Tuesday, June 30, 2015

5 Cheese Greek Spiral

One of the newer products that we've seen at Trader Joe's is the 5 cheese Greek spiral ($3.99). We just bought this over the weekend at TJ's and weren't planning to eat it right away, but after we got it home in our cooler, we noticed that the package was coming open. Guess the glue wasn't that strong. Anyway, we thought it would be better to try this out sooner rather than later so the quality didn't degrade too much in the freezer from the package being a touch open, so it became part of our Monday night dinner.

According to TJ's blog post, this savory pie is based on a cheese pie native to the Kozani region in Greece and made in Thessaloniki. We haven't been to those areas, but we had lots of savory pies in Greece (at Ariston and plenty more in Santorini if we had ever gotten up to telling you about those in our recaps), including cheese pies that we really enjoyed. The 5 cheeses in this Greek spiral are gouda, kasseri, kefalotyri, semi hard cheese, and blue cheese. Not really sure what "semi hard cheese" is, but it was listed on the ingredient list in the same way. In case you're curious, the kasseri and kefalotyri are both sheep/goat cheese blends, while the other 3 are all made from cow's milk. 

The pie is very easy to prepare. You pull off the cover (which was especially easy for us since it was already coming apart), and the pie is already one large coil. Pop it into the oven at 375 degrees and bake until golden brown. The package said it would take about 30 minutes, but the TJ's estimates for baking things like this are always a bit low for us, so we ended up baking it for probably about 45 minutes.

The pie was really tasty. A little oily, but the cheese blend was good, and the outside filo was light and flaky as it should be. We probably could have just had this for dinner with a light salad on the side, since it's over 1,200 calories in this single coiled pie, but I didn't realize that when I paired this up with some crab toasts (challenge post coming soon). Oh well. It was filling, but the cheese flavor was really good.

Buy Again? Yes, it was good, so if we're in the mood for a cheese pie, we'll get one. Between the 2, I think we'd rather get the spinach and kale pie though, since that has lots of cheese flavor but is much more nutritious with all those greens.

Monday, June 29, 2015

BXL Cafe

The plan for Father's Day last year was to go out for some all you can eat mussels. My dad loves mussels, and we thought that would be a perfect way to celebrate. For a whole bunch of reasons (including the fact that AYCE mussels are usually only on Sundays and Mondays, and we tried to go but they were out of mussels on certain holidays), we never actually got around to going out until this year's Father's Day. After all of that anticipation, we hoped that the AYCE mussels would live up to our expectations!

We chose to go to BXL Cafe near Times Square, since we were already in the area due to the Solstice in Times Square yoga event, and they have a great mussels special. A and I had always thought about going before for Belgian WorldEats but just never got around to it before now. The special is $24 per person, for all the mussels you can eat, a plate of fries, and a 33cl Stella Artois (for which you could substitute a glass of wine).

Of course, we each got the mussels special, and shortly after we ordered, the giant pots of mussels started to arrive at the table. The first pot is 2 pounds of mussels, and every pot after that is 1 pound.

The fries also arrived, and they came with a small cup of mayo, which we expected since they're a Belgian spot. The fries were nice and crispy, but the mayo was sadly just plain mayo. We were hoping that it would be as good as some of the housemade mayo we had in Europe (especially the one in Haarlem), but it wasn't.

A started out with the moules marinières, which had a white wine shallot broth. The giant pot of mussels came with a lemon wedge and lots of onions and celery. The broth there was pretty good, and the mussels were almost all cooked perfectly.

I got the moules provençale, which was mussels with tomato, garlic, and fresh basil. Just like the marinières, these mussels came loaded up with a ton of onions and celery under the tomato basil sauce. The mussels were just as good and perfectly done as the marinières. It seems the way that BXL layers up the mussels is broth on the bottom, then the mussels, then all the onions and celery, and then the sauce of choice, which layering was a bit more noticeable here in the provençale because the tomato sauce was more obvious in color. It didn't seem like all the layers were mixed together that well from the start, but by the time we got halfway through the mussels, everything combined together nicely.

