Ranch Chicken Pizza

Have you tried pizza without marinara sauce? This was my first foray into making pizza without a traditional red sauce, and MY GOD! WHY DID I WAIT SO LONG?!

Literally, so so good!

I happened upon this recipe after my son asked that I make pizza for dinner (I had already set a packet of frozen chicken out to thaw). It worked out perfectly, because it also gave me a chance to use up a few vegetables that were past their prime. Win-win 😉

(Recipe courtesy of Annie’s Eats; crust and pizza)

 

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Ranch Chicken Pizza

Yield: 1 Large Pizza

Ingredients:

For Crust:

  • ¼ cup warm water
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons instant yeast
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons warm water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • Oil, for greasing the bowl

For Pizza:

  • ¾ – 1 pound boneless chicken, cut into bitesize pieces
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup ranch dressing
  • ¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 tomato, seeded and diced
  • ¾ cup shredded cheddar, Colby, or Mexican blend cheese

Directions:

Make Crust:

Combine ¼ cup water and yeast in a small bowl and set aside for 5 minutes. Add remaining water and oil, and stir to combine. Set aside.

In the bowl of a mixer, combine bread flour and salt. With the mixer running on low speed, slowly add yeast mixture. Once all of the dough has come together, increase speed to medium and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Transfer dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover, and set aside until doubled, about 2 hours.

Make Pizza:

Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add chicken and season with salt and pepper. Cook until golden brown, while stirring often, about 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Preheat oven to 500°F.

Lightly sprinkle pizza pan or half-sheet baking pan with cornmeal or semolina. Roll out pizza dough to fit pan, leaving the edges slightly thicker for the crust.

Spread the ranch dressing evenly over the crust, followed by mozzarella cheese. Top the cheese with the cooked chicken, green onions, and tomato. Sprinkle on the remaining cheese.

Place the pizza in the bottom rack of the oven and bake until the crust has browned and the cheese has melted, about 13-17 minutes.

 

Cranberry Orange Scrolls

Winter is here, and it’s here in full effect. Although I can do without the snow and freezing temperatures, there is something awe-inspiring about watching the seasons transition and the changes they bring. I enjoy buying produce seasonally, and this was the first time I bought fresh cranberries. I stumbled upon this recipe from Smitten Kitchen, and I’ve been on a roll (pun intended) making these scrolls!

The marriage between cranberries and oranges is a match made in heaven, and the cranberries, when baked, dot the dough like gorgeous little rubies!

 

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Cranberry Orange Scrolls

(Overnight)

Yield: 12 Scrolls

Ingredients:

For Dough:

  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 large whole egg
  • Zest of 1 orange, divided
  • 3 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons instant or active dry yeast
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons salt

For Filling:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries, pulsed into a course crumb in the food processor (not fully pureed)
  • Orange zest from above

For Icing:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons orange juice or milk

Directions:

Make Dough:

In the bowl of a mixer, combine buttermilk, butter, sugar, egg yolks, whole egg, and ¾ of the orange zest together. Add 2 cups of the all-purpose flour, yeast, and salt, and mix until evenly moistened. Add remaining 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour and mix on low speed until soft and not overly sticky, about 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a lightly greased bowl, cover, and allow the dough to double in size, about 2 to 3 hours.

Assemble Buns:

Lightly grease two 9-inch pans or a 9”x13” pan. Set aside.

After the dough has doubled, punch it down. Transfer it to a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough out into a large rectangle about 12”x18”. Spread the melted butter evenly over the surface, followed by the brown sugar, pulsed cranberries, and remaining orange zest.

Starting with the longer side, gently roll into a log. Lightly pinch the seams together to seal. Using a knife, gently cut the log into 12 sections. Place the scrolls cut-side up in the prepared pans. Cover, refrigerate, and allow them to rise overnight, up to 16 hours.

Remove scrolls from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Bake until puffed and golden, about 25 to 30 minutes.

