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

Pumpkin Thai Chicken Pizza


Sounds odd right?  Well I thought so at least, but I am only just starting to come around to using pumpkin in anything other than dessert.  Still, I was intrigued, and put it on my menu as soon as I saw it.  I love Thai pizzas, so I figured why not?  If it turned out I would have an interesting post for my blog, and if not, at least it would be simple to make and I won’t have wasted too much of my time.

Turns out it not only doesn’t taste like pumpkin… something I was rather concerned about given the amount of pumpkin vs the amount of other ingredients… but it tastes great too!  My husband said that he felt it wasn’t too different from a more traditional peanut sauce which is a good thing because that’s definitely his favorite part of Thai pizza, but also the highest portion of fat/calories!  My only critic on this would be that I felt it had room for more flavor.  Perhaps some red peppers!

In regards to the ingredients… I had way more sauce than I needed for one pizza.  I could have probably gotten two out of the amount I had.  The only problem was I didn’t have enough chicken for two pizzas.  I also don’t feel like the amount of cheese listed is enough for a pizza…. I probably used 3 times that to be honest, and I encourage you to use however much you like.  With such a simple pizza I like there to be a nice layer of cheese.  I used a store-bought crust, it was a large square one, that bakes in 8 minutes according to the package, so I ended up basing my time off that, and then at the end I broiled it for just a minute to get some color on the top too.  My last change was to use chicken breast I seasoned with some salt and pepper and cooked in a skillet.

I would definitely make this again, and perhaps try it with the addition of the peppers I mentioned.  It came together easily, and was a nice change from the more traditional pizzas.

 

Pumpkin Thai Chicken Pizza

Ingredients :

  • pizza dough, prepared (I used a prepared crust)
  • 1 (15oz) can pure pumpkin
  • 1 T. chili garlic sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Thai red curry paste
  • 1 chicken breast from a rotisserie chicken, shredded (see note above)
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella (see note above, I used a lot more)
  • 2 thin slices of onion, chopped
  • handful fresh cilantro, chopped

Directions :

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.  In a large bowl mix together the pumpkin, chili garlic sauce, salt and pepper.
  2. In another smaller bowl mix together the cut chicken, curry paste and lime juice.  Mix together until the chicken is evenly coated with the red curry paste.
  3. Flour your surface and roll out the prepared pizza dough.  Sprinkle the pizza stone or cookie sheet with corn meal and place the dough on the sheet/stone.  Evenly spread the pumpkin mixture on the dough leaving about an inch bare for the crust.  Sprinkle the chicken on top of the pumpkin mixture and evenly place the onion slices on the chicken.
  4.  Finally sprinkle with cheese and bake for 16-18 minutes until cheese has melted and crust is a light golden brown.
  5. While it’s baking chop or tear the cilantro.  After you take the pizza out and it’s cooled sprinkle the cilantro over it and serve.  Enjoy!

Recipe from Seaweed & Sassafras

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Mini Pizza Stuffed Mushrooms


As often happens, plans fell through and I was stuck with an ingredient I needed to use up before it went bad.  In this case, it was a tray of baby portabellas.  I had been meaning to try some form of stuffed mushroom, and figured now was as good a time as any.  Problem was I didn’t exactly have many other typical ingredients found in stuffed mushrooms.  After searching for a while I decided to just wing it… something I like to do from time to time anyway.  These are what I came up with and I must say there were REALLY good!

I don’t know who was more leery, my husband or I, based off our last failed attempt as a mushroom type pizza.  At the time we bought large portabellas and used them as the “crust” for our pizzas.  Let’s just say I probably needed to cook those suckers a lot longer because it was exactly like biting into a very large semi cooked mushroom.  Blech!  I love mushrooms, but I am not a fan of raw mushrooms, and not in such large quantity.  With that in mind, I decided to make extra sure these were cooked by sauteing them a bit first (a tip I picked up from Pioneer Woman).  It was perfect.

You could of course use whatever pizza toppings you like, and the amounts I will list below are more of an estimate since I didn’t measure, but I suggest you just have fun with these and enjoy the almost guiltless treat!

