Last night, I had a hankering for barbecue chicken. This doesn’t happen very often – while I do find barbecue to be super delicious, I’m way to obsessed with carbs (and Italian food, and Asian fusion) to crave this on the regular. It probably had something to do with this recipe for crock pot BBQ beer chicken from HowSweetEats (why does everything she makes look sooo good? I need all of it) that I somehow stumbled across, and couldn’t get out of my head. I spent a lot of time perplexing over how I could pull this off, but since I don’t have a slow cooker, and staying home to slowly simmer chicken all day probably wouldn’t fly with my boss, I began to brainstorm other options.
And when endless Googling of barbecue chicken recipes led me to stumble across the brilliant idea of a barbecue chicken pizza, I knew I’d found my Tuesday night dinner.
In the mix? I started with a gooey packages of Trader Joe’s whole wheat pizza crust, which is one of my favorite creations on earth. It doesn’t have any scary ingredients I can’t pronounce in it, is always fresh (not frozen), and bakes up into a dense, nutty crust with great chew. Plus, it saves me the three hours it would take to make my own pizza dough and let it rise, which means I can get dinner on the table at a reasonable hour on a weeknight. Trust me on this, and just go buy some of the stuff.
The other secret ingredient is your favorite super delicious barbecue sauce. Because of aforementioned reasons, I’ve never really had a go to barbecue sauce – until now. I picked up Trader Joe’s Bold and Smoky Kansas style sauce, and it was love at first lick! This stuff is so good – the perfect balance of sweet and tangy with an underlying smoky flavor that reminds you of summer barbecues. Any barbecue sauce will work for this recipe – just make sure it’s one you love.
And finally, while the barbecue chicken is certainly the star of this pizza, you want to make sure you have a little plain old tomato sauce on hand as the base for your toppings. This helps add extra moisture to the pizza, without overwhelming sweetness from the barbecue sauce.
In the end, this pizza is super delicious, well-balanced, and because of the whole wheat crust and, if you’d like, low-fat cheese – it’s not too bad for you! Both my roommate and boyfriend couldn’t get enough, and kept picking at the left over slices well after we’d finished eating. What can I say? Something about that sweet barbecue sauce, creamy cheese and crispy crust is just addicting! Make this pizza round for a traditional 8-slice pie, or bake them in smaller sizes and cut squares for bite-size appetizer pizzas, which would be perfect for this weekend’s Superbowl feasts!
Barbecue Chicken Pizza – Serves 4
- 1 packages of Trader Joe’s whole wheat pizza dough (or any other pizza dough recipe; would also work on a pre-made crust), plus flour for dusting
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 2 3-4 ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts, about 1/2 inch thick each
- 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp barbecue sauce
- 1/4 cup of crumbled feta cheese
- 1 cup of low-fat shredded cheddar or Mexican-blend cheese
- Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 400° F.
Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil and some non-stick cooking spray. Add the onions and saute over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until softened and caramelized. Remove from heat and reserve.
While the onions cook, add chicken breasts, 1 tablespoon of barbecue sauce, salt, and pepper to a zip lock bag. Close bag and toss chicken to coat with sauce and seasonings. Heat a medium-sized skillet over medium-high heat and add some non-stick cooking spray. Add chicken breasts and cook, about 2 minutes per side, until cooked through. Remove from pan and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Once rested, slice chicken into 1/2 inch strips.
With a well-floured work surface and hands, remove pizza dough from bag and turn out onto work surface. Using fingers to stretch the dough, or a rolling-pin, roll the dough to your desired shape (round or square works well). Place the dough on a pan that has been coated with non-stick cooking spray.
To assemble the pizza, start by topping the pizza crust with the tomato sauce, and spreading it out using the back of a spoon. Next add about half of the caramelized onions, the feta cheese and about two-thirds of the shredded cheese. Add the chicken strips, then the rest of the shredded cheese. Top with any remaining caramelized onions, if desired, and evenly drizzle with the quarter-cup of barbecue sauce.
Bake at 400° F for about 20 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and the crust is golden brown. Serve immediately.
Nutrition Info (per slice): 239 calories, 6 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of fiber, 14 grams of protein