Monthly Archives: January 2011

Smoky Barbecue Chicken Pizza

Katie:  This post could also be titled “How we ended up eating dinner at 9pm” or “What to do with leftover whiskey”, but I think I’ll stick with “Smoky Barbecue Chicken Pizza”.

I felt like making pizza this weekend and wanted to try something new.  The recipes I found varied from those using pre-baked crusts and bottled sauces to recipes with instructions for homemade cheese. While I didn’t adventure into cheese making this weekend, I did decide to make my own pizza dough and sauce.  When I spotted this recipe for Smoky Barbecue Chicken Pizza, I couldn’t wait to try it.  Flori couldn’t wait either, so although I had planned to make it a day later, after finding the ingredients I decided to make it that evening.  A few hours later, my pizza was done.  Although this was a time-intensive project (especially the sauce), the results were worth it.  The sauce was very flavorful due to the long simmering time and had just the right amount of spiciness.  The chicken was juicy and soaked up the barbecue flavor.  Although the original recipe didn’t include mushrooms, I think they were the perfect addition.  The only addition that might improve this pizza would be caramelized onions, but after a few mediocre attempts in the past, I’ll leave them to the experts (aka Mom).  Since I made a few changes to the original recipe, I’ll post my version here:

Smoky Barbecue Chicken Pizza (adapted from Food People Want)

  • Flatbread dough, doubled recipe (for 8 servings; reduce other pizza ingredients accordingly for fewer servings; I used 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour and 3/4 cups whole wheat flour)
  • Smoky Barbecue Sauce (I only made a few minor substitutions for ingredients I couldn’t find)
  • 350g boneless, skinless chicken breast (3/4 pound or about 1 ½ cups shredded chicken)
  • 1 small red onion, sliced
  • 120g (4 oz.) brown mushrooms, sliced
  • olive oil
  • shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese (1 – 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped (optional)

The barbecue sauce takes awhile to prepare, but it can be made in advance. The chicken can also be prepared ahead of time.

  1. Prepare the barbecue sauce according to the directions.  This can be made in advance or should be started a few hours before your planned serving time.
  2. Prepare the flatbread dough.
  3. While the dough is rising, cook the chicken.  Place chicken and 1 ½ cups water in a nonstick pan.  Bring to a boil.  Lower the heat, cover, and cook 10-12 minutes, or until chicken is thoroughly cooked.  Drain well.  Once cool, shred the chicken with your hands into smaller (about 1-inch) pieces.  Set aside.
  4. Preheat the oven to 500° F.
  5. Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a pan on medium heat.  Add sliced mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until mushrooms become slightly softened.  Remove and set aside.
  6. Add another teaspoon of olive oil to the pan and cook the sliced red onion until slightly softened but not browned or carmelized, about 5-7 mintues.  Set aside.
  7. Combine shredded chicken and 1 cup of barbecue sauce.  If the sauce or chicken are cool, warm in a saucepan on low heat.
  8. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and dust with cornmeal.  Roll out prepared dough.
  9. Spoon a thin layer of the extra barbecue sauce onto the dough and carefully spread it to the edge of its borders.  Top with a thin, even layer of mozzarella cheese followed by pieces of the warmed chicken, red onion, and mushrooms.  Top with a bit more cheese.
  10. Bake until the crust is crisped and golden and the cheese is bubbling (8-15 minutes; watch closely).  Remove from the oven, sprinkle with freshly chopped cilantro leaves, and serve immediately.

Makes 8 servings

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Maple Pecan Squares

Matthew:  I’m heading out to Patty and Ken’s house this weekend and I wanted to bring along a treat.  I was browsing through my Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Baking book and almost made peanut butter and jelly bars, but I decided to try something new instead.  These maple pecan squares were fairly easy to make and didn’t make as much of a mess as I had anticipated.  You just bake the crust a little and then add the filling and bake some more.  Mine turned out a little gooey in the middle, but that doesn’t make them any less delicious!  I think everyone will enjoy these.

Mushroom Tofu Lasagna

Matthew:  I had never made lasagna before, so I wanted to try.  None of the recipes I looked at really caught my eye, so I thought I would make up my own recipe.  I just used regular lasagna noodles and filled it with mushrooms sauteed in butter, crumbled tofu, marinara sauce (from my previous post) combined with a can of tomato sauce, and some mozzarella cheese.  It was good, but next time I would add some seasoning to the tofu, such as herbs de provence and some salt.  I would also intersperse the cheese throughout the lasagna instead of just putting it on top.  I’d say it was a good first attempt.

Moroccan Roasted Carrot and Chickpeas with Quinoa

Flori: Since it was my turn to cook last week, I decided to try something new. Katie had sent me this recipe for Moroccan Roasted Carrot and Chickpeas with Quinoa. The recipe was easy to make and the food turned out really well.  You even had to make your own Moroccan Spice Blend which was challenging but turned out well. The food was a bit on the spicy side (too spicy for the Katienator) but I really enjoyed it. We had this meal on its own but it would also go well as a side dish for chicken or other meat.

Parsnip Muffins

Katie:  I like baking and freezing muffins to have available for a quick, sweet snack.  Muffins are also easy to experiment with, so each time I bake them, I like to try out a different recipe.  While considering what to make this time, the parsnips in my refrigerator caught my attention.  I decided if zucchinis and carrots work in muffins, then maybe parsnips would too.  I actually wasn’t the first one to come up with this idea.  I discovered this recipe on the Eating Well website.   I followed it as written, except for using brown sugar instead of white, chunky applesauce instead of apple butter, soaking the raisins in hot water to make them moister, and skipping the nuts.  I was a little skeptical about using a whole tablespoon of cinnamon and vanilla extract, but the amounts were just right.  The chunky applesauce helped make these really moist, without being too chewy.  They are similar to carrot muffins, but have a distinct flavor from the parsnips.  If you’re not a fan of parsnips, you probably wouldn’t like them.  But if you’re looking to try something different or have some parsnips to use up, you might want to give these a try!

Panzanella Salad and Pork Tenderloins

JillPickle:  After watching Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa show, I became inspired to try some of her dishes.  I’ve never eaten panzanella salad before and it looked so bright and colorful!  The pork looked so good too.  Both dishes looked pretty easy to make.  Adaptations that I made to the panzanella salad were: sustituted sarvecchio cheese (like parmesan) for the feta and I did not add all of the onion.  I also added fresh basil!  In addition, I did not immediately mix the salad dressing, vegetables and bread cubes together since we were not going to eat the whole salad at one meal and I did not want soggy leftovers.  Instead, we combined those components in individual salad bowls. 

White Bean Rosemary Soup

Matthew:  This is one of my all-time favorite soups, mostly because I really love rosemary.  I use this recipe from Ina Garten with a few adjustments.  I only use one large onion and probably about 1/8 cup olive oil.  Also, instead of putting in sprig of rosemary, I chop it up finely and put it in.  I probably use 4-5 sprigs total.  This time around, I used dried beans, like the recipe calls for, but I’ve also made it with canned beans.  I was excited to make this soup, because I wanted to get some use out of my new immersion blender.  It worked great and didn’t make a mess at all!  It’s much better than using a regular blender.  The soup turned out great and went perfectly with some crusty bread.  I froze several containers of it (pictured above) so I could pull them out of the freezer for a quick dinner.