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Friday, September 30, 2011

The Lion, the Witch, and the Strawberry Pizza

Last week when I asked my daughter what we should have on our pizzas she matter of factually said Strawberries. I smiled and nodded at the childish request. I wasn't about to make a strawberry pie, but thought maybe a dessert pizza, you know, the sugar cookie with cream cheese and fruit. Either way it wasn't going to happen that week. But I've been thinking about it all week and began to wonder; my favorite salad is spinach, strawberries, and balsamic vinaigrette. What if I put that on a pizza? Maybe someone already did? Sure enough on I did find a strawberry pizza that looked spectacular! So here it is, borrowed from The Cafe Surcre Farine - I made only a couple adjustments:

Chicken Strawberry Pizza

1/4 cup strawberry jam or preserves
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 ball pizza dough
1 cup diced or shredded chicken breast, from rotisserie chicken or left over chicken of any kind
2 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 cup thin sliced sweet onion (I sautéed the onion in a little bit of the bacon grease)
12 ounces shredded Italian blend cheese (I just used mozzarella and I used far less)
1 cup spinach, finely chopped
1/2 cup fresh strawberries, diced small

1. Place balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 4-5 minutes or until reduced to half of original volume and mixture is thick and syrupy. Add strawberry preserves and mix well. Set aside to cool.

2. Pat or roll out pizza dough on a lightly floured pizza round. Bake at 425 for 3-5 minutes.

3. Combine chicken with 2 tablespoons of the balsamic-strawberry mixture and mix to coat all chicken with sauce (I forgot this step).  Pour rest of sauce onto pizza dough and spread to cover.

4. Scatter chicken, bacon, onion, and cheese on pizza, distributing evenly.

5. Bake for approximately 12 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and crust is golden brown. Watch carefully, at this temperature it is easy to burn the pizza!

7. Remove from oven and sprinkle with chopped spinach and fresh diced strawberries. Serve and enjoy!

And to end with a thought from The Lion, the Witch, and theWardrobe, "You will [feel nervous], dearie, and no mistake, if there's anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they're either braver than most or else just silly.'"

Friday, September 23, 2011

Indian in the Cupboard? No. Tuna in the cupboard!

It wasn't that I forgot about pizza and movie night, I just didn't think about what kind of pizza to make. So when I picked up a movie at the library, Indian in the Cupboard, it made me wonder what was in my cupboard that I could put on a pizza. The answer? Tuna. Isn't it amazing that sometimes the best meals are the ones with the least planning?

Now, I didn't think that tuna sounded very good on a pizza but I got on the internet and was very surprised at the number of tuna pizza recipes I found. One that sounded really good called for artichokes and feta. YUM!! Sadly I didn't have those, but I used the infused oil from that recipe with some ideas from another and managed to throw together what I think was the best pizza we've had yet (well, next to BBQ chicken with pineapple, because you just can't get better than BBQ chicken with pineapple)!

As I was getting out a bowl to mix up some pizza crust and get this pizza started, I saw the half loaf of Garlic Parmesan French bread left over from last night's spaghetti dinner. An epiphany turned that left over bread into really good individual pizzas (and used up my leftovers!). I sliced up the bread and cut 1/2 an onion while I was heating some olive oil. Using my Pampered Chef garlic press (I love this thing!) I squeezed some garlic into the oil and added the onion. The artichoke and feta recipe infused their oil with garlic and I thought adding the onion would make it that much better, plus cook my onions because I don't like crunchy onion. Topped with flaked tuna, frozen peas, red peppers, and some mozzarella, these little pizzas were VERY good!

Individual Tuna Pizza
Garlic Parmesan French Bread, sliced (or use a pizza crust for a full size pizza
1 can tuna drained
1/2 onion, cut in half and sliced
1 cup frozen peas
1/4 red bell pepper, sliced
3 TBS olive oil
1 garlic clove
Mozzarella Cheese

Preheat oven to 450 °F. Place bread on baking sheet. 
Heat oil in small skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and onions. Sauté for about 1 minute (do not burn
Brush garlic infused oil over bread. Top with flaked tuna, red peppers, cooked onion, peas, and mozzarella cheese.
Bake about 8 minutes (longer if using raw pizza dough). Enjoy!

