Thursday, February 26, 2009

Chicken Kiev

No, that's not a fried Twinkie!

It's another recipe from my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook that I'd never tried. I found it appealing because I had all the stuff to make it and it could chill overnight so it would be an easy meal to put together the following day.

Chicken Kiev

1 tbsp chopped green onion
1 tbsp snipped fresh parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 of a 1/4-pound stick of butter, chilled
1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp water
1/4 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c fine dry bread crumbs
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
Salt and black pepper
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp cooking oil

In a small bowl combine green onion, parsley, and garlic; set aside.

Cut chilled butter into four 2-1/2x1/2-inch sticks.

In a shallow bowl stir together egg and water.

Place flour in another shallow bowl.

Place bread crumbs in a third shallow bowl. Set aside.

Place a chicken breast half between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Using a rolling pin pound chicken lightly into a rectangle about 1/8 inch thick. Remove plastic wrap.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with one-fourth of the green onion mixture.

Place a butter piece in center of chicken piece.

Fold in sides; roll up.

Repeat with remaining chicken.

Coat chicken rolls with flour. Dip in egg mixture; coat with bread crumbs. Dip in egg mixture again; coat with with additional bread crumbs. (Coat ends well to seal in the butter.) Place coated chicken in 2-quart rectangular baking dish.

Cover and chill for 1 to 24 hours.

In a large skillet melt the 1 tablespoon butter over medium-high heat; add oil. Add chilled chicken rolls.

Cook about 5 minutes or until golden brown, turning to brown all sides.

Return rolls to the 2-quart rectangular baking dish.

Bake, uncovered, in a 400 degree F oven for 15 to 18 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink (170 degrees F). Spoon any drippings over rolls.

4 servings

Wow, I thought these would be difficult since it's a butter burrito in a chicken wrapper transferred repeatedly. I was impressed simply by the fact they held their shape! Chilling them for 24 hours was likely key.

They tasted good, though I'm not sure I'll make these again. The work:return ratio wasn't that great. Don't get me wrong, they were good, but stuffed chicken breasts are faster and, well, better.

If I do make these again, I'll be sure to pound the breasts thinner. When I rolled them up, I couldn't keep the sides tucked in, so a bunch of the butter simply leaked out. Not that it was a bad thing, it just annoyed me. Also, my butter sticks were too chubby. I have noticed that butter in the west is short and fat, while the sticks in the east are long and skinny. I made the mistake of cutting a chubby stick in half and quartering it. Long and skinny would've helped here, I think.

  • chicken: $0.79/lb = about $2.37
  • fresh parsley bunch: $0.59
  • butter: $8/4 lb (at Costco) = $0.13 for 1/4 lb
  • bread crumbs: $4.59 for 160-oz (at Costco) = $0.03/quarter cup
let's throw in another buck to cover the staples and we get for a grand total: $4.12 or $1.03 per serving.

As you could see, we had ours with a baked potato and some glazed carrots. Mmm. They went well with the buttery chicken, that's for sure!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Diablo Shrimp

A few years ago, I picked up a copy of The Border Cookbook by Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison, copyright 1995. I'm not sure where I found it, but knew that I had to have it as I needed a starting point to cook some good Mexican dishes.

For a time I was a regular at a place called Tacos el Ganadero and they served some of the best authentic Mexican food I've ever experienced before or since. If you are ever on the west side of Grand Rapids, MI, (Lane and Bridge area) you will not regret finding this place and getting the shrimp quesadillas. They are huge: jam-packed full of shrimp, avocados, cilantro and chihuahua cheese plus they have this spicy sauce slightly similar to a diablo sauce that makes them just slightly sloppy. MMM! I remembered that I really enjoyed the fact that I could GORGE on this thing and take the other half home with me to eat later!!

