Thursday, February 28, 2013

Life of Pi Oscar Party with Bigelow Tea-tinis!

Alison:  So, the Oscars are a great excuse to throw a party.  Some glamour and glitz always pairs well with some good food and drinks.

Susie:  You speak the truth!  Any excuse to get together is a good one and why not celebrate some good movies like the Life of Pi.

Alison:  Luckily, I had a few new recipes I wanted to try out.  Including mixing some of our favorite Bigelow Teas into delicious cocktails.

Susie:  Off to Walmart we went to pick up party ingredients.  I'm betting they have a good selection of Bigelow Tea.

Alison:  They didn't have as large a selection of tea as I'd hoped.  For such a large retailer I was surprised to see only a few varieties of Bigelow tea on the shelf.  Also so poorly stocked.  :(

Susie:  But Walmart did have everything else we needed for our party.  Check out the rest of our trip on Google+.

Alison:  Since we recently saw the Life of Pi, we decided to go for a tropical menu.  It was nominated for quite a few categories and we loved the movie.

Susie:  So, we gathered up a few healthy choices with some lean meats and lots of tropical fruit.

Alison:  The Life of Pi is about survival on the open sea.  Not a bad way to structure a meal working to a full nutritional meal.  Pi and Richard Parker are limited to mostly fish for food.  Living in the Midwest, we opted for some crab.  We don't get a large variety of freshly caught fish this far away from the ocean.

Susie:  We paired our shrimp with coconut.  A magical food with all kinds of health benefits.  Not to mention a flavor we love.

Alison: We made some other island inspired foods with pulled pork sandwiches, crab rangoon and fruit salad.

Susie:  Basically, we had all the major food groups with pork, chicken, crab, and beef.  We had fruits, mushrooms, grains, dairy.

Alison:  Of course, all those dishes took time.  We had only two days to create everything from scratch.

Susie:  Luckily, we went simple and focused on flavors rather than fancy cooking techniques.

Alison:  We stayed away from the lure of oils and fats.  We opted to bake everything in the oven rather than fry it in oils.  It takes a little longer but it's a whole lot healthier.

Susie:  Not to mention that it's a lot safer.  Being spattered by hot oil is never fun.  Plus, it's almost entirely unavoidable.

Alison:  After two entire days in the kitchen it was time to set up for our Bigelow Tea Life of Pi Oscar party.  

Susie:  We love Bigelow Tea because of their variety of flavors.  They are always making new ones for us to try out.  There is no way that we could ever have too much of it.

Alison: With Bigelow we can get our caffeine fix without getting an overload.  We found their newest flavor White Chocolate.  Plus their Pomegranate Green allowed us some perfect drink flavors.

Susie:  We decorated with blues and greens to match our island themed food.  Then we set out to mix and set out all of our food.

Alison:  Our guests loved our Tea-tinis.  They even got a full meal while thinking they were only eating party food!

Susie:  We spent some time watching the pre-show while we talked about who would win what.

Alison:  Our bets weren't far off as we thought the Life of Pi would be a big winner this year.

Susie:  We even tried to take some ideas from the movie to play I-Spy but we were much too busy filling our plates.

Alison:  Right.  I-Spy something with coconut!

Susie: Is it the shrimp?  Or the the brownies?  Or the cheese ball?

Alison:  No, it's the white chocolate coconut tea-tini!

Susie: Luckily, we still have some more tea so we can mix up some more!

Alison:  Our party was definitely a hit!

Susie: We were able to spread some good nutrition and culture.

Alison:  Not to mention an amazing array of laughs.

Susie: No party is complete without some laughter!

Did you know that Bigelow Tea is having a Life of Pi contest?  You can enter up till March 20th!  Don't forget to watch for Life of Pi coming out on Blu-ray and DVD March 12th at your local Walmart!

We'll have recipes from our party to share soon!

I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias® and Bigelow Tea #CBias #SocialFabric #AmericasTea All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Church Street Brewery Co. Brimstone IPA Bread

Are you ready for our second beer bread recipe?  We used Church Street's Brimstone IPA to make a fantastic sandwich bread.  This beer has a definite spicy note to it.  It definitely comes through in the finished baked bread.  The bitterness in the beer also lends a sourdough like quality to the bread.  This recipe makes an absolutely awesome sandwich bread or piece of toast.  Even 4 days after baking the bread tastes like its freshly baked.

