Monthly Archives: March 2011

Pizza Night Part II – Canadian Pizza with a Twist

Last week I posted about our Sunday night pizza adventure!  We made pizza from scratch, dough and all.  We made Annie’s Chicken Ranch, an original Salmon Pesto and our spin on the traditional Canadian. I already shared the recipe for my take on Annie’s Chicken Ranch pizza, but this pizza was definitely CH’s favourite of the night.

A traditional ‘Canadian’ pizza is loaded with pepperoni, bacon, sliced green peppers, sliced mushrooms and mozzarella.  Without a doubt, if we order pizza (which we won’t anymore!) CH orders “Canadian’. I have no idea where Canadian pizza gets its name…I even googled it.  Sorry!

However, with Canadian being CH’s default pizza, I knew I had to create it but wasn’t satisfied with just the normal toppings.  To start, I used some leftover bolognese sauce I had in the freezer, instead of basic tomato sauce.  It added incredible depth to the pizza and a load of extra flavour.  I went to a local butcher and picked up some handmade Hungarian pepperoni, which had quite a bit of spice to it.  We added the usual crispy crumbled bacon (I pre-cooked my bacon in the oven!), green pepper and mushrooms, but for one more flavour enhancer, I added carmalized onions.  I slow cooked the onions in a pan with butter on the stove for almost an hour.  The flavour of the onions added a hit of sweetness to the pizza and balanced it all out really well.

While these sounds like time consuming additions, they really weren’t!  This was a fast pizza to assemble and offered an incredible amount of flavour.   This will definitely end up on our table again soon!

Enjoy!

Pizza Dough

Please see Annie’s Eats (Click Here: Perfect Pizza Crust)

Canadian Pizza with a Twist

Yeild:  1 medium pizza
Prep Time:  10 minutes (without dough – add additional time for dough preparation)
Cooking Time:  12 minutes pizza (add 30 mins – 1hr if you are going to make caramelized onions)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 batch of pizza dough crust
  • 1/2 cup of tomato sauce (or bolognese sauce)
  • 1.5 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup of thinly sliced pepperoni, whichever brand & spice level you like
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 10 mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup of bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1/2 cup of caramelized onions (see below for a link for how to make carelmelized onions) * you can also substitute raw onions

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 500 degrees (and if you have a pizza stone, preheat that as well).  It is good to allow your pizza stone to pre-heat in a 500 degree oven for at least an additional 15 minutes.

If you have a pizza peel, lay that on the counter.  Otherwise, prepare a sheet of parchment paper (either square or cut to shape of your dough). [CH: If you don’t have either of those, hilarity will ensue when moving the pizza from counter to oven.]

Now, prepare your dough. On top of your parchment paper or your pizza peel, roll out the dough into a round pizza shape.  Leave an edge around outside for the crust. Once you’ve achieved the shape you desire, pinch the outside of the dough to create a crust. Then pierce the crust with a fork all the way around (this will prevent large air bubbles from forming in your crust while it bakes!).

Now, it’s time to assemble!  Pour the tomato sauce (or bolognese) over the unbaked pizza dough and spread with a spoon. Sprinkle about 3/4 of the shredded mozzarella over the tomato sauce. Scatter the caramelized onions, pepperoni, green peppers, mushrooms and bacon bits on top of the tomato sauce.  When layering, try to think of the end result…you want every piece of pizza to have a bit of every topping!   Finally, sprinkle the top of your pizza with the remaining mozzarella cheese.

Carefully move the pizza to your preheated oven/pizza stone.   Bake for 12 minutes or done to your liking (I like mine quite crisp and I added a minute of broiling at the end to make my cheese a little crispier!).

Let cool for 5 minutes.  Then, slice and devour.

An Original JBean Recipe

Caramelized Onions: Rachel Ray’s Tutorial

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Thai Quinoa Salad

I am happiest when I get to cook for my family and friends.  Nothing makes me happier than thinking up a meal that they will love and enjoy and then preparing it for them!  Moving to Ontario, I’ve had the opportunity to make some great new friends and for that I am very grateful.

One of my girlfriends came over recently and I made this salad with her in mind.  I was searching for a recipe with quinoa and stumbled upon a Cate’s World Kitchen recipe!  I used her recipe as my inspiration but added my own touch with the vegetable mixture, changing the dressing and omitting and substituting several items.  I served the salad with a piece of grilled mahi mahi on top and it was a delicious meal that disappeared quite quickly!

Quinoa is a super food and I don’t cook with it nearly as much as I should!  It is a delicious and filling item to add to your daily salad or as a side dish to your main meal!  When you have flavours like this one in the mix, it is irresistable!

So, cheers to good friends – new and old!

Thai Vegetable Quinoa Salad

Yield:  About 10 cups of salad (Serving size is 2 – 3 cups per person)
Prep Time:  30 minutes
Cooking Time:  15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups water (or substitute with chicken broth for enhanced flavour)
  • 3 stalks of lemongrass (bottom 3″ only), finely chopped
  • 5 kaffir lime leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 small red Thai chiles, finely chopped (optional or remove inner seeds for less heat)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • large handful cilantro, chopped
  • 10 basil leaves, chopped (use Thai basil if you can find it)
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 yellow pepper, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 orange pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 cucumber, seeded and chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened light coconut milk

Directions:

Wash and prepare all of your ingredients.  Place cilantro, basil, green onions, yellow pepper, red pepper, orange pepper, green pepper and cucumber in a large bowl.  Set aside.

