After this we're getting pizza

Pizza is a major major priority, so when there was a weekend together for the first time in FOREVS a pizza night was the obvious answer. However when the decision to make pizza is made then pizza is the only thing on the brain...so it's necessary to fill the time with something else. We decided to get a little active and go hiking...(thanks sister for the bomb water bottle). 

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We were off to the Coralville Reservoir - Woodpecker Trail - Linder & Squire Points area. I've been wanting to try this area out for some time now and an 80 degree weather day was agreeing with us. 

The hike was amazing, there were little pockets that looked out onto the lake - which we turned into adventure opportunities. There are also little "workout pods" throughout the hike so we got to sneak in some abs, pullups, etc. After skipping some rocks and Ethan climbing a tree, we called it good and headed back to make the za! 

We already decided on our go to for two pizzas - one massive original cheesy pie as well as a smaller bbq chicken. 

This was the third time that we have made this pie, its pretty basic. 
1. Make it huge
2. Cover with freshly shredded provolone & mozzarella
3. Bake it hot (520 for 8 minutes to perfection). 

Every time we have attempted to make it, it just keeps getting better and better. This time, we used all bread flour and let it rise in a warm oven for 3 hours. The dough consistency was PERFECT - Ethan thinks it was due to when he fermented the yeast it melted right into the beer. The dough was airy and bubbly but held it's density from the bread flour. Also cheesy goodness always wins. 

This bad boy came to fruition after I made bbq chicken thighs in the crockpot last week. The flavor was so on point that we knew it would be even better on a pie, and let me tell y'all its easy as pie (sorry...I had to). We threw an onion, chicken thighs, chicken broth, and bbq sauce (we've been hooked on Cookies bbq) and let it cook on high for 3 hours. I typically cook everything on low for about 6, but we were in crunch time. We stuck with our typical pizza sauce, just not as much, topped with sliced mozzarella ball, shredded chicken & onions and a little shredded mozzarella (leftover from the first pie). This sucker took about 8 minutes too and then topped with some more bbq sauce and fresh basil...from our tree that Ethan is doing a damn good job of keeping alive. 

We were in full agreement that these were our best pizzas to date...but I think we say that every time. At this point, I'm unsure if its factual or if we are just that infatuated that we fall back in love over and over again. Either way, I'm okay with it. As always we polished these off followed by pints of Ben & Jerrys and 2 glasses of wine (Ethan had milk...ew) because...

Calories don't count on the weekend...right?

Creamy Chicken Ricotta

Back at it again with the pasta

Is anybody else still struggling through the time change? The major upside is our office closes at 4 now, so after work I'm able to hit up the gym, run a few errands, make dinner and it's only 7:30 AND it's still light out. Anyways, I've had this ricotta in the fridge that I need to use so pasta was an easy answer. Ethan had just gotten a great deal on chicken from Lucky's  and who couldn't use a little extra protein in their lives - so I decided to throw that in too. 

Side note - look how huge that chicken breast is! 

I have a habit of adding spinach, tomatoes, garlic & onions to pretty much anything I can. I would add mushrooms (my all time favorite) but Ethan absolutely despises them, he even hates the smell when they hit the pan. 

This was a breeze of a recipe, I was powering through everything so quickly that I forgot to stop and take pictures. I know I know, I'm still learning so give me a break here. Essentially just cook up your chicken, sautée your garlic and onions, while all of that is happening cook your pasta. I used mostaciolli, but you could really use anything you have in your pantry. add your tomatoes, then pasta, then spinach until it all comes together.

At this point, you have a few options. 

  1. Add some parmesan cheese & olive oil for an easy good to go
  2. Toss into a bowl & dollop with ricotta mixture 
  3. Blend the ricotta mixture & some pasta water for a creamy pasta
  4. All of the above

I went with option #4. this dish couldn't be easier. I've learned pasta water is a real life savor...especially when your boyfriend is running a late for dinner and you need to freshen it up a bit. but seriously, always keep a little pasta water when you are draining your noodles, you can always add it in when everything starts to get too dry & it helps incorporate the ricotta throughout the whole dish. 

Ingredients

  • 1-2 TB Olive oil
  • 1/2 onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast (salt & peppered)
  • 3-5 Roma tomatoes
  • 1-2 cups of spinach (or a few handfuls)
  • Pasta of your choosing
  • Grated parmesan
  • Ricotta mixture
    -light ricotta
    -parmesan cheese
    -seasonings (S&P, garlic powder, rosemary)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Dice onion, mince garlic, cube chicken (go ahead and chop of your tomatoes to get all the knife work out of the way)
  2. Add olive oil to a pan and turn to medium heat, once hot add chicken and start cooking through
  3. Add onions & garlic, at this time get your water boiling and cook your pasta
  4. Cook chicken, onions & garlic until fragrant (make sure chicken is fully cooked) and add tomatoes until they soften
  5. Drain your pasta (make sure to save some pasta water!) and add to the pan with spinach
  6. At this point you can start getting a little creative - I added grated parmesan, some pasta water, as well as my ricotta mixture until creamy
  7. Put in a bowl and dollop some more ricotta!

Serve with some garlic Bread or a glass of wine...I opted for a glass of vino (or two).

Source: sliceslicebaby.net/dinners/creamyricottach...