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.
Runway Chef http://www.runwaychef.com/

Greek Salad

Greek Salad Up until we went to Greece, I typically thought of Greek salad as rather blah. With bland produce and a basic dressing, about the only thing the salad had going for it was the feta cheese (give me all the feta!!). And then, in Santorini, I had the most life-changing Greek salad ever. Literally, my life will never be the same (you can see the salad here). I have visions of this salad while I eat lunch, or nightly dreams where I’m back in Santorini eating it, and to this day I can still taste the sweet, crisp vegetables, the crunchy bread, and the salty feta all topped off with the slightest hint of oregano. The vegetables alone would have been life changing. They were literally bursting with juicy flavor unlike any I had ever experienced (even homegrown) and the green pepper (which I’m normally not a fan of) tasted like candy. Now, every time we go to a Greek restaurant, I order a Greek salad, in the hopes that it will somehow magically be like the one in Santorini, and every time I’m so let down by the plate they bring out, that I just want to send the plate back. I’ve informed Mr. RC that the only remedy to this problem is to go back to Santorini so I can get my Greek salad fill (and hoard about 50 pounds of it back on the plane). He had to go and be all practical and suggested I just recreate it at home. Obviously, my idea is much better, but to tide me over I’ll go with his idea. Of course, it’s not exactly identical (the vegetables aren’t quite up to par in flavor and mine is missing scallions), but this Greek salad is still, most definitely, life changing. 

Greek Salad Greek Salad Ingredients Croutons cucumber, tomatoes, peppers Greek-Salad-Recipe

Greek Salad
A light and fresh dish based on a traditional Greek salad served in Santorini
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Prep Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. Kalamata or Greek mix olives
  2. Caper berries
  3. Feta cheese
  4. Tomatoes
  5. Green pepper
  6. Cucumber
  7. Bread (I like to use a rustic or Italian style)
  8. Parsley
  9. Oregano
  10. Lemons
  11. Olive oil
Instructions
  1. First, make the "croutons". I like to use a cast iron skillet, but a regular skillet would work as well. Place the pan on a burner turned to medium heat. Add in some olive oil, and let it heat for a couple minutes before adding the bread. Toss the bread in the oil, and cook for a few minutes, tossing the whole time, until the bread is crispy and golden. Turn the burner off and set the pan aside.
  2. Next, prep and cut the vegetables and cheese. The feta cheese I like to cut into thick triangles and the tomatoes I like to cut into sixths. The peppers and cucumber I cut into thin, matchstick strips that are about 3-4 inches long.
  3. To begin assembling the salad, place a generous handful of croutons on the bottom of a large plate. Next, arrange the cucumber and pepper strips on top of the bread. Add on a few tomato slices and pieces of feta. Drizzle the entire plate with olive oil and squeeze on the juice of half a lemon. Finish the salad off with a sprinkle of oregano, salt and pepper, and garnish with parsley.
Notes
  1. This salad is great as an appetizer, a light lunch, or as a part of a dinner meal. We love to have this with grilled chicken and a glass of red wine.
  2. This can be prepared up to 6 hours in advance and kept in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve it. Any leftovers can be refrigerator but keep in mind the bread will get soggy, so I would recommend storing the two separately if you do happen to have leftovers.
Runway Chef http://www.runwaychef.com/

Breakfast Nachos

breakfast nachos If you’ve been prepping for Cinco de Mayo by loading up on nachos, chips and guac, and margaritas….well, first, you’re not alone (give me all the guac and margs and nobody gets hurt!).  Secondly, you should probably eat more nachos. Because obviously nachos for appetizers, dinner, or dessert just isn’t enough. No, your life is definitely missing some nachos for breakfast. I mean, let’s be real, who doesn’t want their breakfast smothered in cheese and avocado and topped with bacon (always lots of bacon)?! Oh and you should definitely have that margarita with them…after all, you have to have something in place of the orange juice, right?!

guacamole recipe breakfast nachos recipe breakfast nacho recipe recipe for breakfast nachos

Breakfast Nachos
Nachos with breakfast toppings
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Total Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. Tortilla chips (I used rice and quinoa tortilla chips)
  2. Avocado, mashed (can also use guacamole)
  3. Shredded cheddar cheese (can also use feta or goat cheese)
  4. Fresh salsa (tomatoes, garlic, cilantro, chili powder, salt and pepper)
  5. Eggs, cooked to your liking
  6. Bacon, cooked until crispy
  7. Lime cumin yogurt (1/3 c. Greek yogurt, juice of half a lime, 1/2 tsp. cumin)
  8. Cilantro, to top it off
  9. Black beans, optional
Instructions
  1. Place the chips on a serving plate.
  2. Start adding on your toppings. I did the fresh salsa, the avocado, the bacon, the cheese, the egg, and then topped everything off with the yogurt and extra cilantro.
  3. Serve immediately.
Notes
  1. All ingredients and their amounts are negotiable depending on your taste preferences.
Runway Chef http://www.runwaychef.com/

Grown-Up BLT

Grown-Up BLT Sometimes something is so gosh darn good that the only thing that comes to mind is “YUM!”. This is one such case. I mean not to brag or anything, but do you see this BLT?! Do you see it?! The amount of deliciousness piled onto that fluffy bread is something that I can’t even comprehend. 

