Dress & Dine – Outdoor Pizza & Movie Night

Dress & Dine - Outdoor Pizza & Movie Night || Runway Chef My favorite nights are always the ones that happen to include pizza and movies. I mean, what could possibly be better than lounging in comfy clothes, stuffing your face and zoning out to a movie? Obviously, pretty much nothing. Unless of course you take said movie night and move it outdoors. Warm summer nights? Grilled pizza? Backyard lounging? Yes, yes, and yes! Read on for all my tips on hosting an outdoor pizza and movie night in this month’s Dress & Dine, and, in the comments, I would love to know what your favorite pizza toppings are as well as your favorite movie! 

what to wear to a pizza party Dress// I don’t know about you but when I think pizza and a movie, I think comfy, comfy, comfy. If I’m staying in, you better believe I’ll be in sweats and an over-size tee with my hair in the messiest of buns. If I’m going out the sweats get replaced by leggings, and if I’m going with someone other than my husband the leggings get replaced by boyfriend jeans (sometimes). Regardless of the bottom half, the bun and oversized tee remain constants. For this outdoor pizza extravaganza, I updated the jeans and tee look to something more appropriate for summer entertaining. Regular jeans were replaced by white ripped jeans, I went with a t-shirt that wasn’t oversized (and was nice and bright for warm weather), and my messy bun became a neater, tighter bun (at least until the humidity hit it).  Of course, some fun earrings were needed to tie the look together and make it party appropriate.

how to host an outdoor pizza and movie night Dress & Dine - Outdoor Pizza & Movie Night || Runway Chef

Dine// Having a “make-your-own pizza bar” is one of the easiest entertaining ideas you’ll ever do. Set-up a variety of toppings (the options are endless so have as many or as few as you want) and pizza dough balls (you can pre-make these ahead of time, just roll them in flour so that they don’t stick to each other) and you’re good to go. Since this pizza party was an outdoor affair, I kept the toppings more summer-appropriate. Mr. RC stuck to grilled veggies and mozzarella on his pizza, while I did proscuitto, arugula, peaches, sautéed onions, sage, truffle cheese, parmesan cheese, and balsamic drizzle on mine. Here’s a complete list of all the toppings we had:

  • Proscuitto
  • Arugula
  • Tomatoes
  • Grilled zucchini, yellow squash, and asparagus
  • Artichoke hearts
  • Sautéed mushrooms, onions and peppers
  • Peaches, sliced
  • Fresh herbs (basil, rosemary, sage)
  • Cheese (mozzarella, parmesan, truffle cheese)
  • Olive oil and balsamic vinegar glaze

Of course, you can’t forget about dessert! We decided to do s’mores pizzas as they are super easy and probably taste better than an actual s’more (although the verdict is still out on this one). Here’s what you need for your s’mores pizzas:

  • Graham crackers
  • Marshmallows (mini or regular size work)
  • Dark chocolate chunks (can also use chocolate chips)
  • Peanut butter chips (butterscotch would also be a great flavor to have)

For the pizza dough, there are many affordable and healthy pre-made dough options. Orrrrr, you could just make my 5 minute pizza dough recipe that requires no kneading, no waiting time, and no rising. Yes, you read that right. Yes, this is basically the best thing since sliced bread, or sliced pizza. Either way, it’s the best. My Mom started making this recipe years ago and then passed it on to me. It’s the only pizza dough recipe I’ve ever used and, since it’s the best pizza crust I’ve ever had, I’m going to say it’s the only pizza dough recipe I’m ever going to use. A bold statement I know, but trust me. And if you don’t, just make this dough so you can see taste for yourself. 

