Roasted Garlic Chicken Pesto Pizza

I’m back and ready to blog! I went on quite a long hiatus as you can tell, but I am back and want to continue documenting the dishes I create, as it is pretty fun and interesting to look back on. I just hope I can match all the dishes to the pictures I’ve taken over the past several months, and I will do the best I can.

Today I am writing about the roasted garlic chicken pesto pizza from Sugar Cooking. It was truly so delicious – and so easy to make! My husband helped a lot with this dish, as he cooked the chicken and roasted the garlic because I was late getting home from work that night, and it was a success! It ended up being very oily because I used the entire small jar of garlic which was probably about double what the recipe calls for. But who doesn’t love pesto?? The roasted garlic, however, got a little drowned out because of the excess pesto, but it was still delicious. Unfortunately, I didn’t venture out and make my own pizza crust, but I used whole wheat dough from Trader Joe’s. Inexpensive, easy, and delicious!

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Roasted Garlic Chicken Pesto Pizza

serves 3-4

Ingredients:
-1 pizza dough
-1/2cu prepared pesto
-1 bulb of garlic
-1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked and shredded or cubed
-Mozzarella cheese
-Parmesan cheese

Directions:
-To roast the garlic, peel the outer layers of the garlic bulb skin, leaving the skins of the individual cloves intact. Cut a little off the top of the bulb, exposing the individual cloves of garlic. Set on a piece of foil, drizzle with some olive oil, and cover with the foil. Bake on a baking sheet at 400°F for 30-35 minutes, or until the cloves feel soft when pressed. Remove garlic gloves and smash with a fork.
-Spread roasted garlic over pizza dough, then spread over the pesto.
-Arrange the sliced or shredded chicken evenly over the pizza.
-Sprinkle with mozzarella and top with parmesan.
-Bake on preheated pizza stone for 8 – 12 minutes.

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Avocado Macaroni and Cheese

Let me start by saying my life was completed yesterday. I got to see my favourite musician in the world, Andrew McMahon, in concert (not for the first time) and he played such an amazing mix of old and new music. After the show, I got to meet him, hug him, get my picture taken with him, and have his new CD signed! An even better bonus is that I took the day off work today and am just at home enjoying my free time!

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In almost equally exciting news, I made this uh-mazing avocado macaroni and cheese the other week, by Two Peas and Their Pod. Seriously. Creamy and cheesy pasta plus creamy and smashed avocado…all mixed together? How does it really get any better than that? I was a bit perplexed at first, since it is definitely a little different, but the outcome was so, so, so amazing. There was plenty for leftovers the next day…which I must admit was a bit odd, given that avocado browns over time, however the browned part is still edible, but also it only browned on the very top, so if you prefer, you can scrape off the browned part and then chomp away!

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One of the best parts also was the chopped chunks of avocado that the recipe calls for you to throw in the finished product. Once again I say…SERIOUSLY. Creamy. Cheesy. Smooth. Avocado. Pasta. What else is there in life? Ok ok, a lot of things. But food wise, this basically takes the cake for sure.

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Avocado Macaroni and Cheese

serves 4-6

Ingredients:
-10oz dry elbow macaroni
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-2 avocados, peeled and pitted
-2tbsp fresh lime juice
-1/3cu chopped fresh cilantro
-2tbsp butter
-2tbsp all-purpose flour
-1cu milk
-2cu shredded Pepper Jack cheese
-salt and pepper, to taste
-fresh avocado chunks, for garnish, if desired

Directions:
-Bring water to a boil in a large pot. Salt the water and add in macaroni. Stir and cook until al dente, about 8-10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
-While the pasta is cooking, make the avocado sauce by placing the garlic, avocados, lime juice, cilantro, salt and pepper into a food processor or blender, and process until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
-Make the cheese sauce by placing the butter in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat. When melted, whisk in flour to create a paste, then whisk in milk until smooth. Stir with a wooden spoon until the sauce starts to thicken, then add in Pepper Jack cheese and stir until cheese is melted and sauce is creamy.
-Transfer the macaroni to a large bowl and pour the avocado sauce over the macaroni and stir until well coated. Add the cheese sauce and stir until macaroni is covered and becomes creamy. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve hot and garnish with fresh avocado chunks.

Chicken Alfredo Pizza

I have been on a posting roll for the past couple of weeks! And I am pretty much posting only oven-related posts. In the middle of summer. Yikes. I need to fix that. But these recipes are just SO GOOD that they are worth it.

