Sunday, April 27, 2014

Guest Post: Mark's Cheatin' Pizza

I am excited to welcome someone very special to the wonderful world of recipe blogging.  He has been a steady reader since my blog's inception over four years ago, and has recreated several of my recipes.  He grew up on hot dogs and boxed mac and cheese, but he has always loved experimenting in the kitchen - from his famous "gut busters" (Fritos with chili and cheese), to his "perfect" Bisquick pancakes, he makes everything his own. 

Please welcome the greatest soccer coach, bike ride partner, math homework helper, and my biggest dad :)

Guest Post by Mark Burns: Mark's Cheatin' Pizza

This is a derivative of Lindsay’s Pita Pizza.  We made her concoction once, and loved it so much, we decided to try it again using some standard pizza combinations.  We made six pita pizzas – four were Canadian bacon with pineapple, and two were chicken and garlic.   I wanted to go with pepperoni and olives as well, but my sous chef / personal assistant / wife squashed that idea.
·       6-pack of pita bread of your choice
·       24 oz jar of Marinara Sauce (we’re in our 50s, so we used Ragu Old Country)
·       4 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese (Lindsay suggests fresh cheese, but I don’t know what that is.  We bought some packaged “low moisture – part skim” cheese)
·       A package of 30 slices of Canadian Bacon.  Or, if you’re from Canada, 30 slices of “back bacon.” 
·       8 oz of grilled chicken strips.  Now, it would probably ideal to grill some chicken and cut it into strips or small chunks, but this is, after all, “cheatin’ pizza”
·       1 garlic
·       Approximately one cup of cubed pineapple.  You know, the stuff at the grocery store in the roundish plastic containers.  We considered a real, whole pineapple, but that would be too much work, and too much pineapple, for this small endeavor.   As it is, you’re going to have some leftover pineapple

Prepare the Toppings
It is best to do all of this preparation first, because it can take up to 20 minutes.

·       Cut the chicken strips into small chunks of your choosing, perhaps ½ - ¾ inch wide and long.
·       Cut the pineapple into a similar size.  You won’t need that much, so don’t overdo it
·       Chop the garlic into similar sizes as well.  You’ll probably only need one clove per pita pizza, so consider how many chicken and garlic you are making.  The smaller the chunks the better, since large pieces of garlic can really wallop the palate.  Now, I know there is a particular method for dealing with garlic, but don’t ask me what it is.  I basically tore into them with my fingers until I got to the cloves, and ripped off the skin, if that’s what you call it, and then cut them into the appropriate sized pieces.  My sous chef / personal assistant / wife said she had a tool for addressing this task, but I pressed on with my caveman method. 

Preheat Oven
Every oven is different, but a good rule of thumb is to select a fairly hot temperature, say, 425, and then add 25 to 50 degrees.

Build Your Pizza
Lightly spray two large baking sheets with the cooking oil of your choice.  Place the pita bread on the pans.  We were able to get 3 pieces on each pan.  Not sure if this really matters, but we put the bread bottom side up – which, from Lindsay’s photos, is how she did it as well.  Actually, I don’t know if pita bread has a top or bottom.  But the “matte” looking side was up when we did it.

Spoon or pour the marinara on the bread.  As a guide, you should use approximately ¾ of the 24 oz jar to cover the 6 pieces of bread.  But use more or less at your discretion.  To be frank, we probably used a tad too much.  The finished product was a bit messy.

Spread the mozzarella cheese equally on top of the sauce (sorry, no photo).  Depending on how much cheese you like, you might use almost the entire 4 cups of cheese, but we recommend going a little lighter than that.  Now, flip each pita into the air, allowing it to rotate approximately 720 degrees before you catch it on the way down.  No, don’t really do that.  You’re sous chef / personal assistant / wife will kill you.

For the Canadian (back) bacon and pineapple pizza: we put 5 bacon medallions on each pita – five on the outside, and one in the middle.  However, we should have used more.  Ever go to a pizza parlor and get a slice of pizza with one piece of pepperoni on it?  That’s what happened to us.  So throw about 7 or 8 medallions on each pita if you want to avoid this.  Then, sprinkle the pineapple chunks however you desire.  In my opinion, the pineapple is what makes the finished product special, so don’t hold back.

For the chicken and garlic, it’s pretty much the same story.  Sprinkle the chicken and garlic chunks as you desire.  We prefer about a 3-2 coverage ratio of chicken to garlic.

Now comes the easy part.  Put them in the oven for about 8 minutes.  You’ll know if they are ready.  If they aren’t, just check on them every two minutes.  Leaving them in an extra minute or two will result in a slightly more crispy crust, as you might expect.

YUM!  They look delicious, thanks Daddio.  Didn't know you liked to drink marinara sauce - learning more of your quirks every day ;)  Can't wait to see you in just a few more weeks!

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