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5-Minute Pizza Dough
The easiest and tastiest pizza dough you'll ever make; no knead, no rise, no wait and ready in 5 minutes
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Prep Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 teaspoons of yeast
  2. 2 tablespoons of sugar
  3. 1 cup warm water
  4. 2 tablespoons oil (I use vegetable or olive oil)
  5. 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  6. 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, mix together the water, yeast and sugar. Add in the salt, then the oil and finally the flour. You can then proceed to use the dough immediately or let it rest for up to 30 minutes. I've also covered the dough with plastic wrap and kept it in the fridge for 24 hours before using it.
  2. To use the dough, preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Prepare your baking pan (or cast iron skillet or pizza stone). I spray mine with oil then sprinkle it with a dusting of fine cornmeal. Spread your dough onto the pan then top with your favorite toppings. For a baking sheet, bake the pizza for about 20 minutes. For a cast iron skillet, start with the pan on a medium heat burner for 5 minutes, then bake for 15 minutes. For a pizza stone, bake 15-20 minutes. For the grill, preheat your pizza stone for about 20 minutes. Cook the pizza on the stone for about 5-6 minutes or until the edges are golden-brown.
  3. This makes enough dough for for one 10"x13" baking sheet, 2 12" skillets, 1 pizza stone or about 7-8 mini pizzas.
Notes
  1. Use extra flour or cornmeal on the dough and your fingers when you are pressing the dough into the pan. It will keep it from sticking to your fingers and will help the dough to spread out more easily.
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Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Pineapple Upside Down Cake || Runway Chef When Mr. RC requested pineapple upside down cake for his birthday, I of course had to oblige (wifely duties call). It’s one of our favorite cakes, what with the moist dough and the crunchy, caramel topping. But, per usual, I can never let a good recipe just be (whoever said “Don’t mess with a good thing!” clearly hadn’t met me) so this time I was determined to find a few ways to switch up the old pineapple upside down cake recipe and make it into something just a little more special. So I added lots of coconut flavors (because have you been to a tropical island?! Pineapple and coconut were just meant to be together.. obvs!) and I baked it in a skillet (because everything tastes better in a skillet, double obvs). The results? One happy birthday boy and one clean cake pan. I knew there was a method to my recipe changing madness…

pineapple upside down cake recipe on Runway Chef skillet pineapple upside down cake recipe for pineapple upside down cake pineapple upside down cake made in a skillet

Pineapple Upside Down Cake
Serves 8
A light and moist cake with a crispy, caramelized topping and hints of tropical coconut, making it perfect for summer
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
1 hr
Topping
  1. 1/4 cup butter
  2. 1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
  3. 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  4. 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  5. 20-ounce can pineapple rings in juice, drained (reserve juice for the cake)
Cake
  1. 3 tablespoons butter
  2. 1/4 cup brown sugar
  3. 1/2 cup white sugar
  4. 1 large egg
  5. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  6. 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  7. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  8. 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  9. 1/4 cup coconut milk
  10. 1/4 cup pineapple juice (reserved from the rings)
For the coconut cream
  1. 1 can of full-fat coconut milk, chilled
  2. Sugar, to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Next, you will prepare the topping. In a 10-12 inch cast iron skillet set over a burner on medium heat, add all of the topping ingredients, minus the pineapple rings (butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and spices). Cook, stirring constantly, until the butter has melted, everything has combined and the mixture begins to bubble, about 3-5 minutes. Turn the burner off. Lay the pineapple rings on top of the brown sugar mixture (7 rings fit in the pan I used), then set the pan aside.
  3. To make the cake, begin by creaming together the butter and sugars in the bowl of stand mixer. Next, beat in the egg, salt, baking powder and vanilla. Lastly, alternate adding in the flour with the liquids (pineapple juice and coconut milk), making sure to not over mix.
  4. Pour the cake batter over the pineapple rings. The batter is really thick so you will definitely need a spatula to help spread it around. Also, don't be worried if the pineapple is showing through the batter or if it barely covers the pan. It will spread out and rise as it bakes.
  5. Bake the cake for 18-30 minutes (depends on your oven and the size of the pan you used....mine was a 12 inch skillet so it only took 18 minutes to bake), or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  6. Once the cake is done, remove it from the oven and let it cool for 15-20 minutes. Then, gently run a knife around the edge, place a serving plate on top, grasp the plate and the pan with both hands and flip it over. Gently tap the bottom of the pan all over, then slowly lift the pan off, using your knife to help loosen anything that might be stuck.
  7. To make the coconut whipped cream, open your can of coconut milk and separate the thick cream part from the watery liquid. Place the thick cream in a mixing bowl and begin beating it on medium-high speed. Add in as little or as much sugar as you would like. I don't like thinks overly sweet so I only used about 2 tablespoons. Continue whipping for a few minutes, until soft peaks form. Please note: unlike traditional whipped cream, this doesn't stay stiff forever. As it warms up, it will begin to thin slightly, but simply placing it back in the fridge will get it nice and thick again. It also tastes great thinned out, so if you don't feel like re-whipping it, don't worry!
  8. Serve the cake warm with a dollop of coconut cream. Store remaining coconut cream in an airtight container in the fridge. The cake should be tightly wrapped with plastic wrap and will last about 2 days on the counter, or about 4-5 days if stored in the fridge.
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
Runway Chef http://www.runwaychef.com/
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Rosemary Lime Cornmeal Cookies

