Sincerely Carolina

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You're Gonna Need a Fork

by caroline

Give me a second to whine.

This injury has me a bit blue today. I know there are much larger problems on this planet than my calf strain, and I’m not about to put my struggle into one of those categories. But I do want to kick every person I see running (kinda mean, huh?), and I almost tear-up when I’m listening to music and hear my favorite pump-up song (and can’t break out into a run). It’s funny because for all of the times I’ve complained about “having” to hit the pavement, I would really like to do just that right now.

OK *whine session over*.

On the flip side, I went for a short walk outside this morning and tried to think about the positives, like:

I’m going to come back a lean, mean, running machine.

Maybe this is the universe’s way of telling me I need to buck up on strength training and stretching.

And … If I was running right now, I might not notice cool things like this:

Now, that’s a white picket fence, right?! Made me smile. :)

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Uh, remember the Gluten-Free with Rachael Ray Challenge? Yeah, me too!

In the midst of this craziness I call my life, I realized I never finished up the task at hand! In fact, I left you hanging at Day 29. Seeing as how I don’t like to leave anything unfinished, I decided to not only bring this challenge to a close, but give you my most favorite Rachael Ray recipe of all time (and the very first one I ever made) for Day 30.

Thai Chicken Pizza!

Before we get started with the recipe, there are a few things you need to keep in mind when eating this pizza:

1. You’re gonna need a fork.

2. You will go against your good manners and put your elbows on the table.

3. Toppings and sauce will be all over your face.

4. You will give up on a napkin after wiping your face and hands 14 times within the first minute of eating. Finger licking will ensue.

5. This dish is NOT appropriate for a first date or guests you seek to impress. (See #2, 3 and 4.)

Now, that we have the basics out of the way, let’s get down to business. The last time I made this recipe, I was eating chicken and regular pizza crust, so I was excited to break out a bag of Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Pizza Crust mix and tofu last night to see how the original recipe would hold up. Here’s what I came up with:

Thai Tofu Pizza (Makes one 12″ pizza)

(Print me!)

RR’s Ingredients
The G-Spot Used
  • 1 pizza dough, any brand
  • 1/2 cup duck sauce or plum sauce
  • 1/2 cup gluten-free plum sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 package shredded provolone or Monterey Jack cheese (2 cups)
  • 1 package shredded provolone or Monterey Jack cheese (2 cups)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 Tablespoon safflower oil
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons gluten-free tamari
  • 1 rounded Tablespoon peanut butter
  • 1 rounded Tablespoon peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce
  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce
  • 2 teaspoons grill seasoning (such as Montreal Steak Seasoning) (eyeball it)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder, mixed with 1/2 teaspoon salt + 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 chicken breast cutlets, 1/2 pound
  • 1/2 block extra-firm, non-GMO tofu, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar or cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons  cider vinegar
  • 1/4 seedless cucumber, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • 1/4 seedless cucumber, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 1 cup bean spouts, a couple of handfuls
  • 1 cup bean spouts, a couple of handfuls
  • Palmful cilantro leaves, chopped
  • Palmful cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped peanuts, 2 ounces
  • 1/4 cup chopped peanuts, 2 ounces

NOTES: I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Pizza Crust mix, Kraft shredded cheese, San-J Organic and Gluten-Free Tamari and Frank’s RedHot Original hot sauce. You can make this vegan by switching the honey with agave and swapping the egg in the Bob’s Red Mill mix with 1 Tablespoon flaxseed meal + 3 Tablespoons water (combine and let stand 1 minute before adding to recipe as you would egg). And, of course, if you’re a chicken eater, then look to the original recipe for how to trade the tofu for chicken.

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 425°F.

Follow instructions on package to mix pizza crust (REMEMBER: You are halving this recipe, so be sure to alter ingredients accordingly). Allow dough to rise according to package. After allotted rise time has passed (20 minutes), place pizza dough 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 red peppers and 1 cup of cheese. Bake until golden and bubbly, 14-15 minutes.

Pre-heat a saute pan over medium-high heat. Combine safflower oil, tamari and peanut butter with hot sauce and garlic powder seasoning mix. Use the microwave to loosen up peanut butter if it is too cold to blend into sauce, 10 seconds ought to do it. Add tofu and coat evenly with mixture. Let stand 10 minutes then saute tofu 4-5 minutes.

While tofu cooks, mix honey and vinegar and add the cucumber. Turn to coat evenly.

Top the hot, cooked pizza with tofu, scallions, sprouts and cilantro. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup of cheese and place in oven for an additional 2-3 minutes, until cheese has melted. Remove pizza from oven; drain cucumbers and scatter over the pizza. Garnish pizza with peanuts, cut into 4-8 wedges (depending on how big you want it!) and serve.

This pizza is certainly a heavyweight! I could barely get through two pieces, but it was just too yummy to leave any bites behind. I really did like the tofu in place of the chicken and the Bob’s Red Mill Pizza Crust was the best store-bought one I’ve had yet. It was fluffy and substantial, but still had a nice and crispy crust. I will definitely be having it again!

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So, you probably want to know what I’ve learned from this Rachael Ray Challenge, right? I think the number one lesson I will take away with me is that (really) good gluten-free recipes are a possibility and sometimes all they require is a simple swap (and other times several) to make them safe to eat. The same goes for other dietary requirements, such as vegan or soy-free requirements.

I am glad to have had a gracious gal like Rachael on my side while playing around with various recipes, and I look forward to doing the same with the cajillion other recipes that are out there. If you want some already-made-easy-for-ya Rachael Ray recipes, then check out her convenient gluten-free recipe section which is spearheaded by the lovely Silvana Nardone.

Tell me: What’s your favorite way to jazz up a pizza?