Thursday, May 31, 2012

Artisan BBQ Chicken Pizza with Balsamic Caramelized Onions

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I had a hankering for pizza, and I mean "good pizza"!!
I don't know about you guys, but some of our local pizza joints are hits and misses.  You order the first time and the pizza is amazing, you order a 2nd time, well, this time, they leave much to be desired!!  That being said, it kills me to spend so much money on pizza when it's mediocre at best!!  

So, I've taken to making my own.  Yes, yes I have.  Sometimes I cheat and use a pre-baked store bought crust, sometimes I make my own dough, and at other times I buy the pre-made pizza dough.
I've tried to incorporate homemade gourmet pizza's into our dinners by making it simple and easy.
Gourmet pizza,  "in my humble opinion", are easy, delicious and a fantastic way to bring the family together!!  Family time, that is what ultimately it's all about, isn't it??

It takes just a little pre-planning when you are a busy mom, but let me tell you, it's worth every bite!!

I start off by making my artisan dough.  *Keep in mind, I am severely DOUGH CHALLENGED*, so when I tell you I made a homemade artisan dough, you know it's simple, easy and the dough is challenged proof!! ;-) (AKA: Me)
I halved the recipe in half  Also, when the recipe instructs you to shape, I do so.  See instructions below.

Artisan dough recipe here:  Easy Artisan Dough

Instructions for easier use of dough here:
Garlicky Meatballs Florentine  comes out perfect each and every time!!

So while I'm cooking that night and making dinner, then cleaning up, packing lunches etc., the dough is rising.  Once risen, I then roll out, pre-bake and refrigerate till ready to use.  Amazing artisan dough for the taking!!  Multitasking, "that's the name of the game"!!! *grin*
Using your favorite pizza pan (this is my favorite pita pan), a drizzle of good olive oil (about 3 tbsp), baste along the bottom and sides.  Sprinkle with about 1tbls of cornflour, set aside.

Using a flat surface, sprinkle with flour, and scoop your dough out onto the floured surface. Preheat your oven to 375F.

Once you have rolled out into your desired size and shape, add to your oiled pan, and using your fingers, press into desired shape.  *Note: this dough is amazing, it springs back obviously, it's dough after all, but not even a quarter of the amount of spring back as regular dough does.

Bake for 15-17 minutes, remove from oven, let cool and refrigerate till ready to use, voila!!  Amazing pre-baked crust that leaves the rest in smoke!!!

See what I mean??  Beautiful pre-baked crust.  I know, mine is a little lopsided, I told you I was dough challenged, you thought I was joking?? *sly grin*

Tastes amazing either way, and when you cover it with the toppings, all you will get is requests for "MORE PLEASE"!!!
Ready for the recipe?

Here we go:


1 bottle (18 oz) favorite BBQ sauce
6 cups cheese divided
( 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, 3 cups mozzarella (1 pkg), 1 cup Pepper Jack)
1 large onion sliced (I used a large Vidalia)
1 medium green pepper sliced
1 medium red pepper sliced
2 cups shredded chicken of choice (I used leftover grilled chicken thighs, skins removed)
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon butter

Preheat oven to 350F.
Slice your peppers and using a microwave safe plate, cover with paper towel and microwave for 1 minute.  *This softens the peppers and ensures your peppers will crisp and cook through while baking*.  Set aside.
In a small saute pan, add your olive oil and your butter and bring to medium high heat.  Once heated, add your sliced onions.  Saute till onions start to become soft, add your balsamic vinegar.  Continue tossing and stirring till they start to become caramelized and slightly charred, about 4-6 minutes.


Take off heat and set aside.

Let's assemble our pizza shall we??

Using your 
pre-baked pizza crust.  Spread almost the entire bottle of BBQ sauce over the crust, reserving about 1/4 cup. Add your shredded chicken.  Now comes the fun part; add 1/3 cup of your shredded cheddar cheese over the chicken, and 1/3 cup of the pepper jack cheese as well.
Now add your peppers and finally add your amazingly delicious, (you just want to sit down and eat the whole pan) balsamic caramelized onions.

