Pizza Perfect

I’ve been spending a few months focused on my manuscript and haven’t been going out or experimenting with food.  My dinners have been tried and true meals I through together without need of a recipe: usually a bean and veggie soup served with a grain.  They’re easy to make, don’t require much planning, and my entire family likes them.  I can focus on my writing rather than spending a great deal of time planning dinner.  But then, the time comes when I’m ready to take a break from my manuscript and look forward to trying something new.

Last weekend, that something new was a chicken artichoke pizza.  Or chik’n, as there was no bird involved.  I had a package of Beyond Meat‘s Lightly Seasoned Strips and a jar of artichoke hearts.  I also had an Archer Farms brand thin pizza crust (no dairy or eggs!), a block of Daiya‘s Jalapeno Havarti, and half a bag of Daiya’s Cheddar Shreds.  I like making my own pizza because ordering a veganized pizza from a vendor costs me over ten dollars and a ready-made vegan pizza from the supermarket’s freezer section costs about as much.  Plus, if I make my own, I can have as many toppings as I like.

Most of my pizzas have olives on them as I am an olive addict.  Green, black, kalamata…you name ’em I love ’em.  This time, I decided to leave them off.  I only had green and black and I didn’t feel the flavor of black olives would compliment my pizza.  The pizza was going to be tart enough with the artichokes and I decided to leave the green off as well.  I gathered my ingredients, checked my instructions on the crust, and was ready to go.

The crust didn’t require pre-baking so got my oven ready, layered on my toppings, and slid my pie into the oven.  15 minutes later, I had a pizza that smelled delicious, the crust lightly browned on the edges.  The middle was a bit soggy but another five minutes did the trick.

How was it?  Wonderful.  The shreds of jalapeno havarti on the top of the pizza didn’t melt all that well but the cheddar shreds layered between the strips and the artichokes did and helped hold the pizza together.  Nothing was missing.  There was no layer of flavor I searched for while consuming way more pizza in one sitting than I should.  The thin crust was a bit fragile but once I folded the edges of a piece together, I didn’t deal with the crust giving way and all my toppings ending scattered on the plate.  The best part?  I had leftovers and my workplace has a toaster oven.  Delicious pizza, two days in a row.

So good!

Want to try it?

Vegan Chicken Artichoke Pizza

1 vegan pizza crust

4 TBSP organic tomato sauce

2 TBSP Italian Seasoning

2/3 package Beyond Meat Lightly Seasoned Strips

1 cup Daiya Vegan Cheddar Shreds

6 jarred artichoke hearts (equals about two cups once chopped)

1/3 block Daiya Jalapeno Havarti Cheese block, shredded

  1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. While oven is preheating, prepare Beyond Meat according to the package’s skillet instructions.  Remove from heat and, when cool enough to handle, chop into chunks.
  3.  Chop the artichoke hearts and press well to get rid of any excess liquid.
  4. Spread the tomato sauce on crust, coming close to the edge.  Top with the Italian seasoning, then the artichokes, the cheddar shreds, and the chicken chunks.
  5. Top with the jalapeno havarti shreds.
  6. Bake on the center rack for 15 minutes.  Check center of pizza and, if necessary, bake 5 minutes more.
  7. Cut into triangles with a pizza cutter.
  8. Makes 8 slices but only serves 2 unless paired with a salad.

Daiya’s In My Kitchen

My family has been infiltrated by something insidious: the cold virus.  My mother and step-father lie in their chairs, sneezing and hacking at each other, and I swear I can see the virus in the air searching for its next victim.  Since I’m the only other one in the house, its victim is narrowed to me.  But I refuse.  I will not get sick.  With rest, relaxation, good food, and echinacea tea; there’s no reason why I should get sick.  I know that cooking my own food thick with healthy veggies is the best way to stay healthy but, alas, not always possible.

I’ve been extremely busy of late, not conducive to fighting off a virus, and last night was no exception.  I came home from work and had to dash off to the store before a conference call at 6pm so dinner was going to consist of whatever I could find in the grocery store.  I was pleasantly surprised to find something new in the freezer section:  a vegan cheese pizza made by a company called American Flatbread.  I love flatbread pizzas and this one sounded tasty: Daiya mozzarella, basil, organic tomato sauce, and garlic.  On the shelf above the pizza I found a package of Beyond Meat brand southwestern style chick’n strips.  I bought both and a dinner was born, thanks to Safeway.

Beyond Meat is my new favorite product.  I’ve used Gardein, Boca, and Yves brands since going vegan and am new to Beyond Meat.  My mother found a package of the crumbles on sale a while back, added them to chili, and  I’ve been a devotee ever since.  I’m trying to move away from the mock meats but I still use them from time to time and Beyond Meat is one of the tastiest out there.  If mock meats don’t gross you out, I highly recommend Beyond Meat.

Anywho…I brought my dinner, the cold medicine for my family, their soup and crackers, and two boxes of echinacea tea home and slid my dinner into the freezer for after my conference call.  An hour later, I dragged my bleary eyed self back up the stairs and retrieved my dinner from the freezer.  Talk about fast food:  the chick’n strips cook from frozen in 3 to 5 minutes and the pizza bakes in 8.  Well, 12-15 in my oven.  I cooked the chick’n through then diced it, sprinkled it on top  of the pizza, and slid the whole thing into the oven.  Then I waited.  Patiently.  Stomach growling.

It was worth the wait.  The flatbread had that perfect balance between crispy and chewy, I can never say enough good things about garlic and basil, the Daiya cheese melted beautifully, and my chick’n pieces were a perfect protein packed topper.  The only complaint I have is that the pizza was too small.  It’s perfect for one person, or maybe two if both have relatively small appetites or the pizza is going to be rounded out with soup and salad.  It was perfect for me though: I ate half last night and the other half will go into the toaster oven at work for lunch today.  I thought about rounding out my meal with a glass of Malbec but I chose to go for cold fighting power instead.  I dislike over the counter cold medicines and don’t sleep well when I have to take them.  Instead, I brew a cup of echinacea tea and add a splash (or a pour) of blackberry brandy.  A good night’s sleep and I’m ready for a new day.  Virus defeated!

Dinner From the Freezer Section
Dinner From the Freezer Section