Again, this is an extremely wet dough.  Don't add extra flour!  It really doesn't need it.  Remember, that beer bread takes longer to rise than regular yeasted breads.  Make sure to allow extra time for rising.

If you like the bitterness after finishing an IPA, then you may be surprised with this bread.  It still has that same extra kick.  You may find yourself reaching for a glass of beer.  :)  There is that same quality of moistness and density, but this bread recipe is for anyone that loves an extremely sour sourdough.

Brimstone IPA Beer Bread

2 cups flour
1 cup bread flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons cornmeal
3/4 cup spent grains
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup raw sugar
1 egg yolk
1 (12 oz) Church Street Brewing Co. Brimstone IPA beer
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

In a mixer add: flours, yeast, salt and sugar; mix well.  Add beer, melted butter, spent grains and egg yolk.  Mix on low until dough comes together.  Change to a dough hook and knead for 8-10 minutes.  Dough will be extremely wet.  Don't worry.  :)

Form dough into a ball and place in a well oiled container or bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise till double in size.  Punch down dough and shape into a loaf to fit in a greased 9x5 inch pan.  Cover with a damp towel and allow to rise until double.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until loaf reaches 180 degrees.  Remove from oven, remove from pan and allow to cool on rack.

Monday, February 25, 2013

L'Oreal BB Cream Review

Recently I got the chance to try L'Oreal's BB cream.  I thought I'd give it a try as I rarely wear a lot of makeup.  I thought this would be a great way to even out my skin tone quickly.  This product does exactly that.  It lightly, and I emphasize lightly, provides coverage.  This actually is more like a primer than foundation.

In trying this off and on over the past few weeks, I've found L'Oreal's BB cream works great as a base coat for my foundation.  Using it under my foundation keeps my face shine-free for most of the day.  This is something I typically have a problem with as I've got combination skin.  I typically pick up some shine in my T-zone throughout the day.  L'Oreal's BB cream is the perfect solution to this problem.  If you're looking for a cheaper primer, definitely pick some of this up to try.  :)

I received a complimentary product from SheSpeaks/L'OrĂ©al to facilitate this review.  All opinions are my own.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Mariano's Recipes make Impressive Meals Easy

Have I mentioned how lucky I am to have a Mariano's practically in my backyard?  Alright, maybe it's more of a skip, a hop and a jump into the car, but it's still close.  Since I'm in Arlington Heights, I live by the first Mariano's in the area.  Mine has been open over two years now and has been crazy busy since opening.  The Arlington Police still direct traffic to and from the parking lot at times.  That's how busy this store is.  I love being so close because I can always pop over to find something special for dinner.

I was on the lookout to make something new and different for Saturday night.  I decided to check Mariano's huge recipe database on their website for a dish to make.  Instead of one dish, I found an entire meal to make.  I decided to tackle the Korean-Style Oven-Browned Short Ribs, the Spinach with Roasted Sesame Seeds and Hazelnut Chocolate Decadence for dessert.  If you're ever stumped on what to make for dinner, definitely check out this database.  I guarantee you'll find something.  Another awesome feature is the ability to save recipes you like to your recipe box.  This way you'll easily be able to find your favorites whenever you want.

The produce at Mariano's is always crazy fresh and so well stocked.  There always seem to be 3-4 employees working in the produce department.  They have a large variety of organic and non-organic produce along with things like fresh daikon radishes.  Today I needed some spinach to make the spinach with roasted sesame seeds.

Next it was off to the butcher counter to see if they had some short ribs.  They didn't have any at the counter, but there were some pre-packaged on the shelf.  I was slightly disappointed as I love getting things from the butcher counter, but it did make my trip quicker.  :)

While in the meat department, I saw this sign advertising the ham rewards program for the holidays.  When you shop between 1/27/13 - 3/24/13 for every $10 you spend you get a point, if you rack up 85 points you can then purchase a Roundy's Select Fire Glazed Ham or Organic frozen turkey for $.99 a pound.  If you do a lot of shopping at Mariano's, this is an awesome deal!

I didn't realize that hazelnuts were a seasonal item, so I had to make a substitution in my Hazelnut Chocolate Decadence recipe.  Mariano's carries a variety of dry goods in bins by their produce department.  I thought macadamia nuts would work great instead.  They do taste awesome.  If you decide to use them in your tart, definitely place a pan underneath it.  Macadamia nuts have a higher fat content and that will leak right out of your springform pan.  Live and learn.

