Friday, January 21, 2011

A Slice of Life... or Maybe Just Pizza

This was just a last minute quick dinner idea, one that I fall back on frequently, and I had no intention of blogging about it when I started putting it together. It turned out so beautifully, though, I had to photograph it and share it with you. Would you like a slice?

I wish I could share it with you in person; that would be so much fun, wouldn't it? But since we've already eaten most of it, I can't do that, so I'll just share it virtually instead.

You can take it from virtual reality to actual reality by making it yourself. Here's how:

Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza
1 recipe Honey Whole Wheat Pizza Dough (or any other pizza dough)
1/4 cup Ranch dressing (try this healthy homemade version)
1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced thin
1 TBSP olive oil
2-3 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
handful of fresh chopped parsley

Roll the pizza dough out onto the pan. Bake at 375F for about 10 minutes or so. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly. While it's cooling, cut the chicken into 1" or 2" pieces. Heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium high heat, and fry chicken pieces until golden brown on the edges. Spread Ranch dressing over surface of pizza crust. Evenly distribute chicken and bacon pieces on top. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 5-10 minutes, or until cheese is melted completely and crust is done. Remove from oven and top with parsley. Allow to cool slightly before slicing and serving.

I think some chopped red onions would be delicious on this pizza, and grated or finely chopped zucchini would add a nice crunch and some fresh garden flavor.

This is a great QUICK dinner for weeknights. I schedule pizza on the menu pretty frequently for this very reason.

It's also very EASY! It's hard to mess up pizza. If you're nervous about the dough, Trader Joe's sells a great ready-to-bake pizza dough that's worth a try. But really, pizza dough is not difficult to make - most recipes don't even require rising, or kneading or anything like that. And the flavor of homemade pizza crust is hard to beat!

The fact that it's CHEAP is another reason why it appears on my menu rotation frequently. Pizzas, like casseroles, are a great place to use up leftover meats, vegetables, and even fruits, depending on your tastes. You can even use leftover sauces or dips. The biggest expense is the cheese, but it's totally worth it.

Because it's made of wholesome ingredients, I consider it a HEALTHY meal option. Beware, though, that it packs a hefty calorie punch and is rather carb-heavy. Take that into consideration for your food intake during the day. And I would recommend eating 2 slices or less, and supplementing with a green salad.

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