Pesto Chicken Pizza

February 6, 2013 § 1 Comment

Pesto Chicken Pizza

Pesto Chicken Pizza

My husband and I used to eat at CPK (California Pizza Kitchen) a few times a week. Sometimes twice a day!!! My favorites there changed over the years and the last few years it was their thin crust pesto chicken pizza. I LOVED that pizza. Doesn’t matter if I was full on appetizers and bread before my pizza came, the entire pizza had no chance of survival.

Notice how the pizza is referred to in past tense? Well not too long ago they revamped their menu. I had a break from them because I was pregnant with my second baby and was so sick I barely left the house. Anyway, when I managed to make it back there to order the pesto chicken pizza….. It was gone. GONE! I asked the waitress and she verified it was no longer on the menu. They couldn’t even make a close copy with what ingredients they had on hand. I was so sad and could barely eat a few bites of the other pizza she suggested. It was probably half a year since that day and I’ve gone back just two other times. Once for pasta and then recently to see if there’s any pizza they could make to be just a little close to my much missed pizza. They couldn’t do it.

Now when I crave that pizza I have to make it myself. Although the crust isn’t as good as theirs (I still haven’t invested in the whole pizza stone process), its still a pretty tasty pizza. I used the no-knead method for the dough and it’s one of the easiest dough ever!

So if you’re missing CPK’s Pesto Chicken Pizza or just like pesto chicken this is a good pizza to try. Enjoy!

 

Pizza dough recipe from Handle the Heat and adapted from Bon Appetit.

Ingredients

  • 3-3/4 c ap flour
  • 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1-1/2 tsp salt
  • 1-1/2 c warm water

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl.

Slowly add warm water, mixing with a spoon until all water is incorporated.

Shape dough into a ball and transfer to a clean bowl and cover. Let rise until doubled (up to 18 hrs). I let mine rise overnight.

Transfer dough onto a floured work surface and divide into three equal portions.

For each portion, take the dough and gather the four “corners” to the center to create 4 folds. Turn seam side down and roll into a ball.

Let dough rest, uncovered, for an hour before use.

The other portions can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to a month. Just let it defrost in fridge for a day (if frozen), then sit out at room temperature for 2-3 hours before using.

 

Pesto Chicken Pizza

Ingredients

  • 1 portion pizza dough (see above)
  • 1/3 c pesto sauce
  • 1/2 c mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 c Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 c chicken, cooked and cut into strips
  • pine nuts, as much as you like
  • sun-dried tomatoes, as much as you like
  • basil leaves

Preheat oven to 500-550 degrees. (depends on how high your oven can go)

Shape the dough into about a 12″ circle, or whatever shape it becomes since mine did not want to be a circle.

Spread the pesto sauce on the dough.

Top with ingredients.

Bake for about 10 mins or until the bottom is golden and crisp and cheese is melted.

Top with torn basil leaves.

 

Chocolate Cupcakes

February 6, 2013 § 3 Comments

foodiejulie - chocolate strawberry cupcakes

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cupcakes

So it’s been awhile since my last post and I’ve had this in my draft for quite awhile. Long story short, I had my second son. :) Kyle was born four months ago and its been busy ever since. I’m happy to finally be back in the kitchen again (although two kids make for some burnt food and missed ingredients)!

I LOVE this chocolate cake recipe. It’s so chocolatey, moist, rich and super easy.

This recipe is all over the web and it’s been so long that I really can’t remember where I first saw it. I think its from Hershey’s…?

Ingredients

  • 1 – 3/4 c ap flour
  • 2 c sugar
  • 3/4 c cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 c buttermilk
  • 1/2 c vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 c coffee, cooled

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl.

Add eggs, buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Mix to combine.

Add coffee and mix again to combine.

Divide among the cupcake liners. I can get two dozen regular and two dozen mini cupcakes from one batch.

Bake for 15-18 mins. Whenever an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

See! wasn’t that easy??