Korean-Style Oven-Browned Short Ribs are pretty easy to make.  You take a dutch oven and add all the ingredients except for the sesame oil.  Add enough water to cover the ribs and bring the water to a boil.  Simmer, skimming off the fat for about two hours or until the meat is tender.  Then cook them in the oven for about 15 minutes.  Easy-peasy.

The spinach with roasted sesame seeds is just as easy.  After cleaning your spinach, place it all in a large saucepan.  Cook with a cover on for 3-4 minutes until wilted.  Drain and squeeze out the moisture.  Roughly chop and toss with sesame oil and sesame seeds.

This meal was a little richer than something we'd normally have for dinner.  But its nice to have something special from time to time.  Mariano's is a great place to find all your favorite fresh ingredients for your family. I know its one of my favorite places to pick up everything I need for a special meal.

Seriously, it's easy to go to Mariano's for everything on my list.  With their large and fresh produce section, I can easily pick out meals and ingredients to help my family, eat well, live well and shop well.  If anyone thinks grocery shopping is a chore, then they haven't stopped by a Mariano's.

Check out the rest of my shopping trip on Google+.  You can also connect with Mariano's on Twitter and Facebook.

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias®  and Mariano’s #cbias #SocialFabric All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wholesome Wednesday: Chocolate Chai

Winter finally arrived in Chicago.  I was really hoping it wouldn't come this year, before the past couple of weeks there's been fairly warm weather and no snow.  Which is my absolute favorite kind of winter.  :)  I am not what you'd call a snow bunny by any means.  I absolutely hate being cold!

It's 23 degrees today in Chicago as I write this bundled up on the couch with a large orange cat next to me under my flannel quilt.  I wish I had the camera because I'd show you the cat lump sitting next to me.  :)  The only one who truly doesn't mind the cold is Miss Rosie.  I swear she'd just hang out it the yard if I let her.  She already dawdles more than I'd like when I take her out during the day.

To combat the icky cold I've been on the lookout for something warm to sip on.  While coffee is my absolute favorite thing to drink, the caffeine doesn't agree with me.  Don't get me started on decaf!  The taste just isn't quite the same.  Tea has its place too.  If I'm drinking tea I'll typically choose an herbal fruity one that I don't need to add anything too.  Now, chai is in a class all its own.  Chai has great flavor and just the right amount of sweetness.

This recipe comes from the cookbook Primal Cuisine Cooking for the Paleo Diet.  I love the chocolate in this drink.  It blends perfectly with the other spices.  Using almond milk though, I found the drink separated far faster than a dairy drink would have.  The chai still tasted great, but you could see the separation almost after I poured it.

Chocolate Chai

1 black tea bag
1/2 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
sugar to taste (you'll need 2-3 tablespoons if you use unsweetened almond milk)
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1-2 teaspoons micro planed ginger
2 cups organic almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Steep the tea bag in the boiling water for about 5 minutes.  You want a stronger steep to give your chai flavor.  When done, remove tea bag and prepare rest of recipe.

In a small saucepan, combine the cocoa powder, sugar, nutmeg, pepper, cinnamon and ginger.  Whisk to combine.  Pour in a little hot tea, enough to make a thick paste.  Then add rest of tea and almond milk.  Whisk to combine and heat till not quite boiling.  Remove from the heat and add a teaspoon of vanilla.  Pour into 2 mugs and serve.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Church Street Brewery Co. Red Rye Lager Bread

We're starting our beer bread journey with Church Street's Red Rye Lager.  When we tasted this, it just screamed rye bread.  No, seriously it did.  :)  It just has that rye taste to it.  Rye is one of my favorite types of bread, but even those that don't enjoyed this loaf.  It's a light rye, not a solid pumpernickel.  This bread has a full bodied tang.

I've learned that yeasted beer bread doesn't really act the same as regular yeasted breads.  They are extremely slow to rise.  We're talking double the amount of time it would take for a regular loaf of bread.  Please, please, please make sure you have 5-6 hours to make this bread.  I started mine at about 11 am this morning and its just now in the oven at 4 pm.  Another thing I've learned about beer breads is that the dough is extremely wet.  So incredibly wet that its almost impossible to knead by hand.  I recommend using either your mixer with a dough hook or your bread machine to mix the dough.  You'll also be tempted to add extra flour.  Don't add extra flour!

