Homemade Pizza with Pillsbury Crust

The other night, the wife & I were in the mood for pizza, but not for any of the plethora of local pizza places.  We decided to make our own.  We were going to get one of those pre-made Boboli crusts, but while at the grocery store my wife came across one of those cardboard tubes of pizza dough by Pillsbury.  We decided why not try that?  I like a puffy doughy not quite fully cooked crust.

Well, this wasn’t that… but it was tasty.  It seemed to be pretty thin, but it was flavorful.  We bought the Giant Eagle brand jar o’ pizza sauce because it was way cheaper than the real brands.  I added some brown sugar ’cause I like sweet sauce… but I’m getting ahead of myself.

My wife spread out the dough and I brushed on some extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled on some garlic powder.  Then we put down the sauce & brown sugar mixture, and a 2-cup bag of “4-cheese Italian” shredded cheese.

We put diced green peppers, turkey pepperoni, and canned mushrooms on the whole thing… and I put diced Canadian bacon & chopped olives on my half.  I topped it off with a little leftover taco cheese, and put some crushed red pepper flakes on my side.

We baked it according to the instructions on the weird cardboard roll, and it turned out great.  We need to do homemade pizza night more often!  I think we’ll skip the EVOO step though… I don’t think it was all that necessary.

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Homemade pizza FTW!

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Ciabatta Chicken Carb Overload Sandwiches

A while ago, I saw some Ciabatta buns in a 2-pack at my local Giant Eagle, and I thought that they were perfect for  my wife & I because we didn’t have to buy 6 or 8 at a time and let some go bad by the time we got around to eating them all.  Around that time, we had some leftover chicken breasts that had been prepared Shake ‘n Bake style the night before.  Out of that, my favorite new sandwich was born.

Ciabatta Chicken Carb Overload Sandwich
Ciabatta Chicken Carb Overload Sandwich

We made some the other night, making he Shake ‘n Bake chicken exclusively for the sandwich, saving leftovers to top a salad the next day.

Here’s what you need to make two sandwiches…

  • 1 2-pack of ciabatta buns
  • a few sprays or a spread of butter or I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter or whatever passes for butter in your house
  • a sprinkle of garlic salt or your favorite spice(s)
  • a pack of your favorite chicken breasts
  • Shake ‘n Bake
  • Meunster Cheese
  • Your favorite barbecue sauce  (I generally like most BBQ sauces, so I go with whatever I’m in the mood for, or whatever’s on sale. – This time we used Bullseye, I think.)

All you need to cook it is your oven.

  • Prepare the chicken according to the Shake ‘n Bake directions.
  • Pull it out to cool, and get a cookie sheet ready with your buns.
  • Cut the buns in half, prepare like you would garlic bread, placing the Meunster cheese on the top half.
  • Pop that in the over at around 357° for less than 10 minutes or so… until it’s to the crispiness you desire.
  • Dice the chicken and place into a bowl… mix with desired amount of barbecue sauce.
  • Pull the bread out of the oven, top with BBQ-laced super-carby chicken and it’s the most awesome sandwich you’ve had in a while.

We served these with sautéed zucchini and yellow squash, and it was a nice compliment.  Is the Shake ‘n Bake overkill?  Probably.  I like to think that it helps the sauce stick to the chicken, and prevents it from falling out all over your shirt or lap.  Maybe you need to heighten your carb intake because you’re running a marathon or something.  Maybe you just like being fat like me.

If they still made the Yuengling barbecue sauce, I’d totally use that for this.  The Bob Evans Wildfire sauce is pretty awesome too.  At any rate, if you’re not making these and you’re a fan of bread, breading, chicken, Meunster, and BBQ… then you don’t know what you’re missing.

Oh yeah, I think I put some Parmesan/Romano shake cheese and some Hot Shot pepper on mine this past time too.

Enjoy some photos…

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Chili à la AiXeLsyD

Originally from a post at PittsburghBeat.com, here’s a few consolidated chili recipe/methods…


I’ve never made chili before, and in researching, I came across 50 billion recipes. So, this morning I made my own in the crock pot…

  • 2 cans of condensed tomato soup
  • 1 can of tomato paste
  • 1 packet of chili mix
  • about ½ cup of water
  • 1 tsp. of beef bullion
  • 1 can light red kidney beans
  • however much ground meat was leftover from last night
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • a dash of cayenne pepper
  • a dash of paprika
  • a dash of garlic

…and I slapped it into the crock pot on low for 8 hours.

Hope it tastes good when I get home. I’ve got shredded cheddar cheese for the top of it, & Super-Pretzels to go along with it. They always served pretzels & chili in my elementary school cafeteria so they belong together in my warped mind.

…Most of them use tomato paste, soup, sauce, juice, or diced tomatoes as a base… I even saw one that called for Spicy hot V8… and I think my mom always used soup. Tomato paste is usually bitter, so I figured the tomato soup would counteract it. All of the spices should be rockin’. I like my chili thick.

Oh yeah, about 1/2 the ground meat was cooked w/ some seasoning salt & A1.