 

Mini Pizza Stuffed Mushrooms

Makes : 6

Ingredients :

  • 6 baby portabella caps
  • 1/3 cup Mozzarella, shredded + 2 T.
  • 2 T. cheddar, shredded
  • 8-10 slices pepperoni
  • 2-3 slices ham lunch meat
  • 2 T. sliced olives
  • 2 T. sliced green onions
  • fresh basil, about 6 leaves
  • salt
  • pizza sauce, maybe 3-4 T.
  • Italian seasoning
  • 1 T. olive oil

Directions :

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil.  Spray sheet with a bit of non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Using a damp paper towel, wipe clean the mushroom caps carefully and remove stems and gills. 
  3. Heat oil in large skillet and saute mushrooms until browned and slightly tender; about 5-7 minutes.  Turn mushrooms a couple times to release the water building up and get both sides well browned.  Season with a bit of kosher salt about halfway through.  Remove mushrooms onto prepared sheet and blot out the centers with a paper towel.
  4. While mushrooms are sauteing mix pepperoni, ham, olives, green onions and the 2 T. of each type of cheese in a bowl.
  5. Spoon a little sauce into the bottom of each mushroom cap, and sprinkle a little Italian seasoning over each.
  6. Fill mushrooms equally with your pizza mixture, sprinkle on a bit of chopped basil, and top with the 1/3 cup mozzarella in a mound on top.
  7. Bake about 15 minutes or until cheese has melted and starts to brown.  Remove onto paper towels to soak up any extra moisture and serve.

Recipe from Me ☺

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Roasted Garlic Chicken & Herb White Pizza


There is nothing better than the smell of roasting garlic!  Well maybe coffee, but as far as savory goes garlic is where it’s at!  It’s so simple to do, and roasted garlic makes so many dishes better.  I like it slathered on bread with butter and toasted, in sauces, or even as whole cloves in/on a dish.  There is a pizza from The Rock Wood Fired Pizza & Spirits called Satisfaction that uses whole roasted garlic cloves on top and I just LOVE it!  If you haven’t tried that one, do so next time you are there.

Ok, now to tonight’s pizza.  It was good, but both my husband and I kind of felt like it was lacking in flavor.  I wanted to stay true to the recipe and give it a shot, but I think if I made it again I would go with my gut and throw some whole cloves on it as well.  I also think something like some olives, or maybe kalamata olives would go a long way to kick up the flavor a bit.  I also think I would throw a little Provolone or maybe Asiago on it as well to just give it more complexity of flavor.  It is a good starting point though for sure.

For the pizza dough you could certainly use store bought, either already prepared or in dough form.  If you have the time though (and you could even make this ahead of time, freeze it, and pull it out the morning you want to use it) I strongly suggest making your own, and more specifically Emeril’s recipe which I shared here for the Stromboli recipe.  Seriously great dough, and awesome to work with.

Roasted Garlic Chicken & Herb White Pizza

Ingredients :

  • 1 lb pizza dough
  • 8 cloves roasted garlic, minced (make ahead)
  • 2 T. butter
  • 2 T. flour
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chicken, shredded (I used rotisserie)
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 3/4 cups Mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 T. fresh parsley, chopped

Directions :

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet with a siplat liner, or grease and sprinkle with cornmeal.  (I use a pizza stone, and with the dough recipe I shared I have found no need for corn meal on the bottom).
  2. Melt butter in a small saucepan. Saute roasted garlic for 1 minute.
  3. Add flour, and mix until well blended. Cook for 1 minute.
  4. Slowly whisk in the milk and half and half. Mix in the pepper.
  5. Cook for about 3 minutes, or until it starts to thicken. Remove from heat, and stir in Parmesan cheese.
  6. Spread dough into roughly a 12 inch circle on prepared baking sheet. Spread white cause over the dough. Top with chicken, red onions and cheese.
  7. Bake for 17 minutes, or until the crust is golden, and the cheese is melted.
  8. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with herbs. Cut and serve immediately.

Recipe from Dinners Dishes & Desserts

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Stromboli


Emeril Lagasse really knows what he’s doing!  This all comes from him, from the homemade dough to the finished product, and though it’s labor intensive it is SO worth it.  Not only is it beautiful to look at, and would certainly wow anybody you served this to, but it tastes amazing with all the peppers, onion, meats, olives and cheese!  Plus the dough is seriously awesome, and is a dream to work with.

If, like me, you have always been afraid to make your own pizza crust I strongly suggest you just take the plunge and try this recipe.  It was very simple to make, and as I mentioned it was absolutely amazing to work with when forming the stromboli and pizza.  I actually made two batches of the dough because I had first thought that I might have gotten it a bit dry as I was having to add flour to my surface during the kneading process.  So for the second time I reserved a little (about 1/4 cup) of the initial 3 cups and used that during the kneading instead.  They both turned out fantastic though, and I used half of the first batch on a pizza for my son and froze the rest.  It is nice and airy/soft, but gets a good crunch on the ends where it brown.  Seriously probably the best homemade pizza I have ever had as far as crust is concerned.  I usually use frozen store bought dough, or Pilsbury dough, or even a pre-made crust.  The frozen stuff usually results in a good enough crust, but not only do you have to remember to thaw it out first, but ones I have tried have been a bear to roll out and take forever to actually get to the point where they won’t just shrink back up on me.  This dough took 2 minutes tops each time.