It is beyond worth the trouble and time.  The loaf (what's left of it) is still moist after days of sitting loosely wrapped on the counter.  For breakfast, it's the perfect choice as this dense bread made with beer will leave you full.  This bread toasted completely defeats any other.  

Red Rye Lager Bread

2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
3 tablespoons raw sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg yolk
1 (12 oz.) Church Street Red Rye Lager
1 cup flour
1 cup bread flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup rye flour
3/4 cup Church Street spent grains
2 teaspoons salt

In mixer add flours, grain, salt, sugar and yeast.  Mix well.  Add beer, egg yolk and melted butter.  Mix until dough comes together.  Stop mixer and change to dough hook.  Mix with dough hook 8-10 minutes until dough appears smooth and elastic.  

Place dough in large greased bowl.  Cover with a towel and allow to sit in a warm draft free place until doubled in size.  Punch down dough, turn out onto floured surface and shape into either one large round or two smaller rounds.  Place on a baking sheet either lined with parchment paper or with a silicon baking mat.  Cover with a towel and allow to rise again, until doubled in size.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 450 degrees.  When you turn on the oven, thoroughly spritz the dough with water.  Right before baking slash the dough twice with a very sharp knife and then spritz again with water.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until temperature of loaf is 180 degrees.  Remove from oven and immediately place loaf on a cooling rack.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Wholesome Wednesday: Chicken with Smashed Potatoes, Pot Pie Style

I've got another awesome recipe to share from the Good Housekeeping Cookbook Bridal Edition 2013.  Didn't I tell you Bridal Editions were the best?  This chicken dish is very reminiscent of chicken pot pie, but its a lot easier to make.  A perfect alternative if you're short on time.

The only changes I've made is to cut the chicken breasts on the diagonal to get wider slices to make it cook faster and changing the tarragon to sage.  I don't think I've ever owned tarragon and we absolutely love sage.

Chicken with Smashed Potatoes, Pot Pie Style

1 1/2 lb red potatoes, cut in half
1 tablespoon oil
1 1/4 lb chicken breast, cut on a diagonal in wide strips
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 medium carrots, cut into matchsticks
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon sage
1 cup peas, thawed
1 tablespoon butter

In a 5 quart Dutch oven, combine potatoes and enough water to cover; heat to boiling.  Reduce heat to medium, cover and simmer until tender, 12 minutes.

Heat oil in a non stick skillet.  Add chicken and sprinkle with salt and pepper; cook 6 minutes.  Turn chicken and reduce heat to medium, cover and cook 8 minutes longer.  Transfer to a plate.

To the same skillet, add carrots, broth, cream and sage; cover and cook over medium-high heat, until carrots are tender, about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in peas.

Drain potatoes and return to pot.  Coarsely mash with butter and salt and pepper.

To serve, spoon potatoes onto a large serving platter; top with chicken and spoon the veggie mixture over all of it.  Serve.

Glee Gum Make Your Own Chocolate Kit Review + Giveaway!

Valentine's Day is right around the corner and Glee Gum sent me this nifty Make Your Own Chocolate kit to celebrate the holiday!  They also included some gum and another kit to give away to my awesome readers!  What better way to celebrate Valentine's Day than to give away chocolate?

Chocolate is more Susie's thing than mine.  I'm more of a vanilla and caramel kinda girl.  But what's not to love about making your own chocolate?  This kit includes everything!  Cocoa butter, powdered sugar, cocoa powder and starter crystals.  The instructions are easy to follow and before you know it you'll have two dozen chocolates!

It took us less than half an hour start to finish to make the chocolates.  I was quite surprised that the quality was a lot better than I expected.  The chocolates turned out smooth and hardened quite nicely.

One lucky reader will win Glee's Make Your Own Chocolate kit!  Open to US only.  Contest runs from February 13th-27th, 2013.

*This is a sponsored post.  Glee Gum provided me with a kit to review and also with one to giveaway.  All opinions are my own.*

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Chicago Breweries: Church Street Brewing Co.

Church Street Brewing Co., a new local brewery and our first visit!  Just our luck too, because Joe knows beer with a background in chemical engineering.  He can brew with precision.  They started in September.  They have a thirty barrel system and they are a brewery to watch.  You may only be able to stop by to pick up some beer or find it in a local bar, but in future they plan to bottle as well.

We got the entire rundown on the brewing process.  Joe and Lisa were most welcoming and willing to teach us more about their beers.  From start to finish, the process of brewing beer is straightforward and complex.  Each step has a purpose but the adjustments you make can change how your batch turns out.

