Greek Chicken Pizza

Anytime I can whip up a recipe using nothing but items I already have in the fridge, it’s a good thing. And if I can use up some leftover chicken (rotisserie, grilled, anything!), that’s a great thing! And the best part about this pizza – it’s so good that I make it sometimes even when I don’t have the ingredients already in the fridge.

Trader Joe’s is great for condiments and I regularly have their sun dried tomatoes, marinated artichoke hearts and balsamic glaze in my pantry. Throw in some chicken, a little mozzarella and feta and you have a tasty flat bread pizza that reminds me of a Greek restaurant.

Ingredients (serves 3-4):
12 oz. pizza dough – see recipe
6 oz. cooked chicken, cut into bite sized cubes
3 tbsp. chopped artichoke hearts (3 small, chopped)
2 tbsp. sun dried tomatoes, chopped
4 oz. mozzarella
1 oz. feta
½ tsp. Greek oregano
Balsamic glaze

Optional Garnish:
Chopped basil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Roll pizza dough into approx. 12” round and place on stone. Top with shredded mozzarella, chicken, sun dried tomatoes, chopped artichokes, feta cheese and Greek oregano. Bake for 15 minutes, until mozzarella is golden and bubbly. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes. Garnish with chopped basil and balsamic glaze (if using). Enjoy!

Wine Pairings:
Averaen Pinot Noir 2015

The Best Damn Turkey Burgers

It wasn’t too long ago, that if you asked me what the purpose of a turkey burger was, it would be either a) for a person on a diet or b) the token non-beef burger for someone who didn’t eat red meat. Not something I would ordinarily order until I tried The Continental Club burger at Hopdoddy, a popular burger restaurant in Austin. It was incredible and I was floored. This is my take on the Continental Club; a flavorful turkey burger with the flavors of sun dried tomato and basil…these are the Best Damn Turkey Burgers…Period!

 

Ingredients (Makes 4 Burgers):
20 oz. ground turkey
10 fresh basil leaves
¼ red onion
2 heaping tbsp. sun dried tomatoes
½ cup bread crumbs
1 tsp. salt
Pepper
4 whole wheat buns

Toppings
Bacon
Provolone cheese
Arugula
Red onion
Balsamic glaze

Add basil leaves, red onion and sun dried tomatoes to food processor. Blend until smooth and add to ground turkey. Mix in bread crumbs, salt and pepper until fully incorporated. Form into 4 equal patties and cook in cast iron skillet or grill pan over medium heat until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Top with your favorite topping and enjoy!

Wine Pairings:
Averaen Pinot Noir 2015

Cheesy Garlic Breadsticks

cheesy-garlic-breadsticksThere is something about freshly baked bread that makes every meal better. It makes a light salad more substantial, and every soup, stew and gravy needs a fresh piece of bread for sweeping off the plate. Add garlic + cheese and we’ve covered all my favorite groups. Who doesn’t love cheesy breadsticks?

 

 

cheesy-garlic-breadsticks-2

 

Ingredients (makes 8 breadsticks):
8 oz. pizza dough (see recipe)
1 tbsp. butter, melted
1 clove garlic, pressed or finely minced
¼ tsp. Italian seasoning
Pinch crushed red pepper (optional)
2 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese

cheesy-garlic-breadsticks-3Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roll pizza dough into an approx. 8×8 inch square. Melt butter in a microwave safe bowl for 15 second increments until fully melted. Stir in garlic, Italian seasoning and crushed red pepper. Brush melted butter mixture on dough and top with shredded cheese. Bake on a pizza stone or cookie sheet for 12 minutes or until cheese is golden and bubbly. Brush with any remaining butter, sprinkle with sea salt and cut into 8 breadsticks. Enjoy!

Pizza Dough

BBQ Chicken Cast Iron Skillet Pizza 2I make pizza dough pretty often, because you can make so much with it. And because I love bread!  You can make a pizza with it (of course!), but it also can be used to make calzones, Pepperoni and Sausage Pinwheels, Cheesy Garlic Bread Sticks or garlic knots. It only takes about 5 minutes to mix together (plus some time for rising) and here are some guidelines for how much you will need for various recipes.

