CHICKEN JALAPENO TOMATILLO PIZZA
Ready-made Whole Wheat Pizza Crust (I used Mama Mary’s brand; Fruschetta and Boboli are two other brands I have used)
Cooked Chicken Breast, sliced or shredded
Fresh Jalapenos – seeded and sliced into rings – I used both red and green jalapenos (red jalapenos are green jalapenos that have ripened on the vine until they turn from red to green) I would not substitute canned or pickled jalapenos for this recipe. If you don’t like jalapenos, you could substitute sweet bell peppers – but the jalapenos really make this pizza – so maybe give ’em a try!
Fresh Tomatillos – (about 6 or 7) peeled, washed and coarse chopped – If you don’t like tomatillos, skip ’em! Or substitute red tomatoes – but be sure to seed and drain them well so you don’t get a soggy crust
Vidalia (sweet) Onion – thinly sliced – as much or as little as you like – and if you don’t like onion, skip it! You could also use green onions or red onion. I would not recommend yellow onions.
Shredded Cheese – I used a 3-cheese blend that included sharp cheddar for extra flavor
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Coarsly chop the tomatillos by pulsing the food processor on and off. Place in a colander over a bowl to drain the excess liquid (so your pizza crust will not get soggy) while you assemble the rest of the ingredients, or about 20 minutes or so. Lightly oil the top edge of the pizza crust with olive oil. Layer the ingredients on the pizza: chicken, chopped tomatillos, jalapeno slices and onion. Top with the cheese. Bake until cheese begins to brown – approximately 20 minutes. Let rest a few minutes, then slice.
Fresh tomatillos – peeled and washed – leave whole. I probably used about 14 or 15 – why? Because that’s how many came in from the garden that Friday night…. If you don’t grow your own, look for them in the produce section at the grocery store. You could substitute canned tomatillos from the Mexican food aisle if you can find them.
Fresh green jalapenos, seeded (or not, for more heat) and rough chopped. These will add heat and some flavor to the salsa, so use as many as suits your tastebuds. I used about four. Do not substitute canned or pickled jalapenos. You can add or substitute even hotter fresh green peppers if you like such as green serrano peppers.
Vidalia (sweet) onion – about an eighth to a quarter of a large onion or to your taste , rough chopped – you can substitute yellow onion for this just go easy until you know how strong the onion is – You could substitute red onion for this as far as flavors go, too, but you will then have purple/red flecks in your salsa and it will now be “confetti” salsa – still delicious – and definitely fun!
Garlic – Fresh (1 to 2 cloves or to your taste) – or, my favorite convenience product is Litehouse brand freeze-dried garlic. Look for it (in a glass jar) in the produce section of your grocery store – it does not need refrigeration. I used about 1 teaspoon.
Fresh Cilantro – about half a bunch – washed well. You can use the stems, too. No substitute that I have found for fresh cilantro – so try to find it.
Fresh Lime Juice and Salt
Place the washed tomatillos in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Simmer just until the skins are ready to burst or begin to burst.
While the tomatillos are simmering, place the peppers, onion, garlic and cilantro in a food processor. Chop. Scrape down the sides of the food processor bowl, but leave in the food processor. When the tomatillos are ready, use a slotted spoon to carefully place them in the food processor. Let them cool a bit, then run the food processor until the tomatillos are chopped very fine. Taste (yum) and if you like, add a squeeze of lime juice and salt. I don’t usually add salt as I serve this with salty tortilla chips – but that’s a personal taste kind of thing. Serve warm with chips for an amazing taste treat. Refrigerate leftovers. Tomatillos are naturally high in pection, so this salsa will thicken in the refrigerator. Just bring to room temperature and stir to use leftovers.
A note about tomatillos:
We grow our own tomatillos and, like all things from the garden, they eventually produce more than we can eat. So then I cook them whole, just until the skins start to burst, drain and freeze. In the winter, I just thaw and use in this recipe for a taste of summer all year long.
Fresh Hot (and/or mild) Peppers – any variety flavor and color – seeded and rough chop. I used a combination of Yellow Wenks Hot (that had ripened to a beautiful red), green Jalapenos and a yellow Aji Cristal. There was no magic to that combination, just what I had on hand. The hot peppers will contribute both flavor and heat, so add according to your heat threshold. (If you don’t like hot peppers, you can substitute sweet bell peppers, any color combination. Then of course, it is no longer zippy slaw, but it is still delicious slaw.)
Carrots – peeled and rough chopped – I used about 3
Celery – 1 to 2 ribs (to your taste), rough chop – I used 4 stalks from a “celery hearts” package
Onion – your favorite kind and to your taste, rough chop – I used Vidalia, about an eighth of the onion
Green Cabbage – I used one small head – washed and finely shredded (I shredded with a knife on a cutting board)
Sugar – to taste – about 2 teaspoons
Red Wine Vinegar – about 2 teaspoons
Smart Balance Brand light mayonnaise
Salt to taste
Place the peppers, carrots, celery and onion in the food processor. Chop well, but do not puree or let get too mushy. Add to a large bowl with the cabbage. Sprinkle with the sugar and vinegar. Add the Smart Balance mayo (start with a small spoonful – you can always add more) and stir to blend well. Taste and adjust seasoning.
ORANGE ALMOND SALAD
This is a fast and easy salad to put together with items you will probably already have in your pantry.
Butter or Bib Lettuce – I prefer this soft, mild lettuce for this salad, but your favorite mixed greens will make you just as happy. A few arugula leaves add a nice kick, too! If you’re using lettuce that is washed and ready to eat – good for you! Otherwise wash and gently spin the butter or bib lettuce or pat it dry. Gently tear the leaves into bite size pieces. (It does come washed and bagged if you can find it and I love that convenience!)
Mandarin Orange Slices – It’s perfectly okay to buy a can of mandarin oranges in light syrup and drain them well. Buy a good quality! Or, you can peel and section navel oranges or clementines.
Honey Roasted Almonds – (salad toppers) look for them in the produce department
Green Onions – Sliced (optional – they add a nice flavor balance to this salad, but not everyone likes onion… Sometimes I serve them on the side)
Dijon Mustard – 1 teaspoon
Balsamic Vinegar – 2 teaspoons
Fresh Orange Juice – 2 tablespoons
Extra Virgin Olive Oil – 1/4 cup
Whisk the mustard, vinegar and orange juice. Whisk in the olive oil. Place the lettuce in a salad bowl. Place the orange sections on top. Just prior to serving, add the almonds and onions. Drizzle the dressing on (go easy, you can always add more, but you can’t take it back out) and toss.