Whole Wheat BBQ Chicken Pizza

I LOVE pizza, especially barbeque chicken pizza. It is sweet, tangy, meaty, and cheesy all in one bite! I just got back from Spring Break in Florida and wanted to make something healthy and delicious.

The whole wheat pizza dough was purchased at Trader Joe’s a couple of weeks ago. I split the dough into two smaller doughs and placed them in the freezer. This is perfect for people like me who do not cook for many mouths. Jonny and I split this pizza with a side salad and it was the perfect amount! This recipe is so simple and in my opinion, tastes just like California Pizza Kitchen! The great part about making your own pizza is that you can control the ingredients, making it healthier (or not!). I used part skim mozzarella, chicken tenderloins, and Sticky Finger’s Sweet Carolina BBQ sauce.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Portion of Trader Joe’s Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
  • 1/2 Cup Favorite BBQ Sauce
  • 1/2 Cup Part Skim Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1/2 Red Onion, thinly sliced
  • Dried Parsley
  • Leftover cooked chicken breast

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  • Shape pizza dough to desired shape and place on cookie sheet or pizza sheet.
  • Caramelize the red onion in a little olive oil until browned.
  • Par-bake pizza dough for just 5 minutes (to ensure a crispy crust).
  • Brush BBQ sauce over the par-baked pizza dough and top with cheese.
  • Add cooked chicken and red onions and cook for 5 more minutes or until cheese has melted.
  • Sprinkle with parsley and dig in!
My first Instagram photo! I feel so artsy

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Greek Yogurt and Dijon Crusted Salmon

I am so very excited because this is the very first time I have ever cooked Salmon! Harris Teeter had a special on fresh salmon so I decided to splurge a little. I bought 1.45 pounds for $8.10. I immediately divided it into four portions. I froze two cuts and cooked two with a delicious yogurt-dijon topping. I can’t wait to have the second one tomorrow for lunch.

Salmon is probably my favorite fish but I rarely eat it because it is so pricey. Ordering this meal at a restaurant could easily exceed $12 – $17. My portion was around $2. Not bad!

I found this recipe for mustard-crusted salmon at eatingwell.com. They called for low fat sour cream but I did not have any. I think the Greek yogurt was a perfect substitute, not to mention it adds a little extra protein to this meal.

As you may notice, the top is a little burnt crispy. My awesome retro oven only has one broil setting (high). Next time I will probably place the oven rack a little lower to avoid this happening again. I must admit, even with the crispy topping, it was still one of the best salmon experiences I have ever had.

Ingredients:

  • .75 lb salmon fillet, cut into two pieces
  • 1/8 tsp salt, or to taste
  • ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbsp. 0% Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

Directions:

  1. Preheat broiler. Line a broiler pan or baking sheet with foil, then coat it with cooking spray.
  2. Place salmon pieces, skin-side down, on the prepared pan. Season with salt and pepper. Combine Greek yogurt, mustard and lemon juice in a small bowl. Spread evenly over the salmon.
  3. Broil the salmon 5 inches from the heat source until it is opaque in the center, 10 to 12 minutes.

Pasta on my mind

Here I am on a beautiful Thursday afternoon, sitting in a coffee shop sipping a foamy cappuccino and I am thinking about how wonderful this moment is. Sure, I should be writing my business charter for class but instead I have decided to look at delicious food that makes my tummy rumble. Researching recipes online unfortunately takes up way too much of my free time. Now I have adopted apartment hunting and DIY decorating tips onto my long list of procrastination techniques.

I saw some amazing recipes on The Chew today. This is seriously one of my favorite TV shows. I will be a little sad when I graduate because I will not be able to enjoy that hour break in my day. Today’s recipes were all focused around pasta! Being one of my favorite foods, I was literally drooling while watching this episode. Mario Batali gave some really important tips for cooking pasta. I wish I could find them online but here is what I remember:

