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Nacho Pizza

1 Apr

What do you call pizza that isn’t yours? NACHO PIZZA!

Don’t worry, that will be the only lame joke on the blog today.

It’s April Fool’s Day, and I’ve already been pranked a few times. The Washington Metropolitian Area Transit Authority decided to prank me this morning. I had a job interview in SE, so I was going to take the 90/92. I checked Nextbus and it said there’d be a 92 bus in 6 minutes, so I waited. But it didn’t show up. Then it said there was a 90 bus in 3 minutes. Again, I waited. Still nothing. So I had to abort mission and walk to the metro. Ended up being a few minutes late to the interview. Good one, WMATA!

Then I got home and grabbed a Diet Dr. Pepper. The can was weirdly wet, but I didn’t pay much attention. Then I went to move the 12 pack away from the trash cans, and realized the whole box was soaked in soda. Apparently when my roommate hired cleaning ladies yesterday, they managed to puncture a hole in one of the cans, but just left it there leaking on the floor. PUNK’D.

And then I turned on my camera to take pictures of today’s recipe. Nothing. Turns out the battery was completely dead. That one is my bad.

So I apologize, all these pictures are from my phone. Not great. But it was either that, or MS Paint drawings of the meal.

See? No one wants that.

I guess I could have waited for the battery to charge, but I was hungry…

Two things to note: This is actually only 1/4 of the dough from the recipe. I made another mini pizza a couple days ago. 1/4 of the dough makes a pretty good lunch-sized pizza. Second, it looks like I piled on an absurd amount of toppings. It flattens out when it cooks, I promise.

Nacho Pizza

Serves 1

½ of the dough made from the whole wheat pizza dough recipe (maybe you have it left over from the BBQ Chicken Pizza earlier this week?)
1 boneless skinless chicken breast
1 can black beans, drained
½ red onion, sliced thinly
½ cup shredded mozzarella
1 small avocado
5 dollops of sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place chicken breast in a small oven-proof dish and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 25 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from oven use two forks to shred.
Turn oven up to 500 degrees.
Take half of the dough from the whole wheat pizza dough recipe and stretch it into a thin round. Place stretched out dough on an oiled oven sheet.
Place a layer of black beans (drained) on the dough. You can make it as thick as you like, depending on how much you love black beans. Cover with shredded mozzarella. Next layer on the shredded chicken, again, just put on as much as you like. I like to pretty much cover the whole thing with chicken. Toss on your red onion slices, and top with a little extra mozzarella.
Bake for 13-15 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and golden brown. Remove from oven and top with slices of avocado and dollops of sour cream. Slice and serve!

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
Makes two single serve pizzas

¾ cup warm water
½ tsp active dry yeast
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp plus 2 tsp olive oil

In a small bowl, sprinkle yeast over warm water, let sit for a few minutes.
In an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, stir together all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour and salt. With mixer on lower, drizzle in olive oil and mix until blended. Still with mixer on low, pour in water/yeast mixture and continue stirring until combined, and dough forms a sticky ball. It’s pretty sticky, don’t worry about that.

Lightly oil a medium sized bowl. Form dough into a ball and put in oiled bowl, turning to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm area for 1-2 hours.

*This makes enough crust for two single serving pizzas. You can wrap the other half up in plastic wrap, toss it in the fridge and make another pizza next weekend. The dough only gets better after chilling in your fridge for a few days.

BBQ Chicken Pizza on Whole Wheat Crust

30 Mar

I don’t have a car, so I generally don’t leave the city…ever. If it’s not metro accessible, it doesn’t exist to me.

I love how quickly I’ve adjusted to this life of no cars. I love not worrying about how high gas prices are, or how much insurance costs, or if someone is going to ding my door in the parking lot, or did I forget to change the oil? I grew up miles and miles outside of the nearest town, and there aren’t sidewalks along the two-lane country roads, so cars were a mandatory part of life. There’s a freedom that I associate with having a car: you can go anywhere, you can buy a ton of groceries and put them in the trunk, you don’t have to perfectly time your arrival at the busstop or risk standing in the rain for 15 minutes. But there’s an entirely different freedom that comes when you don’t own a car: you don’t have this incredibly expensive responsibility that you might destroy because someone else is driving poorly, you don’t ever need a designated driver, you never have to worry about finding a parking spot, or someone breaking into your car to steal your ipod.