Make Icing:

In a small bowl, whisk powdered sugar and orange juice or milk together until smooth and no lumps remain. Drizzle over warm scrolls.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls (with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting)

You guys, pumpkin season is here and I’m all about it! I’ve made these rolls 5 times in the past month (not all for myself! I’ve been making them and handing them out like halloween candy)!  I’ve been going through cans of pumpkin like no one is watching, and I’ve got no intention of slowing down. There’s something just so irresistible about the combination of cinnamon and warm spices like nutmeg, cardamom, and ginger.  Oh Fall, how I love thee ❤

(Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen <<< you know you can’t go wrong with that!)

 

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Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

With Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: 12 – 18 Rolls

Ingredients:

For Rolls:

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • ½ cup whole milk, slightly warmed
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons yeast
  • 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg, optional
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin puree, canned or homemade
  • 1 egg

For Filling:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt

For Frosting:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons milk

Directions:

Make Dough:

Brown the butter by cooking it over medium heat in a stainless-steel saucepan. Whisk so that the butter melts evenly. As it cooks, the butter will begin to foam, so be sure to whisk frequently to check underneath the bubbly surface. Soon little browned bits will form at the bottom. As soon as they begin to form, remove from heat and pour the melted butter (with the bits) into a glass or metal container and allow it to cool slightly.

Combine milk and yeast in a small bowl and set aside for 5 minutes.

In the bowl of a mixer, combine all-purpose flour, brown sugar, sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and ginger. Mix on low speed until combined. Add browned butter, milk and yeast mixture, pumpkin puree, and egg. Mix on medium-low speed until combined. Reduce speed to low and mix for 5 minutes. Transfer dough to a large oiled bowl, cover, and set aside until doubled, approximately 1 to 2 hours.

Make Filling:

Brown the butter by cooking it over medium heat in a stainless-steel saucepan. Whisk so that the butter melts evenly. As it cooks, the butter will begin to foam, so be sure to whisk frequently to check underneath the bubbly surface. Soon little browned bits will form at the bottom. As soon as they begin to form, remove from heat and pour the melted butter (with the bits) into a glass or metal container.

In a medium bowl, combine brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, and salt.

Assemble Rolls:

Lightly grease 2 9-inch pans, or one 9”x13” pan. Set aside.

After the dough has doubled, punch it down. Transfer it to a lightly floured surface and divide into 2 portions. Working with 1 portion at a time, roll the dough out into a large rectangle, about 9”x13”. Spread the browned butter evenly over the surface, followed by the sugar mixture.

Starting with the longer side, gently roll into a log. Lightly pinch the seams together. Using a knife, gently cut the rolls into 6 to 9 even sections. Place them cut-side up in prepared pans. Cover and allow them to rise for an additional 45 to 60 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Bake until puffed and golden, about 25 minutes.

Make Frosting:

In a large bowl, combine butter and cream cheese. Mix on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar, and mix on low speed until completely combined. Add maple syrup and milk, and mix on medium speed until smooth and combined. Add additional milk if the consistency isn’t thin enough.

Pour or spread on rolls once they are done baking.

 

Note: Unbaked rolls can be prepared in advance. After being cut and placed in baking pans, cover and refrigerate. Remove a few hours before baking to allow them to finish rising.

Eid Eats 2016: Zesty Spice Roasted Chicken

Eid Eats 2016 is officially here! This “party” is one that I look forward to all year 🙂  With Ramadan coming to an end, it’s fun to get together with other bloggers and enjoy the festive atmosphere.  Do you want to come to the party but worried that it’s too late?  Fret not my friend, there’s still time! You’ve got until Wednesday, July 6, to submit a recipe.  Just follow the guidelines found here, and you’re in!  I, along with my co-hosts Asiya of Chocolate and Chillies (check out what she’s sharing here), and Sarah of Flour and Spice (and the yummies that she’s sharing here) would love for you to join us!

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Click on this graphic to submit your addition to #EidEats2016. You can also click here to check out all of the yummies everyone has brought.


This year, Eid Eats falls on my father’s birthday.  I had decided beforehand that I wanted to make something that would make him proud.  My father was a huge fan of roasted poultry (chicken and turkey). He was the honoree turkey-carver at every Thanksgiving gathering. He used to enjoy revving the electric knife and getting down to business on the bird. Friends (and their children) would stand around and watch him, and he would hand feed little pieces to those standing closest to him.