Rosemary Lime Cornmeal Cookies || Runway Chef I’ve pretty much never met a cookie that I haven’t liked (or really any sweet treat for that matter because, let’s be real, my sweet tooth is ginormous-with-a-capital-G). But when it comes to making cookies, I pretty much stick to one thing- chocolate chip. How boring and unoriginal of me. You see, my brain comes up with all these grand ideas for this cookie and that cookie, but then my tastebuds are all like “I just want chocolate chip.” Until my taste buds had one of these and then they were all like “watermelon + chocolate don’t mix on 90 degree days”. And now this is getting weird, because my tastebuds are talking (What? Yours don’t?!) and I’m not quite even sure what we’re talking about anymore. Oh yeah, cookies. So after making these, I wanted to eat the leftover granita for dessert, but I also wanted a little something to go along with it. I remembered these cookies that my Mom used to make that consisted of cornmeal and lime and had a light buttery, texture, which is perfect for summer and to go along side fruit-based desserts. Of course, growing up I only had eyes for my chocolate chip cookies, so I wasn’t always so keen on these cornmeal ones, but I didn’t mind them either. Armed with a bushel of limes (don’t even ask how we got that many), I set out to find a recipe to replicate these cookies for my now-reformed tastebuds. Mr. RC and I finished half the batch in about a day (what butter??!), so it’s safe to say that the chocolate chip cookies might not be so safe in their number one spot…

What’s your favorite type of cookie?

Rosemary Lime Cornmeal Cookies || Runway Chef cornmeal cookies cornmeal cookie recipe citrus cornmeal cookies butter cookies

Rosemary Lime Cornmeal Cookies
Yields 36
A light and buttery cookie with just a hint of flavor that's perfect for summer
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
18 min
Total Time
1 hr 45 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
18 min
Total Time
1 hr 45 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  2. 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  3. The juice of two limes
  4. The zest of one lime
  5. 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  6. 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  7. 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal + extra cornmeal for rolling
  8. 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  9. Granulated sugar
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and the sugar, on medium speed, until smooth. Add the lime juice, zest, and rosemary, and mix to combine, making sure to scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. With the speed turned down to low, add in the flour, cornmeal, and salt and mix just until combined.
  2. Divide the dough in half, and shape each half into a log that's about 1 1/2" in diameter. Wrap each log in plastic wrap (I usually wrap mine in the empty butter wrappers first), and then refrigerate until cold (about one hour; you can speed up this process by placing the logs in the freezer).
  3. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Sprinkle a cutting board with extra cornmeal and granulated sugar (I did about 2 tablespoons of each) and then roll the logs in the mixture to coat them. Slice the logs into approximately 1/4 inch rounds, and place them about 1 inch apart on a baking sheet lined with a silpat mat or parchment paper. Bake until the edges just start to brown and the cookies are golden, about 18-25 minutes (depending on your oven). Cool on sheet. Store in an airtight container for up to a week.
Notes
  1. Rosemary can be omitted and other citrus flavors, such as orange or lemon, can be used in place of the lime.
  2. Not all of the cookies have to be baked at once; you can keep an unbaked log in the fridge for up to a month or in the freezer for up to 2 months. Just make sure the logs stay tightly sealed in plastic wrap.
Adapted from Martha Stewart
Adapted from Martha Stewart
Runway Chef http://www.runwaychef.com/
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Blueberry Peach Cobbler w/ Lime & Lavender Cornmeal Biscuit Topping

