Yesterday was a rainy, cold, nasty day… The kind of day that just makes me feel like being lazy. I desperately needed to go to the store, though, and I had a lunch date with a good friend that I was really looking forward to.
I put on real pants and my favorite cozy sweater and headed to the new Japanese place to meet my friend and her darling girl. I got a Bento Box with soup, salad, a spring roll, 4 pieces of California roll, fried rice, and teriyaki scallops…Delicious!
After our lovely lunch, the boy and I headed to Wal-Mart for crochet thread and something for dinner. I wanted to make naan pizzas, but the bakery had no naan. I was really sad until a loaf of garlic and herb French bread caught my eye. Why not have French bread pizza instead?
I decided to do chicken alfredo pizzas, but you could use any sauce and topping combo under the sun.
Chicken alfredo French bread pizza
1 loaf French bread
The meat of 1 rotisserie chicken, pulled
Alfredo sauce (I used the jar but you could certainly make your own)
Fresh basil leaves
About 1/4 of a red onion, thinly sliced
Italian blend shredded cheese
Banana pepper rings
Preheat your oven to 375° and line a baking sheet with foil or parchment. Slice bread in half lengthwise, then hollow it out to make room for the good stuff.
I mixed my alfredo sauce with Parmesan cheese, then spread it liberally over the bread halves. Lay out the basil leaves (as many as you like), then add onions and pulled rotisserie chicken. I added banana pepper rings to only my part of the pizza, because no one else understands that banana peppers belong on EVERYTHING.
Top with cheese, then pop into your oven for about 15 minutes, or until cheese melts. I turned the broiler on low when the timer went off so the cheese would get all brown and toasty. I think it took about 5 minutes, but just to be safe watch them like a hawk.
That is the best photo I could manage, because I had two hungry guys trying to get to the food.
Ok, O was in his high chair banging on his tray, so it was really just one guy attempting to move me out of the way. Still, I didn’t have time to even attempt to make it look pretty. Sorry about that.
I served these with a simple side salad, and The BF had Doritos, too…Because he apparently thinks you have to have chips with pizza. Dude is weird sometimes.
They took all of 30 minutes to make and they were super tasty. The only way to be lazier would be to buy the frozen, pre-made French Bread pizzas…but where’s the fun in that?
I hate math. I mean, I really, really hate math. I checked out around third grade when long division showed up. In high school, I was the kid rolling her eyes and proclaiming that I would never use Algebra or Geometry (turns out, I was right). College? Forget about it. I dropped my one and only math class pretty much a week in. Did I say dropped? I meant that I just quit showing up.
Even though I think math is more Devil magic than anything, I get really excited about these silly nerdy holidays. I plan to celebrate by making personal pizzas for dinner. If you feel like getting into Pi day, here are a few recipes I recommend:
Are you excited for Pi day? How do you plan to celebrate?
I think we can all agree that pizza is full of awesome, and homemade pizza is even better. Don’t get me wrong, I won’t turn my nose up at a slice from a pizza place…but by the time we get it home (no one delivers to us country folk) the cheese has congealed and the crust is soggy. There’s just nothing quite like a slice of fresh – outta – the – oven pizza that you made yourself.
I’ve always gone the store bought crust route because, honestly, it’s just easier. I’ve always wondered if homemade crust would be better, though… So when I discovered a recipe for pizza crust in my KitchenAid book I decided to give it a shot. Was it better?
Leaps and bounds, y’all.
I know you guys probably can’t wait to try this for yourselves, so how about we get crackin’?
Pizza crust (Recipe from KitchenAid)
1 envelope active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (105° F to 115°F)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
Cheese (whatever variety makes your heart sing)
I preheat my oven first (450°F) so the dough can rise on the stove top.
Attach the dough hook to your mixer, then pour the warm water into the bowl. Add yeast and let it dissolve, then add salt, oil, and 2 1/2 cups of flour. Mix on speed two for about a minute.
Add remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl, then let it mix for about two more minutes.
Let dough rise in a greased bowl (I used olive oil) in a warm place for an hour, or until it doubles in size. Or until you suddenly remember it after getting distracted by your toddler’s newest daredevil stunts. You know, whenever. It’ll still be right there waiting for you.
