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 116 : Chocolate Almond Mousse Dipped Strawberries


This is the result of needing to use up a few things I had in the fridge.  I had marscapone left over from a while ago and a whole pint of stawberries from Easter that hadn’t gotten eaten yet.  I immediately thought that some sort of dip would be good, and was thinking of going with a maple syrup type thing, but per Jeff’s request, decided on the chocolate instead.  I was surprised at how similar the taste and texture were to the chocolate mousse I make out of heavy whipping cream!  If it hadn’t been for Jeff too, I might have added a bit of coffee to really make this great, but it was pretty darn good as is too.  I used almond extract to give it a little something extra, but if you prefer vanilla, or maybe coconut, or even orange that is up to you.  I just used what I had left of the marscapone and so we ended up with more dip than we needed for the pint of strawberries, but we put the rest into a little sugar cone which was really good as well.

Chocolate Almond Mousse Dipped Strawberries

Serves : 3-4                        Time to make : 3 minutes

Ingredients :

  • 4 oz. marscapone
  • 2 large dollops of light cool whip, thawed
  • 3 T. chocolate syrup
  • 1/4 tsp. almond extract
  • 1 pint fresh strawberries, cleaned and hulled

Directions :

  1. Combine marscapone, cool whip, chocolate syrup, and almond in a bowl and stir until well combined.
  2. Serve with strawberries for dipping.

Published in: on April 27, 2011 at 8:36 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Day 99 : Heavenly Filled Strawberries


Though not one for strawberry flavoring, I do enjoy fresh strawberries, whether dipped in chocolate, on a shortcake, or even filled like we did tonight.  It’s such an easy method, and looks great on a plate for a party appetizer or dessert.  The recipe I followed actually called for cream cheese, but I used marscapone because I like it better.

I made it with the listed amounts, and ended up with quite a bit of left over filling.  I either didn’t stuff them as well as I could or the measurements were a bit generous.  Either way is fine because the filling will go great on plenty of other things but you might want to take note if you would rather not have so much left over to possibly decrease it a bit.

 

Heavenly Filled Strawberries

Serves : 4                    Time to make : 10 minutes

Ingredients :

  • 1 lb fresh strawberries, cleaned and hulled
  • 11 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. almond extract
  • chocolate for shaving

Directions :

  1. Prepare your strawberries by cutting a deep x into them starting at the tip, but be careful not to go too far so they stay together as one piece.
  2. In a mixing bowl beat together the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and almond extract until creamy.
  3. Carefully pipe or spoon into the strawberries.
  4. Top with shaved chocolate

 

Day 56 : Banana Stuffed French Toast


I apologize in advance for the very short post, but I am not sure how much longer I have before I am laid up in bed for the rest of the night.  I am afraid I am falling prey to whatever has plagued my house for the week finally.  I did however find the strength to make dinner tonight before the worst of it so here it is.

This is a great tasting dish and one that impresses!  Super simple to make, but full of flavor and freshness.  The best thing about it is that it runs between 7-10 weight watchers points (on the old system anyway) depending on the exact ingredients you use.  I recommend making this for someone special in your life very soon!

 

Banana Stuffed French Toast

Serves : 2                 Time to make : 15 minutes

Ingredients :

  • 1 medium banana, sliced fairly thin
  • 4 slices of cinnamon raisin bread
  • 2 T. fat free cream cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup low fat milk
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp. butter
  • 2 T. maple syrup
  • 6 fresh strawberries

Directions :

  1. Spread cream cheese over 2 of the 4 slices.
  2. Layer banana slices on top of cream cheese and top with the other two pieces of bread.
  3. With a fork, whisk the egg, milk, and vanilla in a shallow dish.
  4. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
  5. Dip assembled sandwiches in the egg mixture on both sides before placing in the heated skillet.
  6. Cook for 3 minutes or so per side until golden… keep an eye on it.
  7. Once plated pour 1 T. syrup over each sandwich and use 3 strawberries for each one.