Chicken Crust Pizza

It’s been a crazy couple of months for this girl. I went right from working full time at my favorite place in the world, to a long term subbing assignment at an inner city school, moved out of my parents into what would be our first apartment, started a new long term assignment at a different school with my own classroom, finished planning a wedding, and got married. Needless to say, I haven’t had too much time to breathe. BUT I have an entire collection of recipes, classroom freebies and adventures, wedding pictures and vendors, that I’ve been stock piling for when I was finally able to join the blogging world again.

Being that I have a special affinity for food, it’s only fitting that my return post be one of my new favorites, and one that Ethan LOVES- chicken crust pizza. This recipe was cooked in a 10in cast iron skillet, to give you an idea of space: ingredient ratio.

What you’ll need:

2-3 boneless skinless chicken breast (ground chicken is fine too)

1 egg

About ½ cup bread crumbs

Tomato sauce of choice (I use canned stuff from my parents garden)

Spices of choice (to add to your sauce- I do onion, garlic, basil, oregano, and red pepper flakes)

PIZZA TOPPINGS! This is my favorite part! I get good mozzarella, pepperoni, and fry up some bacon

Preheat your oven to 375.

  1. In a food processor, ground the chicken with the egg. It will be a fairly mushy consistency. Mix in the bread crumbs by hand or with a spoon. The egg helps keep the chicken from shrinking and the bread crumbs help bind it all together.
  2. Smoosh the chicken into the bottom of a baking dish, or skillet. Make sure it is pretty even. I like to make the edges a bit thicker like a real pizza crust. Put in the oven for at least 20 minutes or until it’s no longer pink.
  3. The sauce can be done a number of ways. I usually start my sauce on the stove well before I’m ready to use it to give the flavors time to meld and develop. You could also just use a jar of Ragu, the choice is really up to you. I do however recommend heating the sauce before using it.
  4. After the chicken crust is done baking, assemble the toppings! This is a great chance to get the kids or your spouse involved. I fried bacon, then sautéed onions in the bacon fat. I added some of the onions to the sauce, and used the rest as a topping on the pizzas. Bacon makes everything better.
  5. Since the chicken is already cooked and the sauce is already warm, you’re really only putting it back in the oven to melt the cheese (clearly the best part). I put it back in the oven at 375 for about 10 minutes to get it started, and kick on the broiler to really finish bubbling the cheese.

EAT! 😀

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Antietam Valley Farmers and Artists Market

A very lovely friend of mine recently moved to the Antietam area. She discovered and shared with me that they have an awesome farmers market on Saturday mornings. Their grand grand opening for the season was earlier this summer. The event is usually all outdoors but because of the rain they moved it into the rec center there at the park. This alone was super awesome.

We first did a circle to see everything. The worst thing to do at a farmers market is to buy at the first stand you see. You must walk around, see what everyone has and THEN go around and purchase.

My first purchase came from Conebella Farm. They are a dairy farm that has been owned by the same family since 1923, a whopping 5 generations. They have AMAZING cheese. After trying a few samples I was HOOKED and left with a 10oz block of Hickory Smoked Colby Jack. I purchased the Old Bay cheese  spread the last time I was there. It’s so good with pretzels. The prices are great for a local, fresh cheese!

Next came HONEY! Griesemer Beekeeping has fresh honey made out of Wernersville. I did not buy a jar of honey this time, but couldn’t resist a few honey sticks 5/$1. They have a variety of flavors and it was hard to pick just a few! Fun fact- buying local honey is also great for allergies!

Grow Your Own Freedom was my next stop. I am addicted to this stand. I’m just going to leave their website right HERE! I’ve been using their bug sprays all summer. At least once a year like this because of bites-IMG_7001

I usually swell and hurt and throb, it’s a nightmare. This year, I got ONE bug bite on my hand because I forgot to spray once. Even with working in the garden. Even in the middle of a swamp in North Carolina on vacation. NO BUG BITES. Seriously. This stuff is MIRACLE spray. The last time I was at the market I got their Vanilla Mocha chapstick. Uh. Holy. Moly. I can’t even. Or odd. So yummy. It leaves my lips nice and soft without being sticky. I am in LOVE. They make soaps, salves, scrubs- tons of all natural and locally grown/made stuff. Garden care is also a service that they provide and help with. Seriously. I think I’m in LOVE. 

We bought a few other goodies, but I will write about those in a later post. For now, enjoy this picture of me with a purple tongue from eating a pint of black raspberries all by myself.

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Baked Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti

I have a confession. I am a picky eater. If you notice, my recipes tend to contain the same main components. Though I do like fruits, I am not a fan of vegetables or squash like things. This last Thanksgiving, I helped my Aunt make butternut squash. I’m not sure if it was how it was prepared or the squash itself, but I was not a huge fan. For Valentine’s Day, my boyfriend made spaghetti squash. It was good. I liked it. Which, is a big deal. I have a texture thing. I don’t like such things normally. I was hit with inspiration and went shopping today. I was going to make spaghetti squash!

Ingredients:

1 small-medium spaghetti squash

1-2 garlic cloves

Olive Oil

1/2 cup – 1 cup cheese- mozzarella, parmesan, any mix of cheese you would like

8oz tomato sauce

1-2 tablespoons minced onion (or dried onion flakes)

Meat of choice- I used mini salad shrimp, sausage, ground beef/turkey/pork, muscles, again totally up to you

Spices/Herbs- basil, oregano, parsley

Pre-heat oven to 300

1. Slice your spaghetti squash in half- I read AFTER I cut mine to bake it a bit to soften it. It is quite difficult to cut in half. So you can choose to pre-bake yours for about 15 minutes or just hack away like I did. Cut in half and scoop out the pulp, like a pumpkin.

2. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper, and place on a baking sheet, skin side out, that’s also been drizzled with olive oil.

3. Rip a small piece of foil, place in 1 or 2 garlic cloves and drizzle with olive oil. Wrap up and place on the cookie sheet with the squash- nothing beats roasted garlic!

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4. In a sauce pan on the stove, combine your sauce, meet and spices. Just kinda keep it on low while the squash is baking to let the flavors meld. I used little tiny shrimp so that the flavor was still there but so that I didn’t have huge chunks.

5. At 30-45 minutes, flip the squash flesh side up and test with a fork. You should easily be able to pull the strands away from the rind. If not, continue baking. I left mine flesh side up for another 15 minutes or so.

6. Once the squash is done, scrape out the flesh with a fork into a separate bowl. Add the sauce and half of your cheese and mix until well combined.

7. Replace the mixture back into the hollowed squash skins. Sprinkle with the remainder of the cheese and put back into the oven for another 15 minutes to melt the cheese on top.

8. Serve hot with a hearty slice of bread and butter!

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Mmm Mmm Meatloaf

I love when my mommy wants me to make meatloaf. I like meatloaf. A lot. But I don’t like when “weird” things are done to it. I’ve made it a number of ways over the years, but this is my favorite!

Ingredients:

1lb ground beef

1/2lb ground pork

1 egg

1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs

1/4 cup seasoned panko

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 packet Lipton French Onion Soup

Topping:

1/4 cup cheddar cheese

1//4 cup parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons bread crumbs (panko or regular)

We use pork and ground beef to make it a bit bigger because we love meatloaf, and because it’s kind of a bit healthier. We use lean ground beef as well. The nice part about using the seasoned bread crumbs as well as the french onion soup, is that there is no need for extra seasoning! It’s already done for you!

1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Use your hands and just enough to combine all of the ingredients as evenly as possible.

2. I put the bowl in the fridge to marinate for the afternoon. You can skip this step and go right to baking. Pre-heat your oven to 350.

3. Spray a baking dish with non-stick or some olive oil. Place the meat in the dish and press out until it is about an inch and a half thick.

4. Sprinkle the cheeses and bread crumbs on top of the loaf. Cover with foil.

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5. Bake for about 30 minutes and remove the foil. Bake uncovered to melt and crisp up the cheese for another 10-15.

6. Remove, slice and ENJOY!

Pair with my Favorite Mashed Potatoes or Garlic Parm Baked Potatoes and fresh veggies! OH and don’t forget the Homemade Apple Sauce!

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While the Boys are Away….

The mice will play! My dad is down in Florida on a business trip. My brother is on a business trip with his internship this week. That leaves my mother, the 3 dogs and I home for the week! MWAHAHAHAHA! Yes, that is my evil laugh. Other than prepping the house for my brothers high school graduation party, I get free range of the kitchen and a little bit more wiggle room without the picky boys home.

First up on the menu for dinner- Stuffed loaded potatoes! This recipe is super flexible based on what you like in and on your potatoes. This is what my ma and I did.

2 large red potatoes

Sour Cream

Bacon/Bacon bits

Cheese of your choice

Any herbs/seasoning- basil, rosemary, oregano etc of your choice

Garlic- fresh minced or powdered

Onion- fresh minced or dried

1. Scrub the potatoes and cut them in half. Boil until soft.

2. With a spoon or melon baller remove the insides, kind of like a potato skin and put in a bowl

3. With the insides of the potatoes mash in the sour cream, cheese, herbs, garlic and onion to taste

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4. Refill the potatoes with the mash and cover with cheese. Place halves in a cupcake tin to help keep them up.

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5. Put in the oven for a few minutes for the cheese to melt or under the broiler until the cheese has melted and browned.

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Cheesy Chicken Bacon Potato Hash

It happens to everyone. You get home from work and have to make dinner. As you dig through the freezer you come up with a pack of chicken breasts. With a little more digging you find bacon. Looking through the pantry you pull out some potatoes. Opening the fridge you find a block of cheese and not much else. Well, this happened to me. My boyfriend hadn’t been grocery shopping in some time and there seemed to be nothing in the house but those few things. So I came up with this.

3 chicken breasts
Bacon bits or bacon BAKED and crumbled
4-6 potatoes (I like red)
2 cups of cheese
1-2 tablespoons butter COLD

1. Cook the chicken. Grill it, boil it, bake it, microwave it. Just cook it.

2. Cut chicken into bite sized pieces. I threw mine in my magic bullet so it was nice and shredded.

3. Peel and cut the potatoes in relatively small pieces. The smaller the quicker they will bake. (Sometimes I boil them to speed the baking process up a bit)

4. If you are baking your bacon, place cookie cooling rack on a cooking sheet. Place bacon on cooling rack and bake at 350 until crispy. The fat drains through the cooling rack leaving crispy and “healthier” bacon. Or you can just use store bought bacon bits, the REAL ones.

5. Grate at least 2 cups of cheddar or cheese of your choice.

Now you have everything prepped! Time to put it together.

6. Combined chicken, potatoes, bacon bits/crumble and half of the cheese either in baking dish or bowl. *grease bottom of baking dish!*

7. Cover mixture with remaining cheese!

8. With a knife, cube or slice butter and drop on top of casserole.

9. Cover with foil.

If potatoes are already cooked, bake at 350 for about a half hour to melt the cheese and get all the flavors together. If potatoes are not cooked, bake at 375 for 30-45 min or until the potatoes are soft.

So next time you find empty cupboards, don’t sweat! This super easy and relatively cheap dinner is yummy and takes about an hour and 15 minutes start to eating! It can easily be made ahead of time, and just thrown in the oven when you’re ready to eat.

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