Restaurant Recreation: Big Mac Pizza

I was sad to miss out on the Mac Daddy pizza at the Pizza Rumble so I knew I’d have to recreate it ASAP at home! I can’t eat red meat so I couldn’t partake in the beef one so I made it Emily-friendly at home. It was such a winner and one I’ll totally make again!
3 Bite Rule: Big Mac Pizza

Ingredients:

Pizza dough
¾ pound ground turkey/chicken/pork
1 white onion, chopped
8 oz shredded yellow cheddar
2 tbs sesame seeds
3 tbs ketchup
2 tbs mayo
1 tsp relish
1 cup shredded lettuce

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425-degrees and precook pizza dough until starting to get puffed and the bottom is getting crisp (about 15 minutes).
While dough is cooking, brown the ground meat and add onion after about 7 minutes of cooking. Continue cooking until meat is cooked through and onions are translucent.
Remove crust when semi-cooked and top with cheese. Add the onion and meat mixture on top of cheese. Sprinkle with ½ the sesame seeds and return pizza to the oven for about 10 more minutes.
3 Bite Rule: Big Mac Pizza
Mix mayo, relish, and ketchup together to make special sauce.
3 Bite Rule: special sauce
Remove pizza and top with lettuce, special sauce, and the remaining sesame seeds.
3 Bite Rule: Big Mac Pizza

This was really a fun pizza. The flavors went together really well and although I can’t say I’ve ever eaten a Big Mac, there’s a reason everyone knows the jingle and why the burger has been popular for 40+ years. The special sauce really makes this.
3 Bite Rule: Big Mac Pizza

I found a cheddar blend of shredded cheese intending for melting, aka, it had some processed American cheese which was perfect.

I actually didn’t want to buy iceburg lettuce just for this so I used spinach. Choose your green, you’re in charge! I only topped the pieces we’d be eating that night so we weren’t reheating lettuce on top of pizza the next day. I forgot pickles on mine. Oops. There will definitely be a next-time so I can right this wrong in the future.

This would be a really fun one to make as mini ones as apps or to a potluck. How come nobody brings pizzas to potlucks anyway?

Restaurant Recreation: Chicken Cordon Bleu Calzone

In my world, there’s nothing better than take-out and DVR Friday nights. I’m old at heart and this is my ideal way to end the week. It feels so right to be lazy and loungy and doesn’t make me feel guilty at all. Saturday & Sunday mornings are a different story. I feel the need to get stuff done…immediately. Plus, in this heat do you really want to be crazy like me and crank your oven?

I don’t usually plan dinners for Friday night and Mr. J gives me a sly grin saying “how ‘bout we order something?”. I am the cheap one so often I’m the one who would eat something weird that I can come up with from the depths of the freezer or pantry rather than going out. Since we moved to the burbs our take-out delivery is slightly more limited. We tend to go with pizza or Chinese.

I got a chicken cordon bleu calzone from a local pizza joint and was stoked. Enough for lunch leftovers over the weekend! Woohoo! It was amazing and I wanted to recreate it.
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I made regular chicken cordon bleu and loved it but this calzone was definitely the easy way out.
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Ingredients:

4 breaded chicken tenders
8 oz shredded Swiss cheese
4 slices deli ham
Pizza dough
2 cups arugula
1 egg + 1 tbs water = eggwash

Directions:

Cook chicken according to directions (or bread and bake your own!)
Spread pizza dough onto a baking sheet.
Chop chicken, ham, and arugula.
Layer the chicken, cheese, ham, and arugula over the pizza dough.
Remember to include fillings almost to the edge and keep layering eventhough it will look like too much filling.
Close pizza dough over to seal shut.
Cut a few slits into the top and brush with eggwash (optional)
Bake 30-40 minutes until golden brown.
Let sit 5 minutes before slicing (or you’ll have an oozer)

Since I can’t pretend I made this idea up, I’m not tooting my own horn saying this was soooo good. I loved the swiss in there. That’s different than most of my calzones. I threw the arugula in since I had it and figured a little green never hurt anyone!
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The pre-made chicken tenders made it super simple. Those suckers are dirt cheap. Maybe that’s why there are so many kids who don’t know chicken in another form. Whatever. I’m not an 8-year-old but having these in the freezer reduced this recipe to purely an assembly project.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. The calzone will look like it’s wayyy over stuffed but not enough filling is definitely a rookie mistake.

Cost:

4 breaded chicken tenders $1.14
8 oz shredded Swiss: $2.75
4 slices of ham: $0.75
Refrigerated pizza dough: $1.99
2 cups Arugula: $1.33
Total: $7.96 serves 4 for $1.99 per person
Total at my local pizza joint: small for $9.69 serves 2 for $4.84 per person

It is kind of crazy that I know I can make it for $1.99 per person and as frugal as I am I’ll still pay $4.84 per person for somebody to make it and bring it to me.  Whatever, don’t judge ;)

Creamy Spinach Enchiladas & Avocado Eggrolls

After thinking about other ways to use ricotta I thought, why not Mexican? I’m sure nobody who knows anything about enchiladas would ever use ricotta but I’m not pretending I know anything other than what tastes good.

The thought of biting in a huge hunk of cream cheese makes me shutter. I like ricotta because it’s light and creamy. It was beautifully green (thanks to some spinach) and light but full of flavor.
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Ingredients:

12 oz whole milk ricotta
2 cups spinach leaves
2 slices of thick cut ham
1 tbs taco seasoning
6 whole wheat tortillas
1 ½ cup enchilada sauce
1 cup shredded cheddar

Directions:

Blend ricotta and spinach in a food processor, or by hand (chopping spinach first).
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Pan fry the ham and taco seasoning just until golden and warmed through.
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Stuff each tortilla with the ricotta mixture and top with ham.
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Roll them up and put them into a baking dish.
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Top with enchilada sauce and bake 20 minutes at 375.
Finish with shredded cheese and bake 3 minutes to melt.
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I liked this seemingly strange combo. I actually had the ham around so that’s why I added it but I really liked it in here! You could easily use shredded chicken, sauteed peppers & onions, or corn and black beans…or whatever. These were cheesey inside and out and had some textural contrasts too.

Then I decided to recreate a recipe I had from a restaurant. Jose MacIntryre’s has these crispy avocado eggrolls that are addicting…especially during $1 appetizers ;)

Ingredients:

Egg roll wrappers
2 avocados
2 tbs salsa

Directions:

Cut avocados and mix with salsa
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Put 2-3 tbs of the avocado mixture into the center of the wrappers. Tuck 2 opposite corners towards the center, and then roll the corner closest to you to the center and roll it away from you (like rolling up a burrito).
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Fry for a few minutes on each side.
Remove and let cool on paper towel.
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These were pretty good. Not as good as the restaurant, but I liked it. Mr. J wasn’t a big fan so I had his for lunch the next day. That’s when I remembered they’re served with some creamy dipping sauce.

I mixed some ranch dressing, bbq sauce, and taco seasoning. Ohh my goodness. That’s the ticket! Don’t knock it will you try it!