Barbecue Chicken Pizza

barbecuechickenpizza

More and more Leah and I make specialty pizzas. As much as I love traditional pizza, it’s a lot of fun to chop up different vegetables and toppings and switch up the cheeses. We had been wanting to make a barbecue chicken pizza for ages, and Sally’s Baking Addiction posted a fantastic-looking one a few weeks ago. It immediately went to the top of our to-make list, and we were not disappointed.

This pizza has a combination of smoked Gouda and mozzarella, chicken breast tossed in a little barbecue sauce for moisture, sliced red onion, chopped cilantro, and a layer of barbecue sauce instead of traditional tomato sauce. We used our favorite pizza crust recipe, and you can use whatever recipe is your favorite. This is a fun and delicious pizza that is appropriate for spring/summer. In fact, when our family starts grilling again, we may try grilled chicken on the pizza instead!

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Barbecue Chicken Pizza

Makes 1 medium-sized pizza

Recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction

Ingredients

1 ball of pizza dough, enough for 1 pizza

1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons barbecue sauce (separated)

1 cup cooked, sliced chicken breast

2/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

2/3 cup shredded smoked Gouda cheese

1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced

Chopped fresh cilantro, for topping

Directions

Preheat oven with pizza stone to 500 degrees for at least 30 minutes.

Press out pizza dough on a piece of parchment. Mix chopped chicken with barbecue sauce.Top pizza crust with remaining barbecue sauce (use as much as you would like), then the mozzarella, chicken, Gouda, and sliced red onion.

Bake for about 10 minutes, until the crust is browning and the cheese is melted. Remove from oven, top with cilantro, slice, and serve. Enjoy!

Triple Chocolate Muffins

tripchocomuffins

Life has been moving quickly lately. We have only a little over 20 days of school left, and the past few weeks have been crazy- a class trip to New York, a few more college acceptances, more snow delays, a research paper, lots of tests, a new job, etc. The next month or two promise not to let up either; Prom, Easter break, a senior capstone project (job shadowing), graduation, graduation parties, and of course, deciding on a college.

When we’re busy, it can be hard to fit in making food and photographing it for the blog. However, on Sunday, we decided to take some time off and bake. After sifting through tons of recipes that we’ve saved and flipping through our favorite blogs, we eventually settled on these muffins that we found on Tracey’s Culinary Adventures, originally from the Joy the Baker Cookbook.

These muffins may be close to the cupcake end of the spectrum, but they are worth every calorie. They are rich chocolatey muffins studded with chocolate chips and topped with a white chocolate drizzle (which leaves them with a Hostess-esque look). The chocolate flavor is amped up with a bit of espresso powder, one of our favorite pairings with chocolate. The cupcakes don’t taste like coffee, don’t worry- the espresso powder just helps heighten the chocolate flavor. They’re some of the yummiest muffins we’ve made in a while, and we know that you’ll love them too!

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Triple Chocolate Muffins

Recipe from the Joy the Baker Cookbook via Tracey’s Culinary Adventures

Makes 12-16 muffins

Ingredients:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces

5 oz semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon instant espresso powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2/3 cup buttermilk, at room temperature

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

2 oz white chocolate, finely chopped

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and line a muffin tin with muffin liners.

In a pot over low heat, melt the butter and the chocolate together. Be careful to keep it low and stir often to avoid burning the chocolate (you could also do this in a microwave, stirring every 30 seconds). Once melted, set aside to cool slightly.

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and espresso together in a medium bowl; whisk until evenly mixed.

Add the brown sugar to the butter and chocolate mixture and stir until combined. Stir in the eggs, vanilla, and buttermilk.

Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, mixing until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Fill the prepared cups with batter (each cup should be a little more than 2/3 full). Bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool for several minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Melt the white chocolate (either over low heat or in the microwave). Drizzle the chocolate over the cupcakes. This is easily done by filling a plastic sandwich bag with the chocolate and cutting off the tip. Enjoy!