 

 

8 oz. Pizza Dough (makes a 10” thin crust pizza, 8 breadsticks)
Featured recipes: Cast Iron Skillet BBQ Chicken Pizza, Cheesy Garlic Bread Sticks
Ingredients:
⅓ cup warm water (110-115 degrees)
¾ tsp. yeast
1 tsp. olive oil
¼ tsp. salt
130 grams flour (approx. 1 cup)

Pepperoni and Italian Sausage Pinwheels12 oz. Pizza Dough (makes a 12-14” thin crust pizza)
Featured recipes: Hot Sopressatta Pizza
Ingredients:
½ cup warm water (110-115 degrees)
1 ¼ tsp. yeast
1 ½ tsp. olive oil
½ tsp. salt
200 grams flour (approx. 1 ½ cup)

16 oz. Pizza Dough (makes 2 10” thin crust pizzas, calzones)
Featured recipes: Pepperoni and Italian Sausage Pinwheels
Ingredients:
¾ cup warm water (110-115 degrees)
1 ½ tsp. yeast
2 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
260 grams flour (approx. 2 cup)

cheesy-garlic-breadsticksTo make the dough:
In the bowl of a stand mixer, dissolve yeast in warm water until frothy, approximately 2 minutes. Using the dough hook attachment, add olive oil, salt and flour and mix on low to combine. Scrape flour off sides as needed, and increase to speed 2 (low-medium) for 2 minutes, until dough clings to hook and bowl is clean. Form dough into a ball, put into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in size, approximately 1 hour.

Tip:  dough rises best in warm, humid climates.  Since most of us prefer our homes not to be warm and humid, I create this environment in my microwave.  Take a mug full of water, and heat in the microwave for 3 minutes. After water is heated, place covered bowl in microwave with the steamy cup of water and close the door.  This will create a perfect environment for dough to rise.

Homemade Ricotta Cheese

Homemade Ricotta Cheese 2Ricotta cheese is a staple in a lot of Italian cooking. I use it in lasagna, stuff shells, on pizzas, or even desserts. I always knew that making ricotta from scratch was pretty easy – there are only 4 ingredients, all of which were on hand and it took less than 30 minutes from start to finish. I had a hankering for Ricotta Cheese with Peaches and Spicy Chili Honey, where the cheese is the star of the show, and wanted a high quality, fresh cheese. The selection at the grocery store in Austin is a bit, well, lacking for Ricotta, so now was the time to make my own. The results were fantastic, and luckily there was quite a bit left for more dishes throughout the week.

Even though it was one of the easiest things I’ve ever made, it felt pretty fancy to make my own cheese.

Ingredients:
½ gallon whole milk (8 cups)
1 cup heavy cream
2 tsp. kosher salt
3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice (juice from approximately 1 lemon)

Homemade Ricotta Cheese 3Line a colander with 2 layers of dampened cheesecloth and place over a large bowl.
On medium heat, combine milk, heavy cream and salt, stirring occasionally until starting to boil. Reduce heat to low and add lemon juice. Mixture will start to curdle in about 2 minutes. Continue to simmer for approximately 2 minutes more. Pour mixture into lined colander and let sit about 20 minutes so the excess liquids (whey) drain from the cheese. Empty bowl occasionally to ensure proper draining. Store unused ricotta in the refrigerator for about a week (like it would last that long!) Enjoy!

Pepperoni and Italian Sausage Pinwheels

Pepperoni and Italian Sausage PinwheelsIf you’ve ever walked into a pizza place in New York, you’ve seen the counter lined with pizza you can order by the slice, calzones and pinwheels.  My first stop when visiting New York is always my favorite pizza place, but I still need to get my fix between visits. These pinwheels are hearty, grab-able, appetizers for game day or just having some friends over. My all-time favorite is the classic pepperoni pinwheel, but you can put just about anything in them. Got a meat lover? Make this pepperoni and sausage variety. Feeling vegetarian? Broccoli and roasted garlic makes a divine pinwheel. Just don’t forget the cheese! Take some store bought pizza dough (or make your own) and roll away. One pound of dough makes 2 rolls, and each roll makes about 10 pinwheel slices, so this recipe is great for a group. If you’re making appetizers for just a few friends, cut the recipe in half, and make the leftover dough into garlic knots to have with dinner, or a thin crust pizza for tomorrow.