Their beers are phenomenal.  As of our visit, they had four beers a Continental Lager, Bavarian Lager, Scottish Ale and a Brimstone IPA.  Their brews are versatile and cover a wide range of flavors.  I'd be surprised if you didn't find one that you liked.

Surprisingly, Alison and I both preferred the Scottish Ale.  Definitely a more mellow flavor to be expected with emphasis on caramel and malt.  It builds on what we already know that chocolate and beer go well together because they have similar flavor profiles.  (As I'm hoping that the bread recipe we make with this one adds in some chocolate to bring out that aspect of the flavor.)

The Brimstone IPA also struck a chord with us.  I've always been a bit leery of beers because of the potential bitterness, but when you know it's intended you can enjoy it more.  That kick that lasts even after you swallow.  With strong hints of citrus that add another layer to the flavor we knew it would make an excellent bread.  It truly lent itself to become a sourdough.

The Bavarian Lager is fuller.  There is more behind the flavor as you combine the floral with the malted notes.

The Continental Lager is more traditional.  It sticks to a more middle of the road flavor. A brew that will blend with most other flavors making it perfect to drink anytime or place.

The Red Rye is true to it's name.  The rye is prevalent and even more so in a bread form. This brought joy as we enjoyed the heady flavors of rye grains.  A perfect compliment to any sandwich in either form.

Lastly, we're going to try something new with our breads.  All beer is made with grains.  Once the grains are used for this they're called spent grains.  They don't really have much flavor, but they are high in fiber.  Here's a photo of a portion of Church Street's spent grains from one batch of beer.  Church Street actually gives their spent grains to a cattle farm in Washington State.  Apparently the cattle love them, but not as much as they love Lucky Charms.  :)

Personally, I think its awesome that Church Street has found a great way to extend the life of their grains.  This way they don't end up in the garbage.  :)

Church Street Brewing Co. is located in Itasca, IL.  They have tasting hours from 4-7 pm every Friday afternoon.  Check back later this week to see our very first recipe!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Got Stubborn Stains? All you need is Borax!

If you've been reading for a while now, you've probably seen this gorgeous photo of Mr. Seven.  Seven is a pretty large orange tabby cat.  Don't let the leaf pile fool you!  He typically weighs in at around 25 pounds.  Think Garfield without the lasagna fetish when you think of Seven.

Seven is actually twelve years old this year and has been having some issues.  He's had a couple anal gland ruptures over the past year.  It's pretty gross when it happens and there's absolutely no warning.  Well he ruptured and then was sick from his meds all over Susie's bed.  Pretty gross.  But we'd just gotten this brand new box of 20 Mule Team Borax which is supposed to be awesome for stains.

It's incredibly easy to use.  You add the Borax to the washer on the pre-soak setting and then wash as usual.  Easy-Peasy!

All the stains came out!  Every single Seven affected article came out stain-free.  Nothing else has ever worked as well as this.  Absolutely amazing.

20 Mule Team Borax has a lot of uses.  I've also used it to prevent mildew from forming on furniture stored in the basement.

Borax was kind enough to include some free product coupons for a giveaway.  One Rosie Discovers reader will win three (3) free product coupons for 20 Mule Team Borax.  To enter use the rafflecopter entry form below.  Contest is open to those in the US 18+.  Contest will run 2/8 thru 2/22.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
*Borax provided a free sample of their product so I could review them.  However, all of the opinions expressed here are my own.*

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Wholesome Wednesday: It's a donut, its a scone, no its an Oatmeal Sconut!

After looking at countless cookbooks, I look at 40-50 new cookbooks a month, I have found some of the best ones to be bridal cookbooks.  If you think about it a bridal cookbook really has just about everything a newly married couple might need recipe-wise.  They typically cover everything including how to entertain.  I've always found the recipes to turn out perfectly.  

I absolutely love fresh from the oven scones.  So I was really intrigued to find this recipe for a sconut, which is a cross between a donut and a scone.  I'd never heard of a sconut before but they sounded great.  We've already made donut muffins, which rocked BTW and these sounded perfect for a frigid morning.

This recipe comes from the Good Housekeeping 2013 Bridal Edition Cookbook.  They only thing I've changed is to use organic shortening for half the butter.  I found mine at Dominick's marked down, but dated out a year, and I've been dying to use it.  This might have made my sconuts flakier than usual.  Just an FYI.

