Thursday, January 5, 2012

Cheesy Chicken Bagel Pizzas

Recipe modified by You Want Me to Cook? – August 23, 2011
For a commentary-free and printer-friendly version of it, please click here.

Recipe originally published in Cooking Light – September 2011.

I often look for recipes that I can use to spice up my leftovers.  Funny thing, though, I rarely have leftovers to spice up, especially when it comes to extra chicken.  Usually I buy just enough when I’m making a sauce or casserole.  If I’m not using an entire rotisserie chicken, I’ll cut up the rest as treats for my dogs.

My generosity to the dogs has not been without consequence.  The following has actually happened:
  • One pug has drooled all over the floor to the point of having to wipe up the puddle.  He eventually looked like a rabid dog with the spit bubbles forming all over his mouth.
  • While I was getting the rest of the groceries from the car, the sack that contained the chicken was drug from the kitchen to the living room by same pug.  The other pug was betting on another sack and was munching on the bread I had brought home.
  • Our Chihuahua drew blood when I was trying to give her a piece of the chicken because one of the pugs made a move.  She decided it was going to be hers come hell or high water.  She got the chicken… and a little extra flesh.
Now when a chicken enters the house, I sense they all know part of it is for them.  I honestly don’t want to find out what would happen if they didn’t get a taste.

Even with the craziness of the rotisserie chicken, I decided that I wanted to try these chicken bagel pizzas because I usually have a lot of this stuff on hand.  I ended doubling the recipe using only the white meat of the bird.  I chopped up the rest of the dark meat as treats for the dogs… for which they gave me much love.

© You Want Me to Cook?
Cheesy Chicken Bagel Pizzas
It isn’t too far from the published photo with the recipe and it definitely looks eatable.  I think I let the cheese brown a little too long because it is starting to look a little charred.

© Cooking Light
I’ll admit that their cheesy chicken bagel pizza looks better than mine.  Their cheese is cooked to perfection and the chicken seems to be defying gravity while covering every part of the bagel.

for more details about what my ratings mean, go to Gretchen’s Rating System

MessEH – I debated this in my brain for quite some time since there really weren’t many ingredients and hardly any equipment.  Yet, shredding chicken isn’t the cleanest activity you’ll do in the chicken.  Also, you have to contend with melting and broiling cheese that can be a real pain to get off of pans.

Start-to-Finish Time: AROUND 30 MINUTES – Not only is this dish fast to make, your little ones can help out as well.  Once you do the prep work, you can turn over the assembly to kids who love to cook while you clean up or work on making a vegetable dish.

Prep Work: SLIGHT BLOOD LOSS – Shredding the chicken can be messy, but isn’t really difficult.  I always end up cutting myself when I’m dealing with bagels, but if you buy the pre-cut, you’ll save yourself some blood loss.

Ease of Recipe: COOK IT IN MY SLEEP – I can see making these with my grade school nieces and nephews with minimal effort on my part.  If a 7-year-old can do it, so can you!

OverallNOT BAD – They didn’t turn out as I had hoped, although my husband ate them without complaint.  I would make them again (see statement above with my nieces and nephews), but I would absolutely make changes.

Recipe Information:
I am not a doctor or dietician.  I make my nutritional assessments with the aid of Spark Recipes.  I run the original recipe and my altered recipe through their calorie counter and then compute the differences I find.  My numbers are to be used as a guideline.  Anyone who is under dietary medical supervision should follow the advice of their medical professional if their opinion differs from mine.  PLEASE!

Servings: 4 (1 bagel pizza)
Total Time: none given

Each bagel gives you 2 pizzas, so they are slightly small for a meal.  I could see you having a pizza with a medium size salad for lunch, but you may be stretching it for dinner. 

There was no timing given for this recipe, which surprises me since an average cook, such as myself, was able to do it in around 30 minutes.

My Timing:
  • Prep: 11 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 31 minutes
I did shred enough chicken for a double batch, but I imagine that would only add a couple of minutes more.  It seemed like everything took a lot longer than the recipe said it would.  I’m not sure why since I have a relatively new stove (only 3 years) that is spot on with the temperature.