But this past week, my roommate was out of town, and I offered to move her car on street cleaning days, so in exchange she said I could use the car for whatever while she was gone. Having a car is almost like a drug. I quickly found myself wanting to drive the mile that I normally walk to get to Target and do my grocery shopping (I restrained myself, thankfully). But I did take a couple trips out into Virginia to hit up the big craft stores that don’t exist within DC (Michael’s, JoAnn’s, etc…).

And then on Saturday, my friend and I drove out to Great Falls State Park to do some hiking. It’s really not that far out, maybe 10 miles from Georgetown, but it’s a whole different world. Rushing river, trees, boulders, wildlife…

We spent a few hours scrambling over boulders along the river and enjoying the amazing views. When we got to this clearing by the river, my friend joked “okay, now you have to climb that cliff.” And I was like “yeah, no.” But then we looked closer and realized the trail marker actually did go straight up the cliff…so…up the cliff we climbed.

The sunglasses prevent you from seeing the sheer terror in my eyes. The picture fails to capture the river gorge directly below the cliff, into which I was sure I was going to fall.

But I survived, and after conquering both the cliff and my yearly “lady’s exam” this morning, I decided I seriously deserved some pizza. And for some reason, it really needed to be BBQ chicken.

I’m actually not sure I’ve ever even eaten a BBQ chicken pizza before today. The idea has previously never appealed to me. If it were even a remote possibility, these weird cravings would have me worried that I’m preggers. But this is the Very Single Girl’s Kitchen. Very Very Single.

Making your own pizza is super easy and oh-so-satisfying. I just baked a chicken in BBQ sauce, shredded it, and threw it on my dough with a layer of BBQ sauce, mozzarella, red onions, and more mozzarella.

BBQ Chicken Pizza on Whole Wheat Crust
Adapted from Pioneer Woman

Serves 1 very hungry single girl

Whole Wheat Crust
(Makes two single serving crusts)

¾ cup warm water
½ tsp active dry yeast
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp plus 2 tsp olive oil

In a small bowl, sprinkle yeast over warm water, let sit for a few minutes.
In an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, stir together all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour and salt. With mixer on lower, drizzle in olive oil and mix until blended. Still with mixer on low, pour in water/yeast mixture and continue stirring until combined, and dough forms a sticky ball. It’s pretty sticky, don’t worry about that.

Lightly oil a medium sized bowl. Form dough into a ball and put in oiled bowl, turning to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm area for 1-2 hours.

*This makes enough crust for two single serving pizzas. You can wrap the other half up in plastic wrap, toss it in the fridge and make another pizza next weekend. The dough only gets better after chilling in your fridge for a few days.

To Assemble Pizza

1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
3 tbsp barbeque sauce
½ medium red onion, sliced
½ cup shredded mozzarella (or more…)
5 tbsp barbeque sauce (additional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place one chicken breast in a small oven-proof dish and coat with 3 tbsp of your favorite barbeque sauce. (I’m a big fan of Sweet Baby Ray’s).  Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes, until cooked through. After removing from oven, dice or shred chicken.

Turn oven up to 500 degrees. And turn your amp up to 11. (Okay, you don’t have to do that second thing.)

Take half your dough and stretch it out to your desired thickness. It’s not a science, and pizzas look cooler when they aren’t perfect (at least that’s what I tell myself). Wrap the other half up in plastic wrap and toss it in the fridge for later this week.

Drizzle some olive oil on a baking sheet, and place your stretched-out dough on the oiled sheet. Spread the remaining 5 tbsp of barbeque sauce on top of the dough as the sauce for the pizza. Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella. Add shredded/diced chicken and red onion slices, and top with just a little more mozzarella.

Bake in oven for 15 minutes, until cheese is starting to turn bubbly and golden brown. Remove, let cool for a few minutes, slice, and devour.

*This makes a very chicken heavy pizza, but that’s how I like it. You could use all the dough, and make a bigger, less chickeny pizza.

Orange Honey Chicken

15 Feb

Did you guess it? The theme of the week is….ORANGES.

Mostly because oranges were on sale at the grocery store… but also because they remind me of summer. The weather here has been great, way too warm for February, so it only seemed appropriate. I was going to post this yesterday, but since it was Valentine’s Day, it felt wrong to post an entirely un-Valentiney recipe. Plus, I was busy hanging out with a group of Marines. True story.

Obviously, I’m single, so I decided to just ignore the holiday this year. I’m not going to feel smug about being above it, nor sad about not being with a romantic boyfriend. But during my four mile run (training for the ol’ 8K), I really needed inspiration to keep me going during that last mile. And I found that inspiration in promising myself a fancy cocktail if I made it without stopping. After the run, I hit the showers, threw on a dress, and went to my favorite restaurant (which has been mentioned here before: Acadiana). I went around 4:30 to avoid the Valentine’s rush, and sat down at the bar to order myself a drink. I also decided to go ahead and order myself some pulled pork BBQ sliders served on buttermilk biscuits. I mean, I ran four miles. Why not?

