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Whole Wheat Deep-Dish Pizza

I really shouldn’t be so surprised by myself by now. Really, I shouldn’t. I do delicious things on the daily and it is no accident when I create a masterpiece that tastes like heaven mixed with a little cocaine. Basically, it’s in my nature. Don’t hate me ‘cause you ain't me.

I’m not a huge fan of deep dish pizza because let’s be honest, crust can take up too much room in the belly. It’s not even a “health” thing, it’s a “how can I fit the most pizza in my face/body/butt” thing.

I trust you understand. It’s a real issue.

But, there are tons of ways to do this. It’s like Sonic drink concoctions but better. Cause, pizza.

However, I am about to tell you exactly how I made mine because let me tell you….It was dee. lish. uss.

Whole Wheat Deep-Dish PizzaWhole Wheat Deep-Dish Pizza

1 Package Active-Dry Yeast

1 Cup Warm Water

2 Tablespoons EVOO

1 Teaspoon Salt & Sugar

1 Cup White Whole Wheat Flour

2 Cups White Flour, approximately

1 Can Whole, Peeled Marzano Tomatoes

½ Cup Dry Red Wine

1 Tablespoon Tomato Paste

Oregano, Italian Seasoning, Garlic, Black Pepper, Basil

Pepperoni

Black Olives

Mushrooms, roughly chopped

Green Bell Pepper, diced

White Onion, diced

This may look like a lot of steps; trust me, it’s not bad.

In the mixing bowl of your Kitchen-Aid, whisk the yeast with warm water and let it proof for about 5 minutes, until foamy. Add the salt, sugar, olive oil and White Whole Wheat Flour. Begin to mix with the bread hook attachment. One cup at a time, add the white flour until the dough sticks away from the bowl. Once you have enough, let the dough rest while you start the sauce.

In a blender or food processor, pulse the tomatoes to make a chunky sauce. Pour them into a saucepan with wine and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Stir in the seasonings with the tomato paste and let it simmer, uncovered until the sauce thickens to a consistency that makes you feel fancy.

Next, sauté the onion, bell pepper, and mushrooms with a little olive oil until tender, about 5-7 minutes over medium heat. Yeah. You know you like it. Stir them often and don't crowd the mushrooms or Julie Child will hate you forever.

Now, back to the dough. On a floured surface, begin to knead the dough until it is smooth like a big family of delicious carbohydrates. Roll it out into a circle. Using a spring form pan (or cake pan), spray and flour the pan with corn meal.

Little lesson here, corn meal creates air pockets between the pan and the dough. Translation: The dough gets thoroughly cooked and not too doughy and gross. You’re welcome, world! I’ll be here until I die and then I won’t be! But come back and visit me until then! *crowds go wild with applause and Facebook likes*

Fit the dough into the pan, pressing it into the sides and corners. Brush olive oil all over that delicious mess and let it rise in a warm oven until you’re ready to party (Aim for 15-20 minutes).

Okay, on to the next. I really don’t feel like I use my microwave much. I don’t say that as a "bragging thing.” I just say it honestly. However, if I’m using the cheap little delicious Hormel pepperonis, I like to zap them in between some paper towels to drain a little fat. I know, I know. I’m super, duper healthy. Feel free to frame pictures of me all over your house. About 45 seconds should do it. Honestly, it makes the pizza less greasy and I like that unless it's 2:30am and my hair is plastered to my head from dancing so hard.

Spread a ton of your pizza sauce into the dough, cause that crap is delicious. Layer all your toppings (along with the "uncooked" black olives) on there cause, that crap is also delicious. Then, top withWhole Wheat Deep Dish Pizza mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Like, a lot.

Bake at 375 for about 15 minutes, loosely covered with foil. Remove the foil, turn the oven to 425 and bake for another 10 minutes, just until the cheese is bubbly and lightly golden.

Maybe this is a few steps but nothing here is overly complicated. Plus, when your face is covered in pizza sauce and your belt needs to be loosened, you're going to be really okay with it.

Southwestern Chicken (Tortilla) Soup

Let’s get real: I don’t know where you’re at in life. However, knowing the luck I usually carry to casinos…I’m going to bet you’re reading this on your iPad from a beach somewhere, while someone named “Julio” brings you a fruity drink. And you might be slightly annoyed because “Jose” or whatever forgot you said “no sugar on the rim” and your sunglasses might be just slightly smudged from sand that’s so fine and soft that it blew up in your eyes when a gentle breeze blew by 5 minutes ago.

