Homemade pizza is something that I don’t make nearly enough of. We eat pizza every few weeks, or sometimes more, depending on our schedule. Usually it’s on the menu for the simple fact that I can just pick up the phone and have someone else make dinner. Let’s face it, sometimes we all don’t want to cook. Or sometimes schedules are so busy thanks to three kids being on 3 different soccer teams, or work runs late, or we’re just too damn tired to do anything else. With that being said, I will occasionally make pizza with the kids. I like to do it Saturday evenings when they are home, then we’ll go and watch a movie together while eating the dinner we just made. It’s a favorite Saturday night tradition that is especially beloved in the winter months.
I personally love the process of making pizza. And yes, I make my own dough as well. That part I don’t always love because sometimes I forget that I need to make it with plenty of rising time. Occasionally that will lead to a late dinner. Besides that part, making pizza is very satisfying. The kids especially love to spread the sauce, sprinkle the cheese (while eating plenty themselves), and placing whatever toppings we’re using. Then into the hot oven it goes. While the first pizza bakes, we make the second one. It’s a great and fairly fast process. Since my kids aren’t particularly adventurous when it comes to pizza toppings, we usually stick to rotating pizza toppings. Buuuttt, about a month ago, we were off island for soccer games and running errands, so we stopped in at our favorite pizzeria, to grab some slices to go. I am similar to the kids that I don’t go all out with my pizza toppings, I generally like plain and simple. But, they had a big and beautiful bacon, chicken and ranch pizza hot out of the oven just staring at me. I was feeling wild, so I went for it (insert sarcasm). Oh my lanta, it was the best pizza I have had a in a really long time. And that is not sarcasm. I couldn’t refrain from expressing how great it was every bite. Of course, with something that good, I had to make it at home.
This pizza did not disappoint. I loaded her up with bacon and chicken, because I like to overload my pizzas. This pizza does not have a sauce because I didn’t feel it was necessary and I was afraid that any sauce would overpower the toppings. I decided to drizzle the ranch dressing over the pizza right after it came out of the oven. This pizza does take a little more time than just simply throwing ingredients on. You do have to broil the chicken and cook the bacon in advance, but trust me, the extra time is well worth it. This pizza is now going to be in regular rotation on our pizza nights!
Island Bakes Original
- 1/2 pound pizza dough, homemade or store bought
- 10 slices thick cut bacon
- 1 lb. chicken tenders
- 2 cups low-moisture shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
- 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- ranch dressing, homemade or Newman’s Own (or favorite)
- Preheat the broiler to high and place a rack 6” inches from the broiler. Line a small baking sheet with foil and spread the chicken on the pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and place under the broiler. Cook the chicken about 8-10 minutes, or until completely cooked through. Remove from the oven and let cool. Once cool enough to handle, chop the chicken into small pieces.
- To make the bacon, preheat the oven to 400ºF. Line a large baking sheet with foil and spread the bacon on the sheet so they aren’t touching. Place in the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes until the bacon is crispy. Remove from the oven and let cool. Once cool enough to handle, break or chop up into small pieces.
- Preheat the oven to 500ºF for at least 30 minutes. If using a baking/pizza stone, position on a middle rack in the oven while preheating. If you don’t have a pizza stone, place a large cookie sheet upside down on the oven rack.
- Shape the pizza dough by your favorite method into a 16” circle and place on a pizza peel or an upside down baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle half the mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese over the dough, leaving about 1 inch for the crust. Spread the chopped chicken and bacon over the cheese. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the pizza. Slide the pizza on the peel or parchment paper at an angle, carefully and quickly into the oven. Cook the pizza for 10-12 minutes, or until the cheese is melted the crust is golden brown. Carefully remove from the oven. Drizzle the ranch dressing over the pizza, slice and serve.