Oof! It's Friday already!!! Where does time fly? Feels like it was only yesterday that it was New Year's eve and I was kicking everyone's b*** at Xbox games. And, in a blink of the eye, it's already the South side of February! Every week seems to be simply whizzing by.. My point here is, I am aging way to fast!!!! I mean, way too quickly...that is a fair concern, right?!
Well, anyway, as always, I'll just console myself with food, shall I?!
We had friends over and sometimes the easiest decision to make is Pizza for dinner. And, it does help that there is an awesome pizza store right beneath our apartment.. making the decision becomes all the easier...So, we did just that.
Except, we didn't pick up the phone but actually the rolling pin. Usually, I prefer to make my own dough coz a. the kneading is a great stress reliever b. homemade always tastes better, especially when you are the one making it! However, last minute decisions better lend themselves to ready made dough.
I just popped over to that great store downstairs and got a great big ball of well risen dough. We had, oh 2 or even 3 pizzas and I still had leftover dough. So, the next day, as I stood contemplating over the contents of my fridge for lunch inspirations, I was struck with the tune from the Hot Pockets commercial.
It was a spontaneous decision that became a really good and actually quite healthy lunch! Fresh bread stuffed with roast chicken and bell peppers flavored with Lebanese spices and served with a side of homemade marinara sauce. Perfect!
Lebanese Chicken and Red Bell Pepper Hot Pockets
5 boneless chicken thighs
2 T za'atar
1 T sumac
2 T olive oil
salt and pepper as needed
1 large onion, julienned
1 red bell pepper, julienned
2 tsp dried mint
zest of 1 lemon
2 pizza doughs
Pat the chicken dry. Rub olive oil on all sides and season with salt and pepper. Generously sprinkle za'atar and sumac all over the chicken. Bake at 375 F for 20 minutes until the meat is fully cooked. Let cool enough to handle. Shred the cooked chicken and set aside.
Meanwhile, saute the onion and bell pepper until soft. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the dried mint over the mixture and saute for a couple of minutes. Remove from heat and toss the shredded chicken in the mixture.
Divide the dough into three parts. Roll out into a thin circle. Place a third of the chicken mixture off center and fold the dough over into a semi circle. Crimp the edges and brush the dough with egg wash.
Bake at 450 F for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Serve with Homemade Marinara sauce.
Homemade Marinara Sauce
1 medium onion, diced fine
2 cloves of garlic, minced
14 oz crushed tomatoes (or freshly crushed tomatoes)
2 tsp fennel seeds
1 T oregano
2 tsp thyme
1 T fresh basil, chopped + more garnish
1 cup stock
salt and pepper as needed
1/4 cup olive oil
Heat the oil and saute the onions and garlic until soft. Season with salt and pepper. Add the crushed tomatoes, fennel and the dried herbs. Cook covered for 5 minutes. Add stock and bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the basil. Serve with hot pockets of used for pizza base.