BLTs bring back memories of summer picnics in the park and simple summer suppers on my Grandmother’s back porch. They’ve always been a favorite of mine. While nothing will ever beat a classic, I couldn’t resist the chance to fancy up this childhood favorite with swiss chard in place of lettuce, sun-dried tomatoes in place of regular tomatoes, and bacon…in place of bacon (because obviously bacon is something that should never be replaced). So here’s to you “new-adult BLT”, you are welcome in my kitchen and on my plate anytime you want!

BLT BLT with egg and avocado swiss chard Fancy BLT Jazzed up BLT

Grown-Up BLT
An adult version of the classic BLT
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Prep Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. Bread
  2. Avocado (very ripe)
  3. Goat Cheese (slightly softened)
  4. Sun-dried Tomatoes
  5. Bacon, cooked until crispy
  6. Swiss Chard
  7. Eggs (cooked over-easy)
Instructions
  1. Spread one half of an avocado onto a piece of bread. Next spread on the goat cheese (I used about 1 tablespoon). Top that with about 2 tablespoons of sun-dried tomatoes. After that layer on a piece of swiss chard and a couple of slices of bacon. Finish of your BLT with an egg. Serve immediately.
Runway Chef http://www.runwaychef.com/

Italian Stuffed Artichokes

stuffed artichoke recipes Over the weekend, while we were visiting my father-in-law in CT, we had these amazing stuffed artichokes that were filled with garlicky goodness and surrounded by a tomato sauce, instead of the typical oil or butter. Since I had some artichokes on hand, I decided I needed to recreate these by adding a few twists to my usual recipe. The results were just as good as the original, but better, because isn’t everything homemade better?!

FYI, these guys do come with a warning label: eat one of these and no human, animal, alien, ghost, or zombie will come within 300 yards of you for at least 24 hours. You see, there are 15, yes 15, cloves of garlic in these (how Italian of me). So basically, if you’re looking to play hooky, get rid of an unwanted ghost, or avoid a family reunion, you simply have to make a batch of these. It’s almost easier than making up a believable excuse…

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Italian Stuffed Artichokes
Yields 4
An Italian style stuffed artichoke recipe
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
50 min
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
50 min
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 artichokes
  2. 1 lemon
  3. 3 tablespoons of olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  4. 1 1/4 cup bread crumbs (I used Italian style)
  5. 15 cloves of garlic
  6. 4 tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese, plus extra for the top
  7. 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  8. 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  9. 1 28 oz. jar crushed tomatoes (I used ones w/salt & basil added)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Clean and prepare your artichoke hearts. Peel back the leaves until it looks like an open flower blossom. Then remove the inner petals with the purple tops, by gently pulling them out. Next, scoop out the fuzzy pieces, making sure not to take the heart of the artichoke which is underneath (I found it easiest to use a grapefruit spoon for this step). Finally give the artichoke a rinse under water, shake it out, then squeeze a little lemon juice on the center to keep it from turning.
  3. In the bowl of a cuisinart, combine the bread crumbs, garlic, cheese, salt, and red pepper flakes. Pulse for a few seconds. Add in the olive oil and about a 2 inch piece of lemon (skin and all) and continue pulsing until everything is well combined (the mixture should be slightly sticky).
  4. In a glass 13x9 baking dish lay out your artichokes, keeping them upright as much as possible. Fill them with the stuffing, putting about 1/2 cup in each.
  5. Pour the tomatoes around the sides of the artichokes then cover the pan with foil. Bake for 40 minutes, then remove the foil, sprinkle on some extra cheese (if desired), and continue baking, foil removed, for about 10 more minutes.
  6. Cool for 5-10 minutes before serving. This goes well with a salad, and make sure you have some fresh bread to soak up the leftover sauce and filling.
Notes
  1. You can also use tomato sauce in place of the crushed tomatoes, and if you can only find whole tomatoes, simply puree them in the cuisinart for a few seconds before pouring them on top of the artichokes.
Runway Chef http://www.runwaychef.com/
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