Chicken Parmesan Pizza

chicken parmesan pizza | sunsets on the side

chicken parmesan pizza | sunsets on the side

In general, I really don’t insist on many things.

I’m not the person who insists on a certain paint color for a room…or on, say, a restaurant choice for dinner.  The restaurant thing is mostly because I’m not a picky eater and can find something I’d love to eat on almost any menu.  But, it’s also because I like it when other people are happy.  I’m a conflict avoider.


chicken parmesan pizza dough | sunsets on the side


This one time, I’m going to have to insist that you guys make this pizza.  It doesn’t have to be right now….or tomorrow…or even next week.  It requires a little bit of a time investment.  You’re making dough, you’re dredging, you’re browning, you’re grating, you’re chopping.

chicken parmesan pizza dough before | sunsets on the side

But, before this winter is over, I’m insisting you have this pizza.  It’s like a giant hug that somehow made it into your oven and then onto your plate.  It’s the best of chicken parmesan in hand-held, dough-encased form.  It’s your dinner.

chicken parmesan pizza | sunsets on the side

See, you’re not mad I insisted, right?

Chicken Parmesan Pizza
Makes: 4-6 servings
  • ~~~Pizza dough~~~
  • 1 (1/4 oz.) envelope rapid rise dry yeast
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 cup warm water, divided
  • 3 cups flour
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ~~~Pizza topping~~~
  • ¾ lb. boneless skinless chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • ¾ tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 ½ cup seasoned panko crumbs
  • 3 T. olive oil
  • 1 cup pasta sauce (I used Classico)
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
  • ⅓ cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 4 oz. fresh mozzarella, cut into cubes
  • 6 oz. fontina, grated
  1. Mix the yeast, sugar, and ¼ cup of the warm water together, and let it sit for 3-4 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, mix the flour, olive oil, salt and remaining ¾ cup warm water together in a large bowl. Add the yeast mixture to flour mixture. Stir well and then turn out onto a floured surface and knead, adding more flour as needed, for about 10 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic.
  3. Drizzle some olive oil in a large bowl. Place the dough in the bowl and turn it over so it is all coated in the oil. Cover the bowl with a clean dish towel and let the dough rise until double in size (about 1 hour).
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the chicken. Sprinkle chicken pieces with salt and pepper, dredge the pieces in flour, dip them in egg, and then coat them in panko crumbs.
  5. Heat 2 T. olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Working in two batches, brown the chicken pieces, about 2 minutes on each side. Remove chicken to a plate, add an additional 1T. oil, if needed, and brown the second batch of chicken.
  6. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  7. When the dough has risen, shape it onto a baking pan (16” round or 12x18” cookie sheet both work). Leaving a 1” border, poke the middle of the crust multiple times with a fork so it doesn’t rise too much in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes.
  8. Remove crust from the oven, top it with pasta sauce (again leaving a 1” border around the outside for the crust). Top the sauce with chopped basil, chicken, parmesan, mozzarella cheese, and fontina. Bake for an additional 12-15 minutes, until crust is golden brown.

Jalapeno Popper Dip Stuffed Mushrooms

jalapeno popper dip stuffed mushrooms | sunsets on the side

jalapeno popper dip stuffed mushrooms | sunsets on the side

Sometimes planning a menu for the Super Bowl can be…overwhelming?  Is that the right word?

Probably not.

More often than not, though, you want to build an entire meal out of finger foods and dips, so what’s the perfect combination?  And, you don’t want to be working in the kitchen when your friends arrive or, even worse, after the game has started, so what can you make ahead of time?

