I have already shared one of my more serious resolutions for the new year, but another resolution I make every year is to NOT HATE WINTER.
Disregarding the heat wave we enjoyed for a couple of weeks during Christmas break, winter weather has arrived. We saw our first snowflakes while we drove down the road yesterday, and (hurray!) a fire is burning all day long in our fireplace most days.
I am not a big fan of cold weather and it can be a struggle not to let my dislike of being cold or having dry skin turn into a sour attitude during the winter months. BUT, I have found ways to learn to appreciate even this season. Which is good, because now that I’ve tried both grumbling through the winter and looking for its perks, I can say that January and February are much more pleasant months when I focus on the perks.
And comfort food is definitely a winter perk.
Steaming bowls of soup, fresh bread, cookies out of the oven, and all manner of hot drinks are often enough to lift my spirits and warm me up.
We eat a lot more soup for lunch during the winter, and a lot more homemade pizza too. Because when it’s cold in your house or you’ve just come in from playing outside, heating the oven to 500° seems like the right thing to do.
I don’t know if I can really blame it on three pregnancies in three years or not, but ranch has become one of my most-loved foods. My kids don’t hate it either. And since I make it at home with homemade yogurt and maybe a little fresh mayo, I’m fine with our increased consumption.
This buffalo pizza is one way we’ve been enjoying a little extra ranch as of late. Mix together ranch and a little (lot) Texas Pete, and you have a quick and easy sauce for a pizza that comes together quickly.
Plus, if you go a little heavy on the Texas Pete, it will heat you up even more from the inside out.
If you are reluctant about enjoying the winter like I can be, pencil in some extra comfort food on your meal plan.
What are all the layers for, if not permission to indulgence in the beautiful harmony of cheesy, ranch, bread-y foods?
Buffalo Chicken Pizza
Makes 2 10-12 inch pizzas.
- 2 2/3 C all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 C hot water (just hot tap water to the touch is fine)
- 2 tsp yeast
- 1 C ranch dressing
- 2 Tbsp Texas Pete (add more to taste)
- 1 C shredded chicken
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 1 bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 2 Tbsp butter
- sliced mushrooms (optional)
- 1 1/2 C shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 1/2 C shredded mozzarella cheese
1.Preheat the oven to 500° (for using a pizza stone) or 450° (for using a pizza pan).
2. Make the dough: In a small mixing bowl, combine 2 cups of the flour and the salt. Mix together the yeast and hot water in a liquid measuring cup. Pour the yeasty water into the flour and stir together until the ingredients are well-blended. Add enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough. Transfer the dough to a cutting board or countertop and knead the dough, sprinkling with additional flour when necessary, until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky. Divide in two and cover with a clean towel to rest.
3. Saute the onions and peppers in 2 Tbsp butter and a pinch of salt over medium heat until they are soft and darkened while you prepare the sauce and remaining toppings.
4. Make the sauce: Mix together the ranch and the Texas Pete in a small bowl or measuring cup. Taste and add more Texas Pete if you want a spicier pizza. (I made one pizza with the suggested amount for my kids, and then added more Frank’s to the second pizza for my husband and me).
5. Gather remaining toppings: Shred the chicken if necessary. Slice any extra vegetables you want to add to your pizza. (I added mushrooms to one of ours). Toss together the cheeses in a small bowl.
6. Make the pizza: Cut a piece of parchment about 12″ square (for a pizza stone), or grease a pizza pan. Rub a pinch of butter on your fingertips, then spread one of the dough halves out into a thin circle. Add half the remaining ingredients in this order: sauce, chicken, onions and peppers, cheese mixture.
7. Bake the pizza: Cook the pizza in preheated oven for 7-8 minutes (for a pizza stone), or 11-12 minutes (for a pizza pan).
8. Repeat steps 6 & 7 for the second pizza.
How do you find ways to enjoy the winter?
What is your favorite winter comfort food?
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