Pillsbury Gluten Free Pizza Crust – Yay or Nay?

When Pillsbury came out with their line of gluten free products, I was more than just excited. I was ecstatic. Finally, something gluten free that would make my life EASIER! Let’s face it, when I come home from a long day at work, I don’t always want to make a pizza crust from scratch. (Although it is delicious that way!) And chocolate chip cookies? I have missed the days of just baking 3-4 cookies at a time from a tub of pre-made dough that is always ready to go in the refrigerator. Pillsbury’s new line of products was offering me just that! The ease of my gluten-filled days! But would it live up to my high expectations?

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The first thing we tried was the gluten free pizza crust. Though the crust is a little bit sweeter than I was expecting, and if you use a standard pizza pie pan it rolls out to make a fairly thin crust, both my husband and I really enjoyed it.

However, every time I’ve tweeted a picture of a pizza we’ve made with Pillsbury crust, or posted one on my Facebook page, I’ve gotten mixed feedback. I’ve heard from lots of people who have had trouble with the Pillsbury crust. Anything from the dough not cooking all the way through to toppings actually sliding off the crust! If you are one of those people, here is what I recommend to you:

DO NOT FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS ON THE CONTAINER.

That’s right – you read that correctly. Be a rebel. Don’t follow the instructions on the container the dough comes in. I know that this is a challenge for those of us in the gluten free community because we live for following baking instructions, but trust me, I’ve had great success with this dough by NOT FOLLOWING THE INSTRUCTIONS!

So how do I do it?

It’s simple really. First, I roll out my dough.

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Then, instead of pre-cooking it in the oven before adding toppings, as suggested by the instructions on the container, I simply place my toppings directly on the uncooked dough. (Aren’t I such a wild child?!) Adding toppings is the fun part! We’ve made regular pizzas with just sauce, cheese and pepperoni. Sometimes I even mix it up and add a little sausage for the hubs.

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Or, when I really need a taste of home, I make a Buffalo Chicken Pizza. Those are my favorite. Instead of pizza sauce, I use Bleu Cheese as the base, sprinkle on Frank’s hot sauce (as desired), add some pre-cooked chicken and shredded cheese and bake.

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Now, here is the trick. Remember when I mentioned I don’t pre-cook my crust? I also don’t bake my pizza for as long as recommended on the packaging. The first time I ever made a pizza using Pillsbury dough, I simply kept an eye on it while it was cooking and after about 14 minutes at 400 degrees, I noticed it looked finished. It had cooked all the way through, even in the very center, so I was relieved. Now I know that my oven only requires about 13-15 minutes of cooking time, depending on how many toppings I pile on top of the crust.

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Your oven might not be quite as intensely hot as mine is. (I never keep any recipe I make in the oven as long as recommended) So if you find yours takes a little longer, don’t fret. The best thing to do is watch your first pizza and make a mental note for round two!

Hopefully this helps some of you who have been struggling with Pillsbury! And if not, stick with your other go-to crusts. Like Chebe Bread, which has always been a favorite of ours!

Good luck! 🙂

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Chicago Knows its Gluten Free Food

When it comes to gluten free food, Chicago is not messing around. The hubs and I spent the entire weekend eating and drinking and there was not one place that we visited that wasn’t fantastic. Not only was the food delicious, but the staff almost everywhere we went was incredibly knowledgeable about both gluten-intolerance and Celiac Disease. They went above and beyond to take care of us, explain menus to us and recommend items on the menu that they knew we could eat. I was absolutely blown away by the quality of care we received!

Here are a few of our favorite places that we visited this weekend:

We loved the gluten free pizza at Homeslice. And not just because the name of the restaurant is great, but because they make their gluten free crust from scratch and it is thick, fluffy and delicious – and will bring back memories of the days when your pizzas were gluten-filled.

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Mity Nice Bar & Grill serves homemade gluten free cheese muffins made with tapioca flour that are glorious! And their gluten free hamburger buns will make your stomach smile.

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Plus you can grab a gluten free beer almost anywhere. No joke. Search for beer on findmeglutenfree.com in Chicago and over 150 locations are listed. I can’t find beer that many places in the entire state of Mississippi! We were even able to enjoy some Redbridge at Wrigley Field! Because nothing goes better with baseball than cold beer!

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But of everywhere we ate this weekend our favorite restaurant was Wildfire. We almost didn’t go because we try to avoid any “chain” restaurants when we travel. But the reviews for Wildfire were just extraordinary – and since there are only seven Wildfire Restaurants in the US, and all of them are in the Midwest (far from Mississippi!), we decided to pay it a visit. And were we ever glad that we did!

Let’s start with the the Gluten Free menu itself. Two pages long, the options are so extensive that choosing what to eat is a challenge in itself! Luckily, your server will probably be extremely helpful (ours certainly was!) and he or she will walk you through the options. After they bring you your delicious homemade gluten free bread of course! I am not using the word delicious lightly here either. The bread is great! They make their bread with Damata gluten free flour – something that I will be investing in as soon as I make it back to Mississippi for sure!

While we enjoyed our bread, our waitress talked us into the Spinach and Artichoke Fondue, which is served with homemade gluten free pita chips, also made with Damata gluten free flour. Holy cow. Those chips were rockin’. I could live on those pita chips they are so good. By the time we got finished with the bread and the spinach and artichoke dip, we were both getting so full, we had no idea how we were going to eat our steaks that we had ordered!

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But somehow, we managed. To eat not just our bone-in filets (which were cooked to absolute perfection I might add) but also to share what was arguably the greatest gluten free macaroni and cheese in the history of macaronis. Several times during the meal I noticed that my husband actually had his eyes closed while he was chewing, as if he was savoring every bite.

