California Pizza Kitchen BBQ Chicken Pizza Dip

California Pizza Kitchen BBQ Chicken Pizza Dip ~ All of the goodness from the classic pizza but served up as a bubbing warm dip! ~ The Way to His Heart

Whether you are looking for something warm and delicious to snack on while watching the snow fall, the big game, or because you love eating warm dips, you must try this! We made it last month and it’s become a favorite. Sometimes I worry about buying ingredients for a new recipe and having leftovers, but these were quickly used for a second batch. It’s been a great treat to snack on during the cold weekends, by ourselves throughout the day or with friends. I originally served this toasted french bread and tortilla chips, but we started eating it with potato chips and anything we can get our hands on to use as a vessel. What I haven’t gotten is a great picture of this stuff. Sometimes it’s not about the looks, and this is the case. It’s good, I promise! I just wanted to hurry and get this recipe to you so you can start enjoying it as well!

I listed two ways to prepare this down below. If you want to make this in advance and serve later on to friends or to bring somewhere, go the slowcooker method. If you want to make this quickly and enjoy immediately, then the oven route is the way to go. Either way, they taste good. The original recipe showed red onions, but I felt that although they are used on California Pizza Kitchen’s BBQ Chicken and I love it there, it just didn’t add anything to the dip.

 

California Pizza Kitchen BBQ Chicken Pizza Dip

Ingredients

  • 2 small chicken breasts
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 1/4 cup BBQ sauce (plus more for garnish)
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded (plus more for garnish)
  • 1/2 cup Smoked Gouda, shredded
  • 6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • handful Cilantro, chopped

Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Cook for 4 hours in slow cooker set on low. Shred chicken once cooked.

In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add sour cream and barbecue sauce and mix until smooth. Add the mixture to the slow cooker and stir in the mozzarella and smoked Gouda. Cook for 2 hours until hot and bubbly.

Top with bacon and cilantro and serve with chips, bread or pita chips.

If you’d like extra browning, place in an oven proof dish and top with extra cheese and place under the broiler until the cheese has melted and is browned.

**You may also bring the chicken to boil in a pot of water seasoned with salt and pepper and then simmer until done, approximately 15 minutes. Then place everything into an oven proof dish and bake for approximately 30 minutes.

Slightly Adapted from: Oh, Sweet Basil

 

Cucumber, Thyme, and Tangerine Infused Water ~ Cool and refreshing way to add flavor to your water ~ The Way to His Heart #CLBlogger #HenHouseLinens

Now that life is back to normal and things have slowed down from vacation and the holidays I can step back and breath. Get my house in order, in more ways than one. When I look out the window here in Maine, it’s typically pretty gloomy. We’ve been lucky so far and we haven’t gotten much snow or cold weather, but it’s here now and I’m over it. So, I’m cheering myself up and bringing the sunshine inside and brightening things up with some cool cucumber and fresh citrus flavor. I love the addition of the thyme. I would have never thought of it and I had some from the holidays I wanted to use up anyways. I also love bringing out my geeky beaker pitcher when I get the chance!

So, whether you need some citrus sunshine in your life or to add some life to all of that water you’re drinking because of your “eat better” resolutions. Try this wonderful infused water and some other great ones out there as well! While there is a recipe, you really just keep the ratios right with however much water you are using and you’ll be set. That’s the great thing about infused waters, you can’t go too wrong!

Cucumber, Thyme, and Tangerine Infused Water ~ Cool and refreshing way to add flavor to your water ~ The Way to His Heart #CLBlogger #HenHouseLinens

 

Cucumber, Thyme, and Tangerine Infused Water

Ingredients

  • 4 cups water
  • 5 cucumber slices
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 4 tangerine slices

Add ingredients and refrigerate for one hour. The longer it sits the more intense the flavor. Store in refrigerator for up to three days.

Source: Cooking Light Magazine, Jan 2016

Cornbread

Cornbread ~ The Way to His Heart ~ A perfect all purpose Corn Bread recipe that is great to have in your recipe arsenal.

For my son George’s second birthday we decided to make a big batch of chili. It was the week before Thanksgiving and the temps were getting cooler and cooler. When you make chili, you have to, or at least you should, have a good cornbread to go with it. While I typically love a sweeter cornbread, this is really a great all-purpose cornbread that goes well with chili. It also appeals to most people.

This cornbread tastes so good because it doesn’t just rely on cornmeal for it’s flavor, but using actual corn. Crazy, huh? This simple addition creates a world of difference. This cornbread doesn’t get baked in a cast-iron skillet, which is what I tend to use, but also appeals to everyone since not everyone may have one of those in their kitchen. If you don’t, you really should. You can get an inexpensive one and your cornbread and steaks and everything else will thank you for it! Anyways, you’ll still get a great crust since this recipe bakes at a higher temperature than most.

 

Cornbread ~ The Way to His Heart ~ A perfect all purpose Corn Bread recipe that is great to have in your recipe arsenal.

 

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The little birthday boy being ever so patient as Mommy takes some pictures of the cornbread that he’s had his eyes on all morning.

Cornbread

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 8 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

Adjust oven rack to middle position and pre-heat to 400 F. Spray an 8×8-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl until combined, set aside.

