Leftover Lightning! Hot Pockets!

Sarah was kind enough to leave behind some Pizza Dough for us to experiment with after our “Build Your Own Pizza Night”, describing it as the “weird batch”. Dre & I decided to give its “weirdness” a whirl with some Sunday night stromboli & calzone.

Sarahs Weird Delicious Dough!

Sarah's "Weird" Delicious Dough!

I fulfilled my new addiction to the sweetness of Roasted Tomatoes by popping a batch in the oven while I began filling the dough. I opted for leftover Roasted Yellow Peppers & Zucchini from our “Build Your Own Pizza Night” with Sweet Italian Turkey Sausage, Mozzarella, Asiago, Tomato Sauce, & Fresh Basil. Per my lactose intolerant boyfriend’s nonsensical request, I filled his with “just cheese” including Mozzarella, Asiago, & Ricotta with a swipe of Tomato Sauce, a layer of Roasted Tomatoes, chopped Fresh Basil, & extra Minced Garlic. They weren’t too pretty going into oven once folded and likewise once they were baked, but they were delicious! The “weird” dough created a flaky crust a la a homemade Hot Pocket, versus a traditional stromboli/calzone crust. Yum!

My Veggie Hot Pocket

My Roasted Veggie "Hot Pocket"

Dres Cheesey Tomato Hot Pocket

Dre's Cheesy Tomato "Hot Pocket"

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Family-Style: Build Your Own Pizza

Last season of Top Chef, we started a tradition of “Family Dinners” at my house to watch each week’s episode along with a home-cooked meal! Tom, Dre, & Lex were the regulars at last season’s dinners, but couldn’t be happier to add Sarah to this year’s season. She brought along her homemade pizza dough for the return of Top Chef AND the return of “Build Your Own Pizza Night,” my favorite dinner theme!

The original plan was to do grilled pizzas, but after a summer of cooking and roasting Grape Tomatoes (via The Bitten Word’s amazing recipe) & Yellow Bell Peppers for pizza toppings, my grill ran out of gas. At least we always have the oven for back-up. I also prepared sauteed Zucchini, Chicken Andouille Sausage, Crab Meat, & Creole Shrimp, along with shredded Mozzarella, Smoked Gouda, Asiago, & Ricotta Cheeses, as topping options. Can’t forget some tomato sauce, as well! We all got to loading our shells with Dre opting for a Crab White Pizza & Tom piling on just about everying!

We were 3 episodes behind with all of our busy schedules, so we got together on a Thursday night to cook & recap via the DVR while the pizzas baked to perfection…

Dres Crab White Pizza - Pre-Baked

Dre's Crab White Pizza - Pre-Baked

My Pizza w/ the works

My Pizza w/ the works

Build Your Own Pizza Night

Homemade Pizza Dough a la Sarah

Roasted Tomatoes, Yellow Bell Peppers, & Zucchini

Chicken Andoille Sausage

Crab Meat

Creole Shrimp

Mozzarella, Smoked Gouda, Asiago, & Ricotta

Fresh Basil & Lemon-Thyme

To Taste: Chicken under a Bri… Something Heavy

My boyfriend has come to love food porn as much as I do, so when he sent me Pinch My Salt‘s step by step photo blog of Grilled Chicken Under a Brick, I couldn’t wait to get my spatchcock & grill on! Dre & I were both working late on a Friday night, and seeing that I already learned my lesson in grilling in the dark, I decided to at least get my meal prepped that night for a yummy pre-work lunch the next day.

When there’s chicken of any kind on sale, I impulsively pack my already stuffed freezer with as much as I can. I thawed one of the roasting chickens to make some space for my next grocery trip, watched this very helpful video on butterflying a whole chicken, & got to butchering! Call me sadistic (I’ll spare my veggie friends/readers from seeing the pics), but I really enjoyed the whole hands-on process of removing the spine & breast bone of my chicken so it could lay flat for its visit to the grill.

I picked some Fresh Herbs from my garden, chopped, & combined with Olive Oil & Minced Garlic for a simple chicken rub. I coated both sides of the chicken & marinated in the fridge overnight. I also peeled & cubed a butternut squash; to me, its serves as a starch & veggie side to any meal.

