Thursday, September 9, 2010

chicken caesar pizza (a.k.a. cooking with a newborn)

chkn caesar pizza 5

Remember all of those freezer meals I made?  They’ve been working out fantastically, however it turns out it’s not really appealing to eat a casserole or soup every day of the week (especially since they’re portioned so that I have a dinner and lunch the following day out of each of them. 

Now that Emily is starting to settle into a bit of a routine (most days), I’m finally getting more of a chance to get some decent grocery shopping done and to prepare a fresh meal or two for myself.

Today my Mom came over for a few hours to help me get caught up on a few things, and to give me a chance to get out of the house sans baby so I could go to the post office to mail thank you notes for our last shower (on the 21st of August, pictures and details to come….eventually) and to hit up the grocery store.  Typically when I go grocery shopping with the baby I have to walk the aisles pretty quickly and not stop for long to look at a product and she inevitably starts fussing and crying when I’m waiting/paying in line.  Can you tell she’s a movement baby?

Anyways, back to cooking with a newborn.  Last week I got together with some friends for a ‘play date’ and we went to Pizza Delight.  My friend ordered the Chicken Caesar pizza and I was intrigued and wanted to attempt something similar on my own.

This was not without its challenges.

Somehow, it took me almost 2 hours just to get the toppings on the pizza, so despite the fact that I started dinner just before 6pm, I didn’t end up eating a single bit of pizza until around 8:30pm.

Perhaps because she wanted to eat the WHOLE TIME or else hang out with me like this:

pizza helper Ya, that’s boob.  Sorry.  You’d be surprised (or maybe not) how much time I spend around the house with just a nursing bra on and forget to ‘do it up’.

I tried numerous times to put her down when she nodded off, but I would only get about 5 minutes before she would wake up, start fussing, and I’d need to feed her again.  I think she just wanted to cuddle while awake, but she won’t take a pacifier (seriously, I’ve bought about 4 different kinds, and the only kind of successful one was with a latex nipple) so I’m her only source of comfort when she just wants to comfort suck.

Aaaaand, back to the cooking.

Here are the ingredients I used.  I really didn’t use any measurements, just sprinkled it on until it looked good.

Pizza Dough
Renee’s Caesar Dressing
Chicken
Bacon
Spinach
Cheese

 

Thank goodness for the ability to cook bacon in the oven, otherwise I don’t think I could have included it in the pizza.  It gave me a bit more time to sit down with her between steps and didn’t need to be watched as much.  I also threw 3 chicken thighs into the oven while I was cooking the bacon, then chopped them up.

Next time I got her lying down, I made the pizza dough, and then got it on the pan (greased with corn meal) and let it rise for about 20-30 minutes.

After another quick feed, I tried to put her down to sleep again, but she wouldn’t have any of it, so I finished up the rest of the pizza (and took the following pictures) holding her in my arms as you saw above.

Spread the dough with a couple spoonfuls of caesar dressing.  No tomato sauce on this pizza!

chkn cesaer pizza 1

Next, I layered on some spinach.  If I had two hands available, I would have removed the stems, but as it was, they’re on there adding extra fibre or something.

chkn cesaer pizza 2

 

Next yummy step was to put on all of that chopped chicken and crispy bacon,

chkn cesaer pizza 3

 

then to sprinkle on the cheese (I used a preshredded blend – I have yet to master shredding cheese while holding a newborn.  Any suggestions?? lol) and get it on the oven quick!

chkn caesar pizza 4 

I put it in at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes, and when the timer went off I put the baby down in her seat, pulled it out of the oven and it looked a little something like this:

chkn caesar pizza 6Yum!

I managed to get most of the way through my pizza slices before she woke up again.

chkn caesar pizza 7   

For those of you who are concerned, she’s been down since around 9pm and it’s now just after 12am.  She does go down eventually.  She just likes to cuddle with Mom while she was awake and didn’t like that I had my own agenda for the evening!

Look how cute:

pizza helper 2

So it IS possible to cook a whole meal when you’re on your own with an infant.  It just takes 3-4 times longer and some of your bacon may get a little burnt. :P

2 comments:

Julia said...

Jen- she's SO precious! And that pizza looks amazing! My hubs loves Caesar so I think he'll like it too.

A suggestion for shredding cheese one handed :) is if you have a food processor to cut it into large chunks (just small enough to fit into a food processor shute)and use the "grating" blade. I now do this whenever I am grating a large amount of cheese. Love it! Plus it makes really long strands that look kinda pretty and elegant :)

Also, as a nanny for a 4 mo old breastfed baby, I've learned a couple tricks to manage the "want to cuddle/suck/be comforted but not really hungry" since obviously I can't offer her what she thinks she wants, and she also cannot take a pacifier (can't keep it in for even 10 seconds and then gets super frustrated).

I put her in a sling (really settles her down and meets the cuddle need) and then give her either my finger or a soft toy/bib bunched up so that she can get it in her mouth. I've even held a pacifier in her mouth while she's in a sling. It takes a little bit for her to figure it out, but then she should "latch on" and go to town. This was the only way to get little Ella to sleep for the fist 2-3 months. And even if you need to use your finger, you still have one hand free (using the sling) and can get a few things done (plus she learns there are other ways to comfort her than just the breast).

You are doing such a great job! I'm so impressed that you are even getting things done at all alone with a newborn! You are just slipping into the mother role like a pro!!

Mandi @ Finding Home said...

Yum - that pizza looks delish! I'm so making that one of these nights. I had planned to make homemade pizza this week but I ran out of grocery $ before I was able to buy the cheese. Oh well - next week! Emily is adorable! Seriously - aww!!

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