The great thing about BXL is that they allowed us to mix up the sauces in our subsequent pots, unlike some places that make you stick with whatever you chose initially. Since they're all the same price in the AYCE, it makes sense that you can mix and match. We both got the moules thailandaise for our second pots, since the server said that was her favorite. The thailandaise was made with coconut milk, lemongrass, and curry, and the flavor of the curry sauce was so good. That was definitely our favorite of the 3 sauces.

We were all pretty happy with the mussels we got at BXL. Were they as good as the mussels A and I got in Brussels (which hopefully we'll tell you about soon)? No, but they were still really good. We would definitely go back again for more mussels.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Baltimore Weekend

5 years ago in June, we went down to Baltimore for a quick weekend trip, mostly centered around the Baltimore Orioles and Maryland crab. We had a great time and sampled a bunch of different local eats, which was fun to reminisce about while doing these recaps (which we managed to get done just in time to meet our self-imposed "deadline" of 5 years later (to the month)).

If you missed any of the posts, here's a summary of our quick weekend trip. We drove down to Baltimore on Friday night, stopping along the way for some burgers and curly fries at Roy Rogers in New Jersey. We closed out the night with cheesy chili fries, chips and salsa, and drinks at Chili's with some friends while catching the Blackhawks game. There wasn't a ton to do around BWI that we knew of.

Saturday brought a relaxing and epic crab feast at Canton Dockside and lots of (okay) ballpark eats at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Even though we weren't thrilled with the ballpark eats after having such delicious crab only hours earlier, it seems like the options have changed and improved over the past 5 years, so I think it would definitely be worth checking out the eats there. Honestly though, you're not really going to Camden Yards for the food. You're going because it's a gorgeous ballpark and a great place to catch a game. It was one of the first ballparks I visited outside the ones in New York, and its beauty really made an impression on me back when I was a teenager!

Before leaving Baltimore on Sunday, we stopped by Pappas for some excellent crab cakes that had more real crab meat than any crab cake we've ever had. We can only dream of getting crab cakes like these somewhere near home.

It's 5 years later, and it was only a short weekend, but we finished recapping another trip!

Saturday, June 27, 2015


Our last stop on our Baltimore vacation was Pappas Restaurant in Parkville, Maryland. We went there specifically for their crab cakes, which were supposed to be amazing. The thing that was really important to us with the crab cakes was that they be full of crab and not full of filler, and that was what everybody said about Pappas. We hoped they would live up to our expectations!

We stopped by Pappas for lunch on our way out of town, and it seemed like most of the people there were locals. On each table was a basket of crackers, a plate of raw cucumbers, and a basket of bread. What a warm welcome!

We started off with an appetizer of Maryland crab soup. Crab dip, steamed crab, crab cakes, crab soup, we wanted to try as much crab as we could on our short weekend escape. Although we can't tell you much specifically about the flavor of this soup this many years later, we remember this soup was good.

The whole reason for our trip to Pappas was for the crab cakes, which came with a garden salad and a side of vegetables. The garden salad was actually a pretty generous selection, including tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, peppers, and croutons.

A got the double order of Maryland crab cakes, while M got a single crab cake. Each crab cake contained 7 ounces of lump crabmeat with some spices. (The online menu now says 6 ounces, so they might be a little smaller now.) For our vegetable side, we both got some simply steamed asparagus.

The reason we chose to go to Pappas was because the reviews of their crab cakes said that they had very little filler, and the crab cake was full of crab itself. Everything we had read was completely true. There was so much crab, and huge chunks of crab. With this much crab meat, it was no surprise that it wasn't inexpensive ($15 back then for a single crab cake with the sides), but they definitely gave you a lot of crab. The crab was beautifully sweet, and the seasonings accented the sweetness perfectly.

