Ali's Chicken Pesto Pizza

by Divine Domesticity on September 30, 2008


At Violet's birthday party, one of the crowd favorites was my Chicken Pesto Pizza, something I threw together assuming it would be delish, and I was oh so happy that it was so well received.

In my opinion, the key to great pizza is the dough. We buy our dough from Papa Murphys. It comes already rolled out, it is the 14" size, and is only $2! Compare this to pre-baked dough, which can run upwards of $6, and dough from a can, which is just gross. 

When you get your dough, it may need to be 'proofed', which just means it may need to rise. The longer you allow your dough to sit out and proof, the thicker the crust will be. I make my pizzas within a half hour to an hour of buying them, and I think the dough is just perfect. Not too thin, not too thick, just right.
I made things even easier by buying a roaster chicken from Costco, which is much larger than the grocery store roaster chickens. One chicken was enough for two large pizzas. I'm guessing that I used 2 cups of chicken pieces for each pizza, coming to 4 cups total. Costco also makes a DELISH basil, pine nut, parmesan pesto. I bought a jar of that, mixed a bit of it with the 2 cups of chicken, and viola! Super quick and it is SO good.

Oh, and if you still don't believe me when I say this stuff is good, I'll add that through out the party people kept asking me where we BOUGHT all these delicious pizzas, and I was proud to reply that I made them. YA BIATCHES!

Ali's Chicken Pesto Pizza
Makes 4 servings
View printer friendly recipe

1 large pizza dough, rolled out
2 cups chicken, shredded or cut into chunks
1/3-1/2 cup pesto
1/8-1/4 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes
1 cup 5-Italian blend shredded cheese

1. Preheat oven to 450-f degrees. Place dough on pizza pan.

2. Mix chicken and pesto. Add chicken to pizza, leaving 1 inch border around pizza.

3. Sprinkle sun dried tomatoes over pizza. Sprinkle cheese over pizza.

4. With your fingers or a basting brush, apply light layer of olive oil to 1 inch border around pizza.

5. Cook for 18-22 minutes, until crust is browned and dough is cooked through. (All ovens vary, use your best judgement) Let sit 5 minutes then cut.

Recipe by me!

1st Birthday Recap - The food!

by Divine Domesticity on September 29, 2008

Our final menu for the birthday party included 6 different homemade pizzas, a few different appetizers, drinks and desserts. It was all so delicious! I was so pleased to not have had any duds for the night. I will post the new recipes through out the week. I will do a post later on about how to host your own homemade pizza party. Ours was such a huge success, I want to pass the info along!

Drinks:
Appetizers:
Pizzas:
  • Pesto Chicken with Sun Dried Tomatoes and 5 Cheese Italian Blend
  • BBQ Chicken Pizza with 5 Cheese Italian Blend and Chedddar
  • Pepperoni
  • Plain Cheese Pizza
  • Pepperoni and Canadian Bacon 
  • Cold Veggie Pizza with Ranch Spread
Desserts:
  • Homemade Extra Moist Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips
  • Store bought White Cake with Strawberry Mousse Filling
  • Vanilla Ice Cream
Onto the pics!








1st Birthday Recap

by Divine Domesticity on September 28, 2008

On her birthday we hung out around the house, keeping it low key. I did about 90% of the food prep for her party, which was the next day.

Violet turned 1!

Violet turned 1!
She is BIG on doing a snarly face when I take her picture.


Oh, hello again snarly!

On the day of her party we were busy running last minute errands and waiting for family to arrive. She was a superstar and everyone was in love with her.



When it came time for her to eat her cake, she was having some issues. She doesn't like to have anything sticky/icky on her hands, so each time she went to grab a piece of her cake, she felt the frosting, and was not thrilled. Eventually I cut the cake into pieces so she was less intimidated. We let her ate one cube of cake then took back the rest. I was not wanting her to puke from eating that sugary cake...but she enjoyed her piece.







Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing - Photo Books





Stewie volunteered to be her wing man and help her eat the cake.


Finally! She ate some cake.

Afterward, she changed into her special birthday tutu and opened her presents. The quality on these videos is pretty terrible -- the original video is great quality but the hosting site must change the quality of the videos when you upload them. :P

It was at this point I realized we had forgotten to sing her happy birthday. What a bad mom! So I made everyone sing it...better late than never.





Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing - Photo Books


And there you have it! We had great company over, and it was a blast. A ton of work, but a blast.

Next up will be the party food recap!

Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits

by Divine Domesticity on September 28, 2008


Is Fido feeling neglected after the back to school rush? Want to make him feel extra special?

You know what to do.

Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits
Makes about 18 biscuits
View printer friendly recipe

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup unsalted natural peanut   
butter
1 cup skim milk

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets. Stir together the flour and baking powder; set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, mix together the peanut butter and milk. Stir in the flour mixture until well blended. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Roll out to 1/4 inch thickness and cut into shapes using cookie cutters. Place 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets.

3. Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until lightly brown. Remove from cookie sheets to cool on wire racks.

Recipe from Allrecipes.com

9/26/08 - 4 year blog anniversary and a very special birthday.

by Divine Domesticity on September 26, 2008
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9/26/2004 - My first blog post ever.

9/26/2005 - Eating leftovers of angel food cake.    + 1st yr blog anniversary

9/26/2006 - Eating better than sex cake.    + 2nd yr blog anniversary

9/26/2007 - My sweet darling girl, Violet, is born.   + 3rd yr blog anniversary

9/26/2008 - My little schnicklefritz, Violet, turns 1 year old.   + 4th yr blog anniversary

Time is going by so very fast.  Thank you for joining me through the ups and downs over the past 4 years!

The Martha Blog!

by Divine Domesticity on September 25, 2008
The Domestic Goddess herself is running a contest to review submitted blogs on her site, The Martha Blog. Click here to submit your site, and don't forget to mention her blog on your website, this is a requirement in order to be reviewed.

I can't wait to see who she picks!

Violet's 1st Birthday Menu

by Divine Domesticity on September 24, 2008


I am still fine tuning the menu...but here is what I have so far.

Violet's Birthday Menu - Serving 10 adults
+ 1 schniklefritz


Gouda and Sun Dried Tomato Spread with Crackers (Calling it a cheese ball is apparently 'not cool' according to an article I read)

Chicken and Asiago Sausage Puff Pastry Bites (Substitute with any specialty sausage of your choice. Chicken Apple would also be great.)

Best Spinach Dip Ever

Personalized Pizza Bar
  • Veggie Pizza (Served Cold)
  • Basil Pesto Chicken Pizza
  • Caramelized Onions, Roasted Veggies and Goat Cheese Pizza
  • Sausage and Pepperoni Pizza
Cake from Costco (har)
Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Ali's Chicken Parmesan Recipe

by Divine Domesticity on September 22, 2008


Allow me to gloat for a minute. I made this recipe a few weeks back, and it was so freaking delicious! I've never had Chicken Parmesan that good before. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Ali's Chicken Parmesan
Serves 4
View printer friendly recipe
 

4 chicken breasts, pounded to 1/2" thickness
1 box garlic croutons (my best estimate), finely crushed or pulverized in a food processor
1/2 cup shredded cheese, Italian blend (mine had 5 kinds of cheese)
4 thick slices of mozzarella cheese (or just use extra cheese from your Italian blend)
1-2 eggs, beaten
1 lb pasta, angel hair or spaghetti
1 jar marinara or spaghetti sauce, your favorite brand
vegetable oil, for cooking chicken
cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 375-f degrees. Lightly spray bottom of 9"x13" casserole dish. Pour marinara sauce into bottom casserole dish.

2. If not done already, pound chicken between two sheets of wax, parchment or plastic wrap, until 1/2" thick or less.

3. In a large dish, combine the crushed croutons and the cheese. Set aside. In another bowl, add the beaten eggs. Line these two bowls up next to your 9x13" casserole pan. Prepare to dip the chicken!

4. Dip chicken in egg, then in croutons, pressing the chicken firmly down to get crumbs to adhere. Lightly shake off excess crumbs.

5. Heat a saute pan to med-high. Cook chicken pieces until browned, about 4-5 minutes on each side.  Set browned chicken breasts on top of marinara sauce. Repeat until all chicken breasts are coated.