Per Google, it looks like Tacos el Ganadero is still there at 950 Bridge St. While they don't have a website, they are listed in many citysearch/yelp sort of things. Look it up, go there, eat, and tell me what you think. And don't be shy if you don't know Spanish. Just say "quesadilla camaron" (kay-sa-dee-ya ca-ma-rone where rone rhymes with lone) and they'll know what you are talking about. If you don't care for shrimp or quesadillas (you wacko), they (used to) have photos on the wall for the gringos to point at as well as photo menus. Ah, man, I miss that place. It was cute how the waitresses would giggle as I stumbled over pronunciation while drooling on the pictures in the menu.

Anyway, it was Tacos el Ganadero that inspired me to buy this cookbook and I recently cracked it open for the first time in years --probably since I bought it. I wasn't into cooking as much as I am now and since the cookbook didn't have photos, I quickly lost interest (plus I was working, getting ready to go to and then attending university etc). While there isn't a fantastic recipe for shrimp quesadillas like Tacos el Ganadero does it, I had a renewed interest and found the easiest recipe in the book to start with:

Diablo Shrimp

Diablo Sauce

2 whole small Roma or plum tomatoes, unpeeled
2 canned chipotles or dried chipotles soaked in hot water to soften
8 garlic cloves, roasted
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp ground New Mexican chile (or ancho or guajillo chile)
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp salt plus more to taste
1/2 tsp dried oregano, preferably Mexican
1/8 tsp ground cloves
2 c stock: seafood, chicken or a combination
1/4 c vegetable oil
2 lbs. medium or large shrimp, peeled but tails left on, deveined if you wish

Line the broiler pan/rack with foil and heat the broiler. Broil the tomatoes 15-18 minutes, turning occasionally, until they are soft and the skins split and turn dark in spots. Cool tomatoes briefly.

Puree the tomatoes, their skins and cores with the rest of the ingredients except oil and shrimp.

In a heavy skillet or large saucepan, warm the oil over high heat.

Pour in the sauce, being careful to avoid splatters as the liquid hits the oil.

When sputtering stops, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 15 minutes, until the sauce thickens but still spoons easily.

The sauce can be made a day ahead and rewarmed. If cold, rewarm in a heavy skillet or large saucepan.

Add the shrimp to the sauce and simmer only until they turn pink and firm -- a matter of just a couple minutes. Do not overcook the shrimp as they will toughen.

Serve hot with rice or potatoes.

Rodney and I had this with Mexican red rice, pinto beans and corn tortillas. And it was deelicious! What I liked is that I could make sure the shrimp weren't swimming in sauce. If there is one thing I can't stand about food is how a lot of times it is drowning in a gravy or a sauce. That totally hides what should be the highlight of the meal!

While not exactly cheap, it was cheaper than going out to "get Mexican" at a decent place, including the one across the street.
  • Tomatoes: $0.79/lb = $0.79
  • Chipotles: $1.79/can
  • Garlic head: $0.50
  • Mexican dry chile: $0.79
  • Shrimp: $3.99/lb.
  • Rice: let's just say $3 because I don't know what I paid for the rice
  • Beans: $0.89 per 15oz can
Total: $15.74 for the entire meal, which is about $5.50 per serving -- there was about three.
Easy. As the recipe states, you can make the sauce one day and the meal the next. That helps since it takes forever to peel and devein the shrimp. I'm not into eating poop, and Rodney's even more freaked about it than I am.
Since there is no dairy and it's not insanely hot, it was easy on Rodney's belly.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

Usually when we have spaghetti, it's a matter of warming up some Prego and cooking noodles. This time, I hadn't planned anything for dinner (or forgot to thaw something) and we were out of Prego. So, I went to my handy-dandy BH&G cookbook to find a recipe for sauce utilizing things we had. And here you have it, the first homemade spaghetti sauce I've ever done:

1 c chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1.25 lb ground beef
1 tbsp cooking oil
2 14.5-oz cans diced tomatoes, undrained
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1/3 c water
2 tbsp snipped fresh parsley
1 tbsp snipped fresh basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
8 oz dried spaghetti
Parmesan cheese (optional)

In a Dutch oven or large skillet cook onion, garlic and ground beef in hot oil until meat is brown. Drain. (I decided not to drain this time since the beef was pretty lean anyway).