We enjoyed our visit to Pappas, and it was the perfect way to end our Baltimore trip. Even though Baltimore isn't that far, we somehow haven't made it back for another weekend trip to indulge in more Maryland crab, but hopefully we will soon!

Pappas Restaurant, 1725 Taylor Avenue, Parkville, Maryland.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Oriole Park at Camden Yards

The main purpose of our visit to Baltimore back in 2010 was to go to an Orioles game at Camden Yards. I had been once before when I spent a summer in Baltimore, but it was A's first time at the ballpark. We still hope to someday visit all of the MLB ballparks, so this was another one we could check off our list.

From what I remembered from my last visit (which was over 10 years earlier), the food at Camden Yards was interesting with crab cakes and other Chesapeake area favorites. I didn't remember eating much on my last visit, but hoped we'd find something interesting this time. At the very least, we got some Old Bay seasoning packets for free, so that was a nice Baltimore souvenir!

It's been 5 years, so I don't remember if we couldn't find the crab cakes or other Baltimore favorites, or if they were just too expensive to try. In any event, we started with some turkey and pork sandwiches from Boog's BarBQ, which was named after and owned by Boog Powell, a former Orioles player. They were good, but not as amazing as we thought they would be from some of the rave reviews we read at the time.

We also picked up a half smoke from somewhere, which we thought would be like the chili-covered dogs we got from Ben's Chili Bowl at Nationals Park. (Those are so good.) It wasn't. It was just a charred hot dog with some peppers and onions on a bun. It was fine, but not what we were hoping for.

Partway through the game, we got so fed up with all the screaming Red Sox fans (seriously 90% of the ballpark was Red Sox fans) so we went to get some more food from The Greene Turtle, a ballpark location of the Baltimore sports bar. We picked up some Boardwalk fries (standard fries, although they had skin on them and did taste like potato, which was good) and some cheeseburger sliders (pretty good but not amazing, although it was nice to have the grilled onions).

We also got some ice cream treats at Carvel. We have Carvel at home but some soft serve on a hot summer night is always good.

We were happy that we tried a bunch of different eats at Camden Yards, but we didn't have anything amazing during our visit to Oriole Park. Looking at the ballpark options now, I see all these things we would have wanted to try back then, like crab mac and cheese hot dogs and crab dip-topped waffle fries. If these were all there 5 years ago, then we completely missed them despite walking all around the park surveying the food options. All I know is that we need to return to Baltimore at some point for some more delicious Maryland crab!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Canton Dockside

One of the things we remember most about our Baltimore trip (from 5 years ago) is our 3 hour long crab feast. Our original plan for our only full day in Baltimore was to get up early, explore a little bit, head to Canton Dockside for a crab-filled lunch, go to the Inner Harbor and sightsee a little bit, and then go to Oriole Park for the evening baseball game. We made it to lunch and to the game, but there was no sightseeing in between since by the time we were done with lunch, it was already time to drive to Camden Yards!

Neither of us had really indulged in Maryland crab before this trip, but we felt like it was something we had to do. When we researched where to go, there were so many different opinions and everyone seemed to have their own personal favorite for steamed crabs and crab cakes. It didn't seem like there was some universally loved "best" place, but people seemed to like Canton Dockside for steamed crabs and it seemed convenient, so we headed over there. (The crab cakes would wait until the next day.)

We got a (rather large) table since we had arrived on the earlier side for lunch. Just after ordering, since we got steamed crabs, they brought out a bucket for shells/parts and a couple mallets so we could crack open our lunch. We were really excited for this new experience and studied the 5 step crab eating instructions on our placemats in preparation for our adventure. But before we delved into the steamed crabs, it was time for an appetizer.

For our appetizer, we got an order of their Maryland crab dip, which came with "sides" of celery and garlic bread. From what we remember, this was really tasty and a good start to our meal. It was creamy and rich, but while we enjoyed it, we were ready to eat some "real" whole crabs, so we were pretty happy when this arrived at our table.

