Its football season. For many football fans that means Monday night football, beer and rooting for their favorite team. For me, that means an excuse to hone new cooking skills for a solid 3+ hours while ‘watching’ the Redskins play.
Sometimes I try to go healthy. Its not a crowd-pleaser…and dare I ask if cooking anything ultra-healthy while watching a football game is, well, un-American?
Okay, probably not. But why risk it.
Snackable…meaty…greasy…lets stay safe…
A staple of our weekly cooking rotation is buffalo chicken tenders. But rarely do we have time to start any type of bread or pizza product from scratch, because by the time we would start we just wouldn’t have the time to wait for it to rise. Perfect Sunday football project: Buffalo Chicken Meatball Pizza.
Don’t be scared, unlike most dough this only takes 1.5-2 hours to rise. Nothing crazy.
This dough recipe actually makes 4 ‘mini’ pizzas (each one is equivalent to about 2 slices of pizza). The two of us could only get through two before being excruciatingly full…so this really serves more like 4+.
Adapted from Annie’s Eats
1/2 cup warm water
1 packet instant yeast
1 and 1/4 cup room temp. water
4 cups bread flour
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 and 1/2 tsp. salt
Fill a bowl with the 1/2 cup warm water (I just put water in the microwave for approximately 30 seconds) and add in the packet of instant yeast. Let this settle for about 5 minutes until the yeast has dissolved. Then add in the rest of the water (room-temp water) and the olive oil. You will then add these liquids into a bigger bowl with the bread flour and salt. Combine. If you have an electric mixer with dough hook, you can knead the dough with that. I don’t, so I used my hands.
After dough has been kneaded (about 5 minutes, don’t feel like you need to over-work it), roll into a ball and put into a lightly floured bowl. Cover with a damp dish clothe or paper towel and wait for it to rise until it has doubled in size (about 2 hours).
In the meantime….
BUFFALO CHICKEN MEATBALLS
1 package ground chicken
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 tsp. cayenne
2 tbsp. buffalo sauce
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
dash of garlic salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a bowl, then form into small meatballs. Place on a baking sheet and cook approx. 20-25 minutes or until cooked through. While the meatballs are cooking, if your dough is done you can begin to make your pizza.
2 tbsp. sour cream (per mini-pizza)
1/2 cup buffalo sauce (per mini-pizza)
mozarella cheese (to taste)
blue cheese (to taste)
corn meal (to dust underneath pizza for ease of putting in/out of the oven)
Take 1/4 of the pizza dough and spread out on a baking sheet or pizza tray. Sprinkle corn meal underneath. Then combine 2 tbsp. sour cream with 1/2 cup buffalo sauce for your sauce and layer that on top of the crust. If you want more sauce, feel free just keep that ratio.
Then add your chicken meatballs when they are ready (we sliced ours in half) and then layer on top with cheesiness, we used mozzarella and blue cheese.
Voila. Cheesy-football worthy goodness. Place in oven at 475 degrees for 15 minutes or until crust has browned.
As I was mid-way through writing this post – trying to figure out the best way to share with you all a fantastic fundraiser called Take a Bite out of Breast Cancer – my father just called me to tell me my aunt has been diagnosed with breast cancer, and would I reach out to my two young nieces who are very much struggling with the news.
I suppose just about everyone has a personal face they can put on breast cancer, which is what makes it so terrifying — no one is immune. Young, old, sick, healthy – breast cancer does not discriminate- and did you know that DC has the highest death rate from breast cancer in the COUNTRY? And most of it is due to a crucial lack of early detection.
I’ll bet you may already know that October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (or at least finding out this fact may not come as a surprise…) — but did you know that you can help raise awareness by dining out at incredible restaurants throughout the DC area all month long?
[Eating out at a fantastic DC restaurant + money towards an important cause + getting to write about it here on this blog = no-brainer YES!]
The gist is this — throughout October various DC restaurants are opening up their doors (and wallets!) and donating a portion of their proceeds to Pink Jams!.
I’m acting as the ambassador for Tuscana West, so I’m partial and really want to see you all there on October 14th – the night that a whopping 25% of their proceeds from food AND DRINK go to Pink Jams! Care to join me and other DC foodies? Just make a reservation on Open Table here.
To check out other restaurants and their offerings, the full list is available here.
For my Aunt Julia – and everyone out there who knows someone affected by this disease – lets take a BITE out of it!
It took a risk-taker mood to venture the two hours down from DC to Barboursville, VA to try a vineyard that I knew very little about, but as we all know, every once in a while a risk really can pay off: Barboursville Vineyards is by the far the best vineyard I’ve ever been to in Virginia, and may just be the best vineyard I’ve been to ever.
Having just got back from Napa and Sonoma I do not make sweeping wino-statements such as this lightly — so let me tell you why this Vineyard would/will knock your socks off.
Reason 1: Price
Let me start by saying that its only $5 to taste 16-20 wines. And, if that enormous amount of bang for your buck isn’t enough, they throw in the souvenir wine glass. If you go back with glass in hand, at your next visit the tasting will only be three dollars.
So from the start, the bf and I were impressed, but price is different than quality– just because its a fantastic deal (and a far better one than not only all the other wineries we’ve been to in Virginia, but also throughout Napa and Sonoma) was not enough of a qualification for me to yet call it the best vineyard I’ve ever been to….
Reason 2: Quality
But what does start to qualify it? The quality of the wines — and in this regard, the wines were truly phenomenal. I usually don’t like Merlots and Chardonnays pretty much across the board, but at Barboursville not only did I love every wine we tried (including such unique finds to Virginia as a Barbera and a Nebbiolo) but I loved their Merlots and Chardonnays. After writing “VG” next to Merlot on my tasting sheet (Very Good) my boyfriend gave me a puzzled gaze. Yup, I may just buy a bottle of Virginia Merlot…it was THAT good.
Reason 3: Palladio Restaurant
Now this is not as unique in California, but for Virginia I have grown accustomed to having bread/cheese/salami/etc at wineries such as my favorite Loudon spot Sunset Hills (still great if you want to be close to the city), but at Barboursville you can actually dine while enjoying wine if you so choose.
The restaurant is called Palladio and is right next door to the tasting room. Once there, we had the choice of a 2, 3, or 4 course lunch menu (they serve dinner as well) and could add wine pairings or buy by the glass or bottle. Reservations are recommended as this place has incredible food and usually they fill up a week or two in advance.
Reason 4: The History
Although only a vineyard since 1976 (old for Virginia vines, young for vines in general), the history of Barboursville dates back to when Thomas Jefferson introduced the wine industry to Virginia and designed the then Governor’s home (Governor Barbour). Known for including octagons in his designs — the symbol has since been incorporated as the name and label of Barboursville’s renowned wine, a Bordeaux-style blend aptly named the Octagon.
Our favorite picks are below, but there was no “dud” wine to steer you away from- its really up to your preference. And don’t let the 2 hour drive scare you, its worth it if you enjoy wine, good food, history, and gorgeous scenery.
Pinot Grigio 2010