6. Top chicken pieces with 1 thick slice of mozzarella cheese. Put into heated oven and cook for 20-25 minutes, until cheese is browned and chicken is cooked through.

7. While the chicken is cooking, prepare your spaghetti. Cook according to box directions. Serve alongside the chicken and marinara sauce.

5 Tips for Terrible Cooks

by Divine Domesticity on September 20, 2008


Garlic and Pizza recipe, originally uploaded by jem.

I say "terrible" tongue in cheek, of course, as I don't consider myself a wonderful cook by any means. If you seem to be a clutz in the kitchen, let me offer you a few tips I have learned over the past few years.
  1. Read through the entire recipe first. Halfway through preparing a recipe is not the time to find out that you need an immersion blender (or other random piece of kitchen equipment). Surprises aren't fun when they lead to a ruined recipe, so read through it once to make sure that you have all equipment necessary, as well as how to do each step of the recipe.

  2. Double (or triple) check that you have all ingredients. Beginner cooks often come up with some wild substitutions when they find they are missing an ingredient. I distinctly remember that when I was about 18 I figured I could swap vinegar for buttermilk. Now, I'd never tasted buttermilk, but I just assumed it was sort of a sour tasting milk. So off I went, and I made panna cotta with a big ol' glugg of vinegar instead of buttermilk. It was horrible! Laminate a common ingredient substitution list and stick it on your fridge, just in case.

  3. Check your oven. Every oven is different. Buy an oven thermometer and check to see if 350-f really is 350-f degrees. I have found most ovens to be off a bit, so if you know your oven runs 25 degrees cool, you can adjust accordingly.

  4. Start with a clean kitchen. Pull out all of the baking dishes, utensils and equipment you will need for your recipe before you start. It is very bad timing to realize you need a whisk when it is at the bottom of a dirty sink, crusted over with gross stuff. Instead, clean up your kitchen, put away all dishes, and wipe down the countertops. Fill one side of your sink with hot sudsy water, so you can clean up as you go. Waiting until you are entirely finished to rinse dirty dishes is tempting, but after a big afternoon in the kitchen, you could very well need a break, so why not clean up as you go, and lighten your load?

  5. Be positive. Go in there thinking you will succeed. I swear, any time I approach a recipe with the attitude that I could fail, I do! Ever heard of a self-fulfiling prophecy? Bingo! Give yourself more credit than that.

Lemon Ripple Cheesecake Bars

by Divine Domesticity on September 18, 2008


I made these ages ago, and quite like me, forgot to snap a picture. They are worth posting sans picture. A little time consuming, sure, but for people like myself who take great pleasure in the process of baking, it is no biggie. Tart, delicious, cheesecake goodness. Doesn't get a whole lot better than that!

Lemon Ripple Cheesecake Bars
Makes 16 large bars
View printer friendly recipe

Crust
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled

Filling
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 cup cold water
2 large egg yolks
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 1/4 pounds cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Make the crust: preheat the oven to 325°F and position a rack in the center. Butter a 9-inch-square nonstick baking pan.

2. In a food processor, pulse the flour with the sugar, lemon zest, and salt. Add the butter and pulse until a soft, crumbly dough forms.

3. Press the dough evenly over the bottom and a scant 1/2 inch up the side of the pan. Bake the crust for 20 minutes, or until golden and firm.

4. Meanwhile make the filling: in a small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in the water.

5. In a medium sauce pan, whisk the egg yolks with 3/4 cup of the sugar and the lemon juice. Whisk in the cornstarch mixture and cook over moderate heat, whisking gently, until the sugar is dissolved and the lemon mixture is hot, about 4 minutes. Boil over moderately high heat for 1 minute, whisking constantly, until the mixture is thick and glossy. Strain the lemon mixture into a heatproof bowl. Stir in the lemon zest and let cool.

6. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese with the remaining 1 cup of sugar until smooth.

7. Beat in the flour until blended. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well between additions. Add the sour cream and the vanilla and beat until the batter is smooth. Pour the cream cheese batter over the crust and smooth the surface with a spatula.

