Sunday, June 20, 2010

Claire's Buffalo Chicken Pizza (aka Father's Day Pizza Fest)

Happy Father's Day!! I hope all you dads out there have been sufficiently spoiled today. My husband was inundated with gifts this morning and got to have pizza for lunch AND dinner! We've had a really nice family day, and I hope the husband is feeling loved and appreciated.

I asked him earlier this past week what he'd want for dinner tonight, and at first he wasn't sure then he decided on grilled pizza. I wanted to do something special but couldn't decide what, so I figured I'd make up a double batch of homemade pizza dough and split it into four smaller pizzas so we could have a real pizza feast and have an assortment of pizza flavors.

Two of the ones we did were pretty boring--one with a mix of cheeses and one with meat (pepperoni, sausage, and prosciutto). The husband said I could pick two fancy ones to make. I knew one would be the veggie pesto pizza I make pretty often because we love it, and I had everything on hand to make it.

The fourth pizza caused me some strife. In the March issue of Cooking Light magazine there was a special article on pizzas and several of those looked amazing. I slated one for the fourth pizza but couldn't find arugula at the grocery store. Bummer. So I remembered one I'd seen on my friend Jen's blog that used prosciutto and fontina cheese. But then when I got home and looked at the recipe it also called for ricotta, which I didn't have. Oops. I'd recently had two ideas for pizza toppings and knew I had everything for one of them. So I gave the husband his choice between a Claire creation pizza or a smoked salmon pizza from that issue of Cooking Light. He went with the Claire creation pizza.

Apparently I'm on a buffalo chicken kick lately because that's the kind of pizza he choose. I gotta say I was pretty excited to try it. I figured I'd base it on the buffalo chicken lasagna I made awhile back. All measurements below are approximate.

Claire's Buffalo Chicken Pizza

1 recipe pizza dough (or pizza dough of your choice)
1 cup pizza sauce
1/4 cup to 1/2 cup wing sauce (I used Frank's Red Hot)
2-3 cups diced, cooked chicken
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
1-1/2 cup shredded mozzarella (or pizza blend) cheese

Preheat oven to 450. Roll out pizza dough to desired size. Combine pizza sauce and wing sauce in a bowl. Spread over the dough. Sprinkle chicken and blue cheese on top of sauce. Cover pizza with shredded mozzarella. Bake 12-15 minutes or until crust is golden brown and the cheese is melted.


Like I said, all measurements are approximate. I have no idea how much sauce I used, I poured some into a bowl, added the wing sauce, mixed it up, and called it good. For the chicken I was going to defrost and cook a chicken breast, but then I saw my bag of Naked Nuggets in the freezer (I may boycott Costco if they ever stop selling these, by the way) so figured I'd just heat up those and then chop them up.

I'm going to grill all my pizzas but I included instructions for baking them because it was just easier to type out that way.


Wow. Wow. WOW!!! This pizza was phenomenal!! I think this is our new favorite pizza. The kids had already had cheese pizza by the time this one was done, so I didn't get their take on it, but the husband and I were all over this one!! I'd probably increase the amount of wing sauce I used next time, but I really have no idea how much I even used.

This pizza is definitely going to be a favorite in our house over the summer!! Especially since I always have blue cheese and wing sauce on hand.

(And I do have pictures, but I need to get them uploaded still.)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Pioneer Woman's Pico de Gallo

This will be my second time making PW's pico de gallo recipe, although apparently I didn't post it before. I really, really love pico de gallo...the chunky vegetables, the combination of fresh flavors...yum. And of course I have yet to go wrong with a PW recipe!!

Pioneer Woman's Pico de Gallo

5 whole Plum (roma) Tomatoes
1/2 whole Large (or 1 Small) Onion
3 whole Jalapeno Peppers
Lime Juice
Salt To Taste

Chop jalapenos, tomatoes and onions into a very small dice. (Leave seeds in your jalapenos for a hotter pico). Adjust amount of jalapenos to your preferred temperature. Next, chop up a nice-sized bunch of cilantro. Just remove and discard the long leafless stems before chopping. No need to remove the leaves from the stems completely. Place all of these ingredients together in a bowl and give it a good stir.

Squeeze the juice of half of one lime into the bowl. Add salt to taste and stir again.


Yum. That's all I have to say about that.

Melted Mozzarella Casserole with Mushrooms and Smoky Chipotle Chile (Queso Fundido)

Today is FIESTA DAY at my house! Well, tonight is anyway. My brother is here visiting from Seattle, and a few weeks ago my mom said she thought we should have a fiesta while he's here. I jumped on board immediately because I'm always down for an excuse to eat Mexican food and drink margaritas. We invited my friend Jen and her family, and I think a couple of the husband's friends may swing by too. It's going to be quite the feast. My contributions are going to be this Rick Bayless queso fundido recipe, Pioneer Woman's pico de gallo, and Rick Bayless guacamole (assuming I can find the box with my Mexican Everyday cookbook).

This queso recipe came from the Rick Bayless cookbook Mexico One Plate at a Time that I was holding hostage from the library for literally months, until I had to finally return it this past week. Bummer. My brother's a vegetarian, so I wanted to find something without meat in it, and since my mom and Jen were both making main course items I thought I'd do some sides and decided on queso fundido. This recipe sounded really good...cheese, mushrooms, and chipotle peppers?! Yes please!!

(Thankfully I found the recipe on the Food Network website which means I get to copy and paste instead of typing it out...woo hoo!)

