Chicken Taco Pizza

Today I was in the mood for a pizza, but also Tex-Mex; so why not combine them?  I hunted around for a simple recipe and found a lot of complicated ones, so I came up with my own.  This literally has 4 simple steps – the meat, the base, the topping prep, and baking, DONE!  So without further ado, here it is:

Chicken Taco Pizza

Chicken Taco Pizza

The Meat:

600-800 gr. Chicken meat, diced

1 spring onion, finely chopped

Taco spice * to taste

Toss into a pan & turn the stove on high.  Stir, cooking until the meat is done; set aside to cool.

Mix into the meat:

~ ½ C. mayonnaise or sour cream or plain yoghurt, along with a squirt of lemon juice and about 1 garlic clove’s worth of garlic paste.

The Base:

Instead of the typical pizza base of tomato sauce, essentially this is a bean sauce.

1 tin of beans, drained – either white beans or kidney beans; if you’re daring, a tin of refried beans!

Pop the contents into a blender, sprinkle in a few chives & a bit of seasoning or lemon juice, and blitz until a smooth paste.

The Toppings:

Slice any or all of the following toppings:

6-8 button mushrooms

10-12 cherry tomatoes, halved

Black olives(pitted), chopped

1 red bell pepper, finely diced

1 avocado, halved, pitted & peeled, and sliced thinly

~1 C. grated Cheddar cheese

On a tray, roll out your phyllo dough onto a sheet of baking paper, and spread the base mixture from edge to edge.  Pour the meat mixture on (drain, if too juicy) and spread it out, then toss on the toppings, and top with the cheese.

The Baking:

Pop it in the cold oven, and 45 minutes to an hour before you’re ready to eat, turn the oven on to 180°C (350°F).  Serve hot, and enjoy!

Can be served with tortilla chips, salsa and guacamole, or just as-is!

 

*You can use any taco or fajita spice you like; if you don’t have access to such a spice in the store, or you want to make your own to ensure you know what’s in it, click here for a DIY recipe.

Dietary note:  For those who are lactose intolerant, Cheddar cheese is naturally lactose-free; the yoghurt or sour cream can be the LF variety, and you’ve still got a tasty meal!

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Chicken, Mozzarella & Gorgonzola Strudel

Strudels are a versatile bunch, really – they can be sweet like the traditional apple strudel, or savoury with either meats or simply vegetarian.  I keep phyllo dough on hand in the freezer for a quick make-ahead meal; I mix the stuffing together in the afternoon and roll it up into the dough, flip it seam-side down on an oven tray lined with baking paper, then score a few steam-vent gashes with a knife, brush it with a bit of cream or whipped egg, and pop it in the cold oven.  When it’s time to bake, I turn on the oven and let it bake for ~50-60 minutes.  Wah-la!

Here’s a mixture I put together yesterday; it was fabulous, and I promised to write down the recipe so that I could make it again! The image below is not mine, but it represents how it comes out looking, sans sauce on the side; if you want to add a sauce, start off with a good Belchamel sauce, and perhaps toss in a bit of thyme and a grainy mustard to give it pizazz!

This amount makes 2 strudel, which will feed 6-8 people.  Without further ado, here it is:

Chicken, Mozzarella & Gorgonzola Strudel

800 gr. chicken, finely diced

5-6 small spicy sausages, finely chopped

1 onion, finely diced

2 leeks, finely sliced

~5 small potatoes, finely chopped

200 gr. Gorgonzola (bleu cheese), cubed

400 gr. Mozzarella, finely chopped

2 eggs

Thyme, salt and pepper to taste

2 x rectangular phyllo dough (flaky pastry dough)

In a pan, slowly cook the chicken, sausages, potatoes and onions until done; season to taste (the thyme gives a nice rustic accent to the meats).  Set aside to cool.

In the meantime, chop up the cheeses into a large bowl, and whip in the eggs.  Pour the warm meat mixture into the bowl, and stir thoroughly.

Roll out the first pastry dough, and line half of the mixture down the centre, leaving a finger or two’s width at each end.  Fold the sides of the dough in; pinch the ends together, and, using the baking paper that the dough is wrapped in, fold it under to flip the dough into place (seam-side down) on the baking tray at one side (leaving room for the second).  Score the dough along the top, then brush with a bit of cream or beaten egg.  Repeat for the second strudel, laying it along the opposite side of the tray.