And from Indian in the Cupboard, "Yes. I am [real]. Are you?"

Friday, September 16, 2011

Care Bears: Daydreams and Enchillada Pizza

It doesn't happen often but one night I found myself home alone and wondering what was for dinner. Tah dah! My good friend showed up with a homemade chimichanga. It was so good, naturally I asked for the recipe. The best thing about this recipe is that it gives you different meals for a couple of nights with very little effort. Start with Hawaiian Crockpot Pork and Sweet Potatoes:

2 lbs pork tenderloin
1 can 20 oz. crushed pineapple
1/4 c honey
1/4 c apple cider vinegar
1/3 c brown sugar (I usually reduce this to 2-3 TBS)
2 medium sweet potatoes

Place pork in crockpot. Combine crushed pineapple, honey, vinegar, and brown sugar. Pour over pork. Put washed, whole sweet potatoes, with skins, on top. Cover and cook 10 hours on low. After cooking, cut up sweet potatoes and gently pull apart pork. Spoon sauce over meat and sweet potatoes. Serve on rice.

Next for the Oven-Baked Chimichangas:

Mix left over pork, 1 can pinto beans, 1 8oz jar salsa, 1 small can diced green chiles, and some grated cheese together. (I also mix in the left over rice and sweet potatoes)
Melt some butter and brush over one side of the tortillas. Place butter side down and spoon mixture onto tortillas. Fold in sides and roll. Place in casserole dish. Top with more grated cheese and bake 20-30 minutes, until they look crispy and a tiny bit brown. Serve with quinoa (honestly, I don't know what this is), sour cream and guacamole.

So, those are the original recipes; any guess as to how I topped my pizza? :D Sure enough, we had Hawaiian Crockpot Pork last night. I mashed up the sweet potatoes and mixed it and the left over rice together with the pork. Instead of salsa, I used enchilada sauce. This was all mixed up and spread on my pizza crust (Jiffy this time). I then sprinkled some beans, olives, and cheddar cheese on top. After it was baked we topped it with lettuces, tomato, and avocado.  And I still have plenty to make my chimichangas tomorrow.

Now, sadly, this wasn't as good as I had hoped, but I think it could be! Next time, rather than mixing my enchilada sauce into the meat to begin with, I will actually spread it on like a sauce and mix the salsa with the pork like the recipe called for. And while I like the sweet potato in the chimichanga, they kinda diluted the enchilada flavor on the pizza. I  think the rice and beans did the same. So, if you are going to try this, use the enchilada sauce as the pizza sauce, top with left over pork mixed with salsa, olives if you like them, cheese, and if you liked the tomatoes cooked put them on now too. Once done, lettuce, tomato (if you prefer it cold), and avocado (or guacamole). I would also add some sour cream next time (I didn't have any tonight). Of course if you want to toss on the rice and beans, please do! They didn't ruin it and they are healthy for you. Well, there you go. Good luck and enjoy!!

In parting, a kind thought from the Care Bears tonight: "Making a friend is very simple; being a friend is simple, too!"

See you next Pizza and Movie Friday!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Pollyanna and Curry

I have been so excited to make this pizza; I've been counting down to Friday. When I found Disney's "Glad Girl" Pollyanna at the Library I was equally excited! After all, what could be better than pineapple on pizza than Pollyanna?

So what is this special pizza that has me so excited? Well, as I was making my menu this week I found among my recipes Pineapple Chicken Curry over rice and I thought, a pineapple curry pizza sounded real good. So last night I made my Pineapple Chicken Curry, making the curry separate and reserving some for the pizza sauce. I cooked extra chicken and cut extra veggies. So tonight all I had to do was make the crust. There wasn't as much curry flavor as I had hoped, but over all, I thought it was a wonderful creation.

