Sunday, February 24, 2013

My "go to" Pizza Dough

I've tried alot of pizza doughs through out the stages of my cooking. I actually found this one on Panago's website and we love it. It rises up quickly and has a really nice flavour with only a few ingredients.

I've made it a few times, once a day in advance and I let it rise in the fridge, it got huge! Easily covered 2 good sized cookie sheets for rectangle pizzas. I've also made it when we wanted to eat in about an hour.

This recipe will make enough dough for about 2 Large Pizza's 12" or so.

  • 1 Tbsp yeast
  • 1 1/4 cup warm water
  • 4 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Honey
Combine the yeast, warm water and honey. Stir slightly and let sit for 5 - 10 minutes. I try to let it sit for longer, this will usually yield a bigger, fluffier dough. A foam will start to form on the top, this is when you can add it into your other ingredients. I usually do the beginning in my stand mixer, once it starts to come together I'll start to knead it by hand. Keep a little extra oil or water on hand in case you need it to come together a bit more. I've had to add extra every time.

Once it forms a ball easily, oil a bowl and let the dough sit in it - covered for at least 45 minutes.

After the dough has doubled in size, remove from bowl and divide into two even pieces. I like to roll  them out on a lightly "Cornmealed" surface. I like the flavour it adds to the pizza dough and it is also more non stick than flour I like to think. It will take a bit to roll out and break down the yeast again but once you get it on the pizza sheet, let it sit for another 20 minutes or so (if you can) and you'll get more of a thicker pan style crust.

It cooks quickly, 425 for 15 - 20 mins or so but it doesn't always brown too much, sometimes I'll throw it under the broiler for an extra couple minutes for the colour and it will help crisp up the cheese nicely. Hope you like it!

Chicken & Blackbean Taco Pizza

Pinterest has finally taken hold of my soul. It took a long time but it has me now, I'm sorry. But that means I'll add a Pin Button! But in the spirit of my new love of pinterest my next few recipes will be from there, including this one. I obviously changed things because, that's what I do. But this recipe would probably have been good as is too.

Here is the original recipe, I found through Pinterest, Here.


  • 1 pound Ground Chicken
  • 2.5 Tablespoons of Taco Seasoning (equivalent of 1 package of seasoning)
  • 1 14.5 ounce can of Black Beans (or 1.5 cups of prepared black beans), drained and rinsed
  • 1 medium orange Bell Pepper, diced
  • .5 cup chopped Cilantro
  • 1 cup of Cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1-2 cups of Mexican Blend Shredded Cheese
  • 1 cup of Queso Fresco*, crumbled
  • 1 package of Whole Wheat Flatout Thin Crust Flatbreads
Preheat your oven to 425F.
So we made a large pizza instead of the individual flatbreads and were basically trying to combine ideas of pizzas we found online. Instead of ground chicken we used 3 chicken breasts. I cut them up into what I thought were (they weren't) bite size chunks and cooked them in my cast iron pan with Fajita Seasoning (epicure's) instead of the slightly less spicy Taco Seasoning. I also added just over half a cup of frozen corn to the pan when the chicken was close to done being cooked. I wanted it to have a slightly smokey flavour.
I kept the black beans in there, added them to the pan after I turned it off, just to heat them through and give them some seasoning. We used half a red and half a green bell pepper instead of the orange, because it's what we had. I'm fairly anti cilantro so I "forgot" to tell me boyfriend that we needed it...

We used the tex-mex pre-grated cheese and some mozza. But I'd say we cut back on the cheese quite a bit because there were so many toppings! We also used a roasted garlic pizza sauce, which in the end made pretty much no difference. The halved cherry tomatoes went on after it came out of the oven, about 20 minutes later. I cooked it on a pizza pan with holes in the bottom and cooked it on the bottom rack. It was such a heavy pizza, it needed the extra support of a crispy crust. One piece of this was so filling, we'll definitely be making it again.
Here's the picture (on the right), with another pizza we made (Capocolo, Mozza, Arugula and Balsamic)


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Mac & Cheese Poppers

These were amazing. Seriously amazing. I will make just the filling as my mac and cheese for a long long time now. Dear Everyone I make it for, I hope you like Jalapenos!! This was our second Jalapeno Popper recipe and due to my love of mac and cheese, it was probably my favourite ever. The heat is pretty low on these if you get all the ribs out. We actually added hot sauce to the white sauce to add that extra little bit. We didn't change this one up too much, other then we halved it again. Here's the original recipe with my changes below.

Adapted from Rachael Ray

16 jalapeño peppers
1/2 pounds ditalini pasta
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 cup milk
1 1/4 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1/4 cup breadcrumbs or crushed saltine crackers
I cooked 1 cup (pre-cooking) of Macaroni instead of the ditalini pasta. We ended up with a bit extra for the 15 Poppers we had to fill. I stuck to the butter and flour, but used all milk for my white sauce. I eyeballed the cheese, just until the sauce was extra thick, orange and cheesy. We added the Hot Sauce like I said, just about a tsp. And the salt and pepper.
Start these off like any other, slicing the top 1/3 off the pepper length ways. Chop up the tops and throw them in with the cooked pasta into the cheese sauce.
Scoop out the insides of the peppers, I use a grapefruit spoon, since it helps to grate the ribs out of the inside. Fill these up with the jalapeno mac & cheese mixture, I liked to heap them up a little bit. Top these off with the breadcrumbs and some extra cheddar. Bake these in the oven at 425 F for about 15 minutes. These also got devoured too fast for a photo - so good!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Buffalo Chicken Jalapeno Poppers

Yes, you read the title right. And so begins the Superbowl writing. Since we're both trying to watch our salt and bad things in general intake we decided we would mess around with a basic popper. Rachael Ray has a ton of recipes, this was my pick. As per usual I changed it a bunch and will change it more if I make it again.

Here's the base recipe to start:

Adapted from Rachael Ray

18 - 20 jalapeño peppers
1/3 cup hot sauce, such as Frank's Red Hot
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups of rotisserie chicken, skin and bones removed, shredded
1 rib celery, finely chopped
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
Start off like you would any other popper recipe, by cutting the top, lengthwise, off the Jalapeno. About 1/3 worth. Then scoop out the insides - I like to use a grapefruit spoon, it really helps get the ribs out of there. Since we were making these for a crowd we didn't want anyones mouth to be on fire. Getting the ribs out really helps.
Things I Changed/Directions
We halved this recipe because we also made another popper recipe to take too. So we used Chicken thighs that I had poached. I decided I really didn't like the texture of them in the popper. You can definitely get away with breasts and save the prep of taking the skin and bones out, not to mention the calories.
I used a Buffalo Sauce by Franks so I didn't have to mix in the butter - its in there I'm sure. I also just toss to coat. As much or as little as you end up needing.
I melted some pepper cream cheese down to mix with the buffalo chicken mixture to give the poppers a little more substance. I also added 1/4 cup strong cheddar (instead of blue) and 1/4 monterey jack to this filling. 
I stuffed the poppers with this and topped with the remaining cheese and some fresh bread crumbs I made. You then bake these for about 15 minutes in a 425 F oven.
I forgot the celery. But its definitely something I would add. I'd also do more chicken. With about a cup of chicken plus the mixture I only got 8 poppers filled. I would have liked them to have more chicken in them for sure.
But! These were great and were cleared out before any of the other (bacon wrapped and purchased) poppers that they were up beside. Too fast for a photo!