Well, I’m really sad for your first world problems. I really, really am. But if you’re in Texas, chances are, it is snowing heavily and people everywhere are driving like they got their licenses never.

So, join with me in your sorrow and do the only thing that will make your bitterness fade away (besides wine).

Soup with me.

(“Shoop” by Salt-N-Pepa begins to play but they’ve replaced “Shoop” with “Soup”)

Southwest Chicken (Tortilla) Soup

2 Large Chicken Breasts

1 Bouillon Cube

4 Cups Water

1 Bay Leaf

Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

1 Medium White Onion, diced

1 Green Bell Pepper, diced

1 Jalapeño, diced and seeded

1 Can Diced (or Stewed) Tomatoes

1 Can Black Beans, drained and rinsed

1 Can Corn, drained and rinsed

1 Teaspoon Each: Salt, Pepper, Oregano

In a somewhat large pot, pour water over the chicken breasts and bouillon cube. Toss in the bay leaf and olive oil and bring to a boil until the chicken is thoroughly cooked. As much as possible, keep the pot covered because we are gonna want to use this delicious broth later.

In a separate stew pot, combine the onion, pepper and jalapeno with a little Olive Oil and begin to sauté over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until tender. At this point, I like to toss in the seasonings as well. The heat slightly intensifies the flavor but that’s just me.

When the veggies are tender, pour in the tomatoes (with juice) and the rinsed beans and corn. I rinse them because canned vegetables always have a ton of sodium. Who needs that in their lives? Definitely not those prone to heart issues. And that’s the truth.

When the chicken is thoroughly cooked, shred that mamma-jamma. If you’ve read some of my other posts, you can do this in about 23.7 seconds by using the “paddle” attachment with your kitchen-aid mixer. If you don’t believe me, I really don’t care because I am smart (sometimes), I am kind (ish), and I am important (all the time).

Toss in the shredded chicken and add as much broth as you like (sans the bay leaf, cause yeah), until you reach the appropriate balance of “hearty” and “soupy.” Bring the soup to a boil and then let it simmer until you're ready to dive in head first. Except don't do that because you might burn your pretty little face.

This is excellent with or without tortilla strips. Either way you “soup” it, just trust me. You’ll be happy.

Chicken & Dumplings Florentine

Remember how I hate Chicken and Dumplings? Well, I do. I do not remember ever liking them. It’s a real thing. However, I really love me. So, when someone asks me to make Chicken and Dumplings, I am going to make it in a way that I know I will like.

It’s just more convenient that way. Everyone ends up happy. I know what people need.

And seriously, it’s the polar vortex. Or, snowpocalypse, if you prefer. And I do.

And, whenever it is the snowpocalypse, you just need soup. So, don’t object. Try this recipe and warm your soul.

Chicken and Dumplings Florentine

2 Chicken Breasts

Salt & Pepper

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 Bay Leaf

Oregano

Garlic Powder

2 Carrots, diced

2 Celery Stalks, diced

½ White or Yellow Onion, diced

2 Garlic Cloves, minced

¼ Cup Flour

Chicken Broth

Italian Parsley

Fresh Spinach

Start by boiling the chicken along with the bay leaf, salt, pepper, garlic and oregano. This gives it a tremendous flavor. Especially when boiling chicken without bones, this makes for a really good broth. When the chicken is cooked through, chop it into bite-sized pieces and set aside.

Sauté the vegetables with the minced garlic and about 2 tablespoons Olive Oil until tender and translucent. Stir in the flour and allow it to thoroughly cook out. If not, your soup will be chalky and gross and you will be a failure. No one wants that.

After the flour is mixed in and cooked, gradually stir in the chicken broth. I personally like to gather as much of the left over seasoning on the side of the pot as possible but remove the bay leaf. Because, obviously. Stir well until you have your desired consistency. If you like it to be a little less thick, you can add a little water as well. Add the chicken and bring to a boil. Allow the soup to boil lightly for about 5-10 minutes while stirring every once in a while. If you like the dumplings cooked into the soup, use this recipe and add them in uncooked dollops at this point. If not, bake them in the oven like I did and pour your soup over them when you're ready to eat. It’s basically perfection.

Once the soup has been boiling for a bit, turn down to a simmer.

About 5 minutes before you are ready to eat, stir in a handful of fresh spinach and a bit of chopped Italian parsley. I like both a lot, so...you do you.

This recipe is delicious and I hope you like it!