To my great luck, there happened to be a large group of Marines just down the bar from me, and they quickly adopted me as their collective Valentine and supplied me with as many drinks as I could handle. They were very sweet and entertaining, and I have to say it was the most fun I’ve ever had on Valentine’s Day. (Sorry ex-boyfriends…the chocolates were fine, but it just doesn’t beat drinking sweet tea vodka with a bunch of Marines…)

Then I came home and watched a series of sappy movies on TV, including The Ugly Truth and The Proposal. Why is Gerard Butler such a fox? Though I do prefer him in 300…

But onto the chicken. This is sort of a Chinese food knockoff. I’d like to think it’s healthier than your standard Chinese fare, but I’m not going to make any claims. You could also serve it over rice, I just didn’t have any, so I used orzo.

Orange Honey Chicken

Serves 1

½ cup uncooked orzo
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
¼ cup orange juice
1 tsp orange zest
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cornstarch
1 chicken breast, cut into about 1 inch cubes
½ tbsp butter

Boil water in a small pot and cook orzo as directed, drain and set aside.

While orzo cooks, mix honey, balsamic vinegar, orange juice, orange zest, cornstarch and salt in a small bowl. Set bowl aside.

Heat medium skillet over medium heat, melt butter and add chicken. Just toss occasionally until chicken is browned and cooked through.

While chicken cooks, pour sauce into a separate small skillet and heat over medium heat. Stir until thickened, about 8-10 minutes.

Once chicken is done and sauce is thickened, put orzo on a plate, top with chicken and pour sauce on top.

Chicken Parmesan

9 Feb

Growing up, I think my family used the wrong names for a lot of things. I grew up calling those warm fuzzy things you wear around the house “house shoes” only to go to college and get stared at blankly by my roommates because apparently everyone else in the world refers to them as “slippers.” I think the same goes for “house coat” or as you probably call it a “robe.”

My mom also really likes to sing, but, like me, is really bad at it. So I grew up listening to her sing popular songs (a perennial favorite being: “STOP. In the name of love. Before you breaaaaak my heaaaaart”), only to later hear the actual version and find out that her version sounds absolutely nothing like the real one.

And when you order Chicken Parmesan at a restaurant, you get way more than when you eat my mom’s version. Pasta? Tomato sauce? Psh. So I apologize now if you saw that title and were hoping for the common Italian menu staple. I mean, feel free to make this, and then toss it onto some pasta and tomato sauce., if that’s what floats your boat.

But in our household, we just ate the chicken part of the equation, usually with rice, and some sort of veggie, and that’s how I like it. I think some sauteed zucchini sprinkled with some extra parmesan would be just peachy with this. Since I’m training for an 8k, and I now use that as an excuse to eat whatever I want (I think I might be doing this wrong…), I made up some of my mom’s delicious buttermilk biscuits.

This chicken comes together really quickly. Just set up your assembly line, with three bowls for the flour, egg, and breading. You can buy chicken tenders or if your tiny grocery store doesn’t have them, whole chicken breasts and slice them into tender-sized strips yourself.

Then just dip in the flour.

Then coat in the egg.

Then into the breading.

Then just into the skillet, and 10 minutes later you are eating a delicious Midwestern version of Chicken Parmesan.

Chicken Parmesan (Sort of)

Serves 1

4 Chicken tenders or 1 chicken breast sliced into tender-size pieces
½ cup flour
1 egg plus 3 or 4 tbsp water
¾  cup bread crumbs
¼ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

Put egg in one bowl and add a little water to thin.  Whip together.
Put flour in another bowl.
Mix bread crumbs and parmesan cheese in a third bowl.

Roll chicken in flour.  Shake off excess. Dip in egg mixture. Then roll in parmesan/bread mixture, coating thoroughly.

Coat a non-stick pan with olive oil (use a brush or a paper towel to wipe the pan so it is just coated with no oil pooling) and heat over medium-high heat for 1 minute.  Put the coated chicken into the pan and turn the flame to medium.  Let the chicken brown on one side, without moving for 5 minutes. If it is browning too fast or dark, turn the flame down to medium-low.  Turn the chicken over and brown the second side for another 5 minutes.  Use a sharp knife to cut into a piece of chicken to check for doneness – there should be no pink.  It may require an additional few minutes per side.