8. Dollop the lemon mixture on the cheesecake batter and carefully swirl it into the batter; take care not to cut into the crust. Use the back of a table knife to gently swirl together the lemon mixture and the cheesecake batter. Take care not to swirl too much each mixture should remain distinct so you have a lovely white and yellow pattern on top.

9. Bake the cheesecake for about 40 minutes, or until golden around the edge and just set. Run the tip of a knife around the edge to loosen the cheesecake from the side of the pan.

10. Let cool on a wire rack for 1 hour, then refrigerate the cheesecake until thoroughly chilled. Cut into 16 bars and serve.

Recipe from Food &Wine magazine.

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Note: If you would like to add your own answer, click in the grey box next to 'other' and type in your answer. After you are done, click vote. I will be able to view your written in answer privately.

Penzey's Secret Banana Smoothie

by Divine Domesticity on September 16, 2008

Bananas are standard fare for breakfast at our house. My daughter, Violet, and I share a banana each morning while I chug down a large coffee with hazelnut creamer. Have I ever mentioned that I like to let my coffee sit until it is cold, then I chug it like a crazy frat boy? I do.

Even I get sick of bananas after a while, so this is a welcome change. In case you were wondering, the secret is a tiny bit of almond extract.






 Secret Banana Smoothies
Makes 1 large serving, shown
View printer friendly recipe
 

1. In a blender, add 1 cup milk, 1 cup ice cubes, 1 banana, 1 tsp. almond extract and 1 tsp sugar (optional). Blend until smooth. Recipe courtesy of Penzeys One magazine.

I love Martha Stewart.

by Divine Domesticity on September 11, 2008

I was in high school when I started collecting Martha Stewart Living magazines. It wasn't long before I realized that I had a problem. I wanted to hoard them, to preserve them...and I would go to strange (and expensive) measures to do so.

I had turned into a total:



Yes, I carefully tore out the recipes, craft projects, menu plans, and put them into sheet protectors, then put them into binders.

Apparently when I was younger it never occurred to me that I could always look these recipes up online. There was something about the printed magazine that I loved. Being able to flip through it, pull out a particular month, organize them a certain way.

Now, the binders, they mock me. I can't throw them away. I won't. I love them too much. From Living, to Everyday Food, to (squee!) the baby issues, the kids issues. All so very, very precious, and perfect. During the past four moves, all within the past year and a half, I've made my husband lug these beasts around the country. I'm not sure he feels the same way about Martha that I do.

A few weeks ago I was contacted by Dinner Tonight, a blog by the editors of the Everyday Food magazine. Was I interested in being a guest poster? Erm, exsqueeze me? Me?

Honestly, I got  myself a little worked up when I was preparing for my post. WHAT RECIPE WOULD I MAKE? I kept asking my husband for his thoughts. Helpful he was not.

Then, I have to prepare the food. OH, the pressure! I was elated when my dishes turned out aboslutely delicious.

The next step was to write the post. You'd think after blogging about food for 4 years that I'd have a handle on it, but I was caught up in the moment. Honest to God, I don't remember writing the article. I think I checked out at some point, the nervousness getting the best of me. I sent it in and hoped for the best.

It is going to be posted tomorrow (Friday).

So, please, if my article sucks butt, please, leave me a nice comment, give me pat on the back, and don't judge me too harshly. And please don't let Martha read this. She would not approve of such a lack of confidence!

Coming soon to the Dinner Tonight blog -- BBQ Chicken Pizza & Chutney Chicken Salad.

bbq chicken pizza

I'm going to go get drunk. I can't handle the pressure.

*Semi-related side note: I am in love with Martha's daughter, Alexis. I might even love her more than Martha. Shush, please don't squeal on me.

Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

by Divine Domesticity on September 9, 2008

Can I just admit that I'm tired of Summer? It is September (already!) and I'm ready to admit defeat and break out recipes that reflect fall. Anyone care for some cheesecake?



Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
Makes 16 bars
View printer friendly recipe 


FOR THE CRUST
20 chocolate wafer cookies, (half a 9-ounce package)
2 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

FOR THE FILLING
2 packages bar cream cheese, (8 ounces each)
1 cup sugar
1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin puree
3 large eggs
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon pumpkin-pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on all sides. Set aside.

