Sometimes I cook in batches. I start to cook and I just can't stop, I think that's normal. :)
After going out to a local pizza place Friday night I decided I wanted a little bit more pizza, it's just so delicious! I set out to make a BBQ chicken pizza. I should also note that this happens to be my all time favorite pizza "flavor". It all started when I was working at a pizza place in Raleigh during college. There was a pizza called Dantes Inferno at Lilly's Pizza (back then they didn't have bacon on it, I highly recommend you order it without bacon). That is hands down the best pizza I've had. In fact, I ALWAYS go back there when I go to NC. While I didn't recreate this exactly, I went with that theme.
I started with store bought whole wheat pizza crust. I prefer to make my own but realized I didn't have yeast and the grocery store was crazy on Saturday afternoon. When I remembered I needed yeast I just so happened to be in the bread section that had whole wheat pizza crust, so I bought it and got out of there ASAP. Though I absolutely LOVE grocery shopping, I hate when it's crowded.
I started by preheating the oven to 375F to bake up the chicken breast. I used the BBQ sauce I'd be using as the base for my pizza to marinate the chicken. Bake for about 20 minutes (it really depends on how thick your chicken strips are and how quickly your oven cooks), chicken should be fully cooked.
Next I shredded up some smoked gouda cheese to give the pizza an extra smoky flavor, after all it's a BBQ pizza! I mixed this with part skim mozzarella cheese to not only cut back on calories and fat but also to make sure the smoky flavor wasn't over powering. Gouda has a very rich flavor, it's also very creamy (great for melting) so you don't need a lot of it.
At this point the chicken will be done and you should increase the temperature of your oven to 400F to bake the pizza.
Then it was time to pile on the cheese. I like to use about 3/4 of the cheese on the base and then sprinkle a little on top, that's just my personal preference. Once I put a good base layer of cheese on I added the chopped up BBQ chicken, sauteed veggies, and the final bit of cheese. Then I popped the pizza in the oven (use a cookie sheet or pizza stone). I have both, Morgan bought me a wonderful pizza stone for Christmas but I forgot to let it heat up while the chicken was cooking, so I used the cookie sheet. You don't necessarily have to let the pizza stone heat up before you use it but you're supposed to.
After baking for about 20-25 minutes the pizza will come out looking like this...
YUMMY! Now let's talk nutrition here. Yes this is pizza, yes it has regular cheese on it, and yes it's healthy! Let's break it down, shall we? We've got whole wheat crust which provides us with heart healthy fiber and complex carbohydrates that prevent our blood sugars from spiking up the way refined (white) breads do. Not to mention fiber helps us feel full longer! Then we've got a bunch of vegetables which are also high in fiber and micronutrients. Remember when we talked about antioxidants and eating the rainbow? Well we've got white (mushrooms), green (spinach), purple (onions), and red (if we are counting the tomato in the BBQ sauce). We've also go lean protein from the chicken breast. And lastly the cheese. We need a little bit of fat in our diet and while saturated fats found in cheese aren't the healthiest, a little is certainly ok. I also use significantly less cheese than your average fast food pizza joint and mixed it with low fat cheese to cut calories/fat. All together this makes for one healthy and delicious pizza! Pair it with some veggies for added volume and you've got yourself a meal!
BBQ Chicken Pizza Recipe:
-1 store bought or homemade whole wheat pizza crust (I suggest using Morgan's awesome recipe she posted before in her calzone post)
-1/2 cup BBQ sauce (any brand you happen to like) for the base of the pizza + 1/4 cup for the chicken breast
-1 lb of boneless skinless chicken breast (you'll have extra, I only used 1/2 of this but I kept the extra for another meal later this week)
-1.5 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
-1 tbsp garlic
-1/4 cup sliced raw red onion
-1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
-1/2 cup shredded smoked Gouda cheese
-1/2 cup shredded part skim mozzarella (you can use more if you like your pizza extra cheesy)