Monday, December 14, 2015

Barbecue Chicken Pizza

Sunday night dinner in the Putnam house has traditionally included either a pizza or a store-bought rotisserie chicken.  We have made the preparation for this meal either extra easy, by picking up pizza, or eating a plain rotisserie chicken, or "more difficult", by grilling pizza or making an entree with the chicken.  Last Sunday, we chose a "more difficult" route, and prepared Chicken BBQ Pizza.

While I "worked pizza" at Bertucci's almost twenty years ago (gulp!), the brick-oven pizza chain introduced the "Polomatch"* pizza, toppings being chicken, diced tomatoes, BBQ sauce, cheese and scallions, This pizza was on the cusp of the fusion food movement, at least for me. The pizza was great! The fuse was a hit!

A few weeks ago, we had an "easy" pizza Sunday. I bought two frozen California Pizza Kitchen pizzas for dinner, which included one of their BBQ Chicken pizzas. It had been awhile since I had last had a BBQ Chicken pizza, but the husband demanded protein on his pizza. It was not as good as the Polomatch, but devoured.

Last Sunday, we had a "more difficult" dinner. I finally tried that Cooking Light recipe for BBQ Chicken Pizza that uses rotisserie chicken (I wrote about it in this post).  There was a bit more work involved for a Sunday than I thought, namely sauteeing the onion with the marinara and BBQ sauces.
Here is the before shot:

 Apparently, the grocery store does sell pre-baked, seven inch pizza crusts?!  

After 10 minutes at 450, here is the after shot:

Cut up scallions definitely add flavor and color!

These were considerable better that CPK's version, and worth it if you are a BBQ Chicken pizza connoisseur. These pizza crusts were also good, and much easier to handle than fresh dough. Still, not as good as fresh dough, but better than Boboli/Pillsbury pizza dough.  Worth remembering!

*The Polomatch is now called the BBQ Chicken pizza. Booooo Bertucci's.  

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The New Roast Chicken Sunday

It is a tradition in the South for families to share a chicken dinner together after church. Currently, our after church tradition consists of leftovers for lunch, followed by naps for all (except for a certain, special four year old). But now, for dinner, we have "New Roast Chicken Sunday."  This is because on Sunday, Harris Teeter puts there already cooked rotisserie chickens on sale for $4.99.

Cooking a roast chicken to perfection is supposed to be the penultimate challenge for a home cook. There are numerous recipes and methods touted by chefs, most notably Thomas Keller and Julia Child.  I usually use Simon Hopkinson's recipe in How to Roast Chicken and Other Stories.  But, when you have two hungry* kids and a week of meals to plan, the grocery store rotisserie chicken is an easy win, and the price is right - cheaper than buying an uncooked chicken and preparing it yourself.

Also, there are numerous recipes that you can make using the cooked meat from a rotisserie chicken. So, after giving the kids their bits of white meat, you can make an "adult" recipe . All of these meals are "deconstruct-able", meaning that the ingredients can be eaten on their own to everyone's individual tastes.

Here are some recipes for the cooler weather that I have had some success with:

King Ranch Chicken Soup.  From the November issue of Southern Living. This is a riff on the famous Texan casserole, King Ranch Casserole.  Other ingredients include onions, peppers, tomatoes, and corn tortillas.

Chicken Enchiladas.  I currently use Pioneer Woman's recipe.  But, this is so easy to adapt to your tastes.  Make it as difficult or as easy as you like.

Tortilla soup. The husband's favorite. Avocado is a MUST. It took me forever to find hominy in the store. Tip: it is in the canned corn section.

Parmesan Pasta with Chicken and Rosemary. I only eat pasta every few weeks, and rarely want to combine roast chicken night with pasta night, but sometimes it has to happen.

Here are some recipes for warmer weather:

Chicken Ceaser Salad.  Buy a ceaser salad kit, and a rotisserie chicken. Make sure there are extra croutons on hand.

Chicken and Peaches Platter.  Chicken, peaches, almonds, blue cheese - ingredients that don't need any further preparation.

Curry Chicken Salad: Always a favorite!

Here are some recipes I plan to try:

Fresh Fettucine with Roasted Chicken and Broccoli Rabe. Giada usually has her recipes fairly well tested. This also contains pine nuts and parmesan. Combining roast chicken and pasta makes me want to fast for a few days.

Quick BBQ Chicken Pizzas. Combine pizza and chicken night. But, this is a Cooking Light recipe, so you should feel better while eating it, right?

* If my children ever said they were "hungry," I would fall over dead.