Roasted Garlic and Chicken White Pizza and the Zoo

My daughter and I went to the zoo today.  I hesitate to admit that this was not the first time she has been to the zoo.  We went last year when she was barely 2 months old just to get out of the house.  This time was so different.  She enjoyed herself.  She laughed hysterically at the kids running around and shrieked at all the animals.  The girl can barely crawl and she tried to climb the fence to pet the turkeys.  I never knew it could be so fun watching someone else have fun.  It’s addicting.

I was looking forward to this zoo trip for weeks.  The weather was forecasting 75 and sunny.  After the spring we’ve had (rain, rain and flooding) it was like a dream come true.  You can imagine my disappointment when I woke up to lightning and a crack of thunder.  It literally poured all morning long.  (In case you were wondering, I did pout like a 6 year old.)  We went anyway, and although the sun didn’t come out until we left (which made for the perfect ice cream excuse), we still had a lovely time with friends.

Baby at the Zoo | Jersey Up!
OMG, fish!

It did eventually get to 75 and sunny though, which is perfect weather for grilling pizza.  What?  You don’t grill your pizza?  We have found that it is seriously the only way to eat pizza.  (That is, unless you’re at Vinnie’s in Freehold.)  The crust is crispy, the cheese is gooey, and it just screams summertime.  Pair it with a cool breeze, setting sun and an ice cold beer and life just doesn’t get any better.

Roasted Garlic & Chicken Pizza | Jersey Up!
First dinner on the patio this season!

Roasted Garlic & Chicken White Pizza
Adapted from Dinner, Dishes and Dessert

1 lb pizza dough (I get mine from the freezer section.)
1 tbsp butter
8 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup milk (whatever % fat you want is fine)
1/4 cup half and half
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1.5 cups shredded chicken
1/4 cup diced red onion (I unfortunately didn’t have any on hand today)
3/4 cup mozzarella cheese (or more, if you want)
Fresh parsley for garnish (optional)

1. Melt butter in small saucepan.  Add garlic and saute for about a minute.
2. Whisk in flour and mix until well blended.  Cook for a minute.
3. Slowly stir in milk and half and half.  Mix in pepper.  Cook until it thickens.
4. Remove from heat and add parmesan cheese until melted.
5. Preheat grill and pizza stone.  (We have a four-burner grill.  We put the two outside burners on high, and leave the center two off, so there’s no heat directly underneath the pizza.  It’ll burn otherwise.)  Once your stone is heated through, you’ll want to bring it in to set up your pizza.
6. Sprinkle stone with cornmeal (super awesome secret trick!).  Stretch out your dough to make a 12″ round pie.  (Um, mine was more like a square…).  Spread out sauce, add chicken, onions and cheese.
7. Grill pizza for 10-15 minutes (ours took 14).  Sprinkle with your herb garnish if you’re doing that part.

*Grilling pizza takes some practice.  We’ve burnt a few before we got it down right.  The trial and error is totally worth it!


BBQ Chicken Pizza (Spring Break Edition)

BBQ Chicken Pizza | Jersey Up!
We had to make two. Don’t judge us.

My brother and his girlfriend came to visit for their spring break. Michigan is not exactly a springy destination when you want to escape the snow…ahem…but we were excited to host them nonetheless! Because it was their spring break, my husband made us do a different shot every night. Some of them were normal (ie tequila) and others were strange like mind erasers. I haven’t even HEARD the words mind eraser in probably 10 years. Maybe I shouldn’t admit I’m that uncool…

Anyway, their visit was a perfect excuse to try some new recipes. Particularly junk food/snacks. Before I give you the recipe for this pizza, I must admit to you that I’m a pizza purist. What does that mean? Plain. For you non-Jersey folks, that’s sauce and cheese and crust. The end. No crazy toppings. Ick. And pizza WITHOUT tomato sauce?! You’re kidding right? At least it has cheese.

Dare I admit that this pizza was GOOD. So good in fact we decide to make a second pizza….

BBQ Chicken Pizza
Adapted from Marshalls Abroad
Her pictures are so much better, so use those to entice you to make this recipe!

1 lb pizza dough (if you aren’t making homemade I definitely recommend frozen)
2 chicken breasts, pre-cooked and shredded or diced
1/4 red onion, diced
2 cups shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce (dare I say I use what’s on sale?)
4 cloves garlic, minced
Olive oil
Fresh cilantro for garnish
1. If you are using a pizza stone, preheat your oven or grill (don’t you grill pizza, too?) with the stone inside to 500˚.
2. Toss your chicken with BBQ sauce and set aside. (I recommend marinating it for awhile beforehand in the fridge but it’s not necessary.)
3. Roll out your dough on a well floured surface into the shape and thickness you prefer (or to what your skills allow).
4. Sprinkle some cornmeal on your heated pizza stone (good pizza secret!) and lay out your dough.
5. Drizzle dough with olive oil. Top with chicken, cheese, garlic, onions and extra BBQ sauce.
6. Bake in the oven or on your grill for 10-15 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.
7. Wait a few minutes (if you can!) for the pizza to cool before cutting it to avoid losing all your cheese and dose up some cilantro.

If you’re doing monthly meals, you can make the chicken ahead of time and have the rest of your ingredients chopped and ready to go to thaw in the freezer. A lot of times I will cook several pounds of chicken breasts at once, shred or dice, and freeze in batches to use in other recipes. Or if I have a plan for the chicken already, I can add it to a bag of veggies and sauce, or some lunch tacos, or whatever. Chicken, as I’m sure you know, is very versatile. We use it all the time.