Pepperoni and Italian Sausage Pinwheels 2Ingredients (makes approximately 20 pinwheels):
1 lb. pizza dough
¼ lb. sliced pepperoni
¼ lb. crumbled Italian sausage, browned in skillet
8 oz. shredded mozzarella
¼ tsp. Italian seasoning
1 tbsp. melted butter
Marinara sauce for dipping

 

Pepperoni and Italian Sausage Pinwheels 3Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut pizza dough in half and roll each half into an approximately 9×9 square on a floured surface. Top each square with half of the pepperoni, crumbled sausage, mozzarella and Italian seasonings. Carefully roll into a log, pressing ends together so the cheese doesn’t melt out when baking. Cook for approximately 25 minutes until deep golden brown on outside and dough is cooked throughout.

 

Pepperoni and Italian Sausage Pinwheels 4 Let cool for 5 minutes, brush with melted butter, slice each roll into 10 pinwheels and enjoy!

BBQ Chicken Cast Iron Skillet Pizza

BBQ Chicken Cast Iron Skillet Pizza 2Pizza in one of my favorite foods, ever. I like it in any form; thin crust, deep dish, pizza bagels, you name it! The same goes for pizza toppings, you can’t go wrong with any of your favorite toppings, but it’s the method of cooking that gets that perfect crust which is key to any good pizza. Introducing…. cast iron skillet pizza! Starting the crust in a pre-heated skillet instantly starts cooking the bottom to lock in a perfect crunch, while finishing off on the oven creates ooey-gooey cheesy toppings. The mix of BBQ chicken, mozzarella and cheddar cheeses, and the fresh red onion, green onion and cilantro are the perfect combination for this crispy pizza.

I used a 10″ Lodge Cast Iron Skillet, but a smaller skillet can be used if you like a thicker crust.

Ingredients:
Dough (recipe yields approximately ½ lb. dough):
⅓ cup warm water (110-115 degrees)
¾ tsp. yeast
1 tsp. olive oil
¼ tsp. salt
150 grams flour (just over a cup)

Toppings:
2 oz. BBQ sauce
8 oz. cooked chicken breast, cut into chunks
2 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
2 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
1 tbsp. diced red onion
Chopped green onion and cilantro, for garnish

BBQ Chicken Cast Iron Skillet PizzaTo make the dough:
In the bowl of a stand mixer, dissolve yeast in warm water until frothy, approximately 2 minutes. Using the dough hook attachment, add olive oil, salt and flour and mix on low to combine. Scrape flour off sides as needed, and increase to speed 2 for 2 minutes, until dough clings to hook and bowl is clean. Form dough into a ball, put into an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in size, approximately 1 hour.

 

BBQ Chicken Cast Iron Skillet Pizza 3Preheat oven to 525 degrees. Once dough is ready, heat skillet on medium until preheated, but not smoking. Carefully press dough into hot skillet, stretching to edges with fingers, being careful not to touch the hot skillet! Cook on medium heat for two minutes, then start to assemble to toppings. Layer BBQ sauce, cheese, chicken and red onion and transfer skillet to oven until bubbly, about 10 minutes. Garnish with green onions, cilantro and serve.

Enjoy!

Goat Cheese, Roasted Garlic and Red Pepper Flatbread

Goat Cheese Roasted Garlic and Red Pepper Flatbread

This is one of my favorite appetizers. Inspired by the flavors of the “Roasted Garlic Bulbs” starter at Moonshine, one of my favorite restaurants in Austin, this version is made a little heartier, prepared on a flatbread (instead of a crostini) and with the addition of Italian sausage. The cool, tangy goat cheese is perfect with the rich roasted garlic. Easy and delicious!

 

 

For a substantial appetizer for 4 people, use:
2 flatbreads
2 oz. goat cheese
Head of garlic, roasted
4 oz. crumbled Italian sausage, browned
6 peppadew peppers, sliced
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
4 basil leaves, chopped into ribbons (optional garnish)

If you haven’t used roasted garlic before, you must try it. The normally strong, sharp flavor of garlic becomes softer and nutty from roasting. I love roasted garlic in pasta dishes or just slathered onto a slice of bread. It’s easy to make, see how to make Roasted Garlic here.

Goat Cheese Roasted Garlic and Red Pepper Flatbread 2

Put pizza stone in over and preheat to 425 degrees. Toast flatbreads on hot pizza stone for 2-3 minutes per side to give them a good crunch. Remove from oven and let rest on the hot stone for 2 minutes. Meanwhile combine sliced peppers in a small bowl with balsamic vinegar to coat. Spread goat cheese on flatbreads, and top with roasted garlic, Italian sausage, and marinated red peppers. Garnish with chopped basil, slice and serve.

Enjoy!