We possibly might be making more sconuts in the future with other yummy things in them.  They were just that darn good.  :)

Oatmeal Sconuts

2 cups oatmeal
2 cups flour
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
1/2 stick unsalted organic butter, cold
1/2 stick organic shortening, cold
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
cinnamon sugar

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  In a food processor combine oatmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg.  Pulse to blend.  Add butter and shortening (cubed); pulse until a coarse crumb forms.

In a measuring cup, beat egg; add buttermilk and beat again.  With the food processor running, add egg mixture to dry ingredients and pulse until dough comes together.  It will form a large ball.

Scoop dough with an ice cream scoop onto a lined baking sheet.  Flatten each mound into a round and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.  Bake 10-14 minutes, until golden on the bottoms.  Makes 18 scones.

These are best when eaten warm from the oven.  You can always give them ten seconds in the microwave, but it's not quite the same.  Freshly baked and they didn't need anything like butter.  Some people may not like the dry quality of the scone in their donut, but we certainly do.  One of those foods that magically disappears.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Chicken Alfredo Flatbread #CookClassico

In my opinion the best part of the Big Game parties is the food.  This year we needed something healthy, lets face it there is always a healthy option for everything, but yet extremely tasty.  We decided on a chicken Alfredo flatbread.  The last couple of times we've been out for drinks with the aunt, we've had chicken Alfredo flatbread.  It was good, but I thought I could improve it.  What better time for a debut than the Big Game?  Chicken Alfredo flatbread is the perfect game food because you can grab a slice and go just like with pizza.

I headed out to Walmart to find some Classico whole peeled pear tomatoes with fresh basil.  Why Classico you ask?  Classico canned tomatoes are pretty new, I've heard great things about them and they're 100% natural.  Just look at the ingredients!  There are just four; tomatoes, tomato juice, salt and basil.  My recipe doesn't need an entire can of tomatoes, but I'm sure I'll find something else great to make with them.
The first thing I saw when I opened the can was a beautiful bright green basil leaf.  YUM!  The gorgeous basil canned with the tomatoes makes me feel great about using them and serving them to my guests.  I don't cook with canned tomatoes as often now because their acidity bothers Susie.  

The flat bread turned out great with a crisp, crunchy crust and just the right amount of sauce and toppings.  Definitely a huge hit at our party!  Almost all of it disappeared within minutes.  

Chicken Alfred Flatbread

1 1/2 cups lukewarm water (105-115°F)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour                  
1 cup Bread Flour                          
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
4 large garlic cloves, diced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil

Grease a 10 x 15 inch baking sheet with olive oil.

Place all ingredients in mixer and mix on medium speed for 1 minute. Add garlic and herbs and mix until just incorporated into dough.  Dough will be very wet and sticky.  Spread on greased pan using damp hands.  Let rise until puffy about 30-60 minutes.

Bake at 375°F for 20-25 minutes till lightly golden.

1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch cubes
Italian dressing                                            
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
6 -10 Classico peeled and whole pear tomatoes with fresh basil, diced
1 cup Italian shredded cheese
1 + 1/4 cups shaved Parmesan cheese
1 cup fat free milk
1 pkg (8 oz) fat free cream cheese

Place diced chicken thighs in a bowl and cover with your favorite Italian dressing.  Let marinate on counter at least 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, thinly slice mushrooms.  Heat nonstick skillet over medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon olive oil.  Pan fry mushrooms until they start to brown, remove from pan.

While cooking mushrooms, in a medium sauce pan add milk, 1 cup Parmesan and cream cheese.  Heat on medium, whisking occasionally until smooth.  Set aside.

Use same non stick skillet you used for the mushrooms to cook the chicken on high heat.  Add half of the chicken to the pan and cook till opaque.  Add the rest of the chicken and cook until all the chicken is browned.  The dressing leaves the chicken a little greasy.  If you want less grease (we normally do) you can drain the chicken on paper towels.

Spread 3/4 of the sauce on the flat bread.  Top with mushrooms, chicken and tomatoes.  Sprinkle with 1 cup Italian cheese and 1/4 cup Parmesan.

Bake at 350°F for 10-12 minutes, or until cheeses are melted.

You can prepare all the ingredients up to the assembly step and then assemble the day of the party.  The flat bread will need to be baked longer.

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias®  and Classico #cbias #SocialFabric #CookClassico. All opinions are my own.