Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Banana and Chicken Pizza

This recipe may sound a little strange, but trust me; it will surprise you.

In college I had a professor who was from Australia. I loved listening to her exotic accent, and it was a treat when she would occasionally tell us a little bit about her life in Australia. She would always talk about one of her favorite foods, banana and chicken pizza. All of the students would turn their noses up in disgust, agreeing that banana and chicken pizza sounded too odd for their taste buds.

For our final we turned in a big research paper and had a party during the time slot for the exam, instead of  taking a dreadful test. Each of the students brought a side dish to share and our professor provided the pizza. She had one of the students who worked at Pappa John's take a banana in to work with him to make the banana and chicken pizza. Some of my classmates refused to try it, sticking to the familiar pepperoni and sausage pizzas. I have always considered myself to be an adventurous eater; I'll try almost anything once. I thought the banana and chicken pizza was delicious! The sweet taste and silky texture of the bananas danced with the richness of the cheese and the succulent chicken. I would choose the banana and chicken pizza over a greasy pepperoni pizza any day.

After deciding to try making this pizza at home,  I did a little research online. I found some recipes for banana pizza with cinnamon and sugar, and banana pizza with a chocolate crust. These both sounded delicious for dessert, but not for a meal. I had to wing it.

Banana and Chicken Pizza


1 box of Jiffy pizza crust mix (one box makes a 12"-14" crust)
1 can of pizza sauce
1 chicken breast
1 handful of chopped onion
1 1/2 ripe bananas
shredded mozzarella cheese
shredded mild cheddar cheese
palm full of dried tarragon
black pepper


Note: To be more efficient I processed a whole package of chicken in the Marinade Express and put what I wasn't going to use into sandwich bags to freeze and save for later.

1. Process the chicken in the Marinade Express.

When I opened the chicken it had a bad smell to it. I checked the date and it said it should be fresh for another week. Still, I trusted my sniffer on this one; the chicken was on the verge of spoiling. I knew the Marinade Express process kills up to 99.5 % of bacteria present in food, and I have a very good nose, so I figured it was worth a shot to see if my chicken would come out smelling fresh. I put the chicken into the Marinade Express along with a packet of unflavored seasoning. I made sure I drew a high vacuum and did not shortcut the time.Then I watched as the chicken rotated in water that kept getting progressively dirtier.I let it rotate for less than five minutes. Then I dumped the dirty, smelly water out, and rinsed out the drum of the Marinade Express. I reloaded it with a fresh seasoning packet, water, and the chicken and carefully drew a new vacuum. I let it rotate for another fifteen minutes. The water remained noticeably cleaner and when I removed the chicken for the second time it smelled fresh and ready to cook. I was relieved; it saved me a trip to the store and dealing with the hassle of trying to exchange the meat. The Marinade Express works wonders; turning smelly chicken back to fresh chicken is one of them. I know it's all science but in my mind it's magic! To find out all of the magic tricks the Marinade Express has up it's sleeve visit the Marinade Express website.

Caution: I am not recommending that anyone try this with food that is too far spoiled; it could be dangerous. 

2. While the chicken is processing in the Marinade Express begin chopping the onion. You only need a small handful of chopped onion.

3. Cut 1 1/2 bananas into thin slices.

4. Remove the chicken from the Marinade Express; drain the water. Place one chicken breast into a baking dish and bake in the oven at 350 degrees until the chicken is mostly cooked through (so it doesn't overcook when it is cooking on the pizza).This will only take about 15 minutes, because the Marinade Express process causes protein foods to cook faster than normal.

5. Follow the directions on the pizza crust box. They are simple: add some water to the mixture, knead the dough, and cover it for 5 minutes.

6. Add the pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese, cheddar cheese, onions, bananas, cubed chicken, tarragon, pepper, and salt to the crust.

Note: Paul was helping me with this pizza recipe.He is an expert at making pizza because he worked at Happy Joe's Pizza and Ice Cream for eight years. Whenever we make pizza together he always reminds me not to overflow the pizza with toppings because they will slide off the pizza. Make sure you eyeball the cheese; we had quite a bit left over, and we used more mozzarella than cheddar.

7. Bake the pizza until the crust is golden brown. Then slice and enjoy!

Pre-baked Banana and Chicken Pizza

The banana and chicken pizza was delightful. It was savory and sweet, cheesy and zesty all at the same time! It was how I remembered it being in class that day in college. The subtle licorice flavor of the tarragon was a perfect addition. I am proud of the Marinade Express for freshening the chicken, and loved the opportunity to experiment with a pizza most everyone (at least in the U.S.) hasn't heard of. I plan to revisit the banana pizza and try adding some Canadian bacon instead of chicken for the salty, sweet combo. I hope you try this recipe.

Banana and Chicken Pizza

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