A simple place to document the games of 'pretend chef' I play in my kitchen. Taking inspiration from eating out, travel, TV, & friends. Requirements: 1. a genuine addiction to all foodstuffs (especially avocado). 2. no judgement of my wine intake 3. sense of humor.
My husband planted us a super awesome garden this year – now our lettuce and spinach runneth over. I was trying to think of ways to use the spinach outside of salads – which we were getting sick of. I mean we aren’t effing rabbits. Then – spinach artichoke dip popped into my head. Great idea…but I always consider that to be an appetizer and didn’t think that ‘dip’ really counted as dinner. So, I took it a smidge further to relieve my ‘we had dip for dinner’ guilt. If you smear it on a flatbread, TA-DA, I now made a pizza. Sounds like much more work than ‘dip’. 🙂 It really was very good and it reheated well the next day. I think this would work as an appetizer or dinner…or leftovers for lunch at the office microwave station.
The other awesome thing here, is if you put all this into a skillet or oven-safe dish, then add a layer of cheese on top, bake for about the same time – and voila! You have spinach artichoke DIP. Then you can toast/cut some naan – or serve with tortilla chips. Two recipes in one. You’re welcome.
3/4 cup light mayo (I use olive oil mayo)
1.5 cups chopped spinach – lightly packed
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 can of quartered artichokes, drained and chopped into smaller bits
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
Naan flatbread – can be large or small flatbreads. Room temperature.
Heat oven to 350 degrees
Combine ingredient items 1-8 above in a mixing bowl
Mix well until thoroughly combined. Can add more mayo or cheese if its not looking ‘creamy’ or cheesy enough (I just eye-balled it and thought – what does my dip usually look like – and add what I want from there – pretty sure you can’t mess this up)
Place the naan(s) on a baking sheet or pizza stone
Spread a healthy amount of the mixture on each one, leaving room around the edges for a ‘crust’ – about 3/4 inch
Bake in oven for approx 8 or so minutes. A larger flatbread may take about 10 minutes to ensure the middle of the flatbread gets hot.
Check at 8 minutes to see that crust is warm and the mixture is hot on top. Leave in oven if it needs more time. Check every 2 minutes.
Once almost done, turn the broiler on high and let broil for approx 1 minute- do not leave them in there unattended!
Free advice: Never turn your back on the broiler – you stand there or set a timer as a reminder. The Broiler can be your best friend or quite a bitch.
Once the tops are a bit golden brown/bubbly from the broiler – remove
Let cool for approx 3-4 min, then cut and serve!
Mixing cheese, garlic, mayo, salt & pepper together
Sometimes I want pizza, but I want to also cook and not feel as bad for ordering delivery. I used to work at a pizza restaurant in high school, so making my own pizza not only brings back memories, but its fun and cheaper! Now, I aint gonna lie – this is definitely more work than hitting up papajohns.com, but it tastes SO. MUCH.BETTER. Don’t fret, I didn’t make it all from scratch – there are some ‘pre-made’ items in the ingredients list that help shorten the process. My kiddo is too little to help right now, but I think making pizza at home will be/would be a fun activity as well. So here we go…
Boboli pizza crust – original
Jar of pizza sauce – whatever you prefer, I went w/ a local brand
1 medium chicken breast
4 – 5 slices of bacon
1/2 cup chopped red pepper
1 cup canned corn
2 cups shredded mozz cheese
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup chopped basil
2 tbsp EVOO
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Preheat oven to 450 degrees
Cook bacon in oven to desired temperature/crispiness. I usually place on a foil-lined pan and turn it about every 3-4 minutes to ensure it doesn’t burn too much on one side. Usually takes 10 min or so for 4 slices at 450 degrees. Take out of oven and place on plate lined /w paper towels.
Pat chicken breast dry and sprinkle lightly w/ salt and pepper
Heat EVOO and balsamic over medium heat – add chicken breast to pan. Cover.
Flip chicken at about 4 minutes. The vinegar will want to burn off and stick to the pan, add in water about 2 tbsp at a time to ensure there is always liquid in the bottom of the pan. Cover again.
Let chicken cook another 4-5 minutes, adding water to ensure the vinegar doesn’t burn or stick. Cover again.
Once chicken is cooked through, pull from pan onto cutting board and let rest for 5 min.
Slice chicken thinly.
Chop bacon into small pieces
To assemble pizza, start with the crust on a pizza pan
Spread pizza sauce to within 3/4 inch of the edge
Sprinkle with 1 cup mozzarella cheese
Layer chicken onto the mozzarella cheese
Sprinkle red peppers over the pizza next
Next layer on corn, and bacon
Lastly cover with remaining cup mozzarella cheese and cheddar cheese (can use less as you finalize the pizza)
Put into oven and back for approx 12-14 minutes. Checking to ensure crust is a golden brown.
This is a basic pizza dough recipe. Its great because it doesn’t have to sit for hours to rise, you only need about one hour and 10 minutes to make two dough balls that equal two 12-inch pizzas. This dough can also be frozen ahead of time and then thawed for use that night. Who doesn’t love ‘do ahead’?!
I use this dough in my Chicken Florentine Pizza recipe. SO good. You can make any pizza you wish with this dough – simple & delicious.
