What’s for Dinner: Smokey Bleu Pizza

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Do you love pizza? My husband does. And as a die hard teenage mutant ninja turtle fan, I too love pizza. Fireworks pizza in Leesburg, is his favorite spot for his favorite pizza. Its a wood fired pizza with gargonzola, bacon and a balsamic reduction. Since I love a challenge…I tried to recreate it at home. It was a SUCCESS! Here’s how you too can have a fancy pizza for dinner.

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Start off with pizza dough. Let’s be real here, if you wanted to cook this for dinner tonight, you would have bought pizza dough. Because that’s what I did, from trader joes. EO6Ee2A8WH2qAxSn.jpg

Flatten it out. Really thin. I like to make two pies from one bag of dough to ensure a thin crust. Then I bake it slightly, without toppings, to make dinner ready, faster without worrying if my dough is cooked all the way through. While you do this, cook 6 slices of bacon until most of the fat is rendered out. Don’t cook all the way through though!YyOYFE1H9Yx79mqa.jpg

Slice half an onion into these ringlets (is that what they are called?) and caramelize them…in.the.bacon.fat. hz4ZWhRuBCS92zKs.jpg

Sauce up your pizza crust. Again, store bought pizza sauce from trader joes. He’s the man.2r1Vi7Ukwy9XEBpD.jpg

A little mozzarella to give a good base.5cAdWUZv8s8ZIa1v.jpg

Bacon. You probably don’t need a picture of every step, but I was going to make it into an animation, then changed my mind.d6MVSmRFIc5syCxh.jpg

Caramelized onion rings.jnUbbeUDEETEii2P.jpg

Pockets of gargonzola, that will melt into gooey deliciousness. Bold statement from someone who does not like any time of bleu cheese.zSC0MXjAWI3ReIDr.jpg

Something different, but works well. Shrimp. medium sized, pre cooked. bvXAVrppbtMQ9RV3.jpgTop it with a little more mozzarella and sprinkle of fresh rosemary. Because it works. Bake for about 7 minutes. Drizzle balsamic reduction… throw it back in there for another 3 minutes. Serve hot.

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 Smokey Bleu Fancy Pizza
Ingredients

1 packaged of ready to cook pizza dough
6 bacon slices
1/2 sweet onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup of pizza sauce (more or less depending on how saucy you like your pizza)
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup of Gorgonzola crumbles
20 medium cooked shrimp
1 TBS fresh rosemary, chopped
Balsamic Vinegar reduction/Glaze

Directions:
Preheat oven to 450F. Roll out the pizza dough into a nice thin crust. Bake for 5 minutes, flip then bake for another 5 minutes. Pull it out and set aside to cool.

Cook the bacon strips until ALMOST done. Most of the fat should be rendered out. Set aside on paper towels to remove excess grease.

Assemble the pizza. Tomato sauce, mozzarella, then the additional toppings. Sprinkle a little rosemary at the end, then bake for 7 minutes. Drizzle balsamic glaze and pop it back in for another 3 minutes.

ENJOY!

Bacon Egg Toast Cups

These cute little guys are my favorite brunch thing to make. And apparently a favorite to eat as well! So I guess it’s about time I share the recipe. They are super easy to make, and always a hit.

Ingredients
1/2 stick of butter
12 slices of wheat bread
1/2 cup of shredded cheddar
12 slices of bacon
12 large eggs
Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375F. Rub down a cupcake/muffin tin (for 12) with butter. Using a rolling pin, flatten the slices of bread. Cut a circle out of the bread using a mug (approximately 3.5″ diameter). Cut the circles in half. Place two halves of bread, overlapping in each cup of the muffin tin. Arranging it so that it lines it like a cup. Sprinkle cheddar in each cup.

Partially cook the bacon, rendering out most of the fat. Set on paper towels to get excess fat. Cut the bacon in half and arrange over cheese in the muffin tins. Be sure to flatten them out in the muffin cup.

Crack an egg into each of the muffin cups. Top with salt and pepper. Bake in the oven until egg whites are set, about 15-25 minutes depending on how you want your yolks cooked.

 

Fried Chicken

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Can I tell you something? Deep frying scares me. I know, I’m southern. What’s wrong with me. I’ve been popped in the face by oil before. That’s what happened. However after years of cooking I’ve gotten the key concept down. Hot oil + Water= Death. Simple enough, you would think. It’s not always applied.

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When Vina said she wanted a homecooked southern meal, fried chicken is always the first thing to pop up. I had to face my fears and give her want she wanted. After all, she shot beautiful engagement photos for us. She can have whatever she wants.

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This recipe is so simple, that I don’t even want to call it a recipe. Just follow the instructions kid, you got this.

fRbLWDCt3EYO5ZVB.jpgFirst and foremost, you need chicken. Chop up a whole one, or just buy the pieces you like. Make sure they are completely thawed. PAT THEM DRY. This is important. After they are dry. Place them in a baking dish and pour buttermilk over it. Put it in the fridge over night, flip the pieces half way through. I also added a little salt and pepper.

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Preheat the oven to 325F. In a ziplock bag, mix together flour and cornmeal with your favorite seasonings (I like cajun seasoning). Shake it up. Add the chicken pieces a couple at a time if you are doing only wings, or one a time if you are doing whole chicken parts. Let them rest on wax paper for about 15 minutes or while you heat up your oil. This helps the coating stay on better.

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Fill a deep cast iron pot with about 1/2 in of oil. I used avocado oil. You can use criso shortening or peanut oil. Any high heat oil will do. Heat the oil to 350F degrees. Gently place a few pieces of chicken in the hot oil (don’t crowd the pot). Leave it alone for about 2 minutes, until one side is golden. Then flip over until the other side is a deep golden color as well.

Place the chicken on a cooling rack with paper towels underneath it to catch oil drippings. When all the chicken is fried, place the rack on a cooking tray and bake in the oven for about 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked all the way through.

Enjoy!

What’s For Dinner: Gnocchi Pesto with Shrimp

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I love pasta. It’s so filling and comforting. And it can be quite a quick meal! Even when you make your sauce from scratch.

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Pestos are awesome. You can pretty much make them out of anything. I’ve done it with arugula, you can do it with spinach, and even use pistachios! But for tonight’s dinner we are going classic. Pine nuts, garlic, Parmesan, basil, olive oil, and a little salt and pepper.

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Blend it all up, to your liking. Set aside.

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Saute some shrimp in olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Set aside.

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Boil up some gnocchi according to the package. Then toss everything together. Add more Parmesan, salt and pepper to your liking. EASY RIGHT?

It’s so quick, so easy! Who needs a recipe? You could also buy the pest pre-made if you really don’t have time. Enjoy :D

 

Spatchcock: Favorite way to roast a chicken!

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As you probably have noticed, I love roast chicken. I’ve done it a couple different ways here already. Now I’ve found my new go to method. Spatchcocking. Spatchcock. Basically you take a whole bird, cut down the back bone and removed it.

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Similar to butterflying the bird actually. Then you open it up and lay it flat so that all the skin is at the top. Then you can season it and roast it. Cooks a little bit faster and you get all crispy skin!

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I saved the backbone to make soup with it later. You never know when you’ll need it! Have you tried this method? Do you like it? Or is there something EVEN BETTER to try?

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