We don't remember how many crabs were in the tray (we think they recommended 10?), but they were filling enough for lunch and, as we said, took 3 hours to eat. Part of that was the steep learning curve in figuring out just how to get the meat out of the crab and making sure that we didn't miss one tiny morsel. A is great about cleaning off the bones from a lot of what we eat (like chicken and fish), so we definitely weren't going to let any crab go to waste. That being said, cleaning out these crabs was easily one of the more difficult things he had ever eaten.

The crabs themselves were really good, and just simply seasoned with what tasted like (and what most likely was, considering our location) Old Bay. We had a great time eating our steamed crabs, even if it took all afternoon, and would definitely do it again.

Canton Dockside, 3301 Boston Street, in Baltimore, Maryland.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

An Ikea Feast

As we headed over to Ikea in Brooklyn this weekend, A and I talked a bit about our first experiences with Swedish food. Unsurprisingly for both of us, the first Swedish food that we remember having was from Ikea, and it was, of course, the meatballs. I'm not sure I could even tell you what else Ikea offered back when I used to go there with my parents a lot in the '90s. Just Swedish meatballs.

After living in Chicago for a few years which had an incredibly vibrant Swedish community in Andersonville, it's been surprising to us how little Swedish cuisine there is in New York. There's quite a few Swedish (or general Scandinavian) spots at the higher end of the spectrum, like Aquavit, but on the more casual side, they seem to be mostly coffee shops. It would have been so easy to hit up a casual Swedish restaurant in Chicago to check the Swedish box for our Women's World Cup challenge, but it was more difficult here. So we went to Ikea. They're a Swedish chain, so they count.

We were so hungry by the time we got to the cafe on the day we went (it was late and we had sat in traffic for about 30 minutes (while hungry) to go less than a mile; we could have walked faster) that we ordered a serious feast of Swedish food for lunch. I'm not sure we've ever gotten that much to eat at Ikea before.

A ordered the Swedish meatball combo ($7.99 with the Ikea Family card, which is free so why wouldn't you get one?), which came with 15 meatballs, gravy (cream sauce), mashed potatoes, and lingonberry jam. This is the plate that Ikea's had for as long as we can remember, and it pretty much tastes the same to us as it always has. We love these meatballs, the rich gravy, the creamy potatoes, and the sweet and tart lingonberry jam. Ikea's the first place either of us had ever tried lingonberries, and they're delicious.

The combo came with a drink (we got lingonberry juice, a lot of it) and our choice of soup or a basic garden salad. The soup was aromatic chickpea soup, so of course, we got that. Despite being the middle of June, it was quite cool and in the 60s outside, so soup was welcome. The soup was just okay, probably our least favorite part of our feast. It wasn't bad, just not as "aromatic" as we were expecting. There was some black pepper and some herbs with the chickpeas, but it wasn't as herbal or flavorful as we thought it would be. But it did seem healthy, so it balanced out a lot of the other stuff we had.

I ordered the chicken meatballs (and A and I swapped a few meatballs from each of our plates). This was the first time we'd eaten at Ikea since they introduced the chicken meatball option, so we wanted to check it out. The chicken meatball plate ($4.99) also comes with gravy, mashed potatoes, and lingonberry jam, but there are only 10 meatballs instead of the 15 regular ones. The chicken meatballs are a little bit bigger than the original ones, a little softer and spongier in texture, but full of chicken flavor. They were tasty meatballs, and I would consider getting this again instead of the original one in the future.

Normally we would just get meatballs, but we were so hungry that everything looked good as we walked past the refrigerated cases. I picked up a plate of the gravlax salad ($4.99), since gravlax is one of the most Swedish foods there is and we like salmon. This was good, but definitely not the best gravlax we've ever had. It came with a side of mustard sauce, some sprigs of dill, and a pile of arugula.

