Saturday, November 27, 2010

Stuffed Crust Pizza

My boyfriend is absolutely amazing. He is always making me delicious food. When we first started dating he would invite me over for homemade dinner at his house all the time…

And a year later, he still cooks for me!

He makes me things like creamy chicken pasta, cooked and savory marinated salmon, and fresh baked lasagna.

For breakfast he will make me omelets full of melted cheese, breakfast burritos with fresh avocado and salsa, hash browns sprinkled with tasty seasonings, buttery English muffins and juicy fruit smoothies with tea.

To go with his meals, he creates delicious salads with fresh greens, herbs, and add-ins to serve along with side dishes such as steamed rice with garlic, fresh vegetables, and ripe fruit.

I have the best boyfriend!

When I visited him in Seattle last weekend, he had gone ahead and gathered all the ingredients for us to make BBQ chicken stuffed crust pizza together. Making dinner together was so rewarding. And the end results were extremely satisfying.  

BBQ Chicken Stuffed Crust Pizza

Pizza Crust Recipe
2 ¼ cup flour
¼ cup warm water
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 cup olive oil
1 packet yeast
squirt of honey

Mix warm water with sugar and packet of yeast. Let sit for 10 minutes. The mixture will start foaming and bubbling which means the yeast is activated.

Mix together the flour and salt. Add activated yeast to the dry mixture with olive oil and some cold water until at a good consistency (not to moist, and not to stiff).

Squeeze in some honey and knead for 5-10 minutes.

Place in bowl and cover. Store in a warm place until dough has risen to double/triple the volume.

Knead again and set aside.

Stuffed Crust
mozzarella cheese sticks
pizza crust dough
olive oil

Spread out pizza crust dough on a pan.  Cut mozzarella cheese sticks into halves and wrap into the outside of the pizza dough to make the outside crust. Pre-bake pizza crust for 5-10 minutes at 450 degrees before topping. 

BBQ Chicken Topping
mozzerella to taste
2 good sized chicken breast
½ onion
sliced mushrooms to taste
BBQ sauce (we used Sweet Baby Rays)
fresh cilantro
fresh diced tomatoes

Sautee bite size pieces of chicken breast with the mushrooms, onion, and BBQ sauce for about 15 minutes.

Grate mozzarella cheese and sprinkle in bottom of pre-baked pizza crust. Spread sautéed mixture into pre-baked pizza crust and cover with mozzarella cheese. 

Brush the outside stuffed crust with olive oil.

Bake at 450 degrees until crust is golden brown and mozzarella is completely melted.

Let cool and sprinkle plenty of fresh cilantro and diced tomatoes on top. 


Friday, November 26, 2010

Kennedy School McMenamins

Get ready for a peculiar experience at Northeast Portland’s Kennedy School McMenamins. Don’t get me wrong, I mean peculiar in the funky, out of the ordinary, eclectic sense.

A few weeks ago, I made plans to have dinner and catch up with an old friend. He happens to know the Portland area a lot better than I (having gone to school at PSU for two years) and so I told him to pick the place.

He drives us to a residential part of town, pulls over and says, “We’re here.” I ask him, “Where is it?” and he says, “Right in front of you!” It was bizarre. The Mcmenamins was in an old renovated school!

We walked in and it was like a museum! Well actually, it is a hotel with a restaurant, detention room, old auditorium, soaking pool, gift shop, and brewery. The guestrooms are modeled from former classrooms! After a bit of exploring, we made our way past the historic art in the hallways to the Courtyard restaurant to order dinner.

I ordered the Communication Breakdown Burger that comes with cheddar cheese, grilled mushrooms, onions, and bell peppers along with a pint of McMenamins seasonal Sleepy Hallow Nut Brown Brew. This seasonal blend was so absolutely delicious that I ordered two.

The Courtyard restaurant had a warm and cozy atmosphere that encouraged us to stay and chat long after we had finished our meals. When we left the restaurant feeling warm and fuzzy, we decided to stick around for a bit and check out the upbeat live music with dancing in the old auditorium.

The McMenamins Kennedy School brewery is a place I will definitely be going back to and has me wanting to check out the other McMenamins locations to see what they have in store.

Kennedy School McMenamins
5736 NE 33rd Ave
Portland, OR 97211

Daily: 7am-1am

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Cheesecake Factory

The Cheesecake Factory in Seattle is one of my all-time favorite restaurants. I have so many memories there!

In my years at the University of Washington, I have found a relief from the stresses of school downtown. Downtown Seattle is just a bus ride away from the University District. When I’m downtown I enjoy watching movies, attending shows, shopping at my favorite stores like Nordstrom, Macy’s, COACH, Lululemon, bebe, and Sephora, grabbing a cup of coffee at one of the many Starbucks Coffee locations, and dining at the various restaurants located in the area. My number one restaurant to rendezvous at is The Cheesecake Factory.

If you are a friend of mine, you have most likely been to The Cheesecake Factory with me. I have gone on so many dates there I can’t even begin to count. When a guy asks me out and wants me to pick the place, you can guarantee I will choose to dine at The Cheesecake Factory.

My favorite dinner at The Cheesecake Factory is the Chicken Madeira. They claim it is their most popular chicken dish and if you try it, you will believe it! The Chicken Madeira consists of sautéed chicken breast topped with fresh asparagus and melted mozzarella cheese, covered with fresh mushroom Madeira sauce and served with mashed potatoes. Yum! You also must try their Raspberry Lemonade. It is so completely sugary and tart. They serve it with a sugar rimmed glass. And the best part is you get free refills! WARNING: You are likely to get pregnant with a food baby after your meal and will probably crash from the Raspberry Lemonade sugar overload. Trust me, this is a small price to pay for The Cheesecake Factory experience.

Note: Cheesecake is always just as good the next day (or week). So you got stuffed? Order your cheesecake to go! I do it all the time. And FYI: One piece is easily enough for two people. So don’t be afraid to share!

Seattle, WA 98101

Monday-Thursday: 11am-11:30pm
Friday-Saturday: 11am-12:30am
Sunday: 10am-11pm

Portage Bay Café

Looking for the best brunch in Seattle? Look no further. Portage Bay Café owns the Seattle brunch scene. Lucky for University of Washington students, it’s only a few blocks from campus.

Indulge in a cup of hot espresso and peruse through a menu while you wait for your table. This place is usually packed. But it wouldn’t be packed if it wasn’t good, right? The service is up-beat and friendly. The food is fresh and delicious. The atmosphere is chill.

I was in Seattle over Halloween weekend visiting friends and enjoying the holiday festivities. On Sunday morning I found myself waking up at noon, beyond the point of grungy, and starving. I knew Portage Bay was my only hope. And it serves breakfast all day!

I ordered the Cinnamon Twister French Toast. This dish comes with three slices of homemade raisin cinnamon-roll bread, crushed pecans, organic flame raisins, and cream cheese icing. My boyfriend ordered Bananas Foster French Toast. This dish comes with three slices of their challah French toast, house-made Myer’s rum caramel sauce, sautéed organic fair-trade bananas, and whipped cream. These platters also include trips to Portage Bay Café’s popular toppings bar to pile up on fruit, nuts, and yummy goodness. And of course… it wouldn’t be brunch without a side of pepper bacon to share.

4130 Roosevelt Way NE
Seattle, WA 98105

Monday-Sunday: 7:30am-2:30pm