2. In a food processor, blend cookies with sugar until finely ground (you should have about 1 cup crumbs); add butter, and pulse until moistened.

3. Transfer crumb mixture to prepared pan, and press gently into bottom. Bake until fragrant and slightly firm, 12 to 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.

4. Place cream cheese in food processor; blend until smooth. Add sugar, pumpkin puree, eggs, flour, pumpkin-pie spice, and salt; process until combined. Set aside.

5. Place chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl; microwave in 30-second increments, stirring between each, until melted. Add 1 cup pumpkin mixture; stir to combine. Set aside.

6. Pour remaining pumpkin mixture into prepared pan. Drop dollops of chocolate mixture onto pumpkin mixture; swirl. Bake until cheesecake is set but jiggles slightly when gently shaken, 40 to 50 minutes.

7. Cool in pan. Cover; chill until firm, at least 2 hours (and up to 2 days). Using overhang, transfer cake to work surface. With a knife dipped in water, cut into 16 squares. Serve.

Recipe from Martha Stewart

Chocolate Mint Icebox Cake

by Divine Domesticity on September 6, 2008

I love retro desserts. Stick with the classics, and you seldom go wrong. I did a twist on a traditional icebox cake by using chocolate mint wafers, which are actually easier to find than the plain chocolate variety (in my experience).  I would highly consider dabbing a bit of melted chocolate underneath the very first layer of wafer cookies. This would hold them in place and make it much easier to spread the cream on the first layer of cookies.

After half a day in the fridge, they are ready to eat. Light in texture, not in calories, and utterly delicious. I found it to not be overly sweet at all, but just right.

Chocolate Mint Icebox Cake
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen, The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook, and Oprah
View printer friendly recipe 


3 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 (9-ounce) packages chocolate wafer cookies (I used two packages of chocolate mint wafers. Grocery stores also tend to carry a similar style that is gingersnap flavored. I think they might be a Swedish brand, and they have scalloped edges. From what I can tell, they are MUCH more fragile than the Nabisco chocolate wafer cookies)
Unsweetened cocoa (or chocolate shavings), for garnish

1. In a large bowl, beat cream, sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form.
On a flat serving plate, arrange 7 cookies side by side in a circle, keeping 1 cookie in the center.

2. Spread with 1/2 cup whipped cream, making a 7-inch circle. Repeat with remaining cookies and cream, making 11 layers of cookies and ending with a layer of cream (there will be a few cookies left over). Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

3. To serve, dust top lightly with cocoa powder or chocolate shavings.

Could it be true? Grilled Bananas with Milk Chocolate? You better believe it.

by Divine Domesticity on September 1, 2008


It doesn't get much simpler. Take you favorite milk chocolate candy bar, we went with a bar with nuts, and slit a banana down the middle. Stuff banana with chocolate. Let grill for just a few minutes. Whipped cream would take this to the next level, but even without it is absolutely delicious!


Melty chocolate deliciousness!

Grilled Bananas with Milk Chocolate
Serves 6

6 large bananas (don't use overly ripe bananas)
1 large bar milk chocolate, with or with out nuts

1. Slit bananas down the middle, leaving peel on. Stuff with pieces of chocolate.

2. Grill for a few minutes. When chocolate starts to melt, they are done! Serve with whipped cream.

Adapted and inspired from Steamy Kitchen

My Secret to Happiness - Turn off the news!

by Divine Domesticity on September 1, 2008

Photobucket
Photo by The Unionforever

I haven't watched the news in the past few years. Yup, you read it right.

I am the only one to feel anxiety after watching the news? Story after story of abductions, murders, torture. Browse CNN.com and you are inundated with the worst conceivable stories out there. I finally had to decide to turn off the news channel, and stop visiting the websites.

It isn't that I want to pretend that horrible things don't happen. It is just that I don't want to be emotionally beaten down by the daily dozen stories featuring deplorable human behavior, stories that make you ill to your stomach. When you get to the point where you question if humanity has any good left, it is time to turn it all off.

Enjoy a new book. Take a hot bath. Give your heart and mind a break from the atrocities that are featured non stop on our 24 hr news channels. It has done me immeasurable good for spirit and mind to just let it all go.