Mushroom Pizzas and Raspberry Sangria

Spring is nature’s way of saying, “Let’s party!”  ~Robin Williams

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Today was the first full day of spring, and it’s Fiesta Friday at Angie’s blog, The Novice Gardener!  It must have been nature’s way of saying it’s time to party!

It was such a gorgeous day today…perfect for the first full day of spring! I checked the weather channel on my phone around 2pm, and it said that the temperature was 35, and that, paired with the sunshine… is a beautiful thing… truly good for the soul..

I know I’ve said this before, but it always amazes me when the temperature has been below zero, and all of a sudden it hits 35 degrees, everyone walks around with no coats, thinking it’s a heat wave…. but…. when the temperature has been 85 degrees, and all of a sudden it goes down to 35, it feels unbearably cold, and everyone is bundled up in heavy coats, scarves and mittens!

The beautiful weather today made me feel like summer. I didn’t feel the cold in the air, I only felt the sunshine on my face.. and it made me think of warm evenings and friends.. parties with fruit drinks and finger foods…

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I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate this beautiful day, than with a pitcher of raspberry sangria and individual mushroom pizzas! In my mind, a perfect meal to share with friends on a warm evening…or for Fiesta Friday at Angie’s place!

The oyster, shiitake, and baby bella mushrooms, along with the sautéed onions and garlic were delicious with the Boursin cheese….and the freshness of the zesty sprouts tied it all together in a pretty delicious little package..

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And the sangria? I mean, is there ever a bad time for sangria? It was so refreshing and delicious with all of the different fruit, and the liqueur gave it a wonderful raspberry aftertaste, the flavor of summer!

I’m on my way to Angie’s party, and I hope to see you there!  A special thank you to Angie for hosting such a wonderful party!

Life is good… it’s springtime fiesta party good… 

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Mushroom Pizzas
Serves Four

Just a quick note.. you’ll only be using 1/2 of the bread dough. I’ll usually use half for the pizzas, and with the other half, I’ll make into a small loaf of bread.

1/2 of a store bought pizza dough
2 – 5.2 oz pkgs of Boursin Cheese (your favorite flavor, I used shallot and chive)
1 onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 lb block mozzarella cheese, shredded
8 oz mushrooms (your favorite type, I used oyster, shiitake, and baby bella), sliced
Sprouts, such as clover, radish sprouts, zesty sprouts, pea shoots
Flavored Olive Oil, I used Tuscan Herb (for drizzling)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease two baking sheets.

Divide the pizza dough into fourths, and flatten each one out into small ovals, placing two on each baking sheet. Crumble the Boursin cheese onto each pizza. Layer the mozzarella on each pizza.

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In a large frying pan, saute the onions and garlic in the olive oil until browned. Remove from the pan, reserving the oil. Saute the mushrooms in the reserved olive oil for about five minutes, or until golden brown.

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Layer the mushrooms on top of the mozzarella cheese. Layer the onions on top of the mushrooms. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Garnish with sprouts, and drizzle with flavored olive oil.

Sangria
1 bottle sweet white wine
1 cup raspberry liqueur
1-1/4 cups raspberries (1 cup for sangria, 1/4 cup for garnish)
1/2 cup blueberries + a few extra for garnish
1 small orange thinly sliced
1 small lemon, thinly sliced
3 tbsp granulated sugar
Fresh mint or basil for garnish

Mix the wine, raspberry liqueur, raspberries, blueberries, orange slices, lemon slices, and sugar together. Pour into a covered jar and refrigerate for about six hours or overnight.

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To serve, pour into a pitcher, and serve in stemmed glasses with ice. Make sure you add some of the fruit into the glasses, and garnish with fresh raspberries, blueberries, mint or basil.

Enjoy!

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Barbecue Chicken Personal Pizzas

This is a post in which you just might judge me a little bit.

The judgment involves me taking down my Christmas decorations today. Yes. You read this right. I did. I took them all down, and they’re all packed away already.  I know it was way too early, but I had a strong impulse to do it…so I went with it.  I’m really tired, but it feels really good to have it all done.

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So, about 3:30 this afternoon, and while I was knee deep in packing up the decorations, Mike comes into the living room and says: “I dreamt last night that you made barbecue chicken pizzas, and they were really good.”  Now, did he really dream that, or was he just hinting around that he wanted barbecue chicken pizzas for dinner? Part of me tends to believe the latter, but that’s ok. It was a good idea, and with some of the ingredients I had on hand, I could pull it off easily.

These personal pizzas are genius. My friend Steve shared this awesome idea this past summer with me when we were talking about easy meals to make after working all day.  They’re especially perfect on a hot day. Steve and his wife use Naan bread, so all you’d have to do is cook the chicken on the grill, and then throw the chicken and cheese on the Naan, and then put them back onto the grill to cook. Don’t feel like cooking the chicken?  Rotisserie chicken is a perfect substitute! Top them with whatever you might have on hand, and you have a great meal that took hardly any time, and very little work!!

Mike’s hint to make these pizzas came at the perfect time.  I was starting to get really tired, and the thought of heading into the kitchen to prepare a meal just didn’t appeal to me. I ran to the freezer, and took out a package of frozen chicken, and a half of a bag of Rhodes frozen roll dough to thaw. While I was rummaging through the freezer for the chicken and dough, I found a baggie of cooked bacon that I tossed in there a few days ago.  Some lettuce, onions, black olives and blue cheese to throw on top? Perfect.

I started preparing these pizzas at 5:30pm, and served them by 6:30pm. It’s now 7:17pm, the kitchen is cleaned up, and I’m sitting here typing this post.  Pretty darn good if you ask me…And the pizzas?  They’re delicious.

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Here are the ingredients I had on hand:
Frozen roll dough
Barbecue sauce
Boneless chicken breast
Chopped cooked bacon (Optional)
Shredded cheddar
Lettuce
Red onion
Black olives (Optional)
Blue cheese dressing
Crumbled blue cheese

Cut the chicken into bite size pieces, and cook it in the barbecue sauce in a medium frying pan. Flatten each dough ball, and roll them into flat mini pizza circles.

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Three circles fit on one greased cookie sheet.  Spread about a tablespoon of barbecue sauce on the pizza circles. And spoon some of the cooked chicken on top of that.  Sprinkle some shredded cheddar cheese on top of the chicken.  Sprinkle some chopped bacon on top of the cheddar.

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Bake them at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes until the cheese is melted, and the crust is golden brown.  Top with whatever you might have on hand. I topped them with lettuce, red onion, black olives, blue cheese dressing, and crumbled blue cheese.

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Enjoy!!