This garlic bread chicken pizza recipe leans into convenience foods



Garlic Bread Chicken Pizza

Active time:20 mins

Total time:30 mins

Servings:4

Active time:20 mins

Total time:30 mins

Servings:4

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Ever have one of those weeks where you hit the front door at the end of the day and the thought of cooking feels like a colossal drag rather than a delicious task? I bet you do.

And so you’ll relate to my indulging in this made-from-convenience-foods Garlic Bread Chicken Pizza.

We have recipes for every component, so, yes, you can make a Fast Blender Marinara Sauce, which takes about 30 minutes to cook down. While it’s cooking, you could whip up Becky Krystal’s scrumptious Triple Garlic Bread, which in total takes about an hour to make and bake. For the chicken, you could bake Ellie Krieger’s Crispy Chicken Tenders, which can be ready in about 30 minutes, unless you marinate the poultry for two hours, as she recommends.

Or you can reach for your favorite brand of frozen garlic bread and chicken nuggets or tenders, along with jarred marinara, to get dinner on the table in 30 minutes. If you’ve got these items in your pantry or freezer already, all the better.

I love French bread pizzas and have been making them for years, but I was prompted to make this particular one after my colleague Emily Heil did the heavy lifting during two of her recent best-of taste tests. In September, she gathered a group to sample 10 brands of chicken nuggets. Her team ranked them to choose which are the best frozen chicken nuggets out there.

Then, in January, she assembled a group to taste-test 12 jarred brands of marinara sauce to reveal which was the most delicious.

Thanks to her, with top-ranking Rao’s sauce and Whole Foods’ 365 nuggets (which were the top scorer in that test), I knew I was starting off with quality convenience goods. A few tips if you plan to make any kind of French-bread-style pizza.

  • For the loaf, I like using garlic bread because it adds flavor to your crust, but you can use plain — should be wider and softer than a baguette. If the bread is curled at the edges, put a sheet pan over it and press it down gently to flatten it just a bit. Bake the bread — no need to defrost if frozen — until it is crisp and just starting to brown on the edges.
  • Then spoon on the marinara, but don’t overdo it. Add just enough to provide flavor and moisture.
  • You can use breaded nuggets (for a chicken parmigiana effect). Or this is a great way to use up leftover roasted chicken, mushrooms, squash or eggplant.
  • To finish, top with enough grated mozzarella to cover the pizzas, then bake until bubbly and starting to brown just a bit.

You can eat the pizza just like that, or let people add their favorite toppings. Just don’t overload it. Sprinkle the baked pizza with a little parmesan and crushed red pepper flakes. Have fresh herbs on hand? Toss a few leaves on top. Want your pizza a little saucier? Heat up more marinara and put little dishes on the table for dipping.

While the pizzas bake, make a green or fruit salad and you’ll have what promises to be a popular supper. Or you can cut the pizzas into smaller slices and serve them as an after-school or movie-night snack or maybe for a Super Bowl watch party.

Garlic Bread Chicken Pizza

Storage: Refrigerate for up to 4 days; reheat in a 350-degree oven for about 5 minutes.

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  • One (10- to 12-ounce) package frozen garlic bread
  • 1/2 cup jarred marinara sauce
  • 8 ounces baked or fried chicken tenders or nuggets, breaded or plain
  • 1 3/4 cups (6 ounces) shredded cheese, such as fontina or mozzarella
  • Crushed red pepper flakes, for serving (optional)
  • Grated parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)
  • Chopped fresh basil or parsley, for serving (optional)

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees. On a large, rimmed baking sheet, arrange the garlic bread, buttered side up. (If the bread is curled at the edges, set a sheet pan over and gently press down to flatten a bit.) Bake for about 8 minutes, or until the bread is just lightly browned.

Spread the marinara evenly over the bread. Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces and arrange over the sauce. Top with shredded mozzarella or fontina.

Bake for about 8 minutes, or until the cheese melts and starts to bubble.

Transfer to a cutting board and cut each piece of bread in half or quarters. Then transfer the pizza to plates and immediately sprinkle with pepper flakes, parmesan, and/or parsley or basil, if using. Serve hot.

Calories: 496; Total Fat: 26 g; Saturated Fat: 11 g; Cholesterol: 50 mg; Sodium: 991 mg; Carbohydrates: 42 g; Dietary Fiber: 2 g; Sugar: 3 g; Protein: 28 g

This analysis is an estimate based on available ingredients and this preparation. It should not substitute for a dietitian’s or nutritionist’s advice.

From recipes editor Ann Maloney.

Tested by Ann Maloney; email questions to voraciously@washpost.com.

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