White Pizza

This is an ideal recipe to class up your football watch party this fall. I have never been the biggest fan of tomato sauce on pizza. The white sauce here is simple to prepare and this pizza feels a little fancier than the usual. Obviously on game day most of the guys are drinking beer. But with this pizza I would pair Kendall-Jackson Avant Chardonnay. This is a budget Chardonnay that can be found at many grocery stores. It is buttery but crisp and goes great with the white sauce in this recipe.

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When making pizza, you can use parchment paper to roll the dough out on. This helps in transfer from the pizza peel to the stone in the oven. The oven in my apartment unfortunately is much hotter in the posterior part, thus I have to rotate everything I bake. If you have a similar problem, halfway through the baking time, you can rotate the pizza so it bakes evenly. When you rotate it you should be able to easily slide the parchment out from under the pizza. You can use cornmeal on the parchment and the pizza stone to make this go smoothly.

White Pizza

1/2 lb pizza dough (enough for a 12 inch crust)
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 cup mozzarella
1/4 cup parmesan

White sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme

Prepare the white sauce:
Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a saucepan. Add the onion and sauté for 5 or 6 minutes until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for one minute, stirring continuously. Add the cream, decrease the heat to medium-low, and cook for 3 minutes, until the sauce thickens slightly.

Remove from the heat, stir in the thyme, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Allow the sauce to cool.

Prepare the pizza:
Place a baking stone on the middle oven rack and heat to 500 degrees. Roll out and/or stretch the dough to 12 cm. The dough should be about 1/4 inch thick and slightly thicker toward the edge. Place on a pizza peel (if using a pizza stone) or on a cookie sheet if not.

Stir together the ricotta, thyme, salt and pepper. Spread the sauce over the surface of the dough, leaving a small border uncovered. Spread the ricotta mixture over the sauce. Sprinkle Parmesan and mozzarella over this.

Slide the pizza onto the baking stone. Bake for 12 minutes. When it is done, the crust should be crisp and slightly charred on the edge and the cheese should be bubbling and brown in places. The underside of the crust should be brown and crisp. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before slicing.

Adapted from Serious Eats New York-Style White Pizza.

Chicken Piccata

I can’t believe how few images I have of this chicken considering how often I prepare this dish. The piccata sauce in this dish goes well on so many things… Mashed potatoes, green beans, Lima beans, asparagus. The list goes on and on. This recipe will not disappoint and is fairly simple. I have often doubled the recipe when I have extra guests and it comes together perfectly. It takes more time to reduce the wine and chicken broth but otherwise it is easily doubled for larger parties.

I have used many dry white wines in this dish. One of my favorites is Sauvignon Blanc. It’s an excellent dry wine for summer. During the winter I like to use Chardonnay. Tom Gore makes an oaky, impressive Chardonnay that is very affordable.

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Chicken Piccata

4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
2 ounces all-purpose flour, divided (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 tablespoons butter, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/4 cup finely chopped vidalia onions
4 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth, divided
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons drained capers

1. Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of plastic wrap; pound to 1/2-inch thickness. Place 1 teaspoon flour in a small bowl, and place remaining flour in a shallow dish to dredge chicken in. Sprinkle both sides of chicken evenly with salt and pepper. Dredge chicken in flour in shallow dish; shake off excess.

2. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add chicken to pan; sauté 4 minutes on each side or until done (165 degrees). Remove chicken from pan; keep warm with foil.

3. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in pan; swirl to coat. Add onions to pan; sauté 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add wine; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Cook until liquid almost evaporates, stirring occasionally. Add 1/4 cup broth to reserved 1 teaspoon flour; stir until smooth. Add remaining 1/2 cup broth to pan; bring to a boil. Cook until reduced by half (about 5 minutes). Stir in flour mixture; cook 1 minute or until slightly thick, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; stir in remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons butter, juice, and capers. Place 1 chicken breast half on each of 4 plates; top each serving with about 2 tablespoons sauce.

Adapted from Cooking Light.

Farmhouse Chicken Dinner

This recipe is a throwback to 2007. I first learned to cook from a Kraft magazine and this is the first meal I ever made. I still make this dish because it’s all in one and tastes great. This is a go-to when you haven’t planned anything for dinner. Neufchatel cheese is just low fat cream cheese. I have used regular cream cheese (this is obviously more likely to be laying around in the fridge) with great results. The farmhouse chicken dinner is best served with a buttery chardonnay.

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Farmhouse Chicken Dinner
Serves 4 and takes approx 50 minutes.

1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp pepper
4 chicken breast halves
1/4 cup light Italian Dressing
2 cups baby carrots
1 onion
1 can fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 cups instant brown rice
4 ounces Neufchatel Cheese

Mix flour and pepper in shallow dish. Add chicken; turn to coat both sides of each piece. Gently shake off excess flour. Heat dressing in large nonstick skillet on medium heat. Add chicken, meat-sides down; cook 5 to 6 minutes or until golden brown. Turn chicken. Add carrots, onions, and 1 cup broth; cover. Simmer on medium-low heat for 20 minutes or until chicken is done (165 degrees F). Meanwhile, cook rice as directed.

Spoon rice onto platter. Use a slotted spoon to remove chicken and vegetables from skillet; place over rice. Cover to keep warm.

Add Neufchatel and remaining broth to liquid remaining in skillet; cook on medium-high heat 5 minutes or until Neufchatel is melted and sauce is well blended, stirring constantly. Simmer on medium-low heat 3 to 5 min. or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Spoon over chicken and vegetables; top with parsley.

Pizza Dough

I have tried many different recipes, some involving a food processor, some by hand. But this recipe made in a stand mixer produces great results every time. This recipe will make 1 pound of pizza dough, two 12 inch crusts. I almost always make a double recipe. You can store the extra dough in the refrigerator or in the freezer. The dough actually gets more chewy after being refrigerated. If you’re having people over for game day, you can make this days ahead. Pizza is obviously versatile. Tomato sauce, turkey pepperoni, parmesan and mozzarella can be thrown on this dough in 5 minutes. I bake my pizzas on a stone which is preheated in a 500 degree oven.

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This recipe calls for bread flour. It is important to use bread flour because of the protein content. I use King Arthur brand which is 12.7% protein. King Arthur all purpose flour is 11.7 % protein which is on the high end compared to other all purpose flours which are 10% to 12%. Cake flour is around 8%. The significance is in the gluten. Gluten is what gives the texture to your pizza dough, and anything else you bake. Higher protein means more gluten and chewy dough. You create these gluten bonds when you knead the dough. Or as in this recipe, when your stand mixer kneads the dough.

Pizza Dough

1 cup warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 tablespoon honey (sugar or agave can be substituted)
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups bread flour

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the yeast and honey with warm water (110 degrees). Wait 10 minutes until bubbles form and it gets foamy (see bubbly yeast to the left). Add in salt, oil and half the flour. Using the dough hook, mix to combine.

Once the flour is mixed in, add in the rest of the flour bit by bit until combined. The dough should be tacky but should not stick to your hand. You may need to add more flour, add this 1 tbsp at a time.

Knead the dough with the mixer on a medium to high setting for 7 minutes. The mixer bowl will be clean after 7 minutes. Use olive oil to lightly grease the dough and the bowl. Cover with a warm towel and allow the dough to rise for 1 1/2 hours, or until doubled in size.

This is an original recipe from the Bubbly Kitchen.