Pop into the oven.  Bake at 190-200°C (375-390°F) for 50-60 minutes.

chicken-strudel

Source:  Pinterest

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OLD-FASHIONED CAULIFLOWER PIE with POTATO CRUST

Old-Fashioned Cauliflower Pie with Potato CrustI recently made this for dinner, and loved it!  It takes about an hour to pre-prepare, but the potato crust is well worth the effort.  I prepared it when I had time in the afternoon (you could do so the evening before as well), and then did the final baking before serving dinner.

POTATO CRUST

2 firmly packed C. of grated raw potatoes

½ tsp. salt

2 eggs, beaten

1/4 C. grated onion

2 green onions, thinly sliced

Vegetable oil (I use coconut oil)

Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Spray a 9-inch pie pan with non-stick cooking spray. Place the raw potato strings in a colander. Add salt to the potatoes & let them set for 10 minutes, then, using your hand, squeeze out the excess water.

In a medium bowl, combine the potatoes, eggs, & the onions & stir to mix well.  Pat the potato mixture into the greased pie pan gently with the back of a spoon.   Bake 30 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove the pie pan from the oven & let rest & cool a bit before adding the cauliflower mixture. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F (180°C).

 FILLING

½ tsp. salt

3 eggs, beaten

1/4 C. half & half cream

2-3 Tbs. Mascarpone (cream cheese)

Freshly ground black pepper

1/4 tsp. paprika

Make the potato crust & bake it while you are preparing the pie mixture. In a small bowl, beat together the salt, eggs, half & half, pepper & paprika, then set aside.  You may be tempted to make more liquid than this, but believe me, this is enough!

3 Tbs. butter

½ C. onion, chopped

4 green onions, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

½ tsp. seasoned salt

1 tsp. savory

½ tsp. dried thyme

½ tsp. dried oregano

2 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley leaves

1 large cauliflower, broken into small florets

In a frying pan over medium heat, sauté the onions, garlic & seasoned salt until the onions soften & the garlic just begins to colour.  Add the savory, thyme, oregano, parsley & cauliflower & cook, covered, for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat.

1 C. grated Cheddar cheese

1 C. grated Swiss cheese

Paprika, for garnish

Optional:  Top with pretzels, coarsely crumbled, for a nice crunch

Layer the baked potato crust with half of the cheeses, then the cauliflower-herb mixture, then all the remaining cheese.

Pour the cream mixture over the top.  Bake 35-40 minutes at 180°C (350°F), until the pie is firm & set & the top is just beginning to brown up.  Remove the pan from the oven, let sit for 10 minutes to firm up, sprinkle with paprika & serve.

Savoury Curry Fruit & Vegetable Pie

Recipe No 302 with cream, egg mix & Amaranth toppingThis savoury pie may be a bit counter-intuitive as far as flavour combinations go, with apricots and curry, but the combination is delicious!  If you don’t have puffed Amaranth on hand, you can sprinkle the top with something else, such as breading mixture, or crumbled crackers or even crumbled pretzels.

Here’s an image of puffed Amaranth, with a lentil, for size comparison:

Amaranth, puffed & Lentil for size

puff pastry, enough for 1 regular pie plate
a little oil of choice (e.g. coconut oil)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 onion, finely chopped
1 -2 tsp. of curry powder
2 medium sized potatoes, cubed quite small
3 medium carrots, cubed the same
about 10 dried apricots, chopped
1 apple, peeled then finely chopped
¼ C. vegetable or chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste

3 eggs, whisked
1/2 C. Cream

Amaranth, puffed

In a frying pan, fry the onion & garlic in the oil, then add the curry powder. Add the fruit & vegetables & pour over the wine or stock. Cook for a few minutes until everything is well combined & starting to soften.

Grease your pie plate, and lay the pastry into it, poking it with a fork a few times in the base. Pour in the pan vegetable mixture.

Either in the pan or in a separate container, mix together the eggs and cream; you can spice to taste if you’d like, but none is necessary at this point.

Pour across the pie mixture, and sprinkle puffed Amaranth over the top.

Bake at 200°C (400°F) for 20-30 minutes or until pastry is golden brown.

Tex-Mex Pizza on a Bisquick Crust

This week we tossed together a delicious pizza (pizza’s big on the menu with a teenager in the house) with a Tex-Mex twist.  The photos didn’t turn out well, so you’ll just need to use your imagination!  It’s worth the effort – this is going on my go-to list!

The baking pan we used was one of those large oven sheets that usually comes with your oven; for that size you’ll want about 4 cups or more of bisquick, with enough water to knead it into a springy dough.