To finish off our Swedish meal, we indulged in a slice of Swedish apple cake ($2.49). The pastry part of this was soft and a bit dense, and the apples were sweet and delicious. We also tasted hints of spices in there, possibly cinnamon or cardamom and maybe some others. It came with a vanilla cream sauce. All together, it was a pretty good slice of cake. We were glad that we were so hungry that we picked up dessert since we don't usually try it there. The apple cake was flying out of the refrigerated case and luckily we got the very last slice. Now we know why it's so popular!

It was great to take a break from the frenzy of Ikea and dismal weather to grab some Swedish food, and it knocked another place off the Women's World Cup challenge. Unfortunately, it's now kicked up our craving for Swedish meatballs, and we didn't bring any home from Ikea!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Purple Power

Today I was pretty lucky while walking by Bryant Park on my way to work. A few people were dragging a huge tub full of ice and V8's new Purple Power juice. I'm not sure if I was the first person they handed out to, but I'm going to just say I was to feel awesome about myself. This juice seems right up both my and also M's alley. It's made of purple carrots, beets, and a touch of apple. That's actually a blend that M and I had done previously in our juicer, and the real beauty is that there's absolutely no sugar added.

The juice was great for such a hot day. The purple carrots and beets give this juice an amazing earthy flavor, and that hint of apple gives it just the right amount of sweetness. Often times these types of juices have too much of the sweet juice added in, and that dominates the flavor. I love that this juice lets the purple carrots and beets be the true stars. I really love this juice, and I think M would love it as well. I do understand that not everyone likes that earthy flavor that the root vegetables give, but this is really in my wheelhouse. I'm happy with the hint of sweetness that really rounds this juice out and would love to get more, free or not.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Week 22 - Fusion

Fusion, the theme for Week 22 of the challenge, is everywhere in today's culinary world. While we've eaten plenty of things that qualify as fusion, like Korean tacos, I was having a lot of trouble coming up with a good idea of my own. When I told A that I couldn't think of anything to make for the fusion challenge, he came up with a good suggestion - taco spaghetti! I decided that if I couldn't come up with anything more inventive on my own before the challenge week, then that was going to be what I made. So, yeah, taco pasta is what I made (not from a recipe but off the top of my head).

The way I thought about taco pasta was that I would make a dish with the same "layers" as a taco. Pasta instead of the taco shell/tortilla. Taco filling. And then some more "traditional" taco garnishes, like pico de gallo, cheese, and cilantro.

To make all of that, I used:

- 1 box of vegetable penne
- 1 lb of ground turkey
- taco seasoning to taste
- 1 yellow onion
- about 1 tbsp of tomato paste
- a little bit of water
- 1 white onion
- 1 jalapeno pepper
- 1 can of Rotel
- lime juice
- 4 scallions
- cilantro
- shredded Mexican cheese

I didn't really keep track very well of how much I used of everything, as so much of it was to taste, and I made this so long before I wrote this post that I've forgotten a lot of what I did too. Oops. So fair warning, this is going to be a bit of a crappy post, but it was for the challenge so I can't skip it. Anyway, for all those reasons, no pricing for this dish, although if I had to guess, I'd say $10.

There were a bunch of different components for this dish. First off, the pasta, which was just cooked according to the package instructions.

Second, the taco meat. Basically add olive oil to a pot, add the ground turkey, break it up as it cooks, cook it through until it's completely done. Push the turkey to the outside of the pot, add a chopped yellow onion, cook until translucent. While the turkey and onions are cooking, add (lots of) taco seasoning. I may have also added other seasonings like chili powder or garlic powder, but I don't really remember anymore. Then add some tomato paste and some water, stirring it all around. 

Let the turkey simmer for a bit, stirring every so often. Adjust the taste. (For me this meant adding more taco seasoning.) Keep breaking it up so the meat pieces are small. I was hoping this would break up to be as small as "traditional" Americanized taco meat, but no such luck, even though I cooked it for a while.