You could certainly adjust the fillings to your tastes, but the combination Emeril creates for this recipe is perfect.  I used pepperoni because the salami I had was looking a bit turned, but I my original plan was to use half and half between the two.  As I mentioned before I don’t particularly like sausage, but again it was crumbled up small enough with the fat rendered out that it didn’t bother me… except for the fennel in the particular sausage I bought lol.  I especially liked the combination of mozzarella and provolone, as well as the crispy Italian cheese blend on the top.  It called for finely grated parmesan and had I read that far ahead I would have gotten a block and done it myself, but when I read grated I assumed they meant the powdery type as I equate shredded with the other.  I definitely don’t think that would have worked though so I used some of the 4 cheese Italian shred I had on hand.  I also put a bit of course salt and fresh ground pepper on the top of the stromboli after brushing on the egg wash which really makes a nice crust.  And one last tip… when rolling it up just go slowly press down on your fillings a bit to keep them flat so you have less chance of breaking your dough.  Also try not to roll it out too thin to begin with and stick with the measurements he suggests.  Oh and I guess one more little tip I found really helped… I lined my baking sheets with foil first and then sprayed that and it really made clean-up a breeze since some of the grease escapes out the bottom.

 

Stromboli

Makes : 2 stromboli               Time to make :  3.5  hours total

Ingredients:

Dough:

  • 1 C. warm water (110 degrees, important)
  • 1 (1/4 oz) envelope dry active yeast
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 T. + 1 1/2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 C. all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp.  salt

Stromboli:

  • pizza dough as directed
  • 1/2 lb. Italian sausage, crumbled and casings removed
  • 1/2 C. thinly sliced red bell pepper
  • 1/2  C. thinly sliced green bell pepper
  • 2 T. thinly sliced jalapeno, seeded
  • 1 C. yellow onion sliced
  • 2 T. minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 lb. sliced ham
  • 1/4 lb. sliced pepperoni or salami
  • 1/2 C. sliced black olives
  • 2 C. grated provolone
  • 2 C. grated mozzarella
  • 1 Lg. egg, beaten with 1 T. water to make an egg wash
  • 1 C. finely grated Parmesan
  • course salt and fresh ground pepper  (my addition)

Directions:

Dough:

  1. In a large bowl combine warm water (110 degrees), yeast, sugar, and 1 T. oil by stirring together.  Then let sit without touching it for about 5 minutes until it is foamy.
  2. Add 1 1/2 cups of the flour and the salt, mixing by hand until it is all incorporated and the mixture is smooth.  Continue adding flour 1/4 cup at a time, working the dough after each addition until all the flour is incorporated but the dough is still slightly sticky. (I reserved about 1/4 cup for the kneading the second time and that worked better) Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured flat surface and knead until smooth but still slightly tacky, 3 to 5 minutes.  (If you have never kneaded dough before I suggest a quick youtube search for technique)
  3. Place remaining 1 1/2 tsp. oil into a large bowl and roll the ball of dough around in it until covered on all sides.  Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and place in a warm dry place with no drafts (I placed mine in the oven with the light on) and allow to rise until it doubles in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

Stromboli:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.   Grease a large baking sheet and coat with non-cooking spray. (I used two medium baking dishes that would fit side by side in my oven and lined with foil before spraying each.
  2. In a large skillet, cook the sausage over medium-high heat until browned and fat is rendered, about 5 minutes.  Remove with a slotted spoon onto paper towels to drain the grease off.  The recipe says next to remove about a Tablespoon of grease from the pan, but I didn’t have any from my sausage so I actually added a little bit of olive oil before the next part.  Throw in your onions, peppers, and jalapenos and cook stirring often until very soft.  Add in garlic and Italian seasoning and cook about 1 minute more stirring.  Remove from heat and allow to cool (add the sausage back in as well).
  3. Punch down the dough and divide in half.  On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough into a large rectangle, about 10×14 inches.  Spread half the cooled sausage mixture onto each rectangle leaving a 1-inch border all the way around.  Overlapping slightly, layer half of your ham next onto each stromboli, then your pepperoni or salami, olives and cheeses.  Using a pastry brush, pain the border of 1 long edge with some of your egg wash.  Starting on the opposite long side roll up your dough into a cylinder, pinching together the edges to seal.  You can sort of pinch and tuck the ends under.  Place on prepared baking sheet/s and allow to sit and rise for 20-30 minutes.
  4. Brush on your egg wash to the tops of each Stromboli and if you choose so, sprinkle a bit of course salt and fresh black pepper on top now.  Bake until nearly completely golden brown all over, about 20 minutes.  Sprinkle each stromboli with parmesan cheese and return to the oven for about another 5 minutes until cheese has melted and starts to brown. 
  5. Let stand 10 minutes out of the oven before slicing thickly and serving.