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I also got to try out a new pizza crust from Trader Joe’s – their garlic and herb crust. Honestly, it didn’t taste much different from whole wheat dough I usually buy from them, but it was still good and fun to try out something yummy.

This is a chicken alfredo pizza by Foodie Misadventures. It. is. amazing. It is truly like chicken alfredo…on a pizza. Genius. I love playing around with pizzas…buffalo chicken, tikka masala, enchilada, whatever it is, I’ll try it! I do love the traditional pepperoni pizza, but I tend to go “all out” when cooking pizza at home. This sauce would also go great with pasta, if you’d rather do that, but why not have it on pizza??

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The sauce did seem a little thin, strangely enough, since there was no heavy cream in it (it might have been the milk?), but oh boy was it good. Like…lick the spoon 5,000 times good. I wish I was kidding about that! 😉

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Chicken Alfredo Pizza

serves 4

Ingredients:
For the Alfredo Sauce
2 tablespoons butter
-3 cloves minced garlic
-4oz cream cheese, softened
-1cu skim milk
-1cu fresh grated parmesan cheese
-Salt & pepper
-Pinch of nutmeg
For Pizza Assembly
-1 package or recipe pizza dough
-1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked and shredded (about 1.5cu)
-3/4cu shredded mozzarella cheese
-1/4cu parmesan cheese
-Chopped fresh basil, if desired

Directions:
-Set a pizza stone on the bottom rack of the oven and preheat the oven to 450°.
-Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly, then add the cream cheese; cook 1 minute until mixture is smooth, stirring constantly with a whisk. Gradually add milk and cook 3 minutes or until thick and bubbly, stirring constantly. Add Parmesan cheese, stirring until cheese melts and sauce reaches desired consistency, about 2 minutes. Add in a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg and season with salt and pepper to taste.
-Stretch the pizza dough to a 12-inch round and transfer to pizza stone.
-Spread the alfredo sauce over the pizza dough, leaving a half inch border around the edge. Top with chicken, mozzarella cheese and Parmesan.
-Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the bottom is crisp and the cheese is bubbling.
-Let pizza cool for a minute, top with basil, then serve.

 

Skillet Baked Ziti

Happy Monday!! I hope that everyone had a restful weekend. Mine was certainly nice! I spent part of the weekend with my niece enjoying free slurpees! And now I have a great and yummy Monday recipe for ya – from Our Best Bites, skillet baked ziti.

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I was a little worried about my fry pan going into the oven, but it still worked well: AKA tasted good, no fires, and no ruined pan. Score!

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So I used regular ground pork (from my brother’s farm!), however you can use the sausage requested, or even ground turkey, beef, or possibly chicken! I also used tomato sauce instead of the tomatoes, since I don’t like the chunks, but to each their own.

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My husband LOVED this ziti. He said it was similar to how his mom and even grandma made it (read: Italians), minus the skillet part. We gobbled up a ton right away but thankfully still had leftovers for each of us. Yum!!

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Skillet Baked Ziti

serves 4-6

Ingredients:
-1lb Italian sausage or Italian turkey sausage (“hot” or “sweet”)
-1 (28oz) can whole peeled tomatoes
-1tbsp olive oil
-6 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed (about 2tbsp)
-1/4tsp red pepper flakes
-Salt
-3cu water
-12oz ziti pasta
-1/2cu heavy cream
-1oz Parmesan cheese, grated
-1/4cu chopped fresh basil leaves (fresh is best, but it is ok to add a heaping tablespoon of dried if necessary)
-ground black pepper
-4oz mozzarella cheese, shredded

Directions:
-Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 475 degrees.
-Pulse the tomatoes with their juice in a food processor until coarsely ground and no large pieces remain (or just use sauce).
Heat 12-inch or larger oven-safe skillet to medium high heat and add 1/2 tablespoon olive oil. Remove the sausage from castings and cook, crumbling with a spatula until browned and cooked through, about 3-5 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper flakes to sausage and cook for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant. Stir in the processed tomatoes and 1/2 teaspoon salt (omit salt if using sauce). Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes no longer taste raw, about 10 minutes.
-Stir in the water, then add the pasta. Cover, increase the heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring often and adjusting the heat to maintain a vigorous simmer, until the pasta is tender, about 15-18 minutes.
-Stir in the cream, Parmesan, and basil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle the mozzarella evenly over the top. -Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the cheese has melted and browned, 10-15 minutes, then serve.

