Sunday, April 30, 2017

Broke My Own Rule

I know, I know. I've said it a million times before.  I don't think chicken has any place on a pizza. But, I'll admit that I've had chicken pizzas before and it wasn't terrible.  Probably because I still maintain that pizza is the world's perfect food.  All food groups can be (and should be) represented. 

The other day, I cleaned out my fridge.  How does one family of 3 come up with so many jars of stuff?  Horseradish, capers, 5 kinds of jelly, wasabi, 4 hot sauces, maraschino cherries, just to name a few.  And, two half full bottles of BBQ sauce. That sauce, and the leftover roasted chicken in my fridge, got me thinking.  You know where I'm going with this.

I pulled out the bread machine and whipped up some pizza dough.  I really love this machine and need to remember more often that I have it. And, the fridge ingredients got involved to create our version of a BBQ chicken pizza.

I started early in the afternoon with caramelizing onions. If you have the time to slowly caramelize onions the right way, you'll be so pleased with yourself.

This is 3 medium-large sized onions
Starting to get a little color

Browning up more

Slowly but surely, we're getting there

OMG, isn't this beautiful?
My chicken was already cooked, so I just shredded it and tossed it around in some of that BBQ sauce from the fridge clean-out.  I rolled our homemade dough out nice and thin and placed on my trusty pizza stone.  After brushing with some olive oil, I put it into a 500 degree oven to prebake and get crisp.

For the pizza, we used a layer of BBQ sauce instead of tomato pizza sauce.

Since we're going with red BBQ sauce, some cheddar made sense.

Then, I just continued on with the chicken, some chopped (cooked) bacon, my gorgeous caramelized onions, pineapple chunks and mozzarella. 

The finished product

Despite a pretty sophisticated palate, my sweet girl usually defaults to a cheese pizza (much to mama's chagrin).  However, she took one bite of this and declared it the "best pizza ever."  It's her new favorite.  Personally, I think I went overboard on the sauce.  It was tasty, but a little too sweet for me, but overall, I thought it turned out quite well.  The bacon and pineapple were great choices and really gave the pie a cool "flavor profile" as they love to spout off on The Food Network. Next time, I'll just use less sauce and I think it'll be pretty close to perfect. 

On a personal note: I dedicate this post to Paul Whitlark.  He was a nutty, looney, generous, kind, always hospitable friend to so many of us.  He will always be Rosewood's favorite "Pizza Man" and we will all miss him terribly.  Peace to all of his family. 

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Tikka Masala Makes Ya Holla!

I've always been intrigued by how we have to teach our kids to enjoy other cuisines, such as Mexican, Indian, Japanese, etc. But, in Mexico and India and Japan, little kids are eating that food all day long.  You can't say it's too spicy or too weird for kids, because clearly, there are kids eating it.  I guess I have to conclude that somewhere in New Delhi there is a mom trying to introduce her kids to fried chicken and biscuits.  Right?  

I love Indian food.  I admit that I am far from being an expert.  I wish I were. But, thanks to Indian friends and clients, I know a thing or two.  I own an Indian cookbook, I know where my local Indian market is, I've made Biryani and Tikka Masala from scratch.  And since I love to cook, it's fun but make no mistake, cooking Indian takes time and lots of ingredients.  Mainly spices.  Lots and lots of spices.

Recently, I was cruising the aisles at Aldi and came across a brand of Indian "simmer sauces."  I got so excited; what a great way to have some Indian on a quick weeknight schedule.  And, the little one (not so little anymore...just had a birthday!) has been expressing interest in Indian food.  I bought Korma, Jalfrezi and Tikka Masala.  

It couldn't be simpler: cube up some chicken, saute it to brown, saute onions, sweet bell peppers, peas, whatever.  I added some chopped spinach to the most recent batch to add well, spinach, and color.  

Simmering away with Tikka Masala sauce

The first couple times I made it, I worried that the sauce might be a little spicy for the Vivver.  I portioned out enough for her and added some half & half to tone it down.  However, on our most recent dinner, she tasted it ahead of time and deemed it not too spicy, so I left it alone.  And since Aldi is the bomb-diggity that it is, they also sell really awesome packaged Naan bread that just takes minutes to warm in the oven.  It's like restaurant food on a Tuesday night!  

Our chicken Tikka Masala over Basmati rice and served with garlic naan
 And, now I have an 11 year old who is a fan and can't wait to actually go out to a real Indian restaurant and sample lots of good stuff!  My work here is done.  Not really, but you get my drift.  Next up?  New Peruvian restaurant in our neighborhood.  Anyone know anything about Peruvian food?

Thursday, April 13, 2017

I'm Still Here!


I am alive and well. Despite what you may have heard, I have not suffered a terrible demise. I have not fallen off a cliff or gotten trapped under a large rock.  I am, however, ridiculously embarrassed to admit that I haven't written a thing since December. I offer proof of life:  

Excuses?  Probably not any good ones, but I can tell you this...Girl Scout cookie season took over my life.  I had to serve as the "Cookie Manager" for our troop this year.  It's not really a hard job, despite what people tell you.  But it is insanely time-consuming.  My husband actually asked me how much I was getting paid for it.  Uhhh, nuthin' honey.  

Consider this your warning: I'm back.  Today I find myself in that oh-so-familiar place.  "What can I do with this damn chicken today?"  Yes, I'm in a chicken rut. Again.  I'll figure out something to do with it and will come up with more interesting topics for future posts.  Promise. 


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