In a food processor or blender, process brown sugar, thawed corn kernels, and buttermilk until combined, about 5 seconds. Add eggs and process until well combined. (Lumps will remain from corn, that’s okay!), about 5 seconds.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into it. Begin folding the dry ingredients into wet with a rubber spatula. Give mixture only a few turns to barely combine, add melted butter and continue to fold until the dry ingredients are just moistened. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and smooth the surface with the spatula.

Bake until deep golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25 to 35 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, invert onto a wire rack, and then turn right side up and continue to cool until warm, about 10 minutes longer. Cut into pieces and serve.

Best served warm. You can always wrap it in foil and reheat for 10 minutes. Also, cornbread freezes really well so you can always have some around the house!

Source: Cooks Illustrated, January 2005

Chicken Pilau “Perlo”

Chicken Pilau "Perlo" ~ A quintessential low country South Carolina dish. Chicken, rice, and sausage and a few pantry ingredients. There's a reason this simple, one pot dish has comforted families for ages! ~ The Way to His Heart

It’s the beginning of a new year and if you’re like me, you’re ready for a holiday detox. I’ve eaten so much. Between holiday dinners, parties, lots and lots of candies and cookies, and not to mention all of the times we are out. I need some clean eating. I’m just not entirely ready for that yet. You see, I’m also freezing. We’ve been having a very mild winter so far here in Maine until last week and my body will just never adapt to winters here. So, I wanted something warm and comforting. Something to put some meat on your bones. Granted, I don’t need help in that department. So what’s a girl to do when I’m up north and cold? Not a chili or a stew, but I looked back to South Carolina and a local favorite recipe.

Chicken Pilau, pronounced “perlo,” is a Georgetown County meal that is made with chicken, sausage and the ever present southern component, rice. It is very similar to it’s northern neighbor’s, Horry County, Chicken Bog. I also did love that name. I’ll be posting that on here soon as well. Living in both counties, these recipes were in almost every local family’s repertoire. If you ate at a friend’s house for dinner, you were bound to be offered Chicken Pilau or Chicken Bog. I remember the first time I encountered it and I couldn’t get over the name “bog” and couldn’t seem to enjoy it. But once I got over being a high schooler, which helps in life in so many ways, I really enjoyed this simple dish. In the end, it’s a wonderful mix of chicken, sausage and rice and has just the right amount of flavor. I honestly find that the leftovers are better than the first night. The rice really absorbs the flavors. Plus, leftover rice is always good!  While this may not be one of the nationally known, traditional Southern recipes you’ve heard about, it’s no secret to coastal South Carolina and should be given a chance in your kitchen. It’s become a quick favorite in my house as I’ve revisited this old recipe and shared it with my family.

Now, back to those resolutions. I’ve decided that I would eat healthier and get back on the wagon, but I am also going to cook some meals that I’ve been wanting to make and enjoy them. While this recipe isn’t “bad” others are but I am indulging. I am going to quit snacking and enjoy food. Only make something I’ve really wanted to try if it’s not in the “healthy” zone. I’m going to try and say, “good bye” to the quick craving fixes. That way, it’s a win win. I’ll still get to eat some indulgent food, but I’ll get back into the kitchen making new recipes or old recipes I haven’t made in years. I’m hoping this is a win win for you all as well. I’ve been neglecting this blog and I’m hoping that as my family finds their rhythm I can get back to posting. I’ve found that the cooking isn’t the problem, but taking pictures and publishing them. So, I hope you all don’t mind if they aren’t’ perfect, but I’m tired of not sharing some great meals with you all just because they aren’t the best pictures!

So, any resolutions for you all? Any anti-resolution folks out there? Any new goals for your kitchen or life in general? Share! I want to get this blog and other social media platforms going again. I miss the conversations! Happy New Year!

 

Chicken Pilau "Perlo" ~ A quintessential low country South Carolina dish. Chicken, rice, and sausage and a few pantry ingredients. There's a reason this simple, one pot dish has comforted families for ages! ~ The Way to His Heart

Chicken Pilau “Perlo”

Ingredients

  • 5lb chicken
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 3/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 3 tsp salt, divided
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups uncooked long grained rice
  • 1 lb smoked sausage

Place chicken, after making sure you’ve removed the giblets, into a large pot or Dutch oven. Add water, celery, onion powder, red pepper flakes, paprika, 2 teaspoons of salt, black pepper, and bay leaf. Bring to a slow boil over medium heat. Once the water begins to boil, reduce the heat down to low, cover, and allow to simmer for 1 hour.

Remove chicken from Dutch oven and remove skin and pick meat from bones. Cut the chicken into small pieces and set aside.

Carefully, skim the surface of the liquid and remove the fat. Strain the liquid and reserve 4 cups. Set aside.

Slice sausage into 1″ pieces. Add the sausage to the Dutch oven and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes. This just allows the sausage a chance to get slightly crispy. You can skip this part and add everything in all at once if you’d like. Add the reserved 4 cups of liquid, chicken, 1 teaspoon of salt, and rice and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low and cook for 20 minutes.  Some stir their pilau a few times, but I set it and forget it. This insures the rice gets cooked to perfection!

Serve and enjoy!

Serves 6 to 8

The Way to His Heart