Thursday, May 5, 2011 favorite crowd pleaser

This is my favorite crowd pleasing dish.  I make it for fun, casual dinner night, potlucks, class..... you name it, there's a chance I'm going to show up with this dish!  I first had it in November.  It is a Pampered Chef recipe - and it is from their Fall/Winter 2010 Season's Best recipe collection.  I really suggest buying these mini cookbooks, even if you can't buy anything else when invited to shows.  (Actually, you can buy them online if no one invites you to a show!)  The books are a buck, yeah, ONE DOLLAR, people!  The current edition, Spring/Summer 2011, has 26 recipes.  26 recipes for a dollar?!  I'm in!  Even if I don't love everything in the book, it is a dollar!  Plus, you know I love ripping recipes apart and making something I love from the bits and pieces.  The books have recipes that can be money savers - they are labeled "Around $2 per serving!".  The recipe I am about to share, happens to fall in to that category!  I told you, I give credit where credit is due - and I think these recipe collections are worthy of some recognition

So, now you're ready to run away because I had to plug a product - I'll get on with the recipe!

What you will need
  • A sink (soap and a towel would be good, too)
  • An oven
  • A stove (cook top, range, whatever you have - use a hot plate if you can make it work)
  • A bar pan, or some other type of shallow baking pan - you can make a cookie sheet work
  • A colander (just like with the pineapple salsa, not totally necessary)
  • A cutting board (two if you want to avoid doing dishes in the middle of things)
  • A sharp knife (or three)
  • A nonstick skillet
  • A pair of tongs
  • Two mixing bowls
  • A scraping spatula
  • 1 refrigerated pizza crust (13.8oz is suggested.  I don't know if that is the Pillsbury thin crust size, but I find it works better - but the baking times will vary)
  • A bunch (one bunch, not a bunch meaning a ton) of scallions - the recipe actually calls for 1/2 an onion, but I think the scallion cooks in - no crunch and no over powering onion flavor.  Use whatever you prefer.
  • 1 fresh jalapeño
  • 8 ounces of Colby-Jack cheese - we should discuss this.  If you have something similar in your fridge already and it isn't Jarlsberg, Chevrie or Bleu (you get the picture) - you should be okay.  Also, depending on your preference and/or the price tag - you can buy shredded or  you can shred your own.  If you are going to shred your own, please have your preferred grating tool on hand.
  • Some chicken - I usually buy the least expensive pack of tenders or breast cutlets (I am not about to measure out 2 cups of cooked chicken, by the way - but that is what the recipe calls for if you want to buy the precooked strips from the freezer section.)
  • 1/2 cup green taco sauce - I use Tabasco, if you won't use it for anything else, just get the 5oz bottle and use the whole thing.
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • A garlic press, or a mini grater
  • Some grape tomatoes (again, I don't measure, but it says 1/2 cup)
  • Some fresh cilantro
  • You probably want a pizza cutter, or the tool you usually cut pizza with if you don't have one
  • Some vegetable oil or your choice of cooking spray kind of stuff
That seems like a really long list, so I'm fairly confident I got it all in there.  Keep your hot pads and trivets handy - this is a double baker.

Let's do this!
  1. First and foremost, wash your hands.  Keep this in mind throughout cooking this recipe!  You have to deal with some raw chicken, well, maybe you do... Just wash your hands and don't question me like a two year old!
  2. Grab the colander, and put the tomatoes and pepper in for a wash.  Go ahead and give the cilantro and scallions a wash at this time, too.  Just remember that it is better to dry both with a clean kitchen towel or some paper towels so you aren't left with herb mush.
  3. Set your clean produce aside, and get cracking on the chicken.  Heat your skillet on medium heat with a small amount of vegetable oil or cooking spray.  
  4. Add the chicken (leave the pieces whole) and cook through (juices will run clear).
  5. Wash your hands after handling raw chicken.
  6. Remove the skillet from the heat, and allow to rest.
  7. Wash your hands again.
  8. Preheat the oven to 425.
  9. Grab a cutting board, knife, mixing bowl, grater (if you are grating your own cheese) and garlic press/mini grater - and take any necessary breaks before you begin chopping.
  10. Grate about 1/2 cup (that's 4oz) of your cheese into the mixing bowl. (Or just add it in if you bought it already shredded.)  Add the taco sauce to the bowl, then press or grate the garlic in to the bowl with the sauce and cheese.
  11. Finely chop the jalapeño, adding it to the bowl.  (Seed the pepper before chopping for a milder version.)
  12. Cut the bulb end off of the scallions and discard.  Chop the scallions, and add desired amount to the mixing bowl with cheese, sauce, garlic and pepper.
  13. Put your cutting board and knife in the sink, replace with clean tools.  (This is where you have to wash the dirty ones, if you don't have another set, or if you choose not to use another set.)
  14. Dice the chicken that has been resting and add it to the bowl.  Use your scraping spatula to mix the ingredients well, and set aside.
  15. Put your dirty cutting board and knife in the sink.  Wipe the counter off if you made a mess.
  16. Get your bar pan/cookie sheet/whatever you are using, and spray it with cooking spray.  (You can brush on vegetable oil - your choice)
  17. Grab the pizza dough from the fridge, and unroll it.  Take care when stretching the dough across the bottom of the pan.  Pinch any tears back together.
  18. Bake the dough for about 13 minutes, or until it is golden brown.  (It doesn't have to be completely done, you are going to put it back in for 7 minutes later.  This blind baking just keeps the crust from turning soggy.)
  19. While the dough is baking, wash up a cutting board and knife, or get round three ready to go.  Begin quartering the tomatoes.  (A utility knife is a good choice for the tomatoes.  It will allow more precision, and reduce the risk of chopping your fingers off.)
  20. When the crust is golden, remove it from the oven.  Don't forget to use your hot pads and trivets.  Stir your chicken and cheese mixture again, then top the crust with the mixture.  
  21. Top the mixture with your remaining cheese.  Sprinkle it on if it is already grated, or grate it directly over the pizza.
  22. Put the pizza back in the oven for an addition 7 minutes or until the cheese is melted. 
  23. While the pizza is finishing up in the oven, finish with your tomatoes if you haven't already.  Then, give your cilantro a rough chop with a sharp knife.
  24.  Grab your hot pads and remove the pizza from the oven, placing the hot pan on trivets or a cooling rack.
  25. Sprinkle the tomatoes and cilantro on top of the hot pizza.  Give the pizza a minute to cool before you attempt shoving it in your mouth.  You should probably cut it first, too!
The recipe collection claims this recipe can feed six.  That's 6, 2-piece servings.  If you are taking this to a potluck, you can cut it into smaller pieces - but I typically make at least a double.  I know this seems like a lot of steps and a long list of needs - so, if ends up being too much effort, I hope it pays off.  I will also say, I go for the multiple knife and cutting board route.  Stopping to wash dishes in the middle of recipes SUCKS!

I have made the topping in advance as well.  It works fine, you'll just want to get it out of the fridge and bring it closer to room temperature before you pile it on the crust.  Good luck, link up with some sausages, and as always, this will be added to the phoodos for easy searching.

The Pampered Chef. (2010). Chicken Enchilada Pizza. In Season's Best Recipe Collection (Fall/Winter 2010 ed., pp. 22-23). Addison, Illinois.

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