If you want to make a cake out of it just pour it into greased and floured pans or pan and bake for about 30-35 mins until the toothpick comes out clean.

foodiejulie - Oreo Cupcakes

Oreo Cupcakes

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Cupcakes

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Cupcakes

Roasted Cauliflower and Asparagus Soup

March 6, 2012 § 4 Comments

This is a pretty healthy and filling soup that can be made in one pot (well a baking sheet AND a pot). I’ve only had cauliflower in stir fry and raw, and love both. But this is my new favorite way. As soup and with a lot of cheese! I was skeptical of this recipe because there isn’t that much going into it, but it makes a hearty and creamy soup that could be a meal.

I’ll take this on a cold day with mounds of cheesy, crunchy croutons and some green onions sprinkled on top.

Recipe adapted from closet cooking.

Roasted Cauliflower and Asparagus Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 5-6 big stalks of asparagus with tough ends broken off and tips broken into smaller pieces
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 3 c vegetable broth
  • Parmesan rinds if you have it
  • 2 c extra sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 1 c milk
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Toss the cauliflower florets, asparagus, oil, salt and pepper and arrange them on a single layer on a large baking sheet.
Roast for 30 mins.
Heat the oil in a pot on medium heat.
Add the onion and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
Add the garlic and thyme and saute until fragrant, about a minute.
Add the broth, cauliflower, asparagus and parm rinds and bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.
Take out the Parmesan rind.
Puree the soup until it reaches your desired consistency with a stick blender. (I didn’t have this so I did this in batches in a food processor)
Mix in the cheese, let it melt and season with salt and pepper.
Mix in the milk and remove from heat.

Thai Tomato Basil Turkey

February 29, 2012 § Leave a comment

One of my favorite dishes at Thai restaurants is the Mint Leaf Chicken. Flavorful ground meat, fried egg with runny yolks, and rice to sop it all up. Heaven on a plate. :)

This version has tomato paste in it just because I love tomato-y foods. If you omit that, its pretty close to the Mint Leaf Chicken dish you order at restaurants. Super easy to make (all in one pan, even the fried egg if you give it a quick wipe before frying) and faster than going out.

Ingredients

  • 1.25 lb ground lean turkey
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 shallots, diced small
  • 6 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • juice from 1/2 a lime
  • 1/4 medium yellow onion, about 1″ strips
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, about 1″ strips
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste (or ketchup)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 c fresh Thai basil, whole leaves

In an oiled pan over medium heat, add garlic and cook till fragrant, about 1-2 mins.

Add shallots, cook for another 2-3 mins.

Add kaffir lime leaves and crushed red pepper, cook for about 1 min, making sure to squish the leaves as you move it around in the pan.

Turn the heat up to medium high or high, depending on your stoves heat. I used high, you could really hear it sizzle and pop.

Add the turkey, break up and cook until no longer pink and it is in small crumbles.

Add lime juice, onions, peppers, soy sauce, and tomato paste. Stir to mix well.

Add fish sauce and basil leaves, stir to incorporate.

Serve with a fried egg on top (with runny yolks of course) and some quinoa, rice, or whatever you like on the side. :)

Also super yummy if you serve it with raw whole cabbage leaves (like lettuce wraps), little green eggplants, or cucumber slices as Hors d’oeuvres!

Cheesy Dog Biscuits

February 27, 2012 § 2 Comments

You can never have enough treats for your pets, especially homemade ones. I’ve been wanting to make Charlie (my rottie) and Lucky (my brothers shihtzu) fresh treats for awhile and now realize how quick and easy it is! The first ones I made were a peanut butter and banana batch, which went really quick. This is a cheddar cheese treat. Charlie loved (but charlie literally eats everything), Lucky not as much. So maybe I’ll try a teeny tiny bit of bacon in it to see if Lucky takes to it more. With bacon I think I might take to it. ;P

These are super easy to make and smell great while baking. I’m still having trouble getting the biscuits to get super crunchy and dry like the commercial stuff. Next time I’m planning to double bake them like a biscotti and hopefully they get crazy crunchy.