Stir in the tomato, tomato paste, water, parsley, herbs, sugar, salt, and black pepper. Bring to boiling; reduce heat.

Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Uncover and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes more or to desired consistency, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. Serve sauce over hot cooked pasta. If desired, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

I was nervous about this, but it was yummy! And easy! And (fairly) fast! And cheap!

Rodney and I are both Prego fans with the "why mess with something that's not broken" mentality. If you keep an eye out, you can get 28-oz jars 4/$5; we load up on them at those times. Well, no more hunting for a good deal on Prego. While this sauce wasn't as zingy-sweet as Prego, it was good. I've had some crap sauces that actually made me gag. Fortunately, this was anything but gag-inducing!

As I said, it was easy. The hardest part was to decide whether or not I should risk making "my own" sauce from essentially scratch.

Time to get dinner on the table was about 1.25 hours. Most of that time was spent waiting for things to boil or simmer.

Cheap? You kiddin'? We already had the stuff! Granted, there were a couple of items in the original recipe we didn't have and I simply omitted them (like celery -- gross!). The sauce was still good! Plus there was enough sauce for each of us at dinner, lunch for me the following day AND some more to freeze -- enough more to fill one of the empty 28-oz Prego jars I had around. So next time I want spaghetti, I just have to remember to let the sauce thaw, warm it, cook up some noodles and dinner's done.

I think sometime I should post on what items I keep in the pantry/freezer/fridge regularly just so you know what I constantly say I "keep on hand". And maybe I'll include the prices there. Certainly there is a cost to keeping these, but as you can see, it is worth it. Sometimes you can make a meal just from the basics.

If I had to guess, based on the estimated cost per unit price, I'd say $4. For 5 meals. 80 cents a serving -- including the noodles. Ok, maybe $6 or $1.20 per serving if you include gobs of cheese.

Definitely gonna do this again.


My nephew, who was 4 years old last year, spent a night or two about every couple months.  I put him to the task of helping me make dinner the first time he was over and now Kaner is disappointed if he doesn't have the opportunity to help, especially when it comes to this meat sauce.  This meat sauce is what I started him on helping me with and he insists we have spaghetti every time he's over. 

I prepare the onions, garlic and beef.  Once it's draining and the stove-top is cool, Kane helps me make the sauce by pouring the tomatoes, sauce and water into a cold, large skillet and stirring everything together.  I'll measure and add the spices while he stirs them in.  Later in the year, I measured the spices into a small bowl and Kane sprinkled it into the tomato mixture.  Occasionally, Kane'll say that it needs more of one spice, particularly pepper just so he can crank the grinder, and certainly, he'll attempt to give it a couple cranks. When he's finished he'll say, "that's good" and continue stirring.  

After the beef drains, rather Kane is finished putting the final touches on the spices, I pour it in and Kane stirs the beef in as well.  At that point, he has "made" dinner and simply waits for me to complete the cooking process.  He's allowed to watch me as I manipulate the heat on the stove-top, but knows it's hands-off for him because it's HOT! 

When it's finally done, Kane puts away "his" spaghetti and sauce as if it's his last meal.     

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Pernil el Horno

When Rodney and I were in Puerto Rico, we had the pleasure of partaking in some pernil. It is very similar to carnitas and so, so, fabulously delicious. If possible, I'd make a bed of this stuff and writhe in it.

The first time I decided to make it was for a small gathering of my siblings and nephew -- prime time to cook a big hunk of pig. At the time, when I Googled "pernil el horno", I got just a couple hits: one by a Puerto Rican lady, the other by Tyler Florence. Guess which one I picked?

Right on! The Puerto Rican one from the El Boricua site. This last time was my third time making it and I have a couple of ideas on how to improve. I'll get back to that after I cover the good stuff. As usual, the recipe here tells you how I did it. Click the link to see the original recipe.

3.5 lb pork shoulder - picnic cut (with fat)
4.5 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp crushed oregano
3/4 tbsp olive oil
3/4 tsp salt

In a small bowl mix together the garlic, salt, pepper, oregano, and olive oil. Mix well. Rinse the meat and pat dry.