Arugula Pesto

Pesto, in pretty much all forms, is delicious. As you may recall, I recently discovered a quinoa pesto from Trader Joe’s which was pretty amazing. Jarred pesto is, quite honestly, the way to go a lot of times. It’s cheaper than homemade, quick, no mess, and delicious.

But there are times you want the real thing. The homemade thing. The equally delicious thing. And this arugula pesto from Bake Your Day certainly comes in handy for that! Arugula is a really hardy leafy green and packs a punch in its own right, and along with the garlic, they are equally show-stoppers. I omitted the walnuts and used slivered almonds instead, and it was great too.

As you can see, I paired it with pasta, but you can really pair it with anything!

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Arugula Pesto

serves 2-4

Ingredients:
-2cu fresh arugula, packed
-2 large cloves garlic, peeled (or more)
-2tbsp toasted walnuts
-1/2cu olive oil
-1/2tsp salt, more or less as needed
-1/2tsp pepper, more or less as needed
-1/2cu Parmesan cheese

Directions:
-Combine arugula, garlic and walnuts in a food processor. Add half of the olive oil and pulse to process it. Continue to process on medium speed while streaming in the rest of the olive oil (for those of us with regular food processors, you’ll have to stop, open the lid, pour in more, then keep going). Season with salt and pepper and then stir in Parmesan cheese.
Note: To toast the walnuts, place the walnuts in a small pan over medium heat. Allow them to toast, shaking the pan often. Watch them closely so they don’t burn.

Slow Cooker Creamy Italian Chicken

I was so excited for this dish. Like…so excited. It looks all comforty and creamy and pasta-y and amazing. It is creamy Italian chicken from Life as a Lofthouse’s blog. That blogger also created a really yummy tater tot casserole in the past. However, this dish fell a little flat, in my opinion. It ended up being overly salty. The likely culprits are the seasoning packet and the cream of chicken soup. Maybe next time, I would see if there was a “low sodium” seasoning packet option…another idea is to do a homemade seasoning mix, and omit any salt ingredients from it, which would likely be easy enough to do.

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Anyway, this dish was edible, but again, just salty. It was even almost too salty for my husband, which is saying a lot. So, I think had I lowered some of the salt ingredients, this dish would have turned out much better. Let me know if you make it and what your thoughts and changes are!

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Creamy Italian Chicken

serves 6+

Ingredients:
-4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
-1 packet Good Seasons Italian dressing mix
-2 (10oz) cans cream of chicken soup
-1 (8oz) block of cream cheese, cut into cubes
-Egg Noodles or Rice, for serving

Directions:
-Spray the crock pot with non-stick spray, then place the chicken breasts in it, and sprinkle the Italian dressing mix over the tops. Pour the cream of chicken soups over chicken, and then spread the cubes of cream cheese evenly over all.
-Cover and cook on low for 6 hours (or high for 3 hours). Remove the lid and stir mixture together. Cut chicken into bite-size pieces (If the sauce seems too thick, you can thin it out with a little milk).
-Serve chicken and sauce over cooked egg noodles or rice.

Turkey Scaloppine

In completely un-food-related news, I am finally on season 5 of Glee! I had watched pretty much all of the other seasons, until now. The first episode in, it just FEELS different. I am sure it is related to the unfortunate passing of actor Cory Montieth, but it just feels…off. I am cringing, too, waiting for them to mention something about Finn’s character, but so far there has been radio silence.

Back to food-related topics, I made this turkey scaloppine parmesan recipe from Food.com and it is a Weight Watchers recipe! I googled what “scaloppine” and basically it’s Italian (duh) and refers to a thin cut of meat, usually veal, dredged and cooked with red or wine sauce. Well…there ya go. It was handy that I had some turkey breasts on hand, since they had been on sale at the grocery store. I have never cooked turkey breasts before but it was quite similar to cooking chicken. They were so thick that I cut them in half. Everything else is pretty self-explanatory. It was yummy!

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Turkey Scaloppine Parmesan

serves 2

Ingredients:
-2 turkey cutlets
-1.5cu fat free marinara sauce
-2 slices fat free mozzarella cheese
-1⁄4cu grated parmesan cheese

Directions:
-Spray a large nonstick skillet with nonstick spray and set over medium-high heat. Add the cutlets and cook until browned, a few minutes per side, then transfer to a plate.
-Add the marinara sauce to the skillet and bring to a simmer, then add the cutlets and turn to coat with the sauce. Top each cutlet with 1 slice of the mozzarella and a spoonful of the sauce. Sprinkle with the Parmesan.
-Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the cheese melts and the cutlets are cooked through, about 2 minutes.