Monday, May 21, 2012

Barbecue chicken pizza

I now truly understand the notion that distance time makes the heart grow fonder. And hungrier, thankyouverymuch.  After almost a month-long hiatus, Pizza Fridays returned last week in a big and bold way much to Matt's and my delight!

The nice weather has put us in a constant mood for grilling and al fresco dining.  Since we don't have a grill or porch, we've made slight adjustments and used our beloved Griddler to cook up anything and everything: burgers, salmon, shrimp kabobs, and enough chicken to feed a small army.  All to be enjoyed while sitting in folding chairs out on our rooftop.  Goodness, I love pre-summer :)

But pre-summer tends to make my appetite change slightly and crave slightly lighter versions of my favorite foods.  A stomach full of a heavy dinner is not conducive to evening walks, that's for sure.  So I've been on the prowl for tiny tweaks to lighten our favorite meals, like pizza. 

All that's required is a little smart meal planning.  I shredded aforementioned excess chicken earlier in the week and set aside extra vegetables used for other meals, as well as my favorite barbecue sauce, to use for the pizzas.  I've said it before, and I'll say it again: double duty ingredients are where it's at!  Looking at my grocery list, I realized that I could finally make that BBQ chicken pizza I've been dreaming of for month.

But, I was missing one crucial ingredient -- cheese.  What would a pizza be without it?  I had to get some.  One peek into my brain's inner workings at that moment, and you would've seen how a task like this sends my mind into overdrive.  So. Many. Possibilities.

Back and forth I went, surveying the gigantic cheese cave, until I found it.  A basket called "Just Enough Cheeses."  How cute is that?  Smaller portions of cheese for when you just need a lil' bit.  On top was a tiny wedge of blue cheese.  Settled.  If this were a sign, I wasn't going to be one to ignore the universe.

While I love a classic fluffy pizza crust, quick and summer weeknight meals are even more up my alley and using a premade tortilla for the pizza base was just the ticket.  A lil' bit lighter so we can load up on toppings: sweet barbecue sauce, tender chicken, juicy tomatoes, crunchy peppers, slivered onions, and tangy-like-whoh blue cheese.

I should've clocked this one because from start to finish, including ingredient retrieval to slicing up my pie, it only took 10 minutes.  10 minutes! 

It was so fast that I decided to delay my post-workout shower until after dinner.  Usually the order of events is: get home, preheat oven, shower, prepare dinner.  Because the broiler is ready in no time at all, the shower had to wait.  I interpreted the phrase "for better or worse" to mean "for clean or for smelly"... sorry, Matt.

Anyway, the pizza.

The pizza!  Just look at it.  Isn't it gorgeous?  Kinda looks like a food rainbow burst and created a perfect Friday night meal, don't ya think?

And, it was DELISH!  (Capital letters are necessary in this case.)   There were so many flavors going on here but they all worked together flawlessly.  Sweet, spicy, salty, slightly bitter, tangy, crunchy... I've gotta stop.  Good gracious was that a fantastic pizza.  Like no other I've ever had.  But will certainly be making again very soon.

You've gotta try it!

As you can see, my tortilla crust was buckling a lil' bit under the pressure of all of those delicious toppings, but I powered through it because that's what this pizza demands.  For such a hearty pie, it sure packs a lot of good stuff, too, without skimping on flavor at all.  I declared this pizza both bikini-friendly and a husband-pleaser.  That's rare, folks.

But not as rare as leftovers.  There were none to speak of on that Friday night.  Not even a lil' bit.

One year ago: Homemade strawberry topping
Two years ago: Strawberry coffee cake muffins

Barbecue Chicken and Blue Cheese Pizza
(inspired by Cooking Light's recipe)
-makes 2 personal pizzas

A few notes: If you're making this for a crowd, try smaller tortillas for appetizer size personal pizzas.  Or, if you're craving a thicker crust or simply want a larger pie, swap a pound of easy homemade pizza dough for the tortillas.

2 large (8-10-inch) tortillas, flour or whole wheat are best
3-4 Tablespoons of your favorite barbecue sauce (we used Sweet Baby Ray's)
1 chicken breast, cooked and shredded (about 2/3 cup)
1/4 cup sliced red onion
1/3 cup chopped yellow pepper
1 tomato, seeded and diced
1/3 cup blue cheese, crumbled
Ground black pepper
Hot sauce, optional

Preheat oven broiler.  On a cookie sheet, warm tortillas just until the edges begin to turn golden.  Remove and spread each tortilla with 1-2 Tablespoons of barbecue sauce.  Top with chicken, onion, pepper, tomato and cheese.  Sprinkle with black pepper, if desired.  Return cookie sheet with tortilla pizzas to oven for 3 to 4 minutes or until toppings are warmed and cheese has begun to melt.  Remove, cut and enjoy!

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