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?

Pizza in a pinch

When you need pizza, you need it NOW.

Sometimes, you're really craving the 'za but there are just not enough hours in the day to let those perfect balls of dough rise. I mean nothing beats the real deal, but if you're in a pinch a flatbread works as a great ready to go base. 

BBQ and margherita were the lucky two - so I slapped our favorite barbecue sauce on one and olive oil on the other. 

Then it was time to pile toppings until there was no more space. This is a great opportunity to use up that produce about to go bad or some leftovers. I had a mozzarella ball that needed to be used up and some leftover chicken so I knew I wanted to use those up.  Cheese & shredded cheese on one / sliced tomatoes & mozza ball on the other. 

...Now the hardest part, the oven minutes. I swear those bad boys are longer than treadmill minutes (and those are long!). These guys were cooked at 350 for about 15 minutes. 

FLATBREAD PIZZAS
serving size - 1 (hungry person)

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 flatbreads
  • "base coating"
    -olive oil
    -bbq sauce
  • cheese
    -mozzarella
    -shredded cheddar & provolone
  • toppings
    -tomato
    -basil
    -chicken
    -moreeee bbq

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Top flatbreads with base coating of your choice
  3. Main toppings & cooking
    • BBQ: top with cheese & diced chicken & place in oven for 15 minutes
    • Margherita: Place oiled flatbread in oven for 5 minutes, top with sliced cheese & tomatoes / back in the oven for 5-10 minutes
  4. After both pizzas are cheesy & bubbly top them off!
    • BBQ: drizzle bbq sauce
    • Margherita: basil, salt & pepper

Another perk of the flatbreads is that they are small(er) than the normal pizza, so you are able to have more than one!

I mean what's better than a personal pizza? TWO personal pizzas! 

A Pizza My Heart

Valentine's Day is a day to spend time with those that you love, so with no questions asked Ethan and I decided a pizza night in would be the perfect date night. Without knowing what kind of pizza we wanted to make and the grocery store still in our future, we made some of the dough first thing in the AM so it could rise all day. We tend to change something up each time we make our pizzas, this time we went with all bread flour instead of mixing in any all-purpose like we normally do

10 hours without food (if you know me, you know I eat every 2-3) and arms full of grocery bags we couldn't have been happier to come home to a bowl full of rising dough. 

First pizza was a classic margherita - our go to sauce, slices of a mozza ball, and some grated parmesan. 

Second pizza was huge doughy platform (seriously so much dough), dusted with garlic butter and endless shredded mozzarella & provolone.  

In light of Valentine's weekend, we decided to go hot hot hot and cook these at pizzas at 520.  

The first pizza was topped with more grated parmesan cheese and fresh basil. The second didn't need a single finishing touch - it was perfect the way it came out of the oven. 

We think that this cheesy pizza was our #1 creation. Since the dough had risen all day it had this great chewiness as well as a hint of garlic within every single bite. We took the few minutes to take our necessary pictures and then it was time to devour.

A pizza perfect Valentines Day with my two true loves

2 Pizzas. 1 Calzone

The decision whether it's going to be a pizza night or not is pretty simple. One of us usually brings it up, the other responds with this look of longing desire for cheesy goodness, and its been decided. One thin crust and one thick crust has become the go to - but the toppings are the real brain stopper.

After perusing the grocery store and making numerous trips there and back to decide prosciutto or sausage...so we went with both.  After the shredding of the mozza, cooking of the sausage and taste testing the prosciutto, we were ready to start topping! 

left/middle: mozza ball slices, goat cheese, prosciutto. right: shredded mozzarella & Italian turkey sausage

Does anybody else think that oven minutes are even worse than microwave minutes? Of course, we paced around the kitchen trying to keep ourselves busy while our pizza cooked.
[500 degrees - Thick 'za went in first, covered in foil, for 8 minutes. Then foil came off & thin 'za went in on the stone for another 8-10 minutes]

These two pizzas were the best to pair together. The 1st one was crispy & salty and the 2nd one was dough, greasy, and extra cheesy. Every time I would take a bite of one, I would think it would be my favorite until I went to take bite of the other - needless to say, it was a tie and they were both demolished. 

....then Sunday came around. It was a long day with pizza on the brain and leftover dough in the fridge. One simple solution...calzone. There was no decision making on what would be inside this turnover pizza - we went with an everything leftover - goat cheese, mozzarella, prosciutto, and turkey sausage. 

Combining the two pizzas in one made one great love child of a calzone. The salty, greasy, cheesiness of the ingredients completely complemented each other, but my favorite part of this calzone was the dough. Have y'all ever been to Macaroni Grill? If you have you'll know what I'm talking about when I said rosemary bread. Thats exactly was this dough tasted like, the extra egg wash (plus butter and garlic), gave the crust a dense crispiness plus the rosemary seasoning brought a punch of flavor. 

All I can say is these two pizza nights were definitely worth my three pound pizza baby. 

Stuffed Chicken

Shocker, another chicken dinner stuffed with some cheese and other random things. I finally got a meat tenderizer so it's a little easier to pound the meat down and can give my poor rolling pin a rest. 

After you've tenderized your meat, fill with spinach & mozzarella balls. Unlike the Chicken Cordon Bleu, you will fold these in half instead of rolling them. With this, toothpicks are a must in my opinion. 

Place stuffed chicken on some form of non-stick pan (or foil with non stick spray). Place in the oven at 450 for about 15-20 minutes (depending on the thickness of your chicken). 

Serve on top of a salad (left) or with pasta & garlic bread (right). Enjoyy! 

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 chicken breasts (for simplicity sake, I bought pre-season chicken)
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • Mozzarella ball
  • Optional: salad, pasta, or garlic bread

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
  2. Flatten chicken breast down to 1/2 inch with meat tenderizer
  3. Stuff chicken with fresh baby spinach and chunks of mozzarella ball
  4. Fold chicken in half and secure with toothpicks
  5. Spray cookie sheet/line with foil and place in oven for 15-20 minutes.

Chicken Cordon Bleu-ish

Chicken is a huge staple in my dinners, I would say its 80% of the time whats for dinner. This is partially because it is super versatile and will adapt to any flavor you want to give it. It's also really healthy and easy to quick...and most importantly it's not red meat - which I am still too much of a wuss to tackle. 

Chicken Cordon Bleu has become a twice a month (if not more) go to meal, only mix up is some mozz for the swiss. 

Ingredients

  • 2 large chicken breasts
  • 2 thin slices of ham
  • Mozzarella (feel free to sub in for any of your
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp Milk
  • 1/3 cup Italian breadcrumbs (or plain with some seasonings)
  • 1/3 cup of grated parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees & spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray
  2. Beat the chicken to about 1/2 inch thickness
  3. Lay down the slice of ham and cheese and roll up
  4. Whisk together egg and milk in medium bowl
  5. Mix together the breadcrumbs & parmesan with salt & pepper in medium bowl
  6. Dip chicken rolls in the egg wash and then in the breadcrumb mixture.
  7. Place chicken on the baking sheet seam side down* and bake for 20-25 minutes

*Make sure to place these seam side down to minimize the gooeyness escaping. Keep some toothpicks handy to secure the chicken!

Serve up with some roasted veggies and maybe a piece of garlic bread... or four. (You can be nice and take out the toothpicks OR you can let them fend for themselves.)