Spatchcocked Chicken w/ a Basil, Lemon-Thyme, Parsley, Rosemary, Garlic, & EVOO Marinade

Spatchcocked Chicken w/ a Basil, Lemon-Thyme, Parsley, Rosemary, Garlic, & EVOO Marinade

Grilled Butternut Squash with Fresh Herbs, Spices, & Garlic

Grilled Butternut Squash w/ Fresh Herbs, Spices, & Garlic

Saturday morning, we got the grilled warmed to about 350 degrees per the Whole Foods recipe that Pinch My Salt referenced. I seasoned the Butternut Squash with Fresh & Dried Herbs, Paprika, Red Pepper Flakes, S&P, Garlic, & Olive Oil and divided them among 4 foil pouches while the chilled chicken came up to temperature. When it came to grill time, I realized that, uh…Β  umm… I didn’t have any bricks! So the only troubleshoot I could come up with was a heavy, foil-covered cast iron pan, which proved to be a perfect substitution. The original recipe called for a 3-4lb chicken, but I was working with a 7lb bird, so it took about 20-25 minutes per side. I tossed the squash pouches onto the grill, too, as they were tender after flipping a few times in about 40 minutes. Towards the end of grilling, the drums of the chicken fell off, but it fortunately gave them some extra time to cook when the breast & wings were perfect.

All future birds cooked in my household will surely be spatchcocked & grilled, as this was the juiciest & tastiest one I’ve ever made. Looking forward to a Turkey Under ALOT of Bricks this Thanksgiving!

Grilled Chicken Under a Cast Iron Pan

Grilled Chicken Under a Cast Iron Pan

Grilled: Chicken Under a “Brick” & Herb Butternut Squash

Butterflied Whole 7lb Chicken – Rubbed & marinated w/ Basil, Lemon-Thyme, Parsley, Rosemary, Minced Garlic, & EVOO, grilled under a Cast Iron Pan

Grilled Butternut Squash – Cubed & tossed w/ Fresh & Dried Herbs, Paprika, Red Pepper Flakes, S&P, Garlic, & Olive Oil, grilled in foil packets

Quickie: Whipped by Potatoes

I LOVE LOVE LOVE mashed potatoes, but not the starchy process of peeling, chopping, & boiling the tubers. The best parts are using my prized Cuisinart Stand Mixer and, of course, eating them!

Whipped Potatoes w/ Fresh Herbs via my Cuisinart Stand Mixer

Whipped Potatoes w/ Fresh Herbs via my Cuisinart Stand Mixer

I kept the rest of my dinner quick with the entree & side:

Balsamic-Glazed Chicken Breast – Marinated in Italian Salad Dressing & Balsamic Vinegar, Pan-fried

Fresh Snow Peas – Sauteed w/ S&P, Shallots, Garlic, EVOO, & Butter

Whipped Potatoes – White Potatoes, Whipped w/ S&P, Lemon-Thyme, Parsley, Basil, Garlic, Shallots, Milk, & BUTTER! in my Cuininart Stand Mixer

A tall glass of Dr. Dre-2O

Balsamic-Glazed Chicken Breast, Sauteed Snow Peas, & a Mountain of Whipped Potatoes

Balsamic-Glazed Chicken Breast, Sauteed Snow Peas, & Whipped Potatoes

Family-Style: Summer Feast

Here in Philly, it’s been raining almost daily for I dunno, 5+ weeks now!! So it was a nice treat to grill a summer dinner on a clear night with my girls. The real anecdote of the evening is strictly girl talk, but we had nothing to hide when it came to our appetites.

Herbed Zucchini Ribbons & Red Curry Chicken Skewers

Herbed Zucchini Ribbons & Red Curry Chicken Skewers

Our feast included:

Curried Chicken Kebobs ~ marinated overnight in red curry paste & Greek yogurt, skewered, & grilled

Herbed Zucchini Ribbons ~ sliced lengthwise with a mandolin, S&P, fresh herbs (basil, mint, & thyme from my garden), olive oil, & grilled in a pan

Sunshine’s Tangerine Cabbage & Bleu Salad

Sunshine’s Wheat Pellet Puffy Wheels ~ deep-fried in olive oil

Cucumber Mint Yogurt Sauce ~ Greek yogurt mixed with cubed cukes, fresh mint, minced garlic, & salt

Fresh Chopped Tomatoes

Pocketless Pita

Ariel’s Oatmeal Cookies ~ soft & delicious

Sunshine’s Sangria ~ lemon, orange, lime, peach, & plum

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