So here's the Pineapple Chicken Curry recipe:

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 can (12 fluid ounces) NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons yellow curry powder
  • 1 MAGGI Chicken Flavor Bouillon Cube
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes or to taste
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen broccoli florets, thawed and drained
  • 1 can (8 ounces) pineapple chunks in juice, drained
  • 2 cups cooked rice


HEAT oil in large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Reduce heat to medium; stir in evaporated milk, cornstarch, curry powder, bouillon, ginger and red pepper flakes. Continue cooking until mixture begins to gently simmer and bouillon is dissolved.

STIR in bell pepper and broccoli (if using frozen broccoli, add for last 3 minutes). Cover; gently simmer for 6 minutes or until broccoli is tender. Remove from heat; stir in pineapple. Serve with cooked rice.
Now, to prepare for the pizza, I took the chicken out the pan, made up the curry, removed about 1/2 cup of the curry, then added the meat and veggies back in. Also, like I said, as I was cutting the veggies, I chopped up what I needed for tonight.

Well, in addition to making pizza and watching Pollyanna, I am at the same time talking to a lender and telling Dave about the papers he needs to sign to make an offer on a house. With everything else going on tonight, we didn't finish Pollyanna, but I'm sure you are all smiling just knowing that we had this classic feel good movie on tonight.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Kung Fu Panda

Everybody blogs. Jim has his pancakes. Aubrie has her photos. Tanya has her crafts. Mir has her, well, I think Mir has a blog for just about everything, but my favorite is her food. I vowed never to blog. But after watching Julie and Julia I longed to have a purpose. I know, it sounds silly, I have a purpose to blog about. My kids!! And boy do they ever keep me busy. I didn't want to blog about them. I do my best to keep them off the internet. Nothing else moved me enough to blog about it. No, "moved me" isn't the right expression. Tons of things "move me:" Tai Chi, hand-made greeting cards, scrapbooking, sewing, reading. I love these things and find them very relaxing, when I get the chance to do them. But nothing said, "blog me!" until tonight.

Every Friday night we have Pizza and Movie night. The kids look forward it to all week. We visit the Library, Redbox, or neighbor's house to pick out a movie a day or two before. I pick up a frozen pizza or sometimes we splurge and get delivery. Then a few weeks ago, I'm walking the frozen pizza isle and thinking, "Man! Frozen pizzas are expensive and I still have to cook it!" So I leave the frozen pizza isle thinking I'll just order out this week when I pass a jiffy pizza crust mix. It's like $0.80 or something and I'm thinking I already have spaghetti sauce in my fridge, I could get some ham in the deli meats and can of pineapple. TahDah! I just made my own pizza for about $3.00 and it had all the pineapple I could squeeze on. The next week I picked up a box of Bisquick for a crust, knowing I could use it for several weeks, and made a BBQ chicken pizza with all the pineapple I could squeeze on it. I even used the same can of pineapple from the previous week. That one was such a success I did it again last week. I discovered I like making my own pizzas! And the possibilities are endless.

So, what was so special about tonight? Well as soon as I figure out how to post a picture, you'll see! Chicken Spinach Alfredo. Oh ya! And I have enough alfredo for pasta tomorrow, left over spinach to have salads for a few meals, and I only used one Chicken breast from my freezer. Really, it's like it cost me nothing because I already needed all that for other meals. Sure beats $7 frozen or $15 delivered!

Making my own pizza, however, has made me realize that I left a few of my can't-live-without kitchen tools in storage. I have my chopper! and my round stone! But I don't have my pizza cutter or my rolling pin. I guess I'll have to make a trip out to the storage unit this week.

The recipe for this Chicken Spinach Alfredo Pizza:
2 cups bisquick
just enough water to moisten it into a dough
1/4 - 1/2 cup Alfredo sauce
1 chicken breast
Chopped Spinach - I used a ton!
a little diced onion
4 minced baby carrots
2 slices bacon
sprinkle the top with a little mozzerella cheese.
Bake at 375 for 23 minutes.

And, since it is Pizza and MOVIE night, I'll include a great quote from the movie of the week, "Kung Fu Panda."

"There is no secret ingredient. It's just you."