Recipe adapted from All Recipes: Dog Treats 1 by doughmama

Cheesy Dog Biscuits

Ingredients

  • 1 c rolled oats
  • 1/3 c applesauce
  • 1 c hot chicken stock
  • 3/4 c ground flax
  • 1/2 c milk
  • 1 c shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 – 3 c whole wheat flour

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine rolled oats, applesauce, and stock.
Let stand 10 minutes.
Thoroughly stir in flax, milk, cheese, and egg.
Mix in flour, 1 cup at a time, until a stiff dough has formed.
Knead dough on a lightly floured surface, mixing in additional flour as necessary until dough is smooth and no longer sticky.
Roll or pat out dough to 1/2″ thickness. Cut with cookie cutter or with a knife, and place 1/2 inch apart onto parchment lined cookie sheets.
Bake 50 minutes to an hour in the preheated oven, until golden brown.
Cool before serving. Store in a loosely covered container. You can freeze in a airtight container if you won’t be using it all within a week or two.

Choux Pastry Steps in Pictures

February 25, 2012 § Leave a comment

I’ve decided to try to take pictures of the choux pastry in the making since I had questions from my original post awhile back. I think I said I was going to time myself on the steps, but with a toddler practically smacking me for attention, it didn’t work out that way. But I do have pictures, except for one, which was the one I really wanted to get….next time?

These pastries are so easy to make and can be filled with so many different things. This time I had some leftover meyer lemon cheesecake (the crust wasn’t working for me so I scraped the cheesecake out and piped it into my choux pastries). I agree with one of my reader about this recipe maybe using too much butter, so next time I might switch to just using oil. Healthier and lighter maybe. We’ll see how that goes.

Choux Pastry (recipe found here)

1. In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the milk, water, and butter to a boil.

2. Reduce heat to medium-low and add flour mixture all at once. Immediately start stirring with a wooden spoon until mixture becomes a ball. (This is where I described it wrong, it doesn’t really become like a round ball, but it pulls away from the sides of the pan and moves with the spoon. More like a mound than a ball.) This is the picture I really wanted to get, but didn’t. So when I do, I’ll add it to this post as an update.

3. Transfer ball to a bowl and beat it with a wooden spoon to cool the paste. Add eggs one at a time making sure to fully incorporate each one before adding more. (The amount of eggs you need will vary, beat one at a time until you get a paste like consistency that holds it’s shape when piped.) Here is how it looked after each egg addition:

1 egg

2 eggs

3 eggs

4 eggs (I stopped at 4)

4. Transfer dough to a large pastry bag fitted with a large open tip (I used a large star tip). Pipe onto parchment lined sheet pans.

5. Bake for 10 minutes.Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake another 30 minutes.

6. Allow the pastries to cool before filling. If you’re making these ahead, place in an airtight container in the fridge after completely cooled and reheat in the oven for a few minutes to crisp them back up. (350 degrees for like 4-5 mins is what I did)

Fettuccine Alfredo

February 25, 2012 § Leave a comment

This dish is NOT for the health conscience. Every once in awhile I’d order this dish and not even think about it being an unhealthy dish. (I know its obvious, but I choose not to think like that. Haha.)

Now that I’ve made a fettuccine alfredo dish, I think I’ll limit myself to maybe a few times a year to enjoy. So yummy, so rich, but wow, it’s pretty much butter and cheese! I decided to top mine with grilled chicken breash, sauteed mushrooms, and arugula. There’s no way I could eat it plain. The arugula made it so good, it gets wilted when mixed in and gives it a peppery fresh taste. Awesome.

Fettuccine Alfredo (adapted from cbsop.com)

Ingredients:

  • 18 oz fettuccine, cooked, drained and hot
  • 2 sticks butter, cut in small cubes
  • 3 1/4 cups grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp pepper

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.

Add pasta and cook according to package directions.

Drain pasta, reserving about a cup of the pasta water.

Place pasta back in pot, mix in butter and garlic powder until butter is all melted.

Add cheese and pepper, toss to distribute evenly.

Use pasta water to thin out if it gets too thick. add about 1/4 c at a time.

Serve immediately, with or without some toppings.

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