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Thursday, March 6, 2014

Chicken Pesto Pizza (with mushrooms)

Caitie:     We should bake something today!

Erin (smirking, sarcastic):    uh, WE?

Caitie:    Well, YOU should bake something, and I'll sit here and keep you company!

That was a recent conversation between the two of them.

If you read my blog regularly, you may have seen the brownies and cupcakes and creative cakes that Erin regularly bakes.

Caitie does her best to avoid the kitchen.   Just imagine my surprise when I walked in the door one day last week and was greeted by this:

Caitie got busy baking blondies.  They were still warm!

And then she requested that I make Chicken Pesto Pizza.  She's hard to resist when she plies me with warm blondies.

I feel the need to warn you that this is going to be a long recipe.  Three recipes, actually.   I made the crust from scratch.  I made the pesto from scratch.  And THEN  I made the pizza.

But before I made the crust, pesto and pizza, I roasted the garlic (for the pesto), roasted the chicken (for the pizza), sautéed some mushrooms (because NO pizza-o-mine is complete without 'shrooms).  It turned into a two-hour ordeal.  Two hours!!!  For two pizzas.  But it was soooooo good.

Make that sooooooooooooooo good.

To save time, make it easy on yourself.  It's the pesto & chicken combo that's important,  and nobody's going to judge you if you don't prepare all of your ingredients from scratch.  Buy ready-made pizza dough.  Buy ready-made pesto.  Buy pre-cooked (or rotisserie) chicken.

Today's Playlist

  • "Mommy's Little Monster"...Social Distortion
  • "All My Lovin'"...Me First & The Gimme Gimmes
  • "I'm Yours"...Jason Mraz
  • "In The Next Room"...Neon Trees
  • "Holiday"...Green Day
  • "Fell In Love With A Girl"...The White Stripes
  • "Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)"...The Offspring
  • "All My Life"...Foo Fighters
  • "Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground"...The White Stripes
  • "Chelsea Dagger"...The Fratellis

Chicken Pesto Pizza

For the Crust:
Printable Recipe
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 2/3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup milk

For the Pesto:
Printable Recipe
  • 2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
  • 3 cloves roasted garlic (or 2 cloves fresh garlic)
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano 
  • salt & pepper, to taste

For the Pizza:
Printable Recipe
  • your favorite pizza crust, either homemade or store bought
  • 1/2 cup prepared pesto
  • 8 oz mozzarella, shredded
  • 1 lb. cooked chicken, shredded or chopped into tiny pieces
  • additional toppings (I used chopped plum tomatoes, scallions and sautéed mushrooms)

Gather your ingredients.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.

Add milk and stir just until moistened.

When dough starts to pull together....

---place it onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about a minute.

I say "lightly floured" because this is not a sticky dough and it usually does not stick to the counter or to my hands while I'm kneading it.

I was making two pizzas, so I had doubled the recipe.

This is a really quick dough to prepare, no rising time is necessary.  It doesn't have the elasticity that a yeast dough would have, but the baking powder does give it a bit of a rise and baking it at a high temperature gives it a really great crunch.

I decided to make my pizzas in cast iron skillets.  You can use whatever type of pan that you like.  

Place a tablespoon of butter onto your pan/skillet, and put it for a minute into your oven while it's heating up.

After the butter melts, remove the pan from the oven and spread the dough onto the bottom of the pan, and up the sides to form the crust.

Before you add the toppings, you are going to pre-bake the crust.  Bake for 10 minutes in your 425-degree oven.

If you are going to make your own pesto, prepare it now while the crust is baking.

Gather your ingredients.

Place the basil in a food processor or blender.

Add the garlic.  I used roasted garlic because it doesn't quite have the intensity of raw garlic.  

I wasn't in the mood to breathe fire.

Add the pine nuts.  Pulse until  your ingredients are coarsely chopped and mixed.

Drizzle in the oil and process until smooth.

Season with salt and pepper, and add in the cheese.

I still had a couple of minutes while I waited for my crust to bake so I decided to prep the rest of my ingredients.

I chopped up a few plum tomatoes and scallions.  And then I decided to slice some fresh mozzarella for one of the pizzas.

 Okay!  I've pre-baked the crusts and now they are ready for their toppings!

If I hadn't been so excited to assemble the pizzas I might have remembered to take a picture of my toppings for you.

Picture this:  pesto, sliced cooked chicken, mozzarella, chopped plum tomatoes, chopped scallions, sauteed mushrooms.

Feel free to omit or add any toppings you please.  This is a chicken pesto pizza, after all, so I would hope that you would definitely include chicken and pesto.  And cheese, of course.

 Start by putting 1/2 cup of pesto onto the crust.

 Spread it around.  It doesn't have to be perfect; that's part of the charm.

 Arrange the chicken.

 Cover with cheese.

I put packaged, shredded mozzarella on one pizza.

 And sliced, fresh mozzarella on the other.

 I piled on some sautéed mushrooms.

And sprinkled on some chopped plum tomatoes.  Oops, forgot to take a picture of the tomatoes.

Return the pizzas to your 425-degree oven and bake for an additional 15 to 18 minutes, until the crust is completely cooked through and the cheese has melted.

I removed my pizzas from the skillets and placed them onto a board to slice, but if you bake them in a pizza pan you can slice them right in the pan.

Okay, maybe this one was a little bit topping-heavy.

I didn't find that to be a problem.

 This pizza was a mushroom-free zone.

Eagerly devoured.



  1. Oh, it all looks so good!! Thanks for sharing! Always love seeing what your playlist is, too! Have a wonderful weekend! xo Heather

  2. Oh please can I come live with you for a week or two? Okay, wait, I need about 3 months of not eating before I could come. :)
    Drooling over your pesto pizza and the Blondies are looking great too.

    Hope you're not still snowed in, ours melted today...yay.


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