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Improvised “Mexican” Pizza–Mmmmm!


While distracting myself from work by wondering what I would eat for dinner, I determined that if I bought pizza dough (I know you CAN make it, but that’s way too much time spent on a pizza for me), I could make a sort of “Mexican” pizza. I put Mexican in quotes because it is in no way remotely authentic. It just had some flavors in that category…

This is now two weeks ago, or something along those lines. Might be longer. So to the best of my ability, I will try to describe what I did for you.

First, I bought dough from Whole Foods. You can buy fresh, uncooked pizza dough from most grocery stores, I’m pretty sure. You can also buy pre-made crusts, which is an option if you want it to be a bit quicker.

Having made pizza from a store-bought dough several times, I recall having lots of trouble getting it to stretch, so I turned to the internet to figure out how to stretch it. My inclination that it would have to sit out at room temperature for a while seemed correct. I covered it in flour and left it there, returning later and stretching out the dough fairly successfully. Look up how to do this: I am not the person to instruct you on the method.

Once it was fairly stretched I plunked the dough down onto a (possibly over-)greased cookie sheet. I do not own a pizza stone, sadly. I want one. And then toppings went on.

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Okay, so that picture is actually after it came out of the oven. I didn’t get any before pics.

As I got the dough ready I cooked up one patty of Trader Joe’s Chili Lime Chicken Burger. If that sounds kind of bad to you, I assure you, they are DELICIOUS. If you like those flavors in general you will like the burger. I actually would have made two for the topping, but I only had one left. It was very sad.

If I can remember right, the toppings went like this: first, sliced tomatoes and salsa as sauce. I tried to sauce it sparsely because I didn’t want to overpower it. I highly recommend using a SPOON to spread the salsa, as if you just pour it on you very well may end up with too much. Second, cheese. I THINK it was cheddar. I generally prefer mozzarella on pizza, but I didn’t have any. Third, diced red pepper and pieces of a chicken burger. I did my best to distribute things fairly evenly, but of course some sections of crust still ended up larger than others. if I added any other toppings or seasonings, I can’t remember.

The pizza went into a preheated oven at about 425°. I would say it cooked for around 20 minutes, but once again, I don’t really remember. Then I took it out and let it cool for a little while.

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Cutting it was interesting because it might not have been cool enough yet, and also I don’t have a pizza cutter and my sharper knife wasn’t clean. But I managed.

Topped with sliced avocado after cooking.

Topped with sliced avocado after cooking.

 

I think I ate two servings’ worth of this pizza. You can’t blame me, it was delicious–you probably would have too.

Overall it was quite delicious. The crust was slightly crunchier than I generally like but it was still very good. I do recall wanting it to be spicier, though. Should have used more salsa.

 

No-Recipe Black Bean Chicken Chili


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Here it is in a bowl with cheese, looking quite delicious

I was trying to get text before the picture, but it’s not letting me move the picture down. I hate not having a real camera…

Anyway, this is a picture of a food experiment I created about two weeks ago. Like the Veggie Mac and Cheese I wrote about recently, I went in without any real knowledge of how chili is supposed to be made, never having attempted to cook it before myself. I don’t remember what gave me the idea. I just thought about the ingredients I had on hand and figured I’d try it out. I’m going to get ahead of myself now and tell you that it turned out AMAZING! I was really surprised by how delicious and chili-like it was. Even though there was a chance it would be more of a soup, I still just felt like trying it, and this was definitely a success.

Ingredients:

apprx. 2 medium chicken breasts (I was using tenders, so I am not sure how it compares)

beefsteak[?] and campari tomatoes

green/red bell peppers

1 can of black beans

1 [amount] of cilantro

1/2-1 lime

Chili powder, smoked paprika, and cajun seasoning

 

Non-Recipe:

To start with, I cooked the chicken. The intention was to put it into the pot shredded, so I had to pre-cook it to the point where shredding would be possible. I pan-fried it in a small amount of oil for a few minutes on a low heat. I wasn’t concerned with making sure they were 100% cooked, as they would cook for a while in the chili itself. As it turned out they were cooked the perfect amount, and once they cooled, shredding them was very easy.

I can’t really remember in just what order I put all the ingredients in the pot, so I’ll just guess… I like my peppers to be a little bit roasted or seared, so I put them in first to cook in a little bit of oil for a few minutes. Then went in the tomatoes, which would need to cook for a while to get stew-y. Soon after went the can of black beans (Goya) and then about two cans full of water, to give it plenty of time to cook while getting to the right consistency. It was about here that the chicken went in as well.

Next came all the seasonings. I used about three tablespoons of chili powder, and it was fairly spicy in the end. I used about one tablespoon each of smoked paprika and McCormick’s cajun seasoning, which I usually use for chicken and sprinkled over fried eggs (so good, really). Plenty of fresh chopped cilantro went into the pot, and some of it stuck to my hands as well. If you want to avoid that, I recommend washing it long enough in advance that it has time to really get dry, because if it’s wet it decides to love your skin.

Stirring often is basically the only thing you do other than adding ingredients to the pot. If it looks like it’s actually boiling, turn the heat down. The order of adding things doesn’t really matter that much, because you cook it all together long enough that all the flavors will combine, and some will be more prominent but what can you do.

Later on in the process I added the lime juice, then had it cook for a few more minutes. Once it looked pretty much like a chili consistency, I decided it was done.

It was really delicious. I’m not just saying this because I want you guys to think I’m having successful cooking ventures. If it had sucked, I would tell you. I was really surprised that it went as well as it did. It tasted awesome both freshly made and as leftovers. It did make me wish I had cornbread, but… oh well. Next time.

I highly recommend making something similar. Go for it! Just wing it! You know how cooking works, you can do it…

 

 

 

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