I couldn’t quite decide on one picture so I am going to share a few, including a quick snap from before I put the egg wash on of the assembled Stromboli.

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Cauliflower Crust Thai Chicken Pizza


Don’t let the title of this one scare you off… this is an AMAZING pizza.  Not only can you not tell the crust is made from cauliflower, but it’s actually really good.  It might not hold up quite like a regular dough crust, but if I remember correctly (I made this quite some time ago, and just haven’t had time to blog about it) I was able to slice and hold it with some care.  It takes a bit of time, and it might get a little bit messy making this pizza, but it’s definitely worth the effort, and your waistline will thank you too.

Notes: Cauliflower crust doesn’t hold up well for reheating since it’s pretty moist, so plan to eat it all the first night… which is no problem lol.  It won’t smell super appetizing while you heat the cauliflower, but I promise it will taste better than it smells.  When grating the cauliflower use the large holes of a box grater.

 

Cauliflower Crust Thai Chicken Pizza

makes : 1 pizza

Ingredients :

Crust :

  • 2 cups firmly packed shredded cauliflower (about half to 2/3 of a large head)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup finely shredded mozzarella
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 T. (or more) Sriracha
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. olive oil

Toppings :

  • 1 (7oz) jar peanut sauce (found in most Asian sections of the grocery store)
  • 2 T. peanut butter
  • 1 cup cooked, shredded chicken (I believe I used rotisserie)
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded mozzarella
  • 4 green onions, green parts only, chopped
  • 2 T. chopped fresh cilantro

Directions :

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. and spray a large baking sheet or pizza pan (I used a pizza pan with holes covering the bottom for ventilation) with nonstick cooking spray.  Place shredded cauliflower in a large microwave-safe bowl.  Microwave for 8 minutes.  Let cool.
  2. Add egg, mozzarella, garlic, sriracha, and salt to the cauliflower, stirring to combine.  Pat the mixture into a 12-inch round on prepared pan.  Brush with the olive oil.
  3. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until golden.  Remove crust from oven and adjust oven setting to broil.
  4. In a measuring cup or small bowl stir the peanut sauce with the peanut butter until combined.  Spread sauce over pizza crust.  Arrange chicken over next, then sprinkle with cheese, green onions, and cilantro.
  5. Broil for 3-4 minutes, watching carefully, until cheese is melted and begins to brown.  Cut into slices and serve immediately.

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Chicken Gyros, & Greek Inspired Pizza with Tzatziki!


I know it’s been a while since I have posted anything to this blog and I regret that, but the important thing is that I am here now posting up a fantastic recipe for all my followers to enjoy! 🙂

Quick rundown of life since I last posted.. been pretty busy with the holidays, recently going back on a diet, and we are in the process of selling our home in Idaho, and purchasing another here in Oregon.  As you can imagine life is hectic, and cooking is not always a top priority these days….. or at least it hasn’t been.  Like I said, I have recently gotten back on a diet (tracking calories) and so I am being forced to take a closer look at my food again and eat at home more often. For the most part I am repeating recipes I have made in the past and know to be lower in calorie, but as I come across others I will try to find the time to post them here again.

The recipe I am going to share with you today is definitely a winner, and by no means does it seem like “diet food”.  It rivals any traditional gyro I have ever had, and by using the chicken and controlling the ingredients by making it at home you are eating much fewer calories.  The process looks a little involved, but it’s more work to type it out than it actually is to make them I promise.  So whether you are dieting like me, or just love gyros I highly recommend making these tasty little treats in the near future!

*sorry if the pics are a bit dark…. I have a new computer and still figuring things out.  Calibration is something I haven’t really gotten to yet, and besides that I haven’t really found the sweet light in the apartment yet anyway 🙂

Chicken Gyros

For serving:
4 pita flatbread (I use Smart & Delicious traditional flatbreads)
diced tomatoes (about 8-10 cherry tomatoes)
diced red onion (about 1/3 cup)
parsley (about 1/4 cup, chopped)
feta (I used about 4 T. of the President Mediterranean Herb Blend)

For Chicken:
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
juice and rind of one lemon
2 tsp. red wine vinegar
2 T. olive oil
2 heaping T. nonfat greek yogurt (Fage O%, strained variety works best)
1 T. dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1 lb chicken breasts, boneless/skinless

Tzatziki:
2 C. nonfat greek yogurt (again the Fage 0% strained)
1 large cucumber, peeled with seeds removed and diced very fine
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. white wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste (I like to use sea salt and white pepper)
lemon juice to taste (I use about a T. or so)

1. To make chicken combine the ingredients (other than chicken) in a bowl and whisk together.  Place chicken in marinade and toss to coat making sure it is fully submerged.  Cover and allow to sit in the fridge for at least 4 hours or up to 6.