  1. Always salt the pasta water – Luckily I have always known this tip but many people who see me cook are surprised when I add salt into the pasta water. It is very important to salt the water so that it flavors the pasta itself.
  2. Under-cook the pasta – There is nothing worse to me than over-cooked pasta. Mario himself says to cook the pasta for one minute less than package directions. When pasta has finished cooking, drain and add the pasta to the sauce. Let it finish cooking in the sauce. If you are making a baked pasta dish such as baked ziti or lasagna, cook for about half of the package time to allow the pasta to finish cooking in the oven.
  3. Do not rinse the pasta – Pasta that has just been cooked has starches left on the pasta itself. This acts as a binding agent with the sauce.
  4. No need for oil – I had never seen my family add oil to pasta water, so growing up I was always surprised to see people put oil in their pasta water. As long as the pot of water is large enough, there is enough room for the pasta to cook. I promise the pasta will not stick if you allow enough space. Also, dress the pasta right after it has been drained. Add your sauce of choice, olive oil, butter, whatever you would like on it right after the pasta has been cooked.
  5. Reserve a cup of pasta water – A wonderful way to stretch a pasta sauce is to reserve a small amount of the starchy, wheat infused water from where the pasta was cooked. The starch acts as a thickening agent which is perfect to add to a sauce.

I just read this interesting pasta article from mythineats.com. Cristina is the author of this post. Check out her blog, she has a lot of healthy recipes and tips for eating well and staying slim.

P.S. She moved to Italy with her husband… how amazing is that!

mythineats

I do like Spaghetti. But it is also one of those foods that if you are not careful can be really fattening. Its not the fact that pasta in itself is fattening, it’s the ingredients that we chose to dress the pasta with that often times makes the dish fattening. You are already eating carbs so I always say dress it light. Here in Italy most Pasta dishes are dressed really simple and with few ingredients, I think that this is the secret as to why Italians are really all so thin even though they eat pasta pretty much everyday. This is the secret: Always use fresh and natural ingredients, dress lightly and most of all don’t overcook.

Overcooked pasta sends blood sugar higher than pasta cooked al dente. Italians believe that overcooked pasta is harder on your digestive tract than al dente which is easier for your body to…

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Whole Wheat Gnocchi with Artichoke Pesto, Chicken Sausage, and Roasted Brussels Sprouts

I had friends over for dinner last week and made this meal. I really like this new creative streak I am having with recipes. It is so much fun to create your own dish and have it be delicious!

This meal consists of pillowy whole wheat gnocchi in a fresh and flavorful artichoke pesto. Spicy Italian chicken sausage from Trader Joe’s and roasted Brussels sprouts complete this unique pasta dish.

I found the artichoke pesto recipe at Everyday Health.


Artichoke Pesto
Ingredients:

  • 28 ounce(s) artichoke hearts, 2 (14-ounce) cans rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup(s) cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
  • 1/4 cup(s) parsley, fresh, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoon lemon peel, grated
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon oil, olive
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

1. Place artichokes in a food processor; pulse 5 times or until finely chopped. Add cheese and remaining ingredients; pulse to combine.

I cooked the gnocchi according to package directions and pan fried the chicken sausage. The Brussels sprouts were cooked at 425 degrees for 25 minutes. Once all the ingredients were finished, they were added together and topped with fresh parsley.

Crock Pot Chicken Cacciatore

Yet another crock pot meal has come into fruition. While in Florence, I took a couple of cooking classes and Chicken Cacciatore was one of the meals I learned how to make. “Cacciatore” in Italian translates to “hunter”. There are many different versions of Chicken Cacciatore throughout Italy. Depending on the region of Italy, the recipe is slightly different, using ingredients that are more abundant in that area.

The whole concept of Chicken Cacciatore is similar to my philosophy of cooking. Use the ingredients that you have around, and make it your own. I did not follow a recipe for my Chicken Cacciatore, yet it came out very well. I used red onions, mushrooms, olives,and tomatoes in my dish and I must admit the flavors blended perfectly.

I like Chicken Cacciatore served over pasta but it can be served over rice or eaten alone as well.

Ingredients:

  • 4 Frozen Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 1 Can Diced Tomatoes
  • 1/2 Cup Red Wine
  • 2 Tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 3 Cloves Garlic; Minced
  • 1 Red Onion, Thinly Sliced
  • 1-2 Cups White Mushrooms
  • 1/2 Can Black Olives
  • 1 Tsp. Oregano
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Chopped Fresh Parsley

Directions:

  1. Slice onion thinly and lay in the crock pot.
  2. Add chicken breasts and then the rest of the ingredients except olives and parsley over top.
  3. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.
  4. Once cooked, add sliced olives.
  5. Serve over pasta or rice with fresh parsley and Parmesan cheese