Blueberry Peach Cobbler w/ Lime & Lavender Cornmeal Biscuit Topping || Runway Chef Last week I sent Mr. RC I text that read something like ” I can’t decide between a betty, a crisp, a crumble, a buckle, or a cobbler!”. He, of course, had no idea what I was talking about. And to be honest, I’m not so sure I had much of an idea either. I had made things with crumb toppings or biscuit topping before, but I never really knew the exact definitions of each. I just knew I wanted fruit with some kind of crunchy topping. I stumbled upon this article which helped me clarify the difference between a ‘betty’ and a ‘buckle’ and everything in between and ultimately decided biscuit topping was just what I was looking for (because then it totally counts as a breakfast food, too!). So on the one 90 degree day we’ve had all summer I got to work baking up this blueberry peach cobbler (because ovens, cast iron skillets and 90 degree days make total sense together). I think I sweated out every liquid ounce in my body, but that just meant I could justify eating half the pan of blueberry peach cobbler, obviously with lots of vanilla ice cream to cool me down!

Did you know the difference between all the different fruit desserts? If so, which is your favorite? Mine are definitely the cobbler and crumble!

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Blueberry Peach Cobbler with Lime, Lavender, Cornmeal Biscuit Topping
Serves 6
A fresh summer fruit cobbler with crunchy biscuit topping, perfect for dessert or morning-after breakfast
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
28 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
28 min
Total Time
1 hr
For Filling
  1. 2 pounds ripe peaches (about 6 medium)
  2. 1 cup fresh blueberries
  3. 1/4 cup sugar
  4. 1 tbsp cornstarch
  5. Juice from 1 lime
  6. Pinch of salt
For Biscuit Topping
  1. 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  2. 3/4 cup stone-ground cornmeal
  3. Zest of 1 lime
  4. 3 tbsp sugar
  5. 3/4 tsp baking powder
  6. 1/4 tsp baking soda
  7. 1/4 tsp salt
  8. 5 tblsp cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  9. 1/3 cup plain greek yogurt
  10. 2 tablespoons of heavy cream
  11. 1/2 teaspoon of dried lavender
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. For the filling: Cut the peaches in half and remove the pits. Then cut each half into 4 slices. Spread the the peach slices evenly across the bottom of a 10-12 inch cast iron skillet.
  3. Sprinkle on the blueberries, then the cornstarch, sugar, lime juice and salt. Gently toss to coat the fruit. Let stand for 30 minutes.
  4. After 30 minutes, bake the fruit until it begins to bubble around the edges, about 10 minutes.
  5. For the biscuit topping: While the fruit is baking, in a food processor pulse the flour, cornmeal, lime zest, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and lavender for a few seconds. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal (should need about ten 1-second pulses). Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl; add the yogurt and mix with a rubber spatula until a dough forms. (Don’t over mix the dough, or the biscuits will be tough).
  6. To assemble the cobbler: After the fruit has baked for 10 minutes, remove from the oven and spoon on small mounds of the biscuit dough, spacing the mounds about 1/2 inch apart (they should not touch). I had a total of 9 biscuit mounds on my cobbler.
  7. Bake until the biscuits are golden brown and the fruit is bubbling, about 16 to 18 minutes. Cool slightly before serving with ice cream or whipped cream. Store tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days and then simply reheat a serving for 30 seconds in the microwave before eating it.
Notes
  1. I chose not to peel the peaches to save time and effort and also because I don't mind the skins, but feel free to peel them if you choose.
  2. You can also store this, tightly covered, on the countertop for 2 days, but the biscuits will get soggier more quickly and beware of fruit flies want to enjoy your dessert as well!
Runway Chef http://www.runwaychef.com/
 Recipe adapted from here; Cobblers explained here

