Can I just say I love appetizers for dinner! I love a big ole’ beautiful spread of finger foods, sampling each specially crafted bite, then grazing all night on my favorites. I’m not sure why it makes my heart go pitter-patter. Maybe it’s because I don’t have to commit to just one amazing dish – I get to partake in all of them. Or maybe it’s because things that are miniature are just adorable…like for example these Mini Mac And Cheese Bites… or these Blue Cheese & Buffalo Chicken Wonton Bites … or these Lasagna Cupcakes. So cute and delicious!
This week our Sunday Supper theme is “Finger Food For Dinner,” and we’re making Chicken Pesto Pizzas! In case you haven’t heard Sunday Supper is a movement dedicated to bringing back Sunday Suppers around the family table of every home. And this week we’re circling the wagons for some easy finger foods for dinner.
Making my own pizza dough has always been a little intimidating. Kind of like making pie crust. In theory it seems easy enough – I mean how can something with 5 ingredients be hard?? Well, let me explain: there are so many nuances that no one really spells out for you… or maybe it’s that we all interprets things differently. AND there’s no gourmet pizza chef standing next to you for you to ask: “do I sprinkle the yeast and wait, or do I sprinkle, then stir the yeast and then wait?” Plus, each step is so crucial to pizza dough success!✨
For example there’s the instruction to let the dough rise “in a warmish spot with no drafts.” Ok, so it’s winter here, well spring really, but it’s New England so it feels like winter.❄ And the warmest spot in our ~1920 home is right by one of my heat vents – but WAIT that’s also a drafty spot. SEE how confusing this is for me!?? Oh and just in case you’re wondering…don’t try putting it in a slightly preheated oven because it will actually cook the dough ball and cooked dough balls don’t make good pizza crusts.? Not that I know anyone that’s ever done that before. Ahemmm.
… And thus my pizza dough anxiety. I really don’t mean to discourage you from making your own pizza dough but I will just add that the grocery store sells it all premade and ready to go. Trust me I’ve eaten my fair share of Boboli pizza crusts in my day and they are quite good. So if you’re not a “make your own dough” kind of person then you do you boo! Judgment-free zone here.
BUT if you decide you want to venture into the world of Martha Stewart and partake in another culinary adventure, then stay tuned cause I’ve got a pizza dough recipe that actually works and it’s relatively quick and knead free. Meooow.
Let me share some very specific deets with you:
First put 1 3/4 cups very warm water into a large mixing bowl.
Next, sprinkle in 2 packets of yeast (“Active Dry” yeast, not “Rapid Rise Instant” yeast) and let it sit for 5 minutes. No stirring – literally sprinkle and wait.⏰
Next whisk in the salt, sugar, oil and flour. It should be a sticky blob… but the first time I did this it was a dryish blob. So I added some extra warm water and stirred – still dry… added more water… then it was better. Not all loose and gooey but a formed blob that was sticky. I know what you’re thinking – where did I receive my professional culinary training and how do you sign up? It’s very exclusive and they teach you extremely technical terms like “sticky blob,” “dryish blob,” and “formed sticky blob.” Judgment free zone people – remember!✌
Back to our sticky blob…Grab another large bowl and run hot water in it to heat it up. Quickly empty it, dry it, and coat the inside with olive oil. Add the pizza dough (I’m trying not to say “sticky blob” as much) to the bowl, give the dough a very light coat of olive oil (1-2 tablespoons), and cover it tightly with plastic wrap.
I placed it in a sunny spot in my house and actually put a few tall skinny boxes around it to create a barrier from any drafts (not sure this was necessary but I wasn’t taking any chances). Then I waited an hour for it to rise. I visited it several times to see if it was actually rising and kept moving it into the sun as the spot moved. I’m super happy to report to you that IT WORKED!!! It actually grew so much that it was touching and overflowing out of the the top of the plastic wrap. Yay – snaps for Holly!
Next, put a little bread flour on the counter, roll the now large sticky dough blob onto it, dust it with some flour, shape it into a disk, and cut it into 4 even pieces. Now it’s pizza time!! (That’s a lot like Hammer time – can you hear the music?Dadadadu, da-du, da-du…?)
We’re in the homestretch people! Go ahead and preheat your oven to 500, then grab a piece of dough, hold it from one side and let the rest hang down vertically, allowing gravity to stretch it longer. Gently work your way around the edge of the dough to stretch it. Then lay it on a baking pan, use your fingers to gently stretch it and make the shape you want. Now add your toppings and it’s ready to bake.♨
I used my favorite pizza toppings for my little pies: Homemade pesto, fresh baby spinach, thinly sliced grilled chicken, toasted pine nuts, mozzarella and Asiago cheese. Mmm Mmm good! Seriously, it’s a delightful and healthy combination. I spread the pesto right onto the dough then a layer of spinach, chicken, pine nuts, asiago and half of my mozzeralla cheese. Then into the hot box for five minutes, add the rest of the cheese and bake for 3 more minutes, and that should do it. Talk about pizza heaven – finger lickin’ good!
These pizzas were devoured in a matter of minutes! And no wonder: the crust was thin and slightly crisp on the outside, soft on the inside… the toppings were all garlicky, cheesy, and savory. Whether you venture into the world of dough making or you get a little help from your local grocer, these Chicken Pesto Pizzas are a yummy finger food dinner the whole family will love!
