Sunday, July 24, 2011

Making a Comeback With Homemade Pizza!

I would like to start by saying that I, once again, apologize for my long absence. This time, there really was a good reason which I will not get into other than to say that I've had a lot going on in my life both physically and emotionally. Thank you to those who bear with me through these long periods of no posting. I hope to be able to stick with it a little more. That being said, let's get down to the good stuff, THE FOOD!!

Of course, I would be the crazy one who would decide to get my life back into order and start menu planning, cooking, and blogging during the HOTTEST week of the year. What was I thinking? But, I did it! More or less anyway! I may not have accomplished the menu on the nights I planned, but I got them all cooked except for one (which I still cooked on that night, just an impromptu meal instead of the planned one). So, what did I cook this week? Here's a quick list of this weeks cooking. Yes, I realize it isn't 7 recipes but we also ate out a little and had a picnic to go to. (I never said I was perfect... lol)

White Chicken Bacon Spinach Pizza on a Homemade Herbed (Pan-style) Crust
Cinnamon Banana Honey Oatmeal & Hodge Podge Smoothie (posts to follow)
Beef Chimichangas (post to follow)

I started Monday out with a White Chicken Pizza recipe that I found at We've been eating a lot of frozen pizzas in this house this summer and I also am familiar with making pizza dough since we make it in huge batches at work and I've also made it from scratch at home so I felt this was a great way to jump back into my routine of cooking. My husband was also home, so we had the pleasure of getting into the kitchen together. The pizza turned out OK. My husband decided to add bacon to it (because everything is better with bacon) and a friend suggested adding feta. The crust, however, was one of the best I've made at home. Very nice and fluffy and thick and just like the pizzas I like to get when I eat out. I doubled the pizza dough recipe. When it was finished mixing, I divided it in half, and froze one half (wrapped tightly in plastic wrap) for a future use. I then continued with the recipe to make Monday night's pizza. Hope you all enjoy and I see you back here a little more often.

White Chicken Bacon Spinach Pizza
Adapted from

*2 sm. Chicken Breast, chopped small
*2 Shallots, chopped
*5 cloves Garlic, minced
*2 Tbsp. olive oil
*1 large bunch basil, chopped
*1 large handful fresh spinach, chopped
*6-8 oz. shredded pizza cheese (I used a 4 cheese Italian blend)
*1 ball homemade pizza dough (or store bought) (recipe I used follows)

 1. Saute the chicken, shallots, and garlic seasoned with salt and pepper until cooked through. While this is cooking, parbake your crust for about 7-10 min. at 425F.
2. Remove crust from oven and chicken from heat. Brush crust liberally with olive oil. Spread the chicken mixture on the crust and then top with basil first and then the spinach and finally with the cheese.
3. Put back in the oven for another 7-10 min or until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown around the edges.
4. Remove from oven and let rest a minute or two for the cheese to set.

Homemade Herbed Pizza Crust (pan style)
This yields ONE pizza. If you'd like to freeze some, you must double the recipe!
Adapted from

1 c. lukewarm water (slightly warmer than your body temperature)
1 pkg. dry active yeast
1 Tbsp. sugar
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
2.5 cups all purpose flour
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. basil (dried)
1/2 tsp. onion powder

1. Mix water, yeast and sugar. Let rest for 10-15 min until the yeast reactivates and starts to bubble.
2. Add oil, salt, garlic, basil and onion powder. (I mixed these ingredients in a separate bowl while the yeast was setting).
3. Add flour and knead for about 10 min to develop the gluten. (I did this all in my stand mixer and used the dough hook.)
4. Let dough rest 10 min and start preheating oven to 425F if you haven't already.
5. Now, roll out (or stretch your dough) to the size of your pan. I stretched it, pizzeria style on my hands, to about the size I needed and then used my fingers to stretch it the rest of the way once in the pan.
6. Poke the dough in several places (docking) the dough so it doesn't bubble too much at spots while baking. Brush with oil.
7. Bake at 425F for 7-10 min to parbake. Then add topping of your choice and bake another 7-10 min or until your cheese is bubbly and edges are golden.