Strawberry Balsamic Pizza with Chicken & Applewood Bacon


When choosing recipes for my menu, and hopefully for my blog I often spend hours searching through thousands of them.  I don’t really go into a week of planning with specifics in mind, I like to stay pretty open to whatever catches my eye.  Among the many that just don’t make the cut are some that I like to save for a later date for one reason or another… perhaps they are a bit too indulgent for my current eating habits, or would be great for a nice meal, or other times they just look so interesting to me that I can’t help but save them to reconsider later on.

Tonight’s recipe falls under the last category.  While the idea of fruits in savory dishes is most definitely not a “new” thing, it is somewhat foreign to me.  I guess it’s just hardwired into my brain that they are sweet… and thus best suited for desserts.  Of course this is not true, and through my experimentation I have come to realize this, but there are still plenty of fruit and savory combinations I have yet to try…. perhaps someday.  One that had been a long time on my list was strawberries and balsamic vinegar.  When I saw this recipe it just really stood out, and I knew I HAD to try it.  Not only do we love gourmet pizzas, and want to try the flavor combo, but it also has bacon!  Who could ask for more!?

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Let’s just say…. I was NOT disappointed.  In fact I could easily put this up there in my top favorite pizzas.  It has such a freshness to it from the strawberries and cilantro, balanced perfectly with the sweet, tangy and ever so slightly spicy sauce (which according to my husband tastes like BBQ sauce, but perhaps a fruity version) and salty crisp bacon.  Plus, it’s a gorgeous pizza with all the colors, and sure to impress.  I honestly would not change a thing about this recipe or even embellish it.  I plan on making this one over and over again.

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Though I wouldn’t change anything, there are a couple places that leave some room for versatility based on what you use.  For the crust I used a Stone Fire flatbread (multigrain) which I found in my local grocery store.  And for the strawberry jam I went with Santa Cruz Organics Strawberry Spread, which I feel is a little fresher/less sweet than some of the popular brands.  As I mentioned above the sriracha lends just a HINT of heat to this, and it was great as is, but I would also like to try it with a bit more and see what that does in terms of balance as well.  For the cheese I used an Italian Blend, pre-shredded.  Feel free to over-estimate your ingredients like I tend to do and really pile them on there… mine was kind of heaping when I got it all on there because my crust was already perhaps a bit smaller than a typical “ball of dough” would yield and I get a bit heavy handed.  As long as you have a crust that can stand up to it, I say the more the better!

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Strawberry Balsamic Pizza with Chicken & Applewood Bacon

Ingredients :

  • 1/2 cup strawberry jam or preserves
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Sriracha Chili Sauce
  • 1 ball pizza dough
  • 1 cup diced or shredded cooked chicken breast (I used rotisserie)
  • 1/2 cup applewood smoked bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces, cooked
  • 1/2 cup thin sliced sweet onion
  • 12 oz. shredded Italian blend cheese (I used closer to 6-8 oz because my crust was smaller)
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh strawberries, diced small

Directions :

  1. Place pizza stone or sheet pan on middle rack of oven.  Preheat to 450 degrees (I was making other things at the same time and with a pre-baked crust I just left mine at 400 which worked great)
  2. Place balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan.  Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer 4-5 minutes or until reduced to half of original volume and mixture is thick and syrupy.  Add strawberry preserves and Sriracha and mix well.  Set aside to cool.
  3. Pat or roll out pizza dough on lightly floured surface to approximately a 14 inch circle.  Place a piece of parchment paper, slightly larger than your dough, on a pizza peel or upside down sheet pan (to help in transfer).  Sprinkle parchment paper lightly with cornmeal.  Fold dough in quarters and place on parchment paper, then unfold.  (Or if you are using ready made crust like me forget all that)
  4. Combine chicken with 2 T. of the balsamic-strawberry mixture and mix to coat all chicken with sauce.  Pour rest of sauce onto pizza dough and spread to cover, leaving 1 inch border on edges.  Scatter chicken evenly over the sauce.
  5. Place about 3/4 of the cheese on top of dough and spread to cover sauce evenly.  Scatter bacon and sweet onion over cheese.  Scatter remaining cheese over this layer.
  6. Slide parchment paper with pizza on top onto stone or cookie sheet.  Bake for approximately 8-10 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and crust is golden brown.  Watch carefully, at this temperature it is easy to burn the pizza. (I only had to bake mine the same amount of time at 400 with the pre-made crust)
  7. Remove from oven and let cool slightly, 1-2 minutes.  Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and fresh diced strawberries and serve!

