Doughn’t You Love Pizza!?

Happy Hump Day! It’s been quite an insane week already, but I’m gearing up for my even insaner (apparently that IS a word, who knew?) weekend and the PHILADELPHIA MARATHON! Holy crap. I can’t believe it’s almost here.

Also, here is a random tidbit of wisdom for your day. This has been my life motto for the last few weeks:

Now onto the good stuff! I’ve made my love affair with pizza pretty apparent on my little space in the blogosphere already. But have I shared with you my theory on pizza soulmates? No? Well, allow me enlighten you with a little bit of AWESOME.

If you didn’t click on that link (which you should), pizza soulmates can be summed up as follows: that person who loves the exact same pizza toppings, in the exact same proportions as you do. Without prompt, you would both order the same pizza every single time. It’s hard to find. Some even may even say impossible, but I know it’s not because I found mine.

(yeah, feel the love. geez!)

Melodramatic intro aside, my co-worker, Pera, and I actually fit the definition of pizza soulmates to a tee. The first time we went out for pizza with our group of friends it was a pretty great moment that went something like this:

Pera: “Anyone want to split a pizza?”
Caitlin: “What kind of toppings?”
Pera: “Pepperoni and sausage?”
Caitlin: “And bacon?”
Pera: “Done.”

Easiest decision I’ve ever made.

So, it came as no surprise that as soon as I had the idea to start a blog one of the first things he said to me was, “We should cook our own pizza. Make our own dough and everything!” Done.

Second easiest decision I’ve ever made.

We were both excited to get started. The only problem: we are clueless in the kitchen.

If a picture could say a thousand words…

After a brief trip to the grocery store (yes, I braved the grocery store…I was shocked that we found the active dry yeast), we got to it. I’ve said this before, baking doesn’t intimidate me much. But making pizza dough? Well, that’s a realm I hadn’t quite stepped in to. I put my warface on:

The dough was no match for our culinary prowess. It was delicious and rose surprisingly well after about 10-15 minutes of kneading and an hour of letting it rise. We added garlic and basil to our crust for some extra flavor. It was a nice touch!

I was in charge of cooking up the toppings and may or may not have stolen a few niblet half pound of bacon in the process.

What can I say? Bacon is my kryptonite.

ANYWAY, our pizza was topped with pepperoni, sausage, bacon and a metric ton of cheese. You can seriously never have enough cheese on a pizza…but if such a thing were to exist, this would have been dangerously close.

For those of you following along at home, here’s a bit of recipe magic for your arsenal:

The Best Pizza Dough You Will Ever Make
adapted from allrecipes.com

  • 2.5 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 cup warm (110 degrees-ish) water
  • 1 teaspoon garlic
  • 1 teaspoon basil

First combine the water and active yeast. Let that sit for 10 minutes to get those cultures active!
Then, combine that with the rest of the ingredients. Knead for 10-15 minutes. Let sit for an hour or more covered by a damp towel. Roll out. Bake by itself for 5-7 minutes, then add sauce and toppings and bake again 20-25 minutes.

OM NOM NOM!

The crust was flakey, the sauce was sweet, the cheese was gooey, and the toppings were spot on. Pizza success!

Have you found your pizza soulmate? What are your toppings of choice?

Look Ma’ I’m COOKIN’: Chicken Florentine

The deed is done. The seal has been broken. The first meal has been made. And it was, drum roll please…

PRETTY DARN GOOD!

I mean, I can’t really say I’m surprised considering I recruited the help of my good friend and cooking extraordinaire, Kayleigh, to guide me through my first clueless time in the kitchen. She made sure I didn’t make too much a fool of myself.

Hi Kayleigh!

Really, I wasn’t quite sure how this was going to turn out because I have a knack for messing up recipes. I also wasn’t sure if I would even like the dish because it has SPINACH in it. Yes, hold the phone, yours truly is eating VEGETABLES. The nice part about Chicken Florentine is that the spinach is totally masked with ricotta and parmesan cheeses. It’s like tricking yourself into eating vegetables by convincing yourself that you’re just eating cheese. At least that’s how I rationalized it!

Under Kayleigh’s watchful eye, this recipe turned out to be a success. Today I learned that cooking isn’t like baking in that it isn’t as much of a science, it’s okay if a little more of this and a little less of that gets mixed in. So, we definitely added a few more spoonfuls of garlic in there. Good thing I don’t have a hot date tonight!

Without further ado, here is the recipe:

Chicken Florentine:
Taken from Weight Watchers, adapted by Kayleigh (and Caitlin, sort of)
Cook time: 35-40 min

Ingredients

  • 8 (6 oz) skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 boxes (10 ox/each) frozen chopped spinach – thawed & squeezed dry
  • 1 lb ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt & pepper (for each breast)
  • 2 egg whites, beaten with 2 tbsp water
  • 1 cup seasoned dried bread crumbs (we used panko, but I’d like to try Italian next time)
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven. Spray large shallow baking pan with non-stick spray
  2. Pound breasts until 1/2 inch thick
  3. Mix spinach, cheeses, garlic powder, salt & pepper
  4. Spoon mix onto half side of breasts. Fold over and press edges to seal
  5. Dip breasts in egg whites
  6. Coat with 2 tbsp of bread crumbs
  7. Place in pan. Cook until juices are clear

We served ours with a side of bowtie pasta with mushroom alfredo which we doctored up by adding tomatoes, garlic and italian seasoning. Judging from how quickly Kayleigh’s boyfriend, Nate, devoured the whole thing, I’d say it was a success.

So that’s it, the first meal stigma is gone. Now the question is, what should I cook next?