Starting at the wide end, cut the fat away from the meat, leaving the narrow edge attached and keeping it all in one piece. Leave enough fat connected so that you can flip it over to the side while you season the meat itself.

Make very deep slits all over the meat and season the meat making sure that seasoning goes into all the slits.

Season the inside of the fat with a bit of the seasoning also - just that one side by running your hand on it. Put the fat back over the meat to look the same as before it was cut and sprinkle it with salt.

Refrigerate the shoulder, covered with plastic wrap, for 24 hours.

Let the meat get back into room temperature before cooking (about one hour).

Place the meat in a roasting pan with the fat side up. The fat side up will make nice crunchy "cueritos." Do NOT cover with foil.

Preheat the oven to 400 F for at least 30 minutes before placing the meat inside. Cook one hour, then reduce temperature to 300ยบ for about 2 hours or so - DO NOT TURN MEAT. When the meat is done, you can prick it on the side with a fork to see if it shreds (or a meat thermometer will read 185F).

Remove the meat from the oven and let it rest on the counter for about 20-30 minutes before carving.

To carve, remove the cuerito completely and set aside.

Serve this with tortillas, rice and beans (we like the prepackaged New Orleans beans and rice to go with this, though the brand I can't recall at the moment).

I mentioned earlier that there were a couple things I'd learned and/or would do differently considering my three trials:
  1. Cook longer and slower -- each time that I made this, the pernil didn't "fall apart" or "shred" as expected, though it did taste real good. See this page to find out how shredded pernil should look.
  2. Add liquid and cover to create a braise rather than roast. The hunk of shoulder/picnic has some collagen-ous stuff that needs to be broken down in a bad way.
  3. Use a bigger hunk of meat than 3.5 pounds -- when I made this the first time, I used two 3.5 lb chunks and simply forced them to hug each other during marinating and cooking. That first one turned out much better than the last two times I made this (with only a single 3.5 lb. chunk)
  4. It's probably not necessary to cut the fat away to rub the fat/meat interface down with spices -- I found that the fat/skin would just curl up anyway. What's the good in that? I want the fat to leak onto the meat, not off to the side of the meat! (This last time I tried to pin the fat/skin down to the meat with the thermometer, which worked out somewhat ok.)
  5. When rubbing the meat down before marinating, do it right in the roasting pan! That's how I did it the first time and it reduced the number of dishes requiring washing.
When I do this next time, I'll take this items into consideration and report back.

Cost: I only buy pig picnic when it's about $0.69/lb, so $2.42. The rest of the stuff we have anyway. I suppose if you consider we bought the pack of rice and beans, that'd add another $2.50. So...$2.50 per serving (2 servings).

Yup, I definitely need to try this again. If I remember right, El Metate has picnics on sale this week...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Stuffed Chicken Caprese

Here's another recipe I made from an edition of Cooking Pleasures magazine. The picture was so pretty, I couldn't pass it up. The original recipe was halved to serve two and the tomatoes were omitted because I don't typically have cherry or grape tomatoes available. Plus hot tomatoes are sort of gross, even if they are pretty.

2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
2 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
4 large fresh basil leaves
1/8 teaspoon salt, divided
1/16 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 cup torn fresh basil, optional

With small knife, make horizontal slit in chicken breasts to create pockets, being careful not to cut all the way through.

Sandwich cheese between 2 basil leaves; stuff into pockets.

Secure with toothpicks.

Sprinkle chicken with 1/8 teaspoon of the salt and pepper.

Heat large skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add oil; heat until hot. Cook chicken 5 minutes; turn.

Sprinkle with remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, covered, 4 to 5 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in center.

Sprinkle chicken with torn basil if you like. Remove toothpicks before serving.

I love potatoes and baked ones go well with this, as would a rice pilaf, or shit, some plain rice. Rodney likes olives with everything and opts for radishes if I remember to buy some.


boneless skinless chicken breast halves: about $0.79/lb or $2 (if you cut it from a whole chix)
mozzarella cheese: we get this in bulk, about $0.10 for this
fresh basil leaves: $1.50 a bunch

$3.20 or $1.60 per serving. I'd pay $1.60 for this any day or even $1.75 if it came with a potato! Lol!