For the pico de gallo, I mixed a can of Rotel (not quite tomato season and didn't feel like searching for good ones), chopped up jalapeno, chopped up scallions, and chopped up white onion. Mix it really well and season with lots of lime juice.

I had my doubts about whether this would work since Rotel doesn't taste quite like fresh tomatoes, but it worked surprisingly well and was very refreshing.

Once everything was done, it was time to assemble the taco pasta, which I assembled, just as I said, like it was a taco. Pasta, then taco meat, then pico de gallo, then cheese and cilantro.

Overall, we liked this dish. It wasn't our favorite challenge dish, but it was filling and tasty. I could see us making this again another day. Or we could just make tacos...

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Week 21 - Ground Meat

I was very excited about the theme for Week 21 - ground meat. This was a pretty easy challenge to do, since a lot of the meat we cook with at home is ground meat, but I had decided that I was going to finally try my hand at making one of my favorite dishes ever - larb gai (chicken larb). Our pantry doesn't have an extensive collection of Thai ingredients, but somehow everything came together perfectly just in time to make this (more on that later). My inspiration and guide was this recipe from eatingthaifood.com. I didn't follow it exactly (obviously, since I used chicken instead of pork), but also worked with what I had to use and what I could remember from my years of being obsessed with larb.


The ingredients I used were:

- about 1 lb of ground chicken ($7.31) *
- 1 tbsp of roasted rice powder ($0.15) **
- 1 tbsp of Thai ground chili flakes ($0) ***
- pinch of sugar ($0.05)
- 1 tbsp of fish sauce ($0.25)
- 3 tbsp of lime juice ($0.40) ****
- 2 small shallots ($0.50) *****
- 1/2 bunch of cilantro ($0.50)
- 4 scallions ($0.45)
- about 20 leaves of fresh mint (which was most of our small batch) ($1)

* I should have just gone to Trader Joe's to get ground chicken where it would have been cheaper, but I went to Whole Foods since it was closer. I commented that this better be the best ground chicken ever for that price. Since I liked how the larb turned out, I guess it was worth it, but I will not be doing that again.

** I picked up this roasted rice powder weeks earlier in Chinatown for the "eventual day" when I would decide to make larb. Sure, I could have just bought sticky rice, toasted it, and ground it, but I am so slow in the kitchen that I need some time savers.

*** The inspiration recipe said this ground chili is known as prik bon. I don't really know since I didn't go buy any. A had ordered lunch one day from one of the Isaan Thai restaurants we like, and they gave him that little pouch of ground chili that you see in the photo. It was just enough for 1 tbsp. We probably would have added a little more if we had more, but we didn't. We really need to get some, because otherwise, I can't make more larb. I can't just rely on our takeout orders...

**** Next time, I will use at least 1 fresh lime and then just supplement to taste with our standby lime juice. I think it would be a lot easier.

***** I used these shallots because we had them. They were too small to really achieve the effect they should have. I should have used some red onion (1/4-1/2 of a "normal" sized red onion), or a lot more (and fresher) shallots.

The price for our larb that night ended up being approximately $10.61 (although we didn't pay for the ground chili, I cannot imagine that would add that much to the cost). Considering at a lot of places larb gai these days runs for about $10, that's really not bad considering how much more larb we got from making it at home. It was at least twice as much as you get from a restaurant for the same price. Also, remember, that's with the pricey Whole Foods ground chicken included in the price, so it could be even less with more affordable meat. We paired it with some Calrose rice, which didn't add more than another dollar, so it's less than it would be to get that side of rice at the restaurant too.

Cooking Process

These were the steps for making the larb, and here I stuck more closely with the recipe I was using as my guide.

