Finally Great Pizza at Home

On October 6, 2014, in Food, by Chris Baccus



This is not a sponsored post.  Breville never reached out to me and sent me anything, not even a cup of flour to make the dough.  No, this is just pure, natural, organic love of a product I bought with my hard earned money.

It’s a pizza maker that has changed my experience with at home pizza making.  I tried pizza stones in the oven and even grilled pizzas.  They’re all okay, but nothing has been as revolutionary as the Breville Pizza Maker I bought at Williams-Sonoma this year.


Yes a pizza oven installed in my backyard would be a more amazing way to make pizza at home, but as one fellow cooking classmate put at a recent cooking course, her husband had made two pizza thus far at a cost of $2,000+ per pizza. That’s what is most amazing about the Breville it is only $150, and I paid for mine with American Express points! You can now buy it in red too.

Basically it replicates pizza brick oven cooking by heating a stone to 660 degrees.  Sure it’s not the same as a real brick oven, but the results are pretty amazing. The trick is getting the pizza dough the right thickness. I like to have it around a 1/4″ thick so it isn’t too thin, the pizza rips and you get a huge mess when that happens.

I have found Mario Batali’s basic Pizza Dough recipe to be a perfect solution.

You can find it here:

It will make enough dough for 3 10-12″ pizzas.  I make one for our boys to split.  Then one for my wife, tonight she had bell pepper and pineapple.  Finally, I make one for me.  Tonight I cooked some Niman Ranch Bacon and crumbled that with some fresh ricotta and black olives.


The only bad part is I need three of these to make all the pizzas at once so we can all eat together.  Good thing though is each pizza only takes 5-7 minutes to bake so they are quick.

All in all, it’s been a great purchase and one I highly recommend if you are struggling to make a great pizza at home.  Now you can for only $150 or for free with a bunch of American Express points.




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Chicken Cordon Bleu

On May 14, 2012, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus

To the unfamiliar, Chicken Cordon Bleu sounds like an elaborate meal that takes a lot of time and expert cooking.  Fortunately, the reality is a rather simple dish that even a novice cook can accomplish with little effort while impressing his or her guests.

This version is adapted from the blog The Girl Who Ate Everything. I eliminated the Parmesan Dijon Cream Sauce and instead of laying the cheese and ham on top of the chicken breasts, I sliced the chicken in half and laid the ham and cheese inside the chicken breast.

For the chicken I use a local Chicken Ranch, Windy Meadow Farms, and for the ham we buy the Niman Ranch European Style ham found at our Whole Foods deli counter.

Chicken Cordon Bleu
Serves 4

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 slices of ham
4 slices of baby swiss cheese
1 1/2 cups Panko bread crumbs
3 tablespoons butter
ground pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and lightly butter a baking dish.  Prepare the chicken by carefully slicing the breasts in half, keeping one end intact. With the chicken breast open, lay a slice of ham and cheese inside and then lay the half over the ham and cheese.  Melt the 3 tablespoons of butter and pour into a small bowl with the bread crumbs to combine.

In a baking dish sprinkle some of the bread crumbs on the bottom of the dish.  Lay your chicken breasts on top and rub the remaining bread crumbs on the the chicken. Sprinkle baking dish with ground pepper (you don’t need salt due to the ham.)

Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes until bread crumbs begin to turn medium brown.


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