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.

dscf0036
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.

I’m Nuts for Nuttacos!

At least, the box promised me I would be.

Sprouts occasionally has a Frozen Frenzy where everything in their freezer section is 20% off.  This is a happy time for me:  I can pick up meals for my work lunches at a discount as well as try some new products I wouldn’t usually try as cost would be prohibitive.  I couldn’t get to the store until 7PM so was looking for something for dinner as well as lunch fodder.  I saw this box in the freezer section and was intrigued.

DSCF0091_edited-1

I like tacos, I thought to myself.  These are organic.  They’re soy free.  The picture looks tasty.  How bad could they be?  There have been times when I’ve asked myself how bad something could be and the answer was down right awful.  Purchasing a product I’d never heard of was a gamble but, hey, I had 20% off and the box did promise I’d be nuts for them.  Prove it, I thought.  I added them to the cart and took them home.

These tacos are fast food at its best.  They cook from frozen in 12 minutes: after 8 minutes I was instructed to pry them open and add some cheese, then cook another 4 minutes.  I had some Daiya cheddar shreds in my refrigerator and attempted to do so.  These mini tacos are not easy to stuff however I did manage to get most of the shreds inside the taco shell without searing my fingerprints off.  I shoved the baking sheet back in the oven for the allotted 4 minutes and ransacked my refrigerator for taco toppings.

I had to go minimalist.  I had some Tofutti sour cream and some organic salsa but no guacamole or tomato.  I should have thought ahead while I was at the store.  Mental note for next time.  The Daiya shreds melted beautifully but the tacos weren’t large enough to stuff with toppings.  I spooned a little sour cream and salsa on the top and tried my first Nut Taco.

DSCF0103_edited-1

The promise on the box wasn’t false advertising.  These little tacos are fantastic.  I thought the shells would stay soggy but they didn’t: they bake to a perfect crunch.  I was also wary of the nut filling.  Really?  Nuts?  Yes.  Nuts.  The filling has the same texture as re-fried beans, albeit with a little more substance.  They reminded me of deep fried taquitos I used to eat but without all the grease.

I liked these tacos so much I googled “Carla’s Nut Tacos” and found there is a full line of nut products.  The nut yummies look like a decadent treat and there are nut burgers and nut balls as well.  I haven’t had the best luck making vegan meatless balls and am looking forward to trying more of these products.  Any guilt I may have felt at eating a frozen food product was assuaged by the fact that Carla Lee’s Nutburgers, the maker of the Nut Tacos, donates 50% of profits to feeding humanity.  Fast food that feeds others?  Pass me the mini taco.

Check them out!  If you’ve tried one of these products, let me know what you thought.

Carla Lee’s Nutburgers