Tagged: cheese

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.

Homemade Cheese Crackers

Homemade Cheese CrackersI’m not exaggerating that my three-year-old has an addiction to a particular brand of snack mix. I can still picture him in the cart when we picked out our first bag with its jumble of cheddar & butter bunny crackers and pretzels. If I knew then what I know now, I wouldn’t have bought them. They are organic—not an endorsement of nutrition—and when we run out, it’s a full-on emergency situation.

With no school today, I spent the day with my little one. This morning he helped me pulse together the dough in the food processor for homemade cheese crackers. I used whatever shredded cheese we had in the fridge, a mix of cheddar, jack, Asiago and Parmesan. When he woke up from his nap, he was excited about them, but didn’t try one. Maybe I needed to cut out bunnies?
Homemade Cheese Crackers
Homemade Cheese Crackers
Adapted from Food52

Makes about 5 cups crackers

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt plus more for sprinkling crackers
6 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
7-1/2 ounces (about 3-1/2 cups) finely grated cheese (cheddar, jack, Parmesan, Asiago)
2 to 4 tablespoons ice water
1 large egg white, lightly beaten

In a food processor, combine the flour, baking, powder and salt. Add the butter and cheese and pulse into a crumbly dough. Mix in 2 tablespoons of water. The dough should hold together when squeezed. If not, add up to 2 tablespoons of water.

Divide the dough in half and pat into a rectangle. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Roll out one rectangle of dough at a time until it is just less than 1/8-inch thick. Using a fluted pastry wheel, cut into 3/4-inch-wide strips and then cut into perpendicular 3/4-inch-wide strips. Use a skewer to poke a hole into the center of each square. Chill in the freezer for 10-15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper.

Brush the frozen crackers with egg white and sprinkle with salt. Use an offset spatula to transfer them to the prepared sheet pans and carefully break them apart. Bake for 14-16 minutes until the crackers are puffed up and golden brown. If the crackers are fully frozen, they will need to be baked longer.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Store in an airtight container.

Sweet Potato Skins

Sweet Potato Skins
I consider myself to be a professional snacker. As much as I try to resist the cracker and chip aisles at the grocery, I can’t stay away. If it’s crunchy and salty, I’m all over it. No surprise, I get very excited about the Super Bowl. I like watching the game and the commercials, of course, but the game-day spread is the best part.

This year I wanted to try a few new things to go with the chili and fudge brownies that have permanent spots on my Super Bowl roster. I made vegetarian sweet potato skins with scallions, spinach, black beans and salsa. Instead of smothering the skins in cheese I kept them light focusing on the filling instead.
Sweet Potato Skins
Sweet Potato Skins

Makes 10

5 small sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 scallions, sliced thinly, white and green parts separated
2 handfuls baby spinach
2 tablespoons salsa
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup black beans
1/2 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Prick the sweet potatoes with a fork and roast for 45-55 minutes until they are just tender. Let the sweet potatoes cool for 5-10 minutes before halving them lengthwise and scooping out the flesh leaving a thin layer at the edges. Transfer about 1-1/2 cups of the flesh to a medium bowl.

Rub the potatoes with 1 tablespoon olive oil and place them cut side down on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Bake for 10-15 minutes until crisp.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Sauté the white parts of the scallions until they start to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the spinach and cook for a couple minutes until it wilts. Stir into the sweet potato flesh along with the salsa, salt and pepper.

Turn over the potato halves and spoon in the sweet potato mixture. Sprinkle on the black beans and cheese. Melt the cheese in the oven, about 8-10 minutes. Top with green scallions and cilantro before serving.

Zucchini Corn Salad

Zucchini Corn Salad
I went a little overboard at the farmers market yesterday. My bag was overflowing with all sorts of goodies—way too much to feed our little family. People assume that as a food blogger I must have a child who is a “good” eater, but I just feel grateful that our tot loves pineapple and melon. Otherwise he would be surviving on a diet of pizza and pasta, and I would be loaded up on mom guilt.

Firing up the grill seemed like a good way to use all my veggie purchases. There’s not a week that goes by in the summer where I am not grilling corn. I sliced the kernels off the cob and made a grilled zucchini corn salad with plenty of scallions and Parmesan. It was the perfect side for burgers or chicken, but I ended up eating most of it cold from the fridge as a lunchtime main.
Zucchini Corn Salad
Zucchini Corn Salad

Serves 4

3 medium zucchini, trimmed, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
3 corn cobs, shucked
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1 handful cherry tomatoes, halved
1 ounce Parmesan, finely shredded

Preheat a gas or charcoal grill on high heat.

Rub the zucchini and corn with olive oil and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.

Grill the zucchini until it has grill marks, about 3-4 minutes. Grill the corn, turning occasionally, until lightly charred, about 5-7 minutes. Let the zucchini and corn cool slightly before dicing the zucchini and slicing the kernels off the cob.

In a large bowl, combine the zucchini, corn, scallions, tomatoes, Parmesan and remaining salt and pepper.

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