2. To make tzatziki start by dicing your cucumber.  You want to make sure it is very fine since there will not be any processing as in some other tzatziki recipes.  Once you have it all cut up place it in the middle of a stack of paper towels and making a sort of pouch with the towels squeeze as much of  the excess water from the cucumber that you can.  You can repeat this step if you like.  Combine the cucumber with the remaining sauce ingredients and store in an airtight container in the fridge, allowing to sit for at least 2 hours before serving.  The longer it sits the more the flavors will marry as well.

3.  To cook the chicken preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place chicken on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake 20-30 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked through and juices run clear.  If you are working with thick breasts it can be helpful to pound them out a little before you marinate for faster cooking.  Once done allow to rest for a few minutes before slicing on the diagonal into strips.

 4. Assemble gyros by first warming flatbread in the microwave between some damp paper towels for about 20 seconds.  Place the warmed flatbread in the center of a square of foil on the counter.  Then place 2 T. of the tzatziki, a quarter of the meat, tomatoes, onions, parsley and feta.  Then fold the side over the other just enough for them to overlap in the middle.  Roll up in the foil bringing one end up to the center like you would for a burrito, and then tear the foil partway down all the way around the gyro to expose a bit of it.  This helps hold it together while eating and you just tear away the foil as you go.

As an added treat, I am also going to include my own little recipe for a mini pizza I have been enjoying almost daily.  I had extra from making the gyros and needed a lite lunch and this was the result…. the flavor in this little pizza is AMAZING and could easily be made into a full size pizza as well for everyone to enjoy.

Greek Inspired Mini Pizza with Tzatziki

1 flatbread (I use the same from above)
1 tsp. garlic flavored olive oil
course sea salt, just a pinch
dried oregano to taste
garlic powder to taste
Greek or Italian seasoning to taste
4-5 cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 T. Mediterranean Herb Feta
3 T. prepared Tzatziki sauce

1. Preheat oven to 375.
2. Place flatbread on a small baking sheet and drizzle oil over one side. 
3. Season with the salt, oregano, garlic powder and Greek or Italian seasoning blend to taste.  I usually just take each and lightly tap over the entire thing until it’s covered.
4. Slice tomatoes very thin and arrange on top of your flatbread in single layer leaving a little space between slices.
5. Sprinkle the feta over top.
6. Bake for 15 minutes, and cut into 8 slices.
7. Top with tzatziki by dropping a bit onto each slice

Thanks for checking in and I hope you will stick around for whatever I have to share next!

Day 136 : BBQ Chicken Pizza


Just another pizza night at the Welcome’s!

We’ve really been enjoying the gourmet pizzas of late, so I figured I’d throw in another one this week.  I don’t always like BBQ sauce, but I did really enjoy this pizza.  When I was making it I worried that maybe it would be too blah since there were few ingredients and so many additions were coming to mind, but I refrained from adding any of them and decided to give it a try as intended.  I actually think it was perfect just the way it was, and Jeff seemed to think so too since he quickly claimed it was a 5 star recipe.

BBQ Chicken Pizza

Serves : 2-4              Time to make : 25 minutes

Ingredients :

  • 1 (12 inch) prepared pizza crust (I used a pilsbury one and just baked it for about 8 minutes first)
  • 1/2 cup bbq sauce
  • 1/2 cup diced grilled chicken (I used shredded rotisserie chicken)
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1 cup monteray jack cheese, shredded

Directions :

  1. Heat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Spread bbq sauce on pre-cooked pizza crust, then the chicken, peppers, and onions, and top with the cheese.
  3. Bake 8-10 minutes until cheese is melted.

Published in: on May 17, 2011 at 9:11 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Day 131 : Mexican Chicken Pizza with Cornmeal Crust


Today was just one of those days that I did not feel like cooking… at all!  Let alone to first make the chicken, and THEN the pizza, but I am so glad I mustered up the energy to get in there and just do it!  This is a great pizza, and goes right up there with my favorite pizzas.  I now have one for most cuisine types!

The recipe I followed had steps to make your own crust, but even before today I knew I would be lazy and decided to just grab a pilsbury crust because I like how they turn out.  It called for mexican blend cheese, and most stores have a couple options.  I went with the pepperjack one this time and it was great for this.  As for the cooked chicken…. I decided to extend the mexican theme and added chipotle seasoning, cumin, paprika, salt and pepper to mine in generous portions before grilling it and then shredding it.  It had just the right amount of heat/flavor to really compliment the rest of the pizza ingredients.  The last change I made was to add a little bit of orange bell pepper in addition to the yellow because I had one that needed used and because I wanted to add more color.  I might even have added red if I had any on hand.

