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Officially, we’re looking at National Chicken Soup Day and National Pizza with the Works (except Anchovies) Day.

k, thanks…..bye

chicken-picture1

Oh right, sorry there Chicken, a little humor insert, but that’s the extent of what I feel for these particular days- not a lot of excitement. How can you get excited about Chicken Soup? Or pizza overloaded with too many toppings? Ho hum…

I love Chicken Soup, don’t get me wrong. Little else can soothe so universally as chicken soup, made fresh with lots of vegetables and soft dreamy noodles. It’s a well known fact that it’s good for colds and sinus infections, but whether or not it’s beneficial isn’t always the reason to indulge; eat it because it’s delicious and a simple and healthy option. Soup is such a great way to offer a meal that is low in calories and high in substance; you can add in a multitude of vegetables and easily achieve a large amount of your RDA in vegetable consumption with one meal. A little goes a long way too.

Soup is a much beloved and oft repeated meal in our house and the sky is the limit for what goes into the pot. I didn’t cook up anything new for this post, but here are some of my favorite soups ever-  Chicken Tortellini Alfredo Soup, a lively Smoky Chicken Tortilla Soup, and a rich and creamy Chili Blanco, then a completely random but delicious Chicken Corn Potato Chowder. This last one isn’t a chicken soup, but it’s wonderful anyway, and as long as we’re talking soups, you should give this Pesto Vegetable Soup a shot.

And now….Pizza.

I’m a minimalist when it comes to pizza; the less on the crust, the better I like it. I’ve had those Everything Pizza’s and it’s just too much stuff. I’m not a fan of onions on my pizza unless they are beautifully caramelized; mushrooms aren’t a favorite either. I don’t like hamburger on it, or canadian bacon, or pineapple or pickles or jalapenos or cheddar cheese or potato or beets……

All right, those last two might be considered a long shot, but the rest is not. A classic combo that I love is sausage and green pepper; I also love just pepperoni with nothing but cheese. I love chicken, tomato and green pepper, I love fresh tomato and fresh mozzarella, with capers and kalamatas. And I love vegetable pizza. But these days, with dairy being on my avoidance list, pizza has taken a backseat in my culinary repertoire and I seriously miss it. Indulge in a slice or two for me, would you??

nablopomo21

{{chicken photo courtesy of Easy Chicken Recipes}}
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Pizza Crust

1 T. yeast
1 T. sugar
1 1/3 c. warm water
3 c. flour
1/4 c. corn meal
3 T. Olive Oil
1 t. salt

In a stand mixer bowl dissolve the yeast in 1/3 c. warm water.
Add remaining ingredients, and with dough hook, mix and knead until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and forms a ball. Additional flour may be needed in this process. Continue to knead for about 2 minutes until dough is pliable.

Remove dough from mixing bowl and put into large oiled bowl to rise. Put in a warm place free of drafts and allow to rise until doubled in bulk. Punch down, separate into two pieces and stretch or roll into desired shape. Top with choices and bake.

RECIPE NOTES: when I added dry herbs I put them in with the flour and cornmeal but they likely can be added at any point during the kneading process. I used an italian herb mix with parsley, rosemary, basil and thyme.

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Pesto Vegetable Pizza

1 pre-made pizza crust (Boboli)
2 garlic cloves, cut in half
1/2 c. prepared pesto sauce
1 yellow pepper, cored, trimmed and sliced thin
4 roma tomatoes, seeded and sliced
1 8oz pkg sliced potabella mushrooms
3/4 c. fresh spinach, chopped
1/2 c. shredded parmesan cheese
1 c. lo-fat mozzarella cheese

Rub cut garlic cloves over crust, discard. Spread crust with pesto. Top with peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms and spinach. Sprinkle with cheeses, Bake at 400 degrees until hot and bubbly, approx. 14-18 minutes.

Chicken with Asparagus Stir Fry

1 T. toasted sesame oil
1 1/2 # fresh asparagus, tough ends trimmed, cut into 1″ pieces
1 # chicken tenders or boneless breasts, cut into 1″ pieces
2 scallions, trimmed and cut to 1″
1 shallot, minced
1 red pepper, cored seeded and cut into 1″ pieces
1/2 c. snow peas, de-stringed and cut in half
2 T. minced fresh ginger
1/4 c. oyster sauce
2 T. garlic chili sauce
1/2 c. shelled salted pistachios, coarsely chopped

Heat oil in large skillet or wok over high heat. Add asparagus and red pepper, stir fry for about 4 minutes, then add snow peas and stir fry 2 minutes. Remove to bowl and keep warm. Swirl a scant 1/2 t. more of oil in pan and add chicken, allow to cook until browned on one side, then flip over and cook until you can’t see any pink. Add sauces, ginger, shallot and scallions, stir to combine. Add vegetables and stir to coat. Cook about 5 -8 minutes longer or until chicken is no longer pink. Serve over rice, if desired.

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