Barbecue Chicken Pizza

Lately I’ve been feeling like I’ve been on cruise control for weeknight dinners. After busy days for all of us, including our three-year-old, the most I can muster for our family meal is pasta. Don’t get me wrong—we absolutely love noodles, but even they get a bit old when you have them more than two times a week.

Pizza is another one of our routine favorites. I usually stick to just plain cheese to keep things simple, but last week I decided to revamp my recipe for barbecue chicken pizza. This time I balanced off the sweetness of the barbecue sauce with tomato sauce, and I mixed mozzarella cheese with smoked Gouda.
Barbecue Chicken Pizza
Barbecue Chicken Pizza

Makes 1-12-inch pizza

For dough
2/3 cup warm water
1/2 teaspoon dry active yeast
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon olive oil plus more for bowl and brushing pizza
1-1/2 cups bread flour plus more for work surface
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

For chicken
1-8 ounce boneless skinless chicken breast
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon barbecue sauce

For pizza
1/3 cup barbecue sauce
1/3 cup tomato sauce
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 small red onion, thinly slices into rings
2 ounces shredded mozzarella
1 ounce shredded Gouda
Cornmeal for pizza stone

In a small bowl, combine the water, yeast, sugar and olive oil. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the flour and salt. Add the yeast mixture and process until a ball of dough forms. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled in volume, about 2 hours or up to overnight in the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F with a pizza stone inside the oven. Place the chicken on a foil-lined sheet pan and drizzle both sides with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake for 15 minutes before smearing with 1 tablespoon barbecue sauce. Continue baking the chicken for 10-15 minutes until cooked through. Once the chicken is finished, increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees F. Wait 10 minutes and then thinly slice the chicken breast.

In a small bowl, whisk together the barbecue sauce and tomato sauce.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the pizza dough into a 12-inch diameter circle. Sprinkle the preheated pizza stone with cornmeal and place the dough on it. Spread the sauce mixture leaving a 1/2-inch border. Top the pizza with chicken, scallions, red onions and cheese.

Bake the pizza for 12-15 minutes until the cheese is fully melted and bubbling.

Bittersweet Chocolate Stout Bundt Cake

Bittersweet Chocolate Stout Bundt Cake
Ever since I dusted off my mini bundt pan for Valentine’s Day baking, I’ve been on a bundt kick. I even donated the fleur de lis decorated pan I had for over 10 years, so I could replace it with a more streamlined geometric design that’s more in line with my current style. Of course there was nothing wrong with the old pan, but I treated myself using a gift card to one of my favorite cooking stores.

To break in my new pan I baked this bittersweet chocolate stout bundt cake. The original recipe called for coffee, but I swapped it out for a micro-brewed milk stout since St. Patrick’s Day is coming up. I made an irresistibly rich ganache to top it off. It was so wonderfully thick that I ended up using an offset spatula to help push it into the deep ripples circling the cake. Each bite was pure bliss.
Bittersweet Chocolate Stout Bundt Cake
Bittersweet Chocolate Stout Bundt Cake
Adapted from King Arthur Flour

Serves 10-12

Non-stick cooking spray
1 cup stout beer
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 cup full-fat Greek yogurt
2/3 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate
1/4 cup heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 10-12 cup bundt pan with non-stick cooking spray.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the beer, butter and cocoa powder. Once the butter has melted, stir the mixture together and remove from the heat. Let stand for 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and flour. Stir the chocolate mixture into the dry ingredients.

In a small bowl, whisk together the vanilla, eggs and yogurt. Fold into the chocolate batter. Transfer to the prepared pan. Bake for 45-55 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool for 5 minutes before turning the pan over onto a cooling rack. Wait another 5 minutes before removing the pan.

Cool the cake completely before making the icing. Place the chopped chocolate into a small bowl. Heat the heavy cream over medium heat until it is bubbling around the edges. Pour the cream over the chocolate. Let stand for a minute before gently whisking until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Spoon the icing over the top of the cake.

Store in an airtight container.

Roasted Spicy Purple Cauliflower Soup

Roasted Spicy Purple Cauliflower Soup
It can take me a couple days to finalize my grocery list, and when I get to the store usually all that time didn’t even matter because what I have my heart set on is out of stock. Or I find something that I never planned on buying that day, but it immediately becomes the must-have item I absolutely can’t live without.

That happened to me on my last trip. Across the produce department I spied cauliflower in every color—white, orange, green and purple. I put two heads into my cart, and when I got home, I made roasted spicy purple cauliflower soup. No matter the hue, this simple vegan soup will turn out hearty and filling.
Roasted Spicy Purple Cauliflower Soup
Roasted Spicy Purple Cauliflower Soup

Serves 4

1-1/2 pounds purple cauliflower, trimmed and broken into florets*
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes plus more for serving
1-1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 small red onion, roughly chopped*
1 garlic clove, crushed
3 cups  water
Fresh chives for serving

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Toss the cauliflower with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Roast the cauliflower until it is tender and the florets are starting to brown at the edges, about 25 to 30 minutes.

Heat the remaining olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté for 5 minutes until they start to soften. Stir in the garlic and remaining red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and continue cooking for an additional 3 minutes. Add the water and cauliflower, reserving 1/2 cup cauliflower for garnish. Simmer the soup for 10 minutes.

Carefully transfer the soup in batches to a blender to puree. Return the soup to the saucepan to reheat before serving, Divide into bowls and top with cauliflower, fresh chives and red pepper flakes.

*Note: If you have white, orange or green cauliflower, use a white onion instead of red.

Whole-Wheat Cranberry Orange Pistachio Muffins

Whole-Wheat Cranberry Orange Pistachio Muffins
I am feeling the March blues in the kitchen, or maybe I should call it cook’s block. The streak of unusually warm weather has been kind of a tease. I’ve hung up my puffy coat in favor of my light jacket, but everything outside is still brown. All the lush greens of spring veggies have not sprung, so I’m at a bit of a loss about what to make.

Lately I’ve been more inspired to bake. Feeling the need to take a break from dessert, I baked these whole-wheat cranberry orange pistachio muffins. With fall and winter flavors, these muffins were perfectly timed for the current state of seasonal limbo. The brightness of the citrus added just enough zip to keep me going until spring.
Whole-Wheat Cranberry Orange Pistachio Muffins
Whole-Wheat Cranberry Orange Pistachio Muffins

Adapted from Cooking Light March 2017

Makes 12 muffins

1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup oat bran
1 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 medium ripe banana mashed (about 1/2 cup)
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons orange zest
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped unsalted pistachios

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, oat bran, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a small skillet over medium heat, melt the butter until it turns golden, gently swirling the pan, about 90 seconds. In a medium bowl, stir together the butter, yogurt, brown sugar, vanilla extract, banana, egg, orange zest and orange juice. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients followed by the cranberries and pistachios.

Bake for 20-22 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffins comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing and transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

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