When doing the crust, if you want to cheat like me this is what I did….  I used the pilsbury classic crust.  First I smoosh it into a ball because I wanted a round shape (not rectangular as it comes) and then fairly generously flour a flat space to roll it out on.  You may also want to flour the rolling pin.  It takes a bit of time, and I get frustrated every time it tries to spring back, but keep at it and eventually it starts to stay rolled out.  Once you get that done sprinkle the cornmeal on yoru pizza pan (I use a pizza stone) and then lay the crust on top.  I even sometimes roll it out a tad more once I get it on there to really embed the cornmeal and because it tends to spring back a bit once on there.  Then just do as the recipe says and bake it for the initial 8-10 minutes before adding your toppings.

Mexican Chicken Pizza with Cornmeal Crust

Serves : 2-4                  Time to make : 30 minutes

Ingredients :

  • 1 1/2 cups Gold Medal all purpose flour
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp. regular active dry yeast
  • 1/4 tsp. coarse salt
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  •  1 T. olive oil
  • 1/3 cup yellow cornmeal

(Or 1 tube of store bought pizza dough, or even a premade dough with directions as listed above)

  • additional cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) fire roasted diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1/2 medium yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Directions :

  1. Heat oven to 450 degrees. In medium bowl, mix 3/4 cup of the flour, the sugar, yeast and salt.  Stir in warm water and oil.  Beat with electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds.  Beat on high speed 1 minute.  Stir in the 1/3 cup cornmeal and remaining 3/4 cup flour to make a soft dough.
  2. On lightly floured surface, knead dough until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.  Cover; let rest 10 minutes.
  3. Spray large cookie sheet with cooking spray; sprinkle with additional cornmeal. On cookie sheet, press dough into the 14×10 inch rectangle; prick with fork.  Bake 8-10 minutes or until edges just begin to turn brown.
  4. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of the cheese blend.  Top with chicken, tomatoes, and bell pepper.  Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese.  Bake 6-8 minutes longer or until cheese is melted and edges are golden brown.  Sprinkle with onions and cilantro.

Day 110 : Pita Pizza


We’ve been trying to eat a little healthier, or at least to balance out our calories for the day better lately.  Since we had take-out subs for lunch we decided some personal pita pizzas and salad would be just fine for dinner.  I came across these while browsing “healthy” recipes and thought they were such a great idea.  The recipe called for wheat pitas, but the store was out so I ended up getting white.  We also added the pepperoni and olives, but I figure even with that it was still fairly low calorie and properly portioned, which is the key!

For the marinara I picked out some tomato, basil, and garlic pasta sauce.  And like I said, I added some mini pepperoni to them as well.  You could of course take the idea and make any variety of pizza you typically eat.  The pita makes a very nice crust…. like a hand-tossed crust.

Pita Pizza

Serves : 1                     Time to make : 15 minutes

Ingredients :

  • 1 (6 inch) whole wheat pita
  • 1/4 cup marinara
  • 1/4 cup sliced white mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup sliced white onion
  • 1/4 cup low fat mozzarella cheese, shredded

Directions :

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spread marinara on pita, top with mushrooms, onions, and cheese and bake until cheese is melted and pizza is heated through.

Published in: on April 21, 2011 at 6:48 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Day 92 : Mini Deep Dish Pizzas


After a busy day running errands, and then making guacamole out of some stuff I needed to use up in the fridge I went ahead to make these.  While I think they typically would be fairly easy to make, tonight I was just SO not into it lol.  I had a mini breakdown in the middle of them and almost scrapped them all together since they weren’t cooperating with my rushed pace (because I just wanted to be done).  I ended up just throwing them together, not caring much if they looked well done or not, and figuring I would be finding an alternative after they came out of the oven…. but despite my lack of effort they still came out great and though they were thrown together the taste was fantastic for such a simple idea.  Next time, with a bit more patience and attention to what I put into each one I think they could be really great.

I used italian 5 blend cheese, pilsbury pizza dough, and 2 smaller tomatoes.  And then for my toppings I used mini pepperonis, canadian bacon, mushroom, and onion.  I had grand plans to do some with olives, some with roasted red peppers, maybe a pineapple one, but like I said I was rushing and didn’t want to make the extra effort.  I bet they would all work wonderfully though.  And next time I would even add a bit of oregano and basil to the tomatoes perhaps to give it more of the pizza sauce taste.  This would be a great way to serve pizza for a family who all likes different toppings on their pizzas…. or a fun thing for the kids to help with!

 

Mini Deep Dish Pizzas

Serves : 6 mini pizzas                Time to make : 30 minutes

Ingredients :

  • 1 pizza dough
  • 1 large tomato, roughly chopped
  • 1/2-2/3 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • olive oil cooking spray
  • toppings of choice

Directions :

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees and spray 6 muffin cups with the cooking spray.
  2. Divide your dough into 6 pieces and roll out into about 6 inch rounds.  Press into the prepared muffin pan allowing dough to come up the sides and form a cup.
  3. Place tomatoes and a bit of cheese in the bottom of each, then your toppings and then more cheese and tomatoes.
  4. Bake 12 minutes, or until golden brown.