Fast, fast, fast. The longest part was baking the potato, second was prepping the chicken and third, cooking it.

If I go easy on the cheese, even Rodney's lactose intolerance can handle this one.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Chicken Stew with Garbanzo Beans and Butternut Squash

This is another recipe I got from Cooking Pleasures that I make somewhat regularly. It is easy, cheap, filling, and while slightly bland-ish, is something I find a craving for on occasion. Because I cut up whole chickens for recipes that typically require breasts, this is a great go-to recipe for when I have some whole legs.

  1. 2 tbsp olive oil
  2. 1 large onion, finely chopped
  3. 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  4. 3⁄4 tsp cinnamon
  5. 4 chicken thigh and leg portions (or 4 thighs and 4 drums), skin removed
  6. 1⁄4 c pearl barley
  7. 1 c reduced-sodium chicken broth
  8. 3⁄4 tsp salt
  9. 1⁄4 tsp freshly ground pepper
  10. 1 (1-lb.) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 3⁄4-inch pieces
  11. 1 (15-oz.) can garbanzo beans, drained, rinsed
Heat oven to 400°F. Heat oil in large heavy ovenproof pot or Dutch oven over medium heat until hot. Add onion, bell pepper and cinnamon; cook 6 to 7 minutes or until onion is very soft, stirring occasionally.

Increase heat to medium-high. Add chicken thighs and chicken legs;

cook until lightly browned, 4 to 5 minutes, turning once. Reduce heat to medium.

Distribute barley around chicken; add broth, salt and pepper.

Bring to a boil; remove from heat. Cover with foil, then with lid.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until chicken is partially cooked.

Remove from oven; add squash and garbanzo beans around chicken.

Cover and bake an additional 30 to 35 minutes or until squash is tender and chicken juices run clear.

8 servings

8 servings? Yeah right. This gives us three, maybe four, servings. What can I say, Rodney can put it away. I'd rather he load up on this than crap like Doritos or Crisp'n'Tasty "pizza".

Cost: Most of the stuff we have on hand but for the stuff we'd have to buy to make this:
  1. chicken quarters, it's about $3 (or less) total (if you cut up your own chickens!)
  2. 1 lb. squash, $0.99
  3. red pepper, $1
  4. $0.75 for a can of beans
It essentially costs us $6 if I include having to buy the other stuff and portion it for this recipe specifically. That comes to about $1.44 if you use our serving size. If you consider this enough for eight (I don't know how unless it's one adult and seven toddlers), then yeah, this is $0.72 a serving. I don't know how much cheaper you can get. You can't even do boxed mac'n'cheese this cheap. Who wants to eat a plate of mac'n'cheese when you can have this?

I remove the bones from the pieces after it comes out of the oven. It's not as pretty as it is if you serve some stew with a whole piece of thigh or drum, but it's easier to eat. The first time I did this, I gave Rodney and myself a chicken quarter along with a portion of the rest of the stuff. I found that
  1. it was too much for me to eat
  2. we needed a "waste container" at the table for the bones and sinewy/cartiledgy parts -- gross, unless you are eating seafood
Deboning it from the pot is easy, especially if you use whole chicken leg quarters since you can count exactly how many bones should be coming out and don't have to fish around too hard for them.

For this, dinner is done in about 1.5 hours with enough leisure time between to get some stuff done. And if you have 6 leg portions instead of 4, that works too. Is your squash a little too big or too little? That's ok, use it anyway. Just try to get the pieces the same size so they cook evenly.

Most important: You won't be chained to the stove. I promise.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Blackened Salmon Fillets

I found this recipe on all recipes and it is good. I mean real good. We've had this a few times: it's fairly cheap, definitely easy, and without doubt, fast.
  1. 2 tbsp ground paprika
  2. 1 tbsp ground cayenne pepper
  3. 1 tbsp onion powder
  4. 2 tsp salt
  5. 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
  6. 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  7. 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  8. 1/4 tsp dried basil
  9. 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  10. 4 salmon fillets, skin and bones removed
  11. 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
In a small bowl, mix paprika, cayenne pepper, onion powder, salt, white pepper, black pepper, thyme, basil and oregano.