Recipe from The Cafe

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Day 100 : Italian Chicken Salad


Woohoo!  I made it to day 100!  Thanks to everyone who continues to read my blog, and I hope you have walked away with many great new recipes, and will continue to check out my stuff!

This is a super simple salad to make, and most of the ingredients are pantry staples.  The person who came up with the recipe did so one night when she found herself with a package of salad about to expire.  I’ve made it a number of times and we always enjoy it.  The one thing I did different tonight, which made it even better, was to add a bit of goat cheese.

I usually season some chicken breasts with salt, pepper, and italian seasoning and grill them up for this.  I also use probably double the amount of kalamata olives because I really like them.  If you make this with the intention if it being a side to your main dish it would easily serve 4, but if you want to make a meal out of just the salad I would say it serves more like 2 or 3.  I usually make some crescent rolls with it or biscuits.  Once I even made some Mediterranean scones that went very well with it.

 

Italian Chicken Salad

Serves : 2-4             Time to make : 20 minutes

Ingredients :

  • 1 (8 oz) package butter lettuce (I use an italian salad blend)
  • 1 (6) oz package pre-cooked chicken breast, chopped (I use two breasts)
  • 1/2 cup parmesan, shredded
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, chopped
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder

Directions :

  1. To make dressing, whisk together oil and vinegar in a bowl until well combined.  Then whisk in the garlic powder, pepper, and onion powder.  Set aside.  Before serving you may need to whisk again if it has separated.
  2. Toss salad with chicken, olives and parmesan.  Add dressing and toss to coat.

Day 28 : Seared Salmon with Balsamic Glaze


I finally had a chance to get to the store!  At least one of them anyway, I have to go again tomorrow still lol.  But since I went today I figured it was a great day to have some fresh fish.  I learned the hard way after some very BAD salmon to never buy fish ahead of time in our house, and always to cook it up that very same day.  This is especially true for the fact that we live a ways from any truly FRESH fish here in Idaho.

This salmon was so easy to prepare and looked beautiful on the plate.  The sweetness of the glaze was a nice addition and was not overpowering at all.  This is a fairly simple flavored dish I felt, and if I make it again I might try to add something more to it just to see if I could achieve that “wow” factor.  Maybe some garlic, herbs, some orange juice perhaps, or even some asian inspired ingredients.  One thing I did have an issue with was the glaze not wanting to thicken up.  The recipe claimed it should after a couple of minutes, but even with some cornstarch added in (after reading reviews) I noticed it took a good 5 minutes to even start to thicken and then only after I finally gave up and let it sit for a bit.  Of course it did not subtract from the flavor that the glaze was runny, just the presentation.  One other thing about this recipe… it’s quick!  Perfect for a nice meal after a long day at work or like me, after a day of shopping.

 

Seared Salmon with Balsamic Glaze

Serves : 4                          Time to make : 15 minutes

Ingredients :

  • 4 salmon fillets
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 T. lemon juice
  • 1 T. + 1 tsp. brown sugar, packed
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions :

  1. Pat dry salmon fillets and season with salt and pepper to taste. (I like to use course salt for seasoning meats)
  2. Whisk together vinegar, water, lemon juice, and brown sugar in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. In a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat warm the oil, but not to the point of smoking.  With skin side up, place fillets in the heated oil and sear for about 4-6 minutes.  Flip and cook another 3 minutes or so until the salmon is done all the way through.  Remove to a plate and tent with foil to allow the juices to rest.
  4. In a small saucepan heat the balsamic mix over high heat and boil, stirring constantly, for about 3-5 minutes or until the glaze has reduced down and thickened.  (I added about 1/2 T. of cornstarch to mine at the start to help it thicken which you may want to do also)
  5. Spoon the glaze over the salmon and enjoy!

 

Published in: on January 29, 2011 at 8:22 pm  Leave a Comment  
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