This is the very meal that motivated me to document our family’s attempts in the kitchen to be more aware of our food. As I used each ingredient I thought about where it came from and how it fit into my current way of thinking about food. This meal did not meet the challenge of being good in the sense of being lower fat but I feel like it was good in most of the other things I try to achieve while cooking.
I sort of winged this recipe. I pulled the crust recipe out of a no-knead cookbook I had borrowed from the library and then topped it with things that I’ve been making bbq chicken pizza with forever. I usually do a honey wheat dough for bbq chicken pizza but was loving the idea of making a no-knead dough for it. I took the recipe from a book called My Bread : The Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Method. The recipe was never intended to be crust but I made it into crust anyway. I had all the other ingredients on hand so it was just a matter of waiting for the dough to do its thing and then throwing it all together to make a pizza.
Below is what I used and how I prepared it. After the “recipe” I’ve explained the components I used and what I was thinking as I was using them. It felt like I had found that balance that I was looking for. I was aware of the ingredients and why I chose them and while it was not exactly helping me with maintaining my weight with the cheese and the oil used to grease the pan, I was still able to work it into my food plan for that week.
You will have to forgive my lack of exact amounts. I didn’t write anything down but rather added until it looked “right”. Start with the lower amount I’ve listed and if it doesn’t look “right” to you, add more!
1 batch pizza homemade dough
leftover rotisserie chicken or cooked chicken breast/thighs…whatever you prefer, 1 large breast or a couple thighs should be enough
1/4-1/3 cup barbeque sauce
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled up or cut up
6-8 ounces of shredded cheese, your choice but should be a good melting cheese (cheddar, cheddar/mozzarella mix, Mexican blend, etc.)
Preheat oven to 425
Grease a 15x12 cookie pan very well. Press out dough to cover bottom of baking sheet.
Prebake crust until the dough has just started to set…it should not turn brown. I would say it should take about 10 minutes or so, keep an eye on it and pull it out when the dough no longer looks wet and sticky. (At this point you may want to check to make sure the crust is not sticking too badly to the pan. Use a metal spatula to kind of lift the crust. If it is sticking, very gently but firmly slide the spatula between the pan and crust to dislodge it and spray some cooking spray underneath the lifted curst to help ensure it does not stick during the second baking.)
Spread desired amount of barbeque sauce onto prebaked crust. Top with desired amount of chicken and bacon pieces then start to cover with the cheese. Again, start with a bit and put on as much as makes you happy.
Put pizza back into the oven and bake until the cheese is melted and the crust starts to brown a little bit on the edges. Depending on the amount of toppings you put in it, it could range from 15-25 minutes. Again, keep an eye on it…I am going on my memory for these times!
Let it cool for a few minutes before cutting into it, you’ll want to let the cheese set up a bit so it doesn’t pull off as you drag the pizza cutter through it. I cut this into 8 pieces but you can make them smaller if you’d like.
How this recipe got me thinking:
I made it from scratch so I felt like that was a better budget choice than buying pre-made dough at the supermarket. The flour I used was King Arthur, which is a New England company so it almost felt “local” since I do live in New England. I also like that they are an employee owned company. I am not sure of the exact structure of that situation but somehow it seems that if you own a stake in the business for which you work, that the work environment may be that much better…maybe?!?
Usually when I make bbq chicken pizza I just make it with a cooked chicken breast but this time I did have some leftover rotisserie chicken to use. I don’t normally buy rotisserie chicken mostly because I grocery shop early in the day and I feel it will not keep well enough for dinner time. This chicken that I bought was at BJ’s Wholesale Club. It was a Harvestland brand rotisserie chicken and there was a coupon for it in the monthly coupon booklet from BJ’S. I think the whole chicken cost me about $4 and I managed to get about 3 meals from it. This brand of chicken has no antibiotics in it so that fit into the conscious category. I got 3 meals from it so I felt that budget wise, it was good.
The Barbeque Sauce:
The kind I used was Trader Joe’s Kansas City Style. I felt good about this ingredient because there was no high fructose corn syrup in it. I was really surprised at how many bbq sauces have this as their first ingredient. Our old favorite, Sweet Baby Ray’s, has it and we decided to give it up, as much as we loved it. Not only does the Trader Joe’s brand have a really good looking ingredient list, it tastes really good too. Price wise, it’s about $2.50-$3 a bottle which is more than I used to spend on bbq sauce but the fact that there’s no HFCS in it and it tastes really good makes it worth it to me.
I love bacon. I love bacon a lot. I can’t convey to you how much I love it but I can tell you that I eat it just about every day. Because of how much of it that I eat, I started to be concerned about the nitrites/nitrates in bacon. I have found “W” brand bacon at Trader Joe’s that is nitrite free and tastes really good. On top of that, it’s about the same nutritionally as the center cut bacon I used to buy. The price of this bacon is about $5 per package, a price I’d never thought I’d pay for bacon. I was buying Oscar Mayer’s center cut bacon at BJ’s in a 3 pack for about $10-$11 but decided that with how often I use bacon that the price of this nitrite free is worth it.
I used Cabot shredded Monterrey Jack cheese. There are organic cheeses out there but I’ve yet to buy any. I really like Cabot because they are another New England company and they are also employee owned in a sense with being a dairy cooperative. I’ve checked their website and they have their farmers pledge to not use antibiotics or growth hormones in their milk. When I can, I always choose Cabot over other brands because of these reasons. I stock up on it when it’s on sale and have recently found a grocery store close by that has a really good everyday price on Cabot.
There it is. The pizza that inspired me to blog.
I tend to go in spurts regarding how motivated I feel to make better choices and as I pulled dinner together that night, it occurred to me that I didn’t even really have to go out of my way to make it happen for this meal. I was already buying the bacon, the chicken was a good deal, I had been buying Cabot ever since we took a trip to VT in the fall and visited their stores, we happen to really like the Trader Joe’s sauce so we always have it on hand and I have been making my own pizza dough for years.
I do wish every meal came together like this did and I also wish it would have been a little friendlier for me and my weight issues. I have made bbq chicken pizza on my pizza stone which requires no oil and also with reduced fat cheddar and it tastes just fine. However, this no-knead dough could not be baked on my pizza stone due to its consistency and I did not have any reduced fat cheese in the fridge that night. I know it could have been organic all the way but this is where I find my balance. I chose things that were affordable for us and every ingredient that I used somehow fit into one of the areas that I am trying to be more aware of…local, antibiotic-free, homemade, and on and on.
I’ll say it again-balance. That is what I am trying to do here at court st. kitchen and this meal was, for me, a direct hit.