I rang in 2010 with a house party and a huge group of my most favorite people on the planet. The guest list hovered between 20 and 30 people for a few weeks, so when it came to menu planning I wanted to insure there would be enough food if the maximum number expected to attend was reached. Though there was enough food for everyone (with the help of family and friends who pitched in), my greatest fear was running out, so I picked up a pre-made pizza dough and some fixin’s in my grocery travels while preparing for the party.
The New Year’s Eve party was perfect in every way; there was an amazing 3-part playlist of favorites from the decade (which everyone danced to) created by my boyfriend, lots of awesome conversation and great company, delicious food, and plenty of drinks. Not only did we have enough food for the party, but we had just enough leftovers to pick at in our pajamas on January 1st. I didn’t even have to break out the emergency pizza dough.
Though there were no menu mishaps or food freak-outs on NYE, having the dough in the fridge came in handy last weekend. A handful of people were invited over last-minute, and rather than create an extravagant feast, I decided to cross-reference a short list of recipes with what was in the cabinets, the Thrift Way circular, and a grocery list of needs for the week. Rachael Ray’s Thai Chicken Pizza called for ingredients I already had, save for the chicken, and sounded quick and delicious. Perfect for an impromptu gathering.
1 pizza dough, any brand
1/2 cup duck sauce or plum sauce
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 package (2 cups) shredded provolone or Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 rounded tablespoonful peanut butter
2 teaspoons hot sauce
2 teaspoons grill seasoning (recommended: Montreal Steak Seasoning) eyeball it
4 chicken breast cutlets, 1/2 pound
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar or cider vinegar
1/4 seedless cucumber, peeled and cut into matchsticks
4 scallions, chopped
1 cup bean spouts, a couple of handfuls
Palm full cilantro leaves, chopped
1/4 cup chopped peanuts, 2 ounces
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Form pizza crust on pizza pan or cookie sheet. Top with duck or plum sauce – spread it around like you would pizza sauce. Sprinkle the pizza with some crushed red pepper flakes then top with cheese and peppers. Bake until golden and bubbly, 15 to 17 minutes.
Preheat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Combine vegetable oil, soy sauce and peanut butter with hot sauce and grill seasoning. Use the microwave to loosen up peanut butter if it is too cold to blend into sauce, 10 seconds ought to do it. Add chicken and coat evenly with mixture. Let stand 10 minutes then grill chicken cutlets 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until firm. Slice chicken into very thin strips.
While chicken cooks, mix honey and vinegar and add the cucumber. Turn to coat evenly.
Top the hot, cooked pizza with chicken, scallions, sprouts and cilantro. Drain cucumbers and scatter over the pizza. Garnish pizza with peanuts, cut into 8 wedges and serve.
The dough was rolled to fit a smaller cookie sheet, and I anticipated it would be cut into 9 – 12 small squares as one of several appetizers for a group of eight people. Please know, I am not exaggerating when I tell you this pizza lasted under 15 minutes.
It sounds, and looks, like a lot of ingredients for a pizza, and I was anxious to see how the dough held up to the toppings. The recipe came out with a perfectly sturdy, thin and crispy crust that was a great base for the crunchy veggies and chicken on top. I opted to use plum sauce which, I think, has a bolder flavor than duck sauce. Additionally, I substituted shredded carrots for bean sprouts since I had them in the refrigerator already and felt the consistency would be similar. No cheese was added to my pizza; not only do I hang out with cheese haters, I also felt greasy, melty cheese would dull down the any heat in the recipe.
The peanut butter mixture used to coat the chicken cooks perfectly and gives the recipe a nice amount of nutty flavor, however I did find that I had so much extra leftover and felt I was wasting what was thrown out. Next time (and believe me, there will be a next time) I will cut back a little on the peanut butter/soy/hot sauce mixture.
Rachael Ray’s Thai Chicken Pizza was a hit, and not only will I be adding it to my regular rotation of recipes for party people, it may make an appearance as a quick, weeknight dinner here and there. Considering how quickly it went, I’m sure I could make it for breakfast with no complaints.
Except this time around, I’d probably make two.