I decided to make a zesty spice rubbed roasted chicken (adapted from here) because I knew it would be something that he would have enjoyed.  Prior to this attempt, I had never roasted a chicken before. I don’t know about you, but I had so much fear going into it! Afterwards however, I wondered why the heck I took this long to attempt something so simple! Please, don’t be a scaredycat like me. It’s a simple dish to prepare, and it really adds a classy touch to any spread.

 

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Zesty Spice Roasted Chicken

Yield: 4 to 6 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 (3 – 3 ½ pound) whole chicken, skin removed
  • 1 tablespoon + 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon red chili powder
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • ½ lemon
  • Potatoes, as needed, diced into 2-inch chunks (or baby potatoes cut in half)
  • Chopped cilantro, for garnish

Directions:

In a small bowl, combine 1-tablespoon butter, salt, paprika, basil, oregano, black pepper, and red chili powder.

Place chicken in a large container and rub with spice mix, making sure to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate, allowing the meat to marinate for several hours (overnight is best).

Remove chicken from the refrigerator and preheat oven to 450°F. In a baking pan, place potatoes in an even layer. Place chicken on top and stuff the cavity with garlic and lemon. Tie the chicken legs together with baking twine. Brush chicken with remaining 3 tablespoons butter, making sure to pour a few spoonfuls into the cavity as well.

Roast chicken in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Reduce temperature to 400°F and cook for an additional 40 minutes, until the internal temperature has reached a minimum of 165°F. Remove from oven, cover lightly with foil, and allow it to rest for 10 to 15 minutes.

Serve garnished with cilantro.

Ground Beef Puffs / Keema Puffs (Patties)

I’ve shared a lot of nontraditional (nontraditional for us Pakistanis) Ramadan foods, and I think it’s time to share some traditional Pakistani Ramzan fare 😉

We love the deep-fried goodness that are pakoray (fritters) and samosay (triangular meat or vegetable filled pastry), but we try to limit our intake of them to 1 to 2 times a week (2 is really pushing it) during Ramadan.  I love the ease of homemade Puffs/ Patties (pronounced pey-teez), and they make for a really impressive addition to your spread.  The key to amazing Patties is to use a good quality puff pastry, and you need a knockout filling recipe.  I finally scored a filling recipe that I can use as my go-to from Fatima Cooks.  The resulting Patties are delicious and gorgeous, and totally stand up to the beauties from Pakistani bakeries 🙂

 

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Keema Puffs/ Patties

Yield: Varies

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • ½ onion, diced small
  • 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
  • 2 teaspoons coriander powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon red chili powder
  • Salt, to taste
  • Handful chopped cilantro
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 pounds puff pastry, thawed and cut into desired size (may need more/less)

Directions:

Heat oil in a vessel over medium-high heat. Add onions and ginger-garlic paste, and sauté until translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add coriander powder, cumin powder, black pepper, red pepper flakes, red chili powder, and salt. Cook for 1 minute. Add ground beef, cover, and reduce heat to medium. Stir often while breaking up large lumps. Cook until all liquid has evaporated and mixture is dry. Cool completely, then add cilantro. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 400°F and set aside a parchment lined baking sheet.

Prepare an egg-wash by whisking egg and water together in a small bowl. Set aside.

Lay puff pastry out on a lightly floured surface. Place 1 to 2 tablespoons of ground beef mixture in the center of the pastry. Fold pastry as desired and seal edges by pressing down gently with a fork. Place on prepared baking sheet and continue with remaining ground beef and pastry, placing at least 2-inches apart. Brush with egg wash, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown on top and on the bottom. Cool for a few minutes before serving.

Note: Puffs can be kept frozen and baked at a later time. Freeze unbaked puffs (with egg-wash) in a single layer on a parchment or plastic wrap lined baking sheet. When completely frozen, remove from pan and store in a freezer-safe container. Bake unthawed, adding a few minutes extra to baking time.