1. Prep - chop up shallots (or onions), cilantro, scallions, and tear mint leaves into smaller pieces.

2. Coat a large pan with oil and then add the ground chicken. Stir fry and break up the meat as it cooks. Stir fry until it is fully cooked and then remove from heat.

3. Add the roasted rice powder, chili flakes, sugar, fish sauce, lime juice, and all the prepped vegetables. Mix together well and taste. Adjust any seasonings if necessary. (I mostly added some more lime juice, since I didn't have any more chili to add.)

I am drooling looking at this picture...


As I tasted the larb in progress, I could feel myself getting more and more excited. I couldn't believe it, but the flavors of this larb were so spot on with the larb we get at our favorite Thai restaurants. Of course, it wasn't perfect, but it was my first try. Next time, we could add more chili to make it a little spicier. It needed more liquid than I had used, so next time we'd probably proportionally use more fish sauce and lime juice. Also, of course, the onions or shallots change I mentioned before, since the shallots didn't really add much here. But wow, that was way better than I thought my first larb experiment would be. I was on cloud nine for the rest of the night and could not stop thinking about larb. Now I can make it whenever I want it (which is often) and can have so much more of it. We just have to go out and get some ground chili!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Week 20 - Barbecue

Week 20 of the cooking challenge passed during our Savannah road trip, so my plan was to tackle it the week we returned. They announce the themes a few weeks in advance to allow for advanced planning, and all I could do was laugh when I saw the theme and dates for Week 20 - barbecue. Our road trip took us through the Carolinas, so how could I even think about making barbecue so soon after we got back? Some of the folks down South roast a whole pig for days, and they've worked for years on perfecting their barbecue sauce, so there was just no way I would be able to compete.

Instead of guaranteeing us some disappointing pulled pork, I chose instead to just use BBQ sauce and make a BBQ chicken pizza. (Of course, this was before the weekly challenge post noted that they meant "any sort of grilling" as BBQ, but I already decided to make this, so whatever.) Although I usually try to make something new for the challenge, I have made this before, but since it had been at least 2 years since the last BBQ chicken pizza came out of our oven, it basically felt like something new.

For the pizza, I used:

- 1 package of whole wheat pizza dough ($1.19)
- 1 can of (cooked) chicken breast ($2)
- about 1/2 cup plus a few tbsp of bbq sauce ($1)
- sliced red onion (probably about 1/2 of a regular sized one but this one was monstrously large, so less than that - a lot of the onion got frozen or pickled) ($0.60)
- shredded mozzarella cheese ($1)
- 1/3 bunch of cilantro ($0.34)

The entire pizza cost approximately $6.13, which is really good for dinner for 2. At the dollar slice joint down the street, that would buy us about 6 slices of plain pizza, and this was just as filling, but with healthier and better ingredients (as well as protein and vegetables!). Pizza can definitely be a very budget-friendly dinner choice.

Making the pizza was pretty easy, but I was a little out of practice since I haven't bought and rolled out pizza dough in a bit.

The steps were:

1. Roll out the pizza dough on a board with some corn meal and then put it in a greased baking pan. (Normally I do this on a cutting board but you can probably see from looking at it that this time I did it in the baking pan. It turned out fine, but I just didn't have the space or board to use separately this time.)

2. In a separate bowl, mash up or shred the chicken and mix with BBQ sauce (amount to taste).

3. Add about 1/2 cup BBQ sauce (or more, that was just an estimate) to the dough, and spread on the dough.

4. Add the chicken and then the red onions.

5. Add the shredded mozzarella.

6. Bake pizza at 425 degrees for about 8 minutes.

7. Remove pizza from oven and add cilantro leaves.

This is one of my favorite types of pizza, but it just wasn't that satisfying this time. I don't know if I just didn't use enough BBQ sauce or did something different, but I remember it tasting much better the first time I made it. While it was fine, it just didn't pack that zesty BBQ sauce punch that you want to get from a BBQ chicken pizza. I guess I'll have to refine this one a little bit more to get it right next time.