 

 

Vegetarian Pot Pies with Feta Scallion Biscuits

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While this meal is in a genre of foods generally more suitable for serving during the middle of winter, the large number of vegetables make it appropriate for spring. The result is a lighter meal, since there’s no cream that is typical for a pot pie, and a light and flaky feta scallion biscuit on top replaces a traditional pie crust. You will absolutely not miss chicken in this meal- we both agreed that we enjoyed this more than a traditional chicken pot pie. It’s still been chilly where we live recently, but warm weather is certainly on its way- the longer days and return of chirping birds are both sure signs. We couldn’t be looking forward to it more!

P.S. We just got a job at a local bakery and we are so excited about it! While we won’t be doing the actual baking (just ringing up people’s orders, etc.), it should be fun working in that sort of environment and I have no doubt we’ll learn a lot.

Vegetarian Pot Pies with Feta Scallion Biscuits

Recipe from Annie’s Eats

Serves 4-5

Ingredients

For the filling:

3 tablespoons butter (it doesn’t really matter if it’s salted or unsalted)
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
12 ounces baby bella mushrooms, sliced
¾ cup frozen peas
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups veggie broth (we recommend Imagine brand)
Salt and pepper, to taste (salt will vary based on the broth you used/ whether or not you used salted butter)

For the biscuits:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup chopped scallions
1/2 cup plus 1-2 tablespoons buttermilk

Directions 

Preheat oven to 400. Grease 4 or 5 ramekins or a 2-quart casserole dish.

For the filling, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high. Add onion, pepper, and carrots and saute, stirring every now and then, until vegetables are starting to soften. Stir in the mushrooms and cook until they are softened and have released most of their liquid. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for about a minute.

Stir in flour and cook for a minute. Pouring slowly, stir in the vegetable broth. Cook, stirring every now and then, until the filling has thickened and is bubbling. Stir in peas and season with salt and pepper.  Divide the filling mixture between the prepared serving dish(es).

For the biscuit topping, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.  Stir in the pieces of butter and toss around in the dry ingredients.  Cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is coarse (the butter chunks shouldn’t be bigger than the size of a pea).  Stir in the feta and scallions and toss briefly to combine.

Pour in ½ cup of the buttermilk and stir gently with a fork until a dough has formed. Add more buttermilk as needed. Don’t overmix! Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gently press until it is 3/4 to 1 inch thick. Cut 3-inch biscuits out of the dough and place them on top of the vegetable filling in the serving dish(es). Brush top of biscuits with extra buttermilk and a bit of freshly ground black pepper.

Transfer the baking dish(es) to a rimmed baking sheet, and place near the top of the oven.  Bake, rotating the pan halfway through, until the biscuits are light golden brown and the filling is bubbly, about 20 minutes.  Let cool for a few minutes until serving. Enjoy!

 

Bacon Cheddar Scones

Bacon Cheddar Scones

Thanks to our penchant for baking, we are always on the lookout to find breakfast foods that can be baked, aren’t full of sugar, and are fun to make. Sure, muffins are delicious, but sometimes we don’t want to start our day with a dessert. Enter these scones- they are perfect for your baking craving and go nicely with a plate of scrambled eggs, no bacon needed since it’s already in them. That’s not to say that they’re healthier than your typical muffin or coffee cake- that’s definitely not the case.

You start with a light and fluffy scone that is reminiscent of a biscuit and add chopped bacon, scallions, cheddar cheese, and black pepper. There’s a lot of flavor going on in these, and they make a very hard-to-stop-eating breakfast. Give them a try this weekend!

Bacon Cheddar Scones

Recipe from Smells Like Home, originally from The Pastry Queen by Rebecca Rather

Makes 10-12 scones

Ingredients:

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 Tbsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

1 1/2 cups grated Cheddar cheese

4 green onions, thinly sliced

10 slices cooked bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces

3/4 to 1 1/2 cups buttermilk (Yes, it’s a wide range)

1 large egg

2 tsp water

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and black pepper on low speed. With the mixer running, gradually add cubes of butter until the mixture is crumbly and butter lumps are no larger than the size of small peas. Add grated cheese and stir just until blended.