Tex-Mex Pizza

 

Mix the Bisquick dough (click here for a DIY mix) with enough water to make an elastic dough, then roll it out and put in onto a buttered pan (I use coconut oil).  You can either leave it raw to top with the ingredients, or pre-bake it a bit.

 

Pan Dish:

2 Chicken breasts, diced and cooked with:

2-4 shallots, sliced in thin rings

a handful of freshly chopped coriander

lime juice – a good dose to sauté into the meat and onions

Salt and pepper to taste

Sauté this mixture together until the meat is cooked through, and remove from heat.  Into the warm mixture, toss:

1 small can of garbanzo beans

1 small can of kidney beans

a handful of cherry tomatoes, halved

spices to taste (fajita spice mix, or chilli powder, or a bit of mesquite spice)

Toss to combine, then set aside.

 

1 avocado

a handful of black olives, chopped

300 gr. grated cheese of choice (Cheddar would work great, but there are several Swiss cheeses that are great alternatives too)

Preheat your oven to 220°C (430°F)

Slice 1 avocado in “half-moon” slices, and chop the olives; distribute both over the crust.

Pour the pan mixture over the avocado and olives, spreading it out to the edges evenly.

Top with the grated cheese and pop into the oven.

Bake ~20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and browning slightly.

 

En Guete!

 

 

Apple & Date Chicken Curry

This is a lovely dish with vibrant colours and a great combination of sweet and savoury.  You can either make this the traditional way – cooking on the stove, or as I did, in the crockpot / slow cooker; this latter method allows me to throw it together and get on with the appetizer and dessert, then take a break from the kitchen and get to work on my next novel.  The side dish of rice is made just before serving, and the whole meal will be hot and ready by the time the guests arrive.

As a complete menu idea, I served this dish with the following:  As the appetizer, Salted Stuffed Dates with Feta Cheese; as the side dish, smoked (or normal) Basmati rice; for dessert, the Apple Tiramisu.  The latter is a “multi-culti” jump; if you prefer to stay Middle Eastern / Indian, you could perhaps serve it with the Moroccan Pineapple and Banana Pudding or the East African Sweet Potato Pudding, though I tried to stay with the date and apple theme of the meal, so it worked very well together!

Apple & Date Chicken CurryApple & Date Chicken Curry

800g Chicken Meat, diced

3 Apples, peeled, cored & diced

Lemon Juice, to taste

~100 gr. white raisins

~ 200g Dates, pitted & halved

1 bundle Spring Onions, finely chopped

A dash of Garlic Oil

Curry Sauce:

In a bowl, mix together:

½ tsp. Cumin

½ tsp. Turmeric

½ tsp. Paprika

½ tsp. Salt

½ tsp. Ground Pepper

½ tsp. Ground Coriander

¼ tsp. Ground Mace

½ tsp. Ginger, finely diced

2 Cloves Garlic, smashed & finely diced

1 Tbs. Curry Powder

1 can Coconut Milk

1-2 C. Chicken Broth

Stove-Top Method:

Sauté onion, ginger, garlic & spices together.  Add meat, cook until no longer pink; add in apples, cook til almost soft, then throw in the dates.  Pour in the liquids and simmer until warm through. Spice t.t.

Crockpot Method:

Stir all ingredients together thoroughly to combine; make sure that the meat is covered by the liquid (pressed down into the coconut milk & broth).  Cook on Low for 4-6 hours.

Serve with Basmati rice.

Serves 4-6

Coke & Cashew Chicken

Here’s a dish I served up last week, and it’s an unusual combination but delicious!  The coke tenderizes the meat while the soy sauce, garlic & ginger counter the sweetness of the soft drink.  This is a simple dish that you can toss together the night before to let it marinade, or can toss together a couple hours before you are ready to cook.  As you can tell by the image, I also added a can of bamboo shoots.

Coke & Cashew Chicken Watermarked

Coke & Cashew Chicken

450 gr. chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 C. soy sauce
½-1 C. Coca-Cola
½ C. dried cranberries
1 onion, finely diced
1 Tbs. fresh ginger, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt & Pepper, & chili powder to taste
1-2 tsp. coconut oil
1 C. Cashew nuts, tossed in toward the end of cooking

Combine all marinade ingredients & marinate chicken overnight (or several hours). In a deep pan, simmer the mixture, marinade and all, until the sauce has reduced, then turn up the heat and let the chicken brown-glaze in the sauce.

Serve with either fried rice, or Jasmine rice.

Serves 4-6