Day 88 : Lobster Pizza


Or in this case… Crab Pizza.  If you have ever been to Red Lobster and gone crazy over their Lobster Pizza appetizer this recipe is for you!  It’s a fairly good imitation of Red Lobster’s version and surprisingly simple to make!  I used imitation crab meat because it’s just easier, and of course cheaper.

An added bonus about this recipe is that it is fairly low fat/calorie if altered just a bit.  The first time I made this I used a wheat tortilla, reduced fat cheeses, and a reduced fat butter.  At the time I was on weight watchers, and Jeff and I each ate half a pizza for only a few points.  Today I went full fat, and ate the whole thing lol.  Using the tortilla shells as the crust makes it the perfect size for one person to have as a meal, or a light appetizer for 2-4.

I cooked mine on a pizza stone that I pre-heated while the oven heated.  I find that this works best to get the crisp crust without over-cooking the rest of the pizza, since over-cooked fish is not very appetizing.  Definitely don’t skip the salt and pepper on the bottom because that really makes it great, and the same with the fresh lemon squeezed on top at the end.

Lobster Pizza

Serves : 1-4           Time to make : 15 minutes

Ingredients :

  • 1 (10-inch) flour tortilla
  • 1 oz. Land O’ Lakes Roasted Garlic Butter Spread
  • 2 T. grated fresh parmesan cheese
  • 4 oz. roma tomatoes, diced (I used one large roma tomato)
  • 2 T. fresh basil, julienne style
  • 2 oz. lobster meat, diced
  • 1/2 cup cheese, italian blend shredded
  • lemon juice
  • course salt and pepper
  • cooking spray or oil

Directions :

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  I suggest also preheating your intended baking sheet/stone.
  2. Spread butter onto the tortilla, making sure to completely cover every inch.
  3. Sprinkle parmesan on next, and then the tomatoes, basil, and lobster.
  4. Top with the shredded cheese.
  5. Spray your baking sheet/stone with cooking spray or brush with a bit of oil.  Then sprinkle course salt and fresh ground pepper onto the sheet/stone.
  6. Place your assembled pizza on top of the salt and pepper and bake for 5 minutes or until crust is browned and crisp.
  7. Squeeze a bit of fresh lemon juice on top of the finished pizza to really make the flavors pop, and cut into slices.

Day 63 : Raspberry Almond Pizza


Busy day today finally getting caught up on things around the house and going grocery shopping.  For a family that shops once a week going two weeks is crazy and I am so glad to have a full stocked fridge and cupboards again.  Lots of good stuff for recipes to come!

Tonight’s recipe was found on Key Ingredient and OMG is it good!  Definitely use the marscapone if you can find it because it has such a yummy creaminess to it that cream cheese just could never duplicate.  The recipe image that went along with this looked so much prettier than mine turned out with the marscapone spread out in it’s own layer while mine more melted into the jam, but I am quite sure no taste was sacrificed lol.  It didn’t look bad, just not as good as I was aiming for based on the recipe image.  It really is good as is, but if you are feeling adventurous I think the only thing that could make this even better is some nice dark chocolate shaved over the top!

I forgot to put the confectioner’s sugar on top before taking the pics, but did add it afterward.  It is necessary to sweeten the fresh raspberries just a bit.  There wasn’t very exact measurements for a lot of the ingredients to the original recipe, but it’s fine to just eyeball it.  I used a pillsbury crust for this and it worked perfectly.

Raspberry Almond Pizza

Serves : 4                   Time to make : 20 minutes

Ingredients :

  • 1 pound pizza dough
  • melted butter
  • sugar
  • 1/4 cup raspberry jam
  • 1/3 cup marscapone or cream cheese
  • confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • raspberries
  • toasted almonds

Directions :

  1. Preheat a baking sheet in a 450 degree oven.  Roll out 1 pound pizza dough into a 12-inch round.
  2. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar.
  3. Bake on the hot baking sheet until golden, about 8 minutes.
  4. Brush with the 1/4 cup raspberry jam, then bake 2 more minutes.
  5. Cool slightly.  Beat 1/3 cup marscapone or cream cheese with 3 T. confectioner’s sugar and 1/2 tsp. vanilla.
  6. Spread over the pizza and top with raspberries, toasted almonds, and confectioner’s sugar.

 

Published in: on March 5, 2011 at 8:53 pm  Comments (1)  
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Day 26 : Thai Chicken Pizza


As it was nearing 6:00, and the kids and I were starting to get quite hungry I had to ask myself if it was really worth it to send Jeff to two different stores after work to get the ingredients I needed for tonight’s recipe.  The answer….. YES!