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Boccone Dolce

Gluten free desserts I’ve always prided myself on my Italian heritage. While I may not speak Italian and I’ve never set foot in Italy (why oh why didn’t I study abroad there when I had the chance?!), I can cook a mean Bolognese, tiramisu and cannolis are my weakness, and wine is my version of water. So anytime I stumble upon an Italian recipe I’ve never heard of, the Italian part of me cringes for not knowing it. Boccone dolce is one such dish. Except this dish caused a double cringe as it originates from the same region as my family (northern Italy). However, it wasn’t until just 2 weeks ago, when my father-in-law ordered a piece at our pre-Broadway show dinner, that I even heard the name ‘boccone dolce’ (or at least that I can remember). Eager to make up for lost time, I immediately began researching recipes and buying ingredients so that I could whip up my own boccone dolce at home. It’s not the healthiest of desserts (I promise there is fruit somewhere in all that cream!), but the airy consistency makes for a perfect summertime dessert. Oh, and bonus, it’s gluten-free! Mr. RC thinks it should be a requirement to make this dessert at least once a month, and since I have a lot of years sans boccone dolce to make up for, this Italian kind of has to agree!

P.S. This would also look really pretty topped off with a few of these!

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Boccone Dolce
Serves 8
A traditional Italian dessert that is light and fluffy. Perfect for summer, easy to adapt, and gluten-free.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
3 hr 30 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
3 hr 30 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 egg whites
  2. 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  3. 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  4. 2 cups heavy cream
  5. 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  6. 6 tablespoons of Grand Marnier
  7. 3/4 cups slivered almonds (approximately)
  8. 2 cups sliced strawberries (approximately)
Instructions
  1. Begin by preheating your oven to 250 degrees. Then, line 2 baking sheets (or 1 large sheet and 1 small sheet) with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl, begin beating the egg whites on medium-high speed. Once they begin to stiffen up, add the salt and granulated sugar. Continue beating for several more minutes, until stiff peaks form.
  3. On the baking sheet spread the egg whites out evenly into 3 circles. Each circle will be about 1/4 inch thick and about 8" in diameter, give or take. Once you have the circles spread out, place them in the oven for 45-60 minutes. They should turn a nice golden brown color and be slightly sticky yet crunchy to the touch. Remove the pan from the oven and set aside to cool.
  4. Back in your mixing bowl (which should be nice and clean again), begin whipping the cream. Once soft peaks begin to form, add in the sugar and Grand Marnier. Beat for just a few seconds longer, until everything is incorporated.
  5. Once the egg white roundss have cooled, begin assembling your "cake". On a serving dish place your first round. Add on a layer of whipped cream (about 1 cup), then sprinkle with almonds and finish with a layer of sliced strawberries. Repeat with the next layer. Frost the entire cake with whipped cream.
  6. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. Wrap leftovers in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.
Notes
  1. The original recipe does not call for Grand Marnier, so feel free to leave it out.
  2. Although I have not tried it, I think it would be delicious to do this with Ameretto liquor in the whipped cream with peaches for the fruit, or lavender whipped cream and raspberries, and, for the Fourth of July, a mix of strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries.
  3. This can also be made sans nuts (for those with nut allergies).
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