Sprinkle the remainder of the pepper jack cheese, and 1/2 cup each of shredded cheddar and mozzarella cheese.  Drizzle the remainder of the BBQ sauce evenly over the pizza.

Now add the remainder of your cheeses over your pizza, gaze lovingly at your creation and place in oven to bake!  

Bake for 22-26 minutes till nice and crusty!

I know right????

Let cool for a few minutes, cut into desired pieces and serve.

Would you like a piece??  Here you go!!!

Go ahead, take a huge bite, and "mmmmmmm"

Till next time!!

Dishin with Didi

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Crispy Chicken Wings using my new...

Isn't she beautiful???

This is my gorgeous new "deep fryer"!!  Hubby and my two little ones (their not really little anymore, but you know what they say, they will always be little for me), purchased this for me as my Mother's Day gift.
What a suprise it was!!
Previously I was using, what do you call it, a "Frydaddy"??  I used this for quite a number of years, until it bit the dust a few years ago. So when I did deep fry I was using a good saucepan to do so.  Well, the food cooked as predicted and everything, however, it makes the BIGGEST mess ever!!  So after I would be finished deep frying for the familia, instead of eating, I would get out my Mr. Clean, Windex and Carbona and clean up my stove, my over the stove microwave, side countertop...
you get my meaning.

Everytime we would go to a kitchen store, appliance store, hubby would literally watch me drool over certain appliances/gadgets.  The deep fryer was one of them.
I don't know about you; but as for me, man oh man... just let me free at a William & Sonoma, Harry & David, Crate & Barrel... or just a good Asian store, Greek store, Italian store, a neck of the woods little mom and pops with gourmet jams/sauces..."oh my heaven's", I can spend hours upon hours just in my glory... coffee cup in hand and I'm good to go!!! Does that technically make me a foodie?  Or am I just weird???  Probably just weird!!
Well, unbenknowst to me, hubby was paying attention to my "ooooohhhhhhs, and mannnnnnn, and "honey look at this"???  Did I mention how much I love this man???

Come Mother's Day he suprised me!!  Suprised I was, and let me tell you ecstatic!!
I love, love getting kitchen gadgets for occasions, heck for any occasion!!!

So of course I had to try it, you know I did!!!  I made chicken wings... let me tell you, they were the BEST EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER chicken wings!!!  Not because I made them, it was how crispy they came out!!  They were amazingly crispy, moist and just deliciously decadentt!! The CLEANUP??  Oh my heaven's, there was absolutely no clean up!!  The baskets went right into the dishwasher, the oil was clean to be used for a second frying, and voila, let oil cool, cover and put away!!!  I'M IN HEAVEN!!!!!
This was a simple recipe using ready made wing sauce that I found at my local dollar store (go figure,
beyond happy, you so know I stocked :-) ), celery sticks and of course french fries, hello....  What, are chicken wings without fries you say??? It's like peanut butter without jelly!!  It's "sacriligious, a monstrosity" I say!!!
Ready for the simple recipe?
Here we go:
1 5lb bag chicken wings defrosted, rinsed and patted dry
1 bottle chicken wing sauce (you will only use about 1/4 of it)
3/4 cup flour
1-1/2 tbls lemon pepper seasoning
blue cheese dressing for dipping
celery sticks optional

Place your oil to heat in your fryer of choice.
Meanwhile, rinse and dry pat chicken pieces, set aside.  On a plate/platter, add your flour and your seasonings.  Using a whisk/fork, mix flour and seasoning till thoroughly incorporated.  Dredge your chicken pieces through the flour, shaking off any excess flour.
When oil is hot, add your chicken pieces to oil.  Fry 10 minutes, and turn over.  Fry a few more minutes till nice and crispy on the other side as well.
Using a wire strainer or slotted spoon, remove your chicken wing pieces.

Place into a bowl, and toss with your favorite chicken wing sauce.

I mean really??  At the dollar store??  Hello, "McCfly"???

Serve with celery sticks, blue cheese... and french fries if desired and ENJOY!!!

Till next time!!

Dishin with Didi