Here’s what basically went into my chili. I’ll probably eventually make a blog about it with a narrative so I can remember what I did this time for next time… to see what I wanna change or what I wanna do again.

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I ended up only using the one can of diced tomatoes (the one with jalapeños) and still kind’ve overflowed the pot by a small amount. So, next time I may cut out one can of tomato soup or a can of beans. Also, I want to try garbanzo beans in my next batch… and I’ve heard chocolate powder goes good in chili some times… so I wanna try that one day too.

I also tossed in 2 slices of Velveeta ripped apart, a dash of spicy brown mustard, and a drop or 2 of A1 Cracked Peppercorn Steak Sauce.

I think the meat that I used was too fatty or I didn’t drain enough fat (…even though I got a about ⅔ of a regular sized plastic cup full of fat out of it). I had to skim some excess grease off of the top when I popped it open this morning.

I’ll let you know the general consensus after it’s been consumed.

Eric’s Decadent Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes

This past Christmas when we had the family over for a holiday dinner, I decided to try & make some scalloped potatoes.  I found a ton of recopies online, and took what I liked from some & what I liked from others and put them all together… leaving out the stuff I didn’t like.  They turned out really well, to the compliments of everyone.  The only problem is that I didn’t write down what I did… so I had no idea when I went to make them again for an Easter  dinner yesterday.  Last time, like everyone in the kitchen, I kept adding stuff until the sauce looked & tasted just right.

Friday night, I pulled out the same printed recipes from last time…. made sure we had most of the stuff here & popped what I needed on to the grocery list.  This time I wrote down what went into it, but I may have the portions off… Where I have “cup” or “Tablespoon”, I may have just dumped some stuff in by eye.

People have asked how I made them, so I’ll try writing it out coherently here.  I’ll add that  my wife, Bethany, washed & cut the potatoes while I made the sauce… which was invaluable… because the sauce needed to be watched, and cut potatoes that sit for any period of time get all brown.  I guess I could have cut them & put them in some cold water to halt the browning if I absolutely had to… but we get along well in the kitchen, and it’s nice to cook together sometimes.  (I offered for her to do the sauce & to put me on potato duty, but she declined in case the cause didn’t turn out well, the blame could go solely on me.)

Eric’s Decadent Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes:

Ingredients:

  • 5 lb. bag of russet potatoes
  • 2 cups shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese (I buy the stuff in bags, this is 1 small bag.)
  • 2 cups shredded Colby & Monterey Jack Cheese (The store brand was 2 bags for $5 I think.)
  • 1 pint (2 cups / 16 fl. oz.) heavy cream
  • 1½ cups buttermilk
  • 1 stick (8 Tbsp.) butter
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese
  • 4 Tbsp. flour
  • 4 Tbsp. corn starch
  • Salt/Pepper/Season All to taste
  • 1 tsp minced garlic (I used the stuff minced & put in olive oil, in little jars)
  • 2 Tbsp. sour cream
  • 2 Tbsp. Miracle Whip or mayonnaise… (or 1 Tbsp. Each!)
  • 1 sm. bag bacon bits
  • bread crumbs (or crackers)

Stuff:

  • potato scrubber
  • cutting board
  • knife
  • 9″ x 13″ glass baking dish
  • sauce pan
  • spoon and/or wisk
  • large bowl (if you’re gonna soak the potatoes)
  • measuring cup & spoons
  • aluminum foil
  • hot pads
  • oven
  • stove top

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°.
  2. Wash & slice the potatoes, store in cold water if you have to so they don’t brown… or have someone do that while you…
  3. Grease a 9 x 13 glass baking dish with the stick of butter.  Melt the rest of the butter on medium heat in a saucepan.
  4. Add the flour & corn starch to the butter to make a roux.
  5. Turn it down to low heat, & slowly stir in the cream, buttermilk, sour cream,  & mayo/Miracle Whip.  Stir like a madman.
  6. Add the bacon bits, garlic, Parmesan cheese, and salt/pepper/spices to taste.  Don’t forget to stir.
  7. Add about half of each kind of shredded cheese to the mix, keep stirring like a madman.
  8. Pull the sauce from the heat, keep stirring… add a little to the bottom of the baking dish.
  9. Later potatoes, sauce, & remaining shredded cheese… saving a nice amount of shredded cheese for the top.
  10. Cover with foil, bake at 350° for an hour.
  11. Pull it out, uncover, top with bread crumbs or crumbled up crackers, add some additional seasoning if so inclined, and pop it back in for another 15 minutes.

Well, there you have it.  Pretty simple, and nothing makes me happier than cheese & potatoes.  I noticed a lot of scalloped potato recipes don’t have cheese, but really… where’s the fun in that?  Some also used a cream of chicken or cream of potato soup… makes it too much like White Trash ‘Taters for me.  You may want to skip the breading, use chips or those crispy canned fried onions.  Everyone has their own thing that they dig.  Yukon Gold potatoes would make this really nice, probably wouldn’t need to cook as long…red potatoes might make it bitey…  A mix may be nice.  As far as the spices, I used coarse ground black pepper, I think some dry mustard, paprika, and some McKormick Season All.