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Dine-In: Working for the Weekend

As far as I’m concerned, there are only two food groups: Weekday and Weekend.

I realize I just caused nutritionists everywhere to choke on their granola, but there’s something about the weekend that begs for fun food – not the baked chicken and steamed broccoli that I dutifully ate Monday through Thursday.

I understand the value of a balanced lifestyle, but I also lean toward the attitude of the wonderful cook Julia Child: “Everything in moderation, including moderation.”

But here’s the deal, by Friday night I’m too tired to go anywhere or do anything fun. I just want to come home from work, put on soft clothes, make a great dinner and hopefully watch the episode of “Modern Family” I recorded two days earlier.

I’ve long given up trying to watch an entire movie before falling asleep. It’s simply not going to happen.

Most weeks, I’ve bought a couple of rotisserie chickens from Brookshire’s during the week when I didn’t have time to bake my own, and we usually have leftovers. My family loves this Barbecue Chicken Pizza recipe, and it’s so easy to do…especially if you take some shortcuts and use purchased pizza dough, barbecue sauce and leftover rotisserie chicken.

It’s Friday. I can already feel the weight of the work week lifting from my shoulders. Tonight I’m going to open some wine, play some Adele, make a couple of pizzas and be in bed by 10 – the same hour my teenagers are just getting started.

I never thought I would agree with my parents, but I hear myself now repeating to the boys the same thing my parents said to me when I was younger and begged to stay out late, “Nothing fun happens late at night…at least nothing fun you’re going to know about.”

Barbecue Chicken Pizza 

1 unbaked pizza crust (see recipe below or purchase 1 13.8-ounce tube of refrigerated pizza dough)
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons barbecue sauce
1 cup cooked, shredded chicken
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
2 cups Mozzarella cheese, shredded
3 Tbs fresh cilantro leaves
3 Tbs cooked, crumbled bacon (optional)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Roll out pizza crust to form a 10-inch circle and place on a greased baking sheet or pizza pan. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove from oven and spread 1/2 cup barbecue sauce over crust, leaving a ½-inch border around edges. Combine remaining 3 tablespoons of barbecue sauce with shredded chicken and spread over pizza crust. Sprinkle cheese over. Sprinkle onions, bacon and cilantro over pizza. Bake an additional 8-10 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

Never-Fail Pizza Dough 

1 envelope (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1 cup warm water, around 105° degrees
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Extra-virgin olive oil

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in the warm water. In a large mixing bowl, stir flour and salt together. Add yeast mixture and stir until smooth. Let rest 10 minutes. Lightly flour hands and knead dough for 10 minutes, until elastic and smooth. If dough becomes sticky while kneading, add a little bit of flour and work it in until no longer sticky.

Divide dough into two balls and coat each ball well with olive oil. Coat the insides of two bowls with more olive oil and place one ball in each bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let dough rise in a warm place until it doubles in size, about 1 ½ hours. If you plan on making only one pizza, place the other bowl in the refrigerator up to 24 hours. You can also wrap carefully in plastic wrap and freeze up to 3 months. Simply thaw in refrigerator overnight before using.

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