Nutritional Information
  • Calories: 268
  • Fat: 8g
  • Saturated fat: 4.2g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 2.4g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 0.6g
  • Protein: 22.1g
  • Carbohydrate: 32.7g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Cholesterol: 47mg
  • Iron: 2.9mg
  • Sodium: 516mg
  • Calcium: 251mg
The numbers aren’t too bad considering you are using a lot of convenience foods, especially a canned marinara sauce.  My skepticism (and methodology if you want to call it that) had me run it through my nutritional calculator.  It turns out my suspicions were correct.  The nutritional information I calculated was:
  • Calories 299.3
  • Total Fat 8.1 g
  • Saturated Fat 3.7 g
  • Monounsaturated Fat 1.9 g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat 0.8 g
  • Protein 22.6 g
  • Total Carbohydrate 32.7 g
  • Dietary Fiber 2.0 g
  • Cholesterol 42.7 mg
  • Sodium 581.2 mg
There was a jump in calories and sodium which didn’t really surprise me all that much.  I made a couple of changes to the recipe by selecting onion bagels (I wasn’t sure if it would make a nutritional difference) and Heart Smart marinara sauce.  I ran them through the nutritional calculator and got the following results:
  • Calories 273.1
  • Total Fat 7.3 g
  • Saturated Fat 3.5 g
  • Monounsaturated Fat 2.1 g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat 0.6 g
  • Protein 21.9 g
  • Total Carbohydrate 29.5 g
  • Dietary Fiber 2.3 g
  • Cholesterol 42.7 mg
  • Sodium 475.0 mg
I think using the Heart Healthy marinara sauce is what made the difference.  The original recipe called for low-sodium, which would have also affected the sodium levels, but I think Heart Healthy affected the “bad” numbers all the way around.

In terms of the Recommended Daily Allowance, we don’t have much good news.  Really the highest percentage was around 26%.  Not really anything to write home about.  Also, with as good as the nutritional information is, it is a very small serving, so you’ll most certainly be eating the pizza with something else.  Make sure it’s a healthy something else, or the healthy benefits of this dish will be out the window.

Changes denoted by red text
© You Want Me to Cook?
Cheesy Chicken Bagel Pizzas - Ingredients
2 (4 1/2-inch, 2 1/4-ounce) onion bagels, sliced in half
1/2 cup “heart healthy” marinara sauce, divided
1 cup shredded rotisserie chicken breast, divided
1 cup preshredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided

Ingredient Notes:
Bagels – I ended up using flavored bagels to add a little something to the pizza.  I was also looking for fresh bagels, but the grocery store was completely out.  Seriously, they were out at noon on a weekday.  I hope they have a new bakery manager soon!

Marinara Sauce – I couldn’t find any marinara sauce that was specifically low-sodium.  While scanning the shelves, I decided that the “Heart Healthy” sauce made by Prego would be a close enough substitute.  Turns out that was probably a great decision since the nutritional information got significantly better when it was swapped into the recipe.

Rotisserie Chicken Breast – You will only need one breast for a cup of breast meat. 

Equipment Needed:
© You Want Me to Cook?
Cheesy Chicken Bagel Pizzas - equipment
Cutting board
Bread knife
Baking sheet
Aluminum foil

Equipment Notes:
Fork – I find the easiest way to shred chicken is using a fork.  Simply pull the chicken off the breast with your hands and then rake the fork across the grain to shred.

Aluminum Foil – This isn’t required, but I like to protect my baking sheets when I’m cooking with things that can melt and burn (like sauce and cheese).

Ordinarily I tell you to prep all of your ingredients first, but there isn’t a lot of prep work to do and you want your broiler NICE and HOT!

(1)  Preheat broiler.

(2)  Prep the ingredients.

(3)  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place bagel halves, cut sides up, on it. Broil 4 minutes or until lightly toasted.
The original recipe said that they should be toasted in two minutes, but my bagels weren’t even close at two minutes.  I think it may be partly my fault since my broiler may not have been hot enough and my rack was mid-oven.
© You Want Me to Cook?
Cheesy Chicken Bagel Pizzas
Stages of assembly
(4)  Spread 2 tablespoons marinara on cut side of each bagel half.

(5)   Top each half with 1/4 cup chicken, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese.

(6)  Broil bagel halves an additional 4 minutes or until cheese melts.
Although the cheese had melted at the two minute mark as the recipe states, the picture showed the cheese as browned.  I went a couple minutes longer to get that gorgeous brown color to it and ended up a little charred.  Keep an eye on it once you get past the melting stage.
Overall, the recipe wasn’t all that bad, but the bagel ended up being really soggy after it was cooked.  My husband like it and ate them for lunch for the next several days.  However, I thought the leftovers weren’t worth eating.  The soggy bagels didn’t improve overnight and there was no way to get them crispy again through re-heating.

If I were going to make any changes:
  • I would leave the broiler on longer before putting the pizzas in the oven.
  • I would also move the rack of the oven up to the top, which would probably help with the cheese melting/browning and the bagels staying crispy.
  • I would go with better quality bagels instead of the refrigerated ones.  I think they’re bigger and probably will not turn as soggy.
  • I would try an asiago bagel next time, but other than that would stick to a plain bagel.  If I want any additional flavors being mixed into the pizza, like onion, I’ll just add the topping to the pizza.
Happy cooking!

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