Punch the dough down, then you can do a few different things. I divided it in two, then divided one half into thirds for O’s mini-pizzas. The remaining half got pressed into our cast iron skillet (brush it with a bit of olive oil, then sprinkle cornmeal on the bottom and sides first).
You could easily make one big pizza out of this dough, or a couple of thin crust pizzas. It would make really good calzones, as well. The possibilities are practically endless!
Once you have your dough ready, top it with whatever your heart desires. We used a ton of pepperoni, onions, green peppers, and banana peppers (they just belong on pizza). O’s pizzas got a smidge of sauce, broccoli, green peppers, and cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until exposed crust is golden brown and cheese is melty.
Let is rest for five minutes or so before cutting into it… And try not to burn the roof of your mouth on the molten lava cheese.
This crust was so easy to make that it would be a crime to buy the pre – made stuff from now on. It actually stayed crunchy under the ton of toppings and sauce, which was nice. Floppy pizza crust is not delicious.
I happen to think this would make a great Super Bowl snack. You could even make a mini-crust for each guest, let them top it however they like, and then bake ’em up.
All I know is, next time I’m making a mini Hawaiian pizza and I’m not sharing.
What are your favorite pizza toppings?
So here’s the deal. Every now and then The BF stops by the grocery store after work and comes home with one of these:
On this particular shopping trip he also ended up with a jar of alfredo sauce… He figured we could have chicken alfredo pizza one night since we had all of those chicken breasts in the freezer. I don’t know about you, but I didn’t want to take the good chicken breasts (yes, I still have six left from Omaha Steaks and I’m hanging on to them) and just throw them on a damned old pizza. Sheesh.
I ended up using pre-cooked oven-roasted diced chicken breast, bacon, baby spinach, basil, shallots, garlic, and three kinds of cheese.
The BF wants chicken pizza? Well he’s gonna get chicken and bacon alfredo pizza with all kinds of other goodies hiding under the cheese. Because I’m an overachiever.
For the crust just stir water into the crust mix ( I used both packages), coat with some oil, cover and let sit in a warm spot while you prep the other stuff. I put a towel over the bowl and set it on the stove top while the oven preheated to 425 degrees.
Fry, bake or nuke (if you want to use pre-cooked bacon…I won’t judge) as much bacon as you want. Actually, make a little extra since you will probably eat a couple of pieces to make sure the bacon meets your standards… I call that Quality Control. Once it’s crispy set it aside on a paper towel lined plate to cool. When it’s cooled enough that you can handle it, crumble it up.
If you need to, grate your cheese. I had some basil and garden vegetable semi-soft cheese in the fridge that I used, along with pre-grated parmesan and pizza blend.
Rinse off your basil and lay it flat on a paper towel to dry.
Thinly slice about half to three quarters of a shallot and four cloves of garlic. I suppose you could use less garlic but…why?
I like to dump the chicken on my cutting board and check for any gristly (barf) chunks. I cut the gristle (gag) off of them if I can and throw it out. I hate big chunks of chicken on anything so I also cut each chunk into smaller pieces.
By now your oven should be preheated. Spray a pizza stone with Baker’s Joy (that stuff is magic) or just use a regular old non-stick pizza pan. Spread out the crust as evenly as possible, then smear on some of the alfredo sauce. Don’t be afraid to lick the spoon when you’re done.
Rip up some baby spinach leaves and your washed basil, then throw it on the sauce as evenly as possible. Yes, I suppose you could Chiffonade your basil and spinach but…eh.
Add the shallot and garlic slices, then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese (I also added the freshly grated basil and garden vegetable cheese at this point).
Evenly distribute the chicken chunks, cover with pizza blend cheese (or whatever you want), then top with crumbled bacon.
Bake for 25 minutes, then let it rest for 5-10 minutes before cutting. I realize that will be incredibly difficult but you must stay strong. Trust me, it will be easier to cut once it has had a chance to cool slightly.
I feel very Semi-Homemade right now… Sandra Lee would be proud. Now all I need to do is down a cocktail or two (hiccup!) and cover my table in some obnoxious themed ‘tablescape’.
I prefer to make stuff from scratch so I know exactly what goes into the food I feed my family…but I suppose the occasional convenience food isn’t horrible. Besides, this was good. Really, really good. I ate four pieces and felt pretty miserable for a little bit but it was worth it.
Of course, I wasn’t too miserable to skip having ice cream a little later.