Easy homemade pizza dough recipe, topped with pesto, fresh baby spinach, grilled chicken, toasted pine nuts, mozzarella & Asiago cheese
- 1 3/4 cup very warm water (more if dough is too dry)
- 2 packets (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for bowl and brushing
- 2 teaspoons coarse salt
- 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface, spooned and leveled
- Chicken breasts trimmed of fat and skin (for this recipe use four)
- Salt and pepper
- Canola cooking spray
- Pizza dough from recipe above
- 8 ounces of pesto (homemade or store bought)
- 3 ounces fresh baby spinach
- 4 grilled chicken breasts, very thinly sliced
- 1 cup of pine nuts toasted (4 ounces)
- 4 ounces shredded Asiago cheese
- 5 cups mozzarella cheese
- Pour 1 3/4 cups very warm water into a large bowl; sprinkle with yeast and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (no stirring)
- Whisk sugar, oil, and salt into yeast mixture. Add flour and stir until a sticky dough forms. (If dough is too dry add a tablespoon of water, continuing adding until dough is sticky.)
- Get out another large bowl and fill with hot water to heat it up. Dump the water, dry it out and oil the inside of the bowl. Transfer the dough to the oiled bowl, top with a thin layer of olive oil, then cover with plastic wrap. Set it aside in a warm, draft-free place until dough has doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly bread floured work surface and shape into a large disk. Cut into 4 even portions. Preheat oven to 500 degrees, oil a cookie sheet and begin to shape one of your dough balls into a pizza shape.
- (To freeze dough balls, wrap them each in plastic and freeze in a resealable freezer bag for up to 3 months.)
- Preheat your grill to 450 degrees. Generously coat both sides of the chicken breasts with salt and pepper and spray with cooking spay.
- Grill the breast for 6 minutes on the first side and 5-6 on the other side or until temperature reads 165 degrees.
- Allow to rest 10 minutes before thinly slicing.
- Once dough is shaped, spread 2 ounces of the pesto on it, then add a layer of fresh spinach, thinly sliced sliced chicken, toasted pine nuts, 1 ounce Asiago cheese and ½ cup of mozzarella cheese sprinkled evenly over the pizza.
- Bake for 5 minutes, add ½ cup of mozzarella cheese over entire pizza and rotate 180 degrees.
- Bake for 3 more minutes and remove from the oven. Enjoy while it’s warm!
- Repeat these steps 3 more times for the other pizzas.
To defrost dough, place in the fridge the morning you want to make the pizza. Then place the dough on the counter for 30-60 minutes while you prep the rest of your ingredients (this will allow the dough to come up to room temperature). Then shape and finish with toppings.
Join the Sunday Supper Movement and spend one night a week with the family around the dinner table! Check out these awesome recipes from the Sunday Supper Tastemakers here:
- Artichoke Jalapeno Bruschetta by Grumpy’s Honeybunch
- Bacon Wrapped Dates by Our Good Life
- Baked Blue Cheese Olive Bites by A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
- Baked Chicken Flautas by Cosmopolitan Cornbread
- Baked Piroshki (Russian Stuffed Rolls) by Curious Cuisiniere
- Blue Cheese & Buffalo Chicken Wonton Bites by Moore or Less Cooking
- Caprese Polenta Cakes by Eat, Drink and be Tracy
- Cherry Topped Brie Bites by That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Chicken Pesto Pizza by Taste And See
- Classic Homemade Guacamole by Pies and Plots
- Fresh Vegetable Rainbow Rolls by Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Italian Fried Stuffed Olives by La Bella Vita Cucina
- Healthy Buffalo Chicken Kabobs by Hardly A Goddess
- Mini Feta Leek Quiche by FoodieTots
- Mini Mediterranean Shish Kebabs by Hey What’s for Dinner Mom?
- Pan Seared Bruschetta by Seduction in the Kitchen
- Raspberry Glazed Chicken Wings by Family Around The Table
- Sesame Chicken Fingers by An Appealing Plan
- Spicy Popcorn Chicken by Brunch-n-Bites
- Battered-dipped Turkey Tenders by Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Beef Wellington Bites by Food Lust People Love
- Broccoli, Ham and Cheese Egg Muffin Cups by Cupcakes & Kale Chips
- Broccoli, Ham & Cheese Double Stuffed Potatoes by Simply Healthy Family
- Cheesy Baked Garlic Chicken Strips by Rants From My Crazy Kitchen
- Chicken Parmesan Sliders by The Chef Next Door
- Ethiopian Injera and Tikel Gomen (cabbage, carrots and potato) by Caroline’s Cooking
- Fish fingers and Old Bay Dip by Jane’s Adventures in Dinner
- Gluten Free Chicken Nuggets by Gluten Free Crumbley
- Crunchy-Coated Haddock Fingers by Turnips 2 Tangerines
- Ham and Cheese Sliders by Feeding Big and More
- Mini Pizza Pockets by The Freshman Cook
- Mini Pizzas by Angels Home Sweet Homestead
- Ribs with Whiskey Maple Barbecue Sauce by Palatable Pastime
- Savory Beef and Veggie Hand Pies by Positively Stacey
- Spinach-Feta Rolls by Wholistic Woman
- Lasagna Cupcakes by A Mind Full Mom
- Tacos in Lettuce Wraps by Simple and Savory
- Thai Basil Chicken Lettuce Wraps by Casa de Crews
- Thai-Indian Beef Lettuce Cups by The Texan New Yorker
- Vegetarian Piadina Sandwich by she loves biscotti
- Yuca Fritters Stuffed with Cheese by Basic N Delicious
- Blueberry and Brie Tarts by Momma’s Meals
- Roasted Strawberry Hand Pies by Baking Sense
- Salted Caramel Cream Puffs by The Redhead Baker
Plus Plus Bite-sized Pavlovas and More Finger Food Recipes from Sunday Supper Movement
Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.
Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.