In a large saucepan, add your quinoa.  Over medium heat, toast the quinoa for a few minutes, until you hear it begin to crackle.  Add 2 cups of water, lemongrass, kaffir leaves, red chiles, garlic and salt.

Increase the heat to high and bring the quinoa mixture to a rapid boil.  Once it’s reached a boil, cover and lower heat to a simmer.  Allow mixture to cook for 12 – 15 minutes, or until all of the liquid is absorbed.

When the quinoa is cooked, remove from the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes.  Then, remove lid and fluff the quinoa with a fork.

Spread quinoa mixture into a large bowl (or platter) and allow to cool at room temperature. (Note – I avoid putting it in the fridge to cool as I find it clumps when you cool it down rapidly.  I will however, place it outside for 20 minutes or so to speed up the cooling process!)

Once quinoa is cooled, add the quinoa to your vegetable and herb mixture.  Stir well with a fork.  Add the lime juice and coconut milk and stir well again.

Serve immediately or place in fridge until ready!

Enjoy.

Adapted from Cate’s World Kitchen.

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Filed under Healthy, Mains, Salads, Side Dishes, Thai, Vegetarian and Vegan

WC Recipe Swap: Crunchy Sesame Chicken Tenders

This week, I joined a Recipe Swap with some other very talented food bloggers. We all get into routines in our cooking, so this was a way to try out a new recipe or two. The requirement for the swap was to submit a recipe using chicken. Chicken is so versatile, reasonable and quite easy to prepare – so it made it perfect for the swap! My contribution to the Recipe Swap was my Chicken Curry, and I hope whoever made it, loved it as much as we do!

The recipe I received to try was Crunch Chicken with Sesame Rice and Green Beans (Rachel Ray).   While I liked the ingredients and the idea of chicken tenders (which I hadn’t made in a long time!), I wasn’t crazy about frying the chicken or the mayo based sauce.  So, I took inspiration from the recipe and ingredients and made my own chicken tender recipe with a twist.  The addition of sesame seeds to the panko gave the crust an extra flavour boost!  Additionally, using yogurt to coat the chicken tenders instead of eggs gave the chicken extra moisture and kept them extra juicy once cooked!

They turned out great, perfect for a casual lunch or a kid-friendly dinner.  CH came home and devoured the leftovers! These would be great as a contribution to an appetizer spread or for a weeknight meal, since they are healthy and easy to prepare! Whoever eats them will definitely love them.

Thanks WC for a great idea and a fun new recipe!

Crunchy Sesame Chicken Tenders

Yield:  2 Adult Servings (about 8 chicken strips)
Prep Time:  5 minutes
Cooking Time:  Approximately 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb of chicken loins, sliced into 2 inch strips (or you can use chicken breast and slice into strips)
  • 2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted (see note below re: toasting!)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp seasoning salt
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 0.5 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tsp soy sauce

Dipping Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp mustard
  • pinch of salt

Directions:

Toasting Sesame Seeds:  Simply heat a small frying pan over medium heat.  Add the sesame seeds and toast for 3 or 4 minutes.  Be sure to keep your eye on these.  They will burn quickly!

In a large bowl, combine the panko, toasted sesame seeds, garlic powder, seasoning salt, 1 tsp salt and pepper.  Mix well.

In another large bowl, combine the plain yogurt and soy sauce.  Mix well.

Place a wire rack on-top of a baking sheet or use a broiler pan (I line my baking sheet with parchment paper to make clean up easy!).  Lightly spray the wire rack with cooking spray, or wipe with oil.

Turn on your oven to BROIL (‘low’ setting if your oven has the option).  Place the oven rack on the second highest level (i.e. close to the broiler element).

Set-up your dipping station by laying your yogurt bowl first, your panko bowl second and then your baking sheet at the end.  Sprinkle the chicken with remaining 1 tsp of salt.

One piece of chicken at a time, dip the chicken tender into the yogurt mixture.  Coat evenly.

Next, dip the yogurt covered chicken tender into the panko mixture.  Coat evenly and pat the tender with the panko mixture to ensure it sticks well.

Place the coated chicken on the wire rack.  Repeat with remaining chicken tenders.

Place the baking sheet with the chicken tenders into the oven.  Cook on broil setting for 7 – 10 minutes.  Flip the chicken tenders.  Cook for an additional 7-10 minutes, or until nice and crispy and cooked completely!  Don’t forget to ensure the chicken is no longer pink on the inside, as cooking times will vary depending on the thickness of your chicken!

Remove from oven and serve with dipping sauce of your choice, or the honey mustard sauce above!  It also pairs really well with my Green Bean Salad!

Recipe Loosely Adapted From:  Rachel Ray

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