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We were both stuffed after the meal, there was no way we could even consider ordering a dessert. But our incredible waitress insisted on bringing us the flour-less chocolate cake – a dessert she described as “life-changing”. I’ve rarely eaten a dessert that is worthy of such high praise, but she was adamant about it.

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When it arrived at our table, I knew that I was done for. It looked absolutely incredible. Like everything else throughout the meal, the dessert was perfection. It was warm, gooey and rich. We devoured the entire thing, despite the fact that we were so full we could barely move.

After we were finished, while we were waiting for our check and talking about how impressed we were with the entire meal, my husband said to me, “Honestly, if all gluten free food tasted this good, I would have started eating this way before I even found out I was allergic to gluten. This was amazing.”

If you are ever in Chicago, stop by Wildfire Restaurant. Sure, it is a “chain”, but you certainly won’t feel that way once you step inside. The food is delicious. The waitstaff is wonderful and incredibly knowledgeable about their gluten free menu. And did I mention that all of your food is served with these adorable “allergy” sticks to indicate a food allergy?

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And oh yea, order the dessert. No matter how full you are. It’s totally worth it!

Buffalo Chicken Pizza – Gluten Free!

When it’s dinner time and your husband is craving pizza (and your last experience with Domino’s Gluten Free Pizza went something like this…), it’s time to head to the fridge and see what ingredients you can scrounge up for a homemade Gluten Free version. This weekend, we did have a Pillsbury Gluten Free Pizza Crust at the house, but we were all out of pizza sauce. This meant it was time to get creative.

So I grabbed the essentials for any quality, Buffalo-inspired, meal: bleu cheese and Frank’s hot sauce. Then I set out to make a delicious Buffalo Chicken Pizza.

What You’ll Need to Make Your Own:
– 1 Gluten Free Pizza Crust (I love Pillsbury and Chebe, but any GF crust will work!)
– 2 Chicken Breasts, cooked and chopped into bite sized pieces
– Frank’s Hot Sauce
– Shredded Cheese
– Bleu Cheese

The process couldn’t be easier! Simply roll out your pizza crust. I always use my handy pizza pan from Williams Sonoma so I get perfectly round pizzas every time. What a fantastic wedding gift idea that was! 😉

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Then spread a layer of bleu cheese over the crust as your sauce. Top the bleu cheese with the chicken, Frank’s and shredded cheese (as desired). Add vegetables if you are feeling a little bit healthier than we were!

Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes. What comes out is a Buffalo-inspired masterpiece that looks a little something like this:

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Enjoy!

Getting Glutened Sucks

Let’s face it; getting glutened sucks. I could use other choice words to describe it (use your imagination here) but it is just plain old no fun at all. But when it’s your fault, it is so much worse.

I got glutened last night. My husband called me on my drive home from work to let me know his fantasy football draft was starting soon and that he was staying at his office to do his draft. I, being the loving newlywed wife that I am, offered to bring up dinner. He was super excited of course! But I was in a rush and was not in the mood to cook. So I ran home to let the dog out, grabbed a six pack of Redbridge and headed to Dominos to pick up a some Gluten Free pizza. Easy solution, right?

Wrong. Last night can be summed up in two words: EPIC. FAILURE.

Don’t get me wrong. I am a huge fan of Domino’s gluten free crust. In the sense that it tastes amazing and I don’t have to do any cooking to enjoy it. In fact, I have enjoyed Domino’s gf pizza on several occassions before last night and been just fine. Despite this warning on their website: Domino’s pizza made with a Gluten Free Crust is prepared in a common kitchen with the risk of gluten exposure. Therefore, Domino’s DOES NOT recommend this pizza for customers with celiac disease. Customers with gluten sensitivities should exercise judgment in consuming this pizza.

If only this disclaimer worried me as much THEN as it does NOW

If only this disclaimer worried me as much THEN as it does NOW

It was always a risk I was willing to take. And for awhile, I got away with it. But now I am paying the price. No piece of pizza could be delicious enough for how crappy I felt later that night… And this morning… And all day… And still 24 hours later. :/

But I’m by no means the first person to get glutened and I won’t be the last. And this probably won’t be the last time it happens to me either. It’s just part of this wonderful gluten-free lifestyle. So what exactly did I learn from all this?

I am breaking up with Domino’s.

Gluten-Free Pizza Prepped in Less than 5 Minutes

I’m not gonna lie. There are many nights I come home from work and the absolute last thing I want to do is cook. Especially when lots of gluten-free recipes take longer to prep. So I was definitely excited to find Pillsbury’s new Gluten-Free line of product in our local grocery store this weekend! How easy did this look? Cookie dough, pie crust and pizza dough! All ready to go!

Pillsbury - You are a lifesaver!

Pillsbury – You are a lifesaver!

Last night when I got home from work that easy to make pizza dough sure was calling my name. So I grabbed some easy ingredients – sauce, garlic powder, cheese and pepperoni – and NO JOKE (!!!) – LESS THAN 5 MINUTES LATER – my pizza was ready to pop in the oven! 5 MINUTES TO PREP A DELICIOUS GLUTEN FREE PIZZA?!!?! This must be too good to be true!

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Oh, but it wasn’t. This pizza was INSANELY good. I mean gloriously delicious. Lindsay-tested and Husband-approved. It was SO good in fact that we forgot to take a picture after it was finished cooking before we started eating it. Needless to say, there were no leftovers…

If you haven’t tried Pillsbury gluten-free dough yet, give it a go! I know we will definitely be enjoying many more Pillsbury gluten-free pizzas in our future. Now I can’t wait to try their other products!