I have always been intrigued by the idea of using peanuts/peanut butter alongside meat in a dish.  I have never particularly liked peanuts, but on occasion do enjoy peanut butter.  With that in mind I was fairly certain I wouldn’t enjoy the classic peanut chicken dishes you can get at most Chinese restaurants, but while browsing recipes I’d always come across these interesting recipes that I vowed one day to try.  Again today, I was browsing recipes and saw a great picture of this pizza and almost clicked away after reading the ingredients list, but then I decided…. why not?!  I cannot believe I have been missing out all this time!  This pizza is probably now my favorite gourmet pizza, and I have tried my share of “different” pizzas.

The flavor is just so complex and is literally a smorgasbord for your palate.  It truly is a gourmet pizza, but at the same time I think even the pickiest eater would enjoy this one.  I felt it was deceptively light and fresh in flavor considering most peanut butter dishes I am used to are quite creamy and heavy in flavor.  At the same time I felt it almost had a sort of dessert quality to it.  If you are wanting to try something a little out of your comfort zone I highly recommend this one!

Thai Chicken Pizza

Serves : 4                        Time to make : 25 minutes

Ingredients :

  • Boboli original pizza crust (large)
  • 8 oz chicken, diced
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/4 C. creamy peanut butter
  • 3 T. water
  • 2 tsp. soy sauce
  • 2 tsp. rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp. fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2-1 T. fresh basil (thai basil if you can find it), sliced thin
  • 1 medium sweet red pepper, diced
  • 4 whole scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2/3-1 C. mozzarella, shredded

Directions :

  1. Warm olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and cook chicken until done.  Set aside in a bowl with the red peppers, and scallions.
  2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  3. In a small bowl whisk together peanut butter, water, soy sauce, rice vinegar, ginger, and garlic.
  4. Mix 1 T. of the peanut sauce into the chicken, peppers, and onions, then spread the rest evenly onto your crust.
  5. Next spread the chicken mixture.
  6. Sprinkle the basil evenly over the pizza, then top with the cheese.
  7. Bake for 8-10 minutes.

Published in: on January 27, 2011 at 10:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Day 7 : Welcome Hut a.k.a Family Pizza Night


My son LOVES Pizza Hut stuffed crust pizza, and we end up ordering it often.  If you ever met our son, you’d know he is an extremely picky eater.   Attempts to get him to eat other pizzas most often fail, but we figured we’d give it a try tonight by luring him in with the idea of making it at home together.  I honestly didn’t have high hopes that he’d try it, let alone eat it, but I figured it would be fun to do together and Jeff and I enjoy homemade pizza anyway.

So we went to the store, got all the ingredients, and had a great time making it together.  We even got string cheese to cut up and use as “stuffed crust” for our pizza.  Unfortunately, as it sometimes does, the stuffed crust portion came undone in the oven and didn’t work as well as I’d hoped.  I guess I needed to tuck it in just a bit more in spots.  The taste was still good, but my son is all about appearances when it comes to food.  To his credit he DID try a few bites (a HUGE deal for him) before deciding he was done.  Jeff and I enjoyed it well enough though.

Nothing fancy for the pictures today…. just a quick couple of snaps.  The first is just before it went in the oven, and the second was my son taking the first bite!

 

Family Pizza Night

Serves : 1 family            Time to make : 40 minutes

Ingredients :

  • pizza crust (we most often use the refrigerated pilsbury variety)
  • pizza sauce (homemade or jar variety)
  • cheese, and LOTS of it!  (we use a blend of cheeses on ours)
  • pepperoni, ham, sausage (your preference)
  • olives, mushrooms, onions, peppers, etc. (again it’s up to you)
  • string cheese (we used about 4-5 I think to go all the way around)
  • corn meal

Directions :

  1. Preheat oven to whatever your crust specifies.
  2. Roll out your crust.  If you are making stuffed crust be sure to make it bigger than you would otherwise.  We actually used 2 things of pizza dough for ours, but I think one and a half would be perfect.
  3. Spread a bit of corn meal on the surface of your stone, pan, or sheet and spread your dough out on there.  If you are doing stuffed crust cut the string cheeses in half length-wise and tuck under the edges of the dough all the way around your pizza.
  4. pile on as much or as little of your toppings as you like!  I usually go in the order of sauce, toppings, cheese… but sometimes I like my toppings on the top of the cheese too.
  5. Bake as stated on the instructions to the crust you are using.
  6. ENJOY!

 

Now I’m off to go have a Family Game Night with my wonderful family.

Published in: on January 8, 2011 at 7:48 pm  Leave a Comment  
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