Add green onions, bacon and 3/4 cup of the buttermilk to flour and cheese mixture. Mix by hand just until the ingredients are incorporated; be careful not to over mix. If dough is too dry to hold together, use remaining buttermilk, adding 1 tablespoon at a time, until dough is pliable and can be formed into a ball, being careful to stir as little as possible throughout the process. Remove the dough from the bowl and place it on a lightly floured flat surface or on a piece of floured parchment paper. Form the dough into a ball. Using a well-floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a circle about 10 inches wide and 1/2 inch thick. Cut the dough in 8-12 wedges.

Whisk the egg and water in a small mixing bowl to combine. Brush each wedge with egg wash. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through. Serve warm. Enjoy!

Whipped Honey-Vanilla Yogurt with Toasted Coconut, Pineapple, and Sliced Strawberries

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Since we gave up sugar for Lent, we’ve been keeping our eyes out for desserts (and breakfasts) that are only sweetened with natural sugars like honey, maple syrup, and fruit. We came across this lovely yogurt recipe in the latest edition of Martha Stewart Living. You whisk together Greek yogurt, a bit of heavy cream, vanilla bean seeds, lemon zest, and honey. The yogurt is topped with some toasted unsweetened coconut, pineapple chunks, and sliced strawberries. This makes for a healthy and delicious treat that is suitable for breakfast but could also double as a dessert. Who needs sugar? Well, I’m not going to answer that question…

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Whipped Honey-Vanilla Yogurt with Toasted Coconut, Pineapple, and Sliced Strawberries

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Living March/April edition

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

2 cups fat-free Greek yogurt

2/3 cup heavy cream

Seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean

1 teaspoon lemon zest

2 tablespoons honey

Sliced strawberries and pineapple chunks (amounts will vary by preference)

Toasted unsweetened coconut

Directions

In a medium bowl, whisk together the yogurt, heavy cream, vanilla bean, zest, and honey until the mixture has thickened a bit. Serve in bowls topped with fruit and toasted coconut. Enjoy!

Pralines

Praline1

Happy Fat Tuesday (or Mardi Gras, whatever you call it)! We have decided to give up sugar for Lent this year, so we celebrated Fat Tuesday with a multitude of desserts. Today was a field trip with our Latin class to the Pompeii exhibit at the Franklin Institute, and we went to the Reading Terminal Market for lunch afterwards. The Reading Terminal Market is an amazing place- it literally has every type of food available, from sushi to crepes to Philly cheesesteaks. Since we won’t be eating sugar for the next forty days, we had ice cream from Bassett’s (amazing) and a type of Fat Tuesday treat called a fasnacht. It was like a doughnut but a little more…fattening (and delicious).

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We couldn’t let Mardi Gras pass without eating pralines, though. We made these yesterday, and when I say they are one of the best candies I’ve ever eaten, I’m not kidding. They’re bound to be good, considering they have brown sugar, butter, heavy cream, and toasted pecans in them. They were actually surprisingly easy to make: toast the pecans, boil together the ingredients, let cool, stir until thick, and let set. The only tricky part is getting everything to the right temperature; make sure that you have a thermometer nearby. Also, it takes forever for the mixture to cool from 236 degrees to 150 degrees, but be patient because perfectly smooth pralines are worth the little bit of waiting. They may not be the prettiest candies ever, but what they lack in looks they make up for in taste!

Pralines

Recipe from Baked Bree

Makes about 20-30 pralines (depending on how big you make them)

Ingredients:

2 cups pecan halves (feel free to chop a few smaller if you’d like)

3 cups light brown sugar

1 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup butter

2 Tablespoons light corn syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Spread the pecans in a single layer on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 7 to 10 minutes, or until toasted (be careful not to let them burn). Set aside to cool. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Place the brown sugar, cream, butter, and corn syrup in a heavy bottomed pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil until a candy thermometer reaches 236 degrees, stirring somewhat frequently.

Take the mixture off the heat and let cool until the candy thermometer reaches 150 degrees. This takes about 20 minutes, but it may take you more or less time depending on the temperature of your kitchen.

Stir in the vanilla and salt. Add the pecans.Stir constantly for one to two minutes or until it begins to lose its gloss and is thickened. Be careful not to stir it too long or your candy will be a kind of chunky shape.

Working quickly, drop the mixture onto parchment lined baking sheets (each candy should be a tablespoon or two). Let sit until they are firm, about 10 to 15 minutes.