do a lot of semi-homemade cooking.  If there is a product that is just as good as something I can make at home, but it’s already made and probably less expensive to buy when you add up all the ingredients I would have to buy to make it, I totally take advantage and use that product!  In my book, there’s nothing wrong with that.  Work smarter, not harder, right?

I have access to some great restaurants, farmers markets and specialty grocery stores where I live, so I’d be a fool not to take advantage of that.  One of my favorite speciality grocery stores in Trader Joe’s.  They have store throughout the nation, so hopefully you have one near you as well.  If you don’t, let me just say, I’m sorry.  You’re missing out!

Even though we are blessed to have access to a Trader Joe’s right here in town, I’ve had so many people ask me why it’s so great.  They all want to know what I buy there.  EVERYTHING!  Every single thing they make is great, but here’s a recipe using a couple of pre-made TJ’s shortcuts.

Semi-Homemade Pizza Braid

  • 1 bag Trader Joe’s premade pizza dough (found in refrigerated section)
  • 1 container Trader Joe’s Pizza sauce (found by the dough in the refrigerated section)
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese (I buy this at TJ’s as well)
  • your favorite pizza toppings
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 2 teaspoons garlic salt
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Turn out pizza dough onto a floured board and let rest for 20 minutes.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Then roll out in the shape of a rectangle.  In your mind, divide the rolled out dough into 3 vertical sections.  Put sauce (to taste), mozzarella cheese and desired toppings in the center section.  On each of the outer sections, slice the dough diagonally into strips (leaving in inside of the strip attached to the center of the dough).  See photo below

Starting at the bottom wrap the dough pieces over each other, working side to side.  At the top, tuck the edge pf the last piece under the previous piece.  Place on a baking sheet sprayed with non-stick spray.  (I use a jelly roll pan and can fit 3 braids on one pan.)  In a small bowl microwave safe bowl, melt the butter.  Add garlic salt.  Brush mixture over the top of the braid.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Bake at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until top is golden brown and bottom is cooked through.  Remove from oven and cool 5 minutes before slicing.

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