In the 60’s, before school lunch consisted of choices and commercially prepared pizza and tacos, my elementary school served what they called “pizza.” These pizza squares (not wedges) consisted of a flaky cornmeal crust topped with a mixture of spiced hamburger and cheese. It was my favorite lunch, and (for a whopping 20˘) was always served with corn, salad, breadsticks, and dessert – no one counted carbs in those days. At that time, few people around me had ever been to Italy to eat real pizza, and there were no pizza parlors or pizza chains on any corner of my city; we just assumed that what the school lunch ladies called pizza was actually pizza.
I’ve thought of that “pizza” over the years, and tried to recreate it a few times, sometimes even coming pretty close. This Skool Lunch Pizza Bake comes closest to my memories, and has become a requested favorite of my family members who refer to it as “olden-days pizza.”
Convenience foods make this a quick and easy meal, suitable for busy weeknights or when time is short. The crust, made with a non-sweet cornbread mix (read the ingredients and make sure there is no sugar listed) and pressed in the pan with fingers, comes out flaky and perfect. The meat filling gets a head start with a spicy Italian Meat Mix made from the Italian Meat Mix Module, which can be prepared ahead and stored in the freezer for several months. Purchasing the cheese already shredded is another timesaver.
Even though this is not pizza as we know it in our modern world, it’s delicious and is sure to become a favorite in your family as it is in mine.
1 6 oz. package non-sweet cornbread mix
1/4 cup softened butter, (1/2 stick)
1/2 cup flour
2 to 3 tablespoons ice water
1 26 oz. jar spaghetti sauce
2 cups Italian Meat Mix Module
2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
- Preheat the oven to 375°.
- Line a 9 x 13" baking pan, preferably with sides of 1” or less, with parchment.
- Mix the cornbread mix, softened butter, and flour in a small bowl.
- With a fork, mix the butter into the dry ingredients until it looks like cornmeal.
- Stir in the ice water and mix until it holds together in a ball.
- Press the mixture onto the bottom of the prepared pan and up the sides about 1/2 inch.
- Bake for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, mix the spaghetti sauce and Italian Meat Mix in a microwaveable container.
- Microwave until boiling, stirring after 2 minutes; this takes about 5 minutes.
- Pour the mixture over the partially baked crust; sprinkle with the cheese.
- Bake until the cheese is bubbly and brown, 20-25 minutes.
- Cut in squares to serve.
Amount Per Serving
Calories 408 Calories from Fat 209
Percent Total Calories From: Fat 51% Protein 14% Carb. 35%
Nutrient Amount per Serving
Total Fat 23 g
Saturated Fat 10 g
Cholesterol 68 mg
Sodium 1228 mg
Total Carbohydrate 36 g
Dietary Fiber 1 g
Sugars 0 g
Protein 14 g
Vitamin A 28% Vitamin C 20% Calcium 0% Iron 8%