Melted Mozzarella Casserole with Mushrooms and Smoky Chipotle Chile (Queso Fundido)
Recipe from Mexico: One Plate at a Time (Scribner, 2000) by Rick Bayless

- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, preferably extra-virgin
- 1 medium red onion, sliced
- 6 to 8 ounces full-flavored mushrooms, such as shiitakes, oysters or practically any wild variety, stemmed (discard woody stems or finely chop them) and sliced (you'll have about 2 generous cups)
- 2 to 3 canned chipotle chiles en adobo, seeded and thinly sliced
- Salt
- 12 corn tortillas, the fresher the better (store-bought are okay, but homemade will really shine here)
- 8 ounces mozzarella, preferably whole-milk (but not "fresh" mozzarella, which will not melt) or Mexican quesillo, shredded (you'll have about 2 cups)
- A generous 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or generous 1 teaspoon chopped fresh epazote
- A little black pepper, preferably freshly ground

The mushroom mixture: Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large skillet (preferably nonstick), heat the oil over medium-high. Add the sliced onion and cook, stirring frequently, until softening and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and stir nearly constantly until they have softened and any juice they release has evaporated, about 5 minutes longer. Stir in the sliced chiles, then taste and season with salt, usually about 1/4 teaspoon. Transfer the mixture to a 9- or 10-inch shallow baking dish, Mexican cazuela or pie plate.

Finishing the queso fundido: Very lightly dampen a clean kitchen towel. Check the tortillas to make sure none are stuck together. Wrap them in the towel, then in foil, sealing the edges tightly. Place in the oven and set the timer for 7 minutes. When the timer goes off, stir the shredded cheese into the warm mushroom mixture. Set in the oven alongside the tortillas and bake until the cheese is just melted, about 5 minutes longer. Sprinkle with the thyme or epazote and black pepper and serve without a moment's hesitation, accompanied by warm tortillas.


I haven't decided yet if I'm going to make tortillas or not. I bought chips to serve it with but tortillas might be nice too. I don't remember if I've unpacked my tortilla press yet or not, so that will probably be the deciding factor.

I'm going to use a mixture of shiitake and cremini mushrooms for mine. They oyster mushrooms at my grocery store looked questionable. Having never used them before I wasn't entirely sure what they were supposed to look like to know if they were okay or not. So I went with shiitake, but they were pretty pricey so I figured I'd throw in some cremini to save a bit of money.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

So much for my return to blogging earlier this week...I caught the stomach bug my kiddos had and somehow the idea of making and eating the Thai chicken basil stir-fry I had slated for Monday was not at all appealing on Monday. The boy has swim lessons at 5:00 this week, and Tuesday and Wednesday night make it kind of rough since I have a Bible study group each of those nights. Last night we had crockpot bean burritos, and tonight I had planned a crockpot chicken and dumplings recipe, but upon reviewing it this morning I realized it wasn't going to work because the dumplings have to be added in the last 30 minutes of cooking, and I don't want to stick the husband with that responsiblity. So I did some quick searching and found a barbecue pulled chicken recipe I'm going to make instead.

Pulled Chicken Sandwiches
RecipeZaar Recipe #242547

1 medium onion, thinly sliced or 1/2 large onion, thinly sliced
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons molasses
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1 pinch salt

Cut the onion in half and slice into thin half rings. Line the bottom of the crock pot with the onions. Trim the chicken breasts and place on top of the bed of onions. Mix all of the sauce ingredients together and pour on top of the chicken covering completely. Cook for 6 hours on low setting. The sauce thickens and turns into a dark rich brown during cooking. At the same time the onions dissolve into the sauce. When the chicken is falling apart tender, take two forks and shred the chicken.

Serve on top of split buns.


To keep this simple I think we're just going to have some frozen fries along with it (assuming the husband is up to tossing those in the oven for me), some kind of vegetable, and a salad.


Okay, never mind...I now have no idea what we're going to have for dinner because the crack in my crockpot insert has gotten worse, to the point where I can't even use it now. I'm so very, very, very, very annoyed. I do have another crockpot, but it's still packed and 1) the idea of rummaging through boxes in my garage to find it when it's 105 outside is soooo not appealing to me, and 2) it's really too late to start cooking this anyway for it to be done on time for all of us to eat.

Some weeks (like this one) I wonder why I even bother meal planning at all...

Saturday, June 12, 2010

I'll Be Back This Week!!

Hello all!! I'm finally starting to feel settled in the new house and am back in the swing of cooking dinners for my family instead of trying to use up things we had on hand to avoid trips to the grocery store or eating take-out of some sort. I've actually been back at it this entire past week and most of the week prior, but last week we were still getting settled, and this week the husband was out of town. I made dinner every night (well, except one or two) but it was all pretty boring kid-friendly stuff. The last thing I wanted when I was already doing it all alone was a fight at dinner about what we're eating. And I have to say, kudos to all you single parents out there!! This has been a rough week! Although there have also been a lot of big negatives happening that have made it worse.

But, the husband gets home tomorrow so all things can return to normal...thankfully!!!! I'm going away for a weekend next month with two of my girlfriends from college, and I'm about to start counting the days until I can leave the kiddos with the husband for a few days so he can learn to really appreciate all that I do around here!!

Anyway, I have my meal plan mostly figured out for the week, I just need to add in a couple more meals to round it off. My brother is coming to visit and gets into town on Thursday afternoon. Saturday night while he's here we're having a fiesta with my mom and my friend Jen and her family. I need to figure out what exactly I'm going to make for that. I've been holding a Rick Bayless cookbook hostage from the library for quite some time now, and when I tried to renew it once again today I couldn't, so I need to quickly scan through that and see if there's anything I must copy down before returning it.

Wow...I've obviously missed blogging. Talk about a whole lot of nonsensical junk in this post! I'll start a paragraph off with a valid point and then wind up on some crazy tangent by the time I'm done.

With that, I'm off to unpack some more toys and then get started on the second season of "Sex and the City."