Plus, the sheer volume of recipes to choose from can be sort of mind-boggling for people like me.  (“But, I haven’t looked at ALL my recipes yet; how do I know the choices have been properly narrowed down??)”   With so many classic, football-appropriate appetizers to choose from – spinach and artichoke dip, buffalo wings, potato skins, etc. – sometimes you need to throw a few together to cover all your bases.  That’s what brought me here…

…to these stuffed mushrooms.

jalapenos for popper dip stuffed mushrooms | sunsets on the side

They’re more than just mushrooms, though.  They’re stuffed mushrooms, jalapeno poppers, and popper dip all wrapped up into one!  Win-win-win.  You can make them in advance, too, if that helps take some pressure off of your planning.  I made that batch in the photo up there the day before I baked them, and you couldn’t tell at all.

Two things about the mushrooms, and then we’ll scoot you right over to the recipe.

First, the cream cheese mixture will fill approximately 24 oz. of mushrooms, whatever size you’d like them to be.  I bought really big mushrooms, and the filling was enough for 14 of them.  You could certainly make more, smaller mushrooms if you’d prefer.  Keep an eye on them, but the baking time should be about the same regardless of size.  You want them to bake long enough that the jalapenos have a chance to soften.  Also, you can use whatever type of mushrooms you like.  I used regular (albeit HEFTY) button mushrooms, but if you want to substitute creminis or even go for the portobellos, those would both be great, too.

Ok, let’s get to it!

Jalapeno Popper Dip Stuffed Mushrooms
Makes: 14 large mushrooms
  • 24 oz. mushrooms, cleaned and stems removed
  • 1-2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 (8-oz) package cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ⅓ cup mayonnaise
  • 3 jalapenos, seeds removed & minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp. freshly-ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
  • 2 T. unsalted butter, melted
  • ¾ cup seasoned panko crumbs
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9 x 13” baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Brush the outside of the mushrooms with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with black pepper. Place in the baking dish.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together the cream cheese, mayonnaise, jalapenos, garlic, cheddar, salt, and pepper.
  4. In a separate small bowl, pour the melted butter over the panko crumbs. Stir thoroughly to coat all the crumbs in butter.
  5. Fill the mushrooms evenly with the cream cheese mixture. Top each of the mushrooms with the panko crumbs.
  6. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the tops are a deep, golden brown. Serve hot.

Popper filling adapted slightly from Brown Eyed Baker.

Lemon Pepper Tilapia

lemon pepper tilapia | sunsets on the side

lemon pepper tilapia | sunsets on the side

I ended up with my first box of lemon pepper panko crumbs sort of by mistake.  I was looking for regular, seasoned panko, but there weren’t any containers on the shelf at my store.  They were wiped out from the week’s sale, and the only option left was a lemon pepper flavor.  They turned out to be super flavorful and crunchy, and I almost always have them on hand now.  They make for quick and easy meals because they’re so highly seasoned that you hardly need to do anything except sprinkle these on top of a protein, bake it, and eat.

I’m just going to go ahead and call this a “dinner idea” because I’m not sure it even qualifies a recipe.  The measurements are based on the amount of fish that I had, so feel free to adjust accordingly.  Just spread a thin coating of mustard on each piece of fish and make sure you have enough panko to completely cover the mustard.

This is fast, easy, and totally adaptable to whatever you have around.  Tilapia was on sale this week, so that’s what I went with.  This would work just as well with pretty much any fish: salmon, cod, flounder…fresh or frozen…whatever.  Or, for non-fish fans, this would also work deliciously with chicken tenders.


Lemon Pepper Tilapia
Makes: 4 servings
  • 1 lb. tilapia filets
  • 1 T. + 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • ⅓ cup lemon pepper panko crumbs
  • 2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Pat the tilapia filets with paper towels to dry, and place them in the baking dish.
  3. Spread about 1 tsp. Dijon mustard onto each of the filets. Sprinkle each with ¼ tsp. kosher salt to season.
  4. Mix the panko crumbs and olive oil together in a small bowl. Spread the crumbs evenly over each of the tilapia pieces, and push down gently so they stick to the mustard.
  5. Bake for approximately 35 minutes until fish is cooked through and golden brown on top.

Loosely based on Ina’s panko-crusted salmon.