Tag Archives: weeknight

Quick & Easy Pizza Dough

30 Jan

Easy Pizza Dough plus a great BBQ Chicken Pizza Recipe

Have you ever come across a great pizza recipe only to discover you need half a day just to prep the dough! Eek! I don’t know about you but I just don’t have that kind of time when I need to get dinner on the table. Sure, homemade pizza dough can be worth the effort, but on Dish Dash Dime,  we’re talking about an easy weeknight meal.

If you’re going to use a pizza stone, place your stone in the oven and pre-heat the oven to 425. I use two pans, one for pizza and one for bread sticks.

For this recipe you will need one packet of rapid rise yeast, 1 tablespoon of sugar, 2-3 cups of flour, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp Italian seasoning, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, and corn meal if you’re using a pizza stone.

First, add one cup of warm water to your stand mixer, with the dough hook attached. Add the yeast and sugar and let sit until it comes together and looks foamy/bubbly.

If you’ve never worked with yeast before, here’s a couple of hints. First, you need the temperature of the water to be warm – not boiling, but not lukewarm. Also, if you don’t see any foaming or bubbles after around 10 minutes, your yeast might have expired. This is called proofing.

While you wait, combine your Italian seasoning and garlic powder with olive oil.

Next you’ll start adding the flour. While adding the flour, I use the lowest speed possible. To be honest, I actually don’t measure this part anymore. I watch the dough come together and make judgements about how much more it needs. Start with one cup, and then add your olive oil mixture and salt. Next, add your flour 1/2 cup at a time until you reach 2 1/2 cups. If the dough is crumbly, add 1 tbsp of water at a time until the dough becomes smooth again.

When the dough is done mixing, it should be elastic and smooth. Let it rest on the dough hook for about 5 minutes.

Next, move the dough to a floured work surface.

Mold the dough into a round and cover with a towel for 5-10 minutes to rest. This is a great time to prepare your toppings.

For this particular pizza, I shredded up some leftover chicken.

Then I added about 1/4 cup of BBQ sauce. I also chopped up some onion and scallions. For the cheese, I used a mixture of both mozzarella and cheddar cheese.

After the dough has rested, the size will be a bit larger.

Punch down the dough and then roll it out to your desired width. At this point, I usually remove a part of the dough to make bread sticks. I like a thin crust pizza, so I roll out my dough the entire width of my 14 inch pizza stone. If you like thick crust, use a small pizza pan and keep the dough thicker, or even make it in a pan with a raised edge.

Prepare a pizza stone with cornmeal. For a regular pan, use non-stick spray.

Carefully transfer your dough onto the pizza stone. I always have my rolling-pin ready for any weird pulling that happened during the transfer to help even out the dough. With the pizza stone, you’ll smell and hear the sizzle immediately. At this point I try to quickly prick the entire crust with a fork and then brush the edges with leftover olive oil and Italian seasoning mixture from earlier.

For this pizza, I used a BBQ sauce base. Spread your desire amount across the crust.

Next, add your toppings, be sure to not load up too much in the middle, to ensure an even cooking process.

Finally, add your cheese, trying your best to make sure that the cheese is even throughout the pizza. I used about 1/2 cup of cheddar and 1 cup mozzarella.

Since I’ve only used a pizza stone, I can’t speak for the timing on a regular pan. I usually put the time on for 15 minutes, and then check it every 5 minutes from there on out. With different toppings, it will depend on the timing. The thickness of crust and the amount of toppings will also change your cooking times.

For the bread sticks, I simply roll them out into an oval shape. I then add some olive oil, garlic salt and a sprinkling of cheese. I put this together while the pizza is baking and add them in around 10 minutes in so that they both come out around the same time. Usually I try to not open the oven while I bake, but in this case, with the pizza stone, you should be fine.

Then out they come, all golden brown, melty, and bubbly.

I have to admit, about every 5th pizza I make, the pizza just doesn’t come together. I’ve had dough that doesn’t rise right, dough that is too dense, or too flimsy. It always tastes great and we always gobble it all up before coming up for air. But I don’t claim to be a master at this, and neither should you! So don’t get disappointed if this isn’t the best professional gourmet pizza you’ve ever seen or tasted. Afterall, I’ve heard the best pizza crust is made from the right water – so who really knows!?

I’d love to hear about your favorite toppings. Does anyone have a favorite homemade pizza?

We topped our pizza with fresh diced tomatoes, since we love the crisp cold texture against the melted cheese. Seriously wish I was eating this right now!

Chicken Spinach Salad

10 Jan

Sometimes, having leftover chicken in the fridge is the perfect answer to a quick weeknight meal. Simply shred or chop up the chicken breast. Next, add your favorite veggies. I like to add tomatoes and cucumber. If I have it, I’ll add avocado, blue cheese or feta crumbles, and even granny smith apples. You can also add some hard boiled egg too.

We use spinach for our greens, but you can use any that you like. We prefer spinach for the nutrients and health benefits. And for dressing, well that’s when this salad goes from average to amazing.

First swiftly whisk together 2 parts lemon juice with one part olive oil. Next add 2 tablespoons vinegar, 1 tsp garlic salt, 1tsp onion powder, and a dash of pepper. Note, those measurements are for 2 servings for entree sized salads.

You might want to adjust to your own tastes and preferences. We like vinegar, so I tend to add some more towards the end. If you don’t have lemon, you can substitute lime, but it will obviously result in a different flavor. I also added some parsley for additional flavor.

For me, food tastes as good as it looks – so presentation is everything. Even for a quick and simple meal like this. Sure, I could have tossed all the ingredients together. But when I came up with the idea of serving my meat and potato loving husband an entree salad for dinner, I knew I needed a better plan. So a-l-a-cobb-like-salad, I lined the ingredients up in thick, colorful lines. I also used serving bowls as opposed to a regular sized bowl or plate. Picture below is my salad with chicken, tomatoes, cucumber, granny smith apples, and mozzarella cheese (not my first choice, but had no other cheese on hand).

Make your dressing beforehand and let sit while you assemble the salad. Or better yet, make the dressing in the morning and let the flavors incorporate while you’re away. Either way, keep the dressing in the fridge until right before you serve. No one wants soggy lettuce!

This can be a really healthy and light meal too. Its totally refreshing to feast on fresh ingredients like raw spinach and apples and feel full. Let me know how you like it in the comments below. Enjoy!

Recipe Lovers

Salad:
2-3 cups Shredded or Chopped Chicken Breast
2 cups chopped tomatoes
1 cup chopped cucumber
1 cup of additional toppings (carrots, eggs, avocado, and blue cheese crumbles are my favs)
1 bag fresh spinach (if you can, use the spinach within 2-3 days after purchase for freshness and flavor)

Dressing:
2 Lemons
2 tbsp White Vinegar
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp parsley
Pepper to taste

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