We recently found a wonderful little pizza place in a nearby community that we absolutely love frequenting when the craving hits us.
Their prices are amazing, and their service is great.
But the really fun part is watching as our pizzas, heaping with all of our favorite toppings, get slid into the large stone oven that blazes away, and then come out only minutes later completely gooey, caramelized, bubbling and steaming fresh.
Ah...the oven. It's a hot place to be, that's for sure.
And it offers an opportunity for transformation of the delicious kind.
Think about it: is there anything that goes into an oven that then comes out unchanged?
And if whatever goes into that oven is in capable hands, it always comes out better than when it went in; never burned, never overcooked, never anything but golden, inviting, warm, bubbling and brilliant.
Just as it was meant to be.
And it's a lot like the work that God does with us, if we're willing to place ourselves into His capable hands, and have Him transform us, refine us, in His proverbial oven.
Life offers each and every one of us opportunities in the way of challenges that can ultimately refine us, make us better, if we make the decision to walk through them, and not bolt in the opposite direction.
It's often in the midst of uncomfortable situations that we begin to ask questions; and questions are just doorways that lead us to self-scrutinization and more awareness, and then to seeking answers from the One that made us, and finally to authentic answers that can be life changing, life refining.
And I'm all for that.
I'm looking for authenticity.
I want to know what areas in my life need correcting, what ideologies I have that are detrimental, and what desires I'm being driven by that are self-serving, rather than being good for everyone.
Because what I long for most in life, is honesty; I long for healthy, real relationships in every area of my life that are based in truth and openness.
And I'll tell you, I personally make that little trip into the proverbial oven quite frequently these days, but's that's just fine with me.
I'm a seeker, and I'd like to continue moving in an authentic and upward direction; but that can't happen if my best qualities aren't refined and then put to good use in my life.
So here's my little homage, my little “tribute” to the refiner's oven and how it's been working in my life, in these simple little Zesty Chicken Fajitas Pizzas made at home, baked in my own oven.
And let me just tell you that the flavor of this transformation is divine, indeed.
Taste what's good and pass it on.
Chicken Fajitas Pizza with Fire-Roasted Tomato Sauce
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: 4 personal-sized pizzas
• 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts
• Canola oil
• Black pepper
• ½ teaspoon ground cumin
• ½ teaspoon paprika
• 1 red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
• 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
• 1 large onions, halved and slice thinly into semi-circles
• 4 personal-size par-baked pizza crusts (such as Boboli brand, or other)
• Fire-Roasted Tomato Sauce (recipe below)
• 4 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend
• Cilantro leaves, for garnish
-Place the chicken breasts into a bowl, and drizzle over a touch of oil; add a couple of good pinches of salt and pepper, plus the cumin and the paprika, and toss well to coat.
-Place a grill pan (or cast-iron skillet) over medium-high heat, and drizzle in about 2 tablespoons of the oil; once hot, add in the chicken and grill (or sear) until golden-brown and cooked through, about 4 minutes per side, depending on thickness of chicken breasts; set aside to allow them to slightly cool before slicing the meat into strips.
-Turn the heat under the grill pan (or skillet) up to high.
-Next, add in a bit more oil if needed, and then add in the peppers and onions, and allow them to sit undisturbed for a couple of moments to form a slight char; then toss them with tongs and allow them to form a char on the other side, just until they're crisp/tender; remove from pan.
-Preheat your oven to 425°, or to the temperature that the package for your pizza crusts suggests, and line a baking sheet (or two) with parchment paper or foil.
-Place the crusts onto the baking sheets, brush them with a little oil.
-Top each crust with some of the Fire-Roasted Tomato Sauce, then a tiny amount of the cheese, followed by the chicken and peppers/onions, then more cheese over top; bake for about 10-15 minutes or until the crust is baked through, or according to the time specified on your crust package.
-Garnish with a few cilantro leaves, and slice and serve.
Fire-Roasted Tomato Sauce Ingredients:
• 1 (14.5 ounce) can organic diced and fire-roasted tomatoes (with green chilies, if available)
• 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
• ¼ cup cilantro leaves
• ½ teaspoon salt
• Pinch black pepper
-Place all ingredients into the bowl of a food processor, and process until well-blended with a smooth, sauce-like consistency; use immediately, or store in covered container in fridge until ready to use.