3 cups all purpose flour – plus about 1/4 cup more for dusting & rolling
1 dry yeast packet
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup warm water – not hot – warm
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
In a mixer with a dough hook, pour the water into the bowl. (if you don’t have a mixer, use a regular bowl – very large glass bowl)
Add in the yeast and wait about 5 minutes, until you see a few bubbles or a bit of foam on the top – it won’t be ‘bubbling’ but some of them will rise to the top.
Add the sugar, oil and salt to the water/yeast mix.
Turn the mixer on low and slowly add in flour spoonful by spoonful until a dough begins to form (if you don’t have a mixer, stir in flour until dough begins to form, you may need to start mixing by hand as it starts to thicken up).
Once a sticky dough ball begins to form, pull from bowl and move to working surface.
Add a bit of flour to a work surface and knead the dough for about 30 seconds. It should be dense and tacky to the touch.
Lightly oil the inside of a large bowl, place the dough ball into the bowl, and then brush the top of the ball with oil.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm place – no draft – for an hour.
Ball will rise and almost double in size.
Remove from bowl, it will be light and fluffy.
Cut in half, knead on a floured surface until a tighter ball is formed.
Complete with other half of dough.
Immediately use the dough or wrap separately in plastic wrap, place inside freezer bag and place into freezer.
Ingredients for dough making
Warm water with yeast added – see bubbles and a bit of foam (after 5 minutes)
I was born and raised in Tulsa, Ok and went to Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Ok. Hideaway Pizza is a pizza chain that began in Stillwater in 1957, and about 20 years later moved to other cities state-wide. Their culture was set by the owner/creator Richard Dermer who was a pizza loving hippie who wore tie-die and was seriously into flying kites. He even had a fleet of VW bugs as delivery vehicles. So cute! This laid-back, ‘keep employees happy’, try new flavor combinations, chill place is where SOOOO many delicious pizza creations were born.
I worked there for about 6 years through high school and college, and loved EVERY SINGLE MINUTE. I never got tired of pizza, still to this day I recreate them at home. Some of the friends I’ve met there have followed me through to adulthood (insert shout out to Jen Glenn and KQPierce). If you are ever in Oklahoma, you MUST go check them out.
The chicken florentine is one of my favorite pizzas on the menu, I could NOT get enough. I ate it at least one a week for like a year. I do the exact recipe here minus feta cheese. If you love feta, then add it. I just didn’t put it on this time around. And here we go…
1/2 cup fresh spinach leaves, washed, dried and stemmed
1.5 cup light mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 16 inch pizza pan
Sprinkle both sides of the chicken breast with salt and pepper. Place into container with a tight closing lid.
Cover chicken with Italian dressing and balsamic vinegar. Close tight and shake. Place in fridge for at least 1 hour.
Heat grill to medium, grill chicken breast about 5-6 minutes on each side or until internal temp registers 160-165 degrees . Set on cutting board, do NOT cut until ready to place on chicken. This will ensure it remains juicy.
Heat oven to 425 degrees.
Begin to build pizza by placing the dough onto your pizza pan. The dough should be about 1/4 inch thick unless you want a thin crust pizza – but if you do want thin crust…I would cook the dough for a couple of minutes before putting on toppings to ensure it cooks all the way through.
With a fork, poke holes about every inch or so around the pizza – even on the crust to ensure the dough doesn’t bubble.
Using the back of a metal spoon, spread pesto sauce all over the pie leaving about a 1 inch edge for the crust. Be sure not to use too much, pesto is oily and can keep the bottom of the pie from cooking all the way through. 3/4 cup should be enough if you spread it out to a thin layer.
Top the pesto with the spinach leaves, do not overlap.
OPTIONAL: I top the pesto and spinach with a light layer of cheese. If so you may need a bit more than called for above – your choice but my husband loves cheese.
Next, thinly slice the chicken breast – like 1/8 inch or less – and place on the pie.
Top with mushrooms.
Sprinkle the pie with mozzarella cheese.
Sprinkle with minced garlic. This sounds like it will be crazy garlicky…but its not. If you like garlic – do it. If you don’t just leave it off. 🙂
Bake in oven for approximately 15 minutes or until edges are golden brown but still fluffy.
Pesto Sauce is one of my favorite sauces, why its not a ‘mother sauce‘ I don’t know. I think they should add a 6th one for sure. Basil makes everything taste better, parmesan cheese, pine nuts, olive oil and garlic – what’s not to love?! This sauce is great on pasta, on salads, on sandwiches, and I even will serve it over cream cheese with sun dried tomatoes and crackers as an appetizer. So easy! I also use this in my chicken florentine pizza recipe. I usually make a double batch, freeze it, and pull it out to thaw while I’m at work – when I get home voila – sauce ready for use.
1.5 cups fresh basil leaves, pulled from stems (pack tightly into the cup)
1 cup evoo
2 tbsp fresh minced garlic
3/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup pine nuts
Place all basil into food processor or blender. Pulse lightly a few times until roughly chopped.
Add in garlic.
Pulse a few more times.
Turn machine on and pour in half of the olive oil.
While machine is still running, add in pine nuts.
Continue with remainder of olive oil and last add the cheese.
After adding cheese only let the processor run for 5-10 more seconds.
Stop machine – add s&p. Pulse a few more times – and pour into mason jar or container for use within a couple of days, or freeze immediately.
Basil roughly chopped in food processor
All ingredients blended together
Final product – this is the actual amount made w/ these measurements