Brush salmon fillets on one side with 1/4 cup butter, and sprinkle evenly with the cayenne pepper mixture.

In a large, heavy skillet over high heat, cook salmon, butter side down, until blackened, 2 to 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, brush 1/4 cup butter and sprinkle with additional cayenne pepper mixture onto salmon.

Turn fillets, drizzle with any remaining butter and sprinkle with additional seasoning mix (if you choose), and continue cooking until blackened and fish is easily flaked with a fork.

The salmon when done this way is so easy, so fast, so delicious, and so beautiful in appearance. One thing I should warn you about is that it is easy be heavy-handed with the spices, especially when the recipe calls for so much spice. I usually have about 1/2 of the spices left in the bowl I mixed them in and save them for the next time. If you put all of the spices on the fish, you will have to scrape those spices right back off to eat it! Trust me, you should have spice leftover. Crank it up next time if you find it too easy on the tongue. Just don't go all in and regret it afterward that you'd ruined a nice salmon fillet.

A definite bonus of this recipe is that:
  1. you can cook however many salmon fillets as you need (note I only cooked three, but the recipe can certainly allow 4-8)
  2. the spice ratio is easily scaled up, and
  3. I bet it would be good on chicken if you don't have or don't care for fish
Cheap: most costly component is the salmon, which typically starts at $3.99 a fillet on up. I buy mine in the frozen section at Costco, which is about $18/7 fillets or about $2.57 a fillet. The spices and butter we have on-hand, but assuming we had to buy these items and cost was divided for the recipe specifically, I'd guess $3 a fillet.

So for Rodney and me, this is a $9 meal for the salmon plus the extra cost for sides, in this case, steamed white rice and green beans, a total of approximately $12. (We buy rice in bulk and I'd guess the green beans were about $2/lb.)

Tastewise, once you get your groove on regarding how much spice you want on your fillet, there is no better way to do this fish. No need to fire up the oven or use the broiler pan and frying pans are simple to use and clean. Extra spices are easily stored in a small, formerly-held-something-you-bought (chili sauce? ginger?) jar.

Another ease is that instead of having sides you can simply top a great salad with the salmon and voila, there's a bitchin' meal. If you have this for dinner, prep an extra one to put on a plain salad for lunch.

Shit, this recipe is so good, I am now wondering why we don't have it every day.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Nick's Pizza

Since I was transitioning from my last job and started a new job recently (which includes a greater commute, though nothing as horrible as others I know), cooking at home has NOT been on the list of priorities for me the last few weeks. We've been eating out a lot. If I did cook, it wasn't worth broadcasting. Think spaghetti with Prego sauce sort of meals. And if we ate out, usually I was too hungry to mess around taking photos to blog about it or it was a Quizno's sort of thing.

This morning I was rear-ended while riding my motorcycle to work. As you can well imagine, cooking did not suddenly move up on my list of things to do. So we decided to try some Nick's Pizza.

This was our first time trying Nick's and man, it's good. Usually we go to a place called Laventina's, but Nick's is closer. It's a little more expensive, but with the density of this pizza we'll have leftovers for a couple days. (Lucky me! I LOVE leftover pizza and Rodney doesn't so it's ALL MINE!) This pizza is not a toy to be played with. It's serious pizza. Take another look, it had to weigh 5 lbs!

As I said before, it's a bit more costly than our usual joint. We got this large (16") pie with 5 items for $19.13 OTD. It is totally worth it since it is delicious and, literally, one slice had me full. One thing that surprised me was the weight of the pizza. This bad boy was heavy. The ratio of toppings was excellent, the crust was on the thick side, yet still crusty, and the entire thing was generous with cheese. Another plus is that even with all those toppings, the pie wasn't sitting in a pool of watery grease.

Very well done, Nick's.  We'll be back.