Monday, January 13, 2014

Chebe Pesto Chicken Pizza

Until 2013, I thought that I would never eat truly delicious pizza again.  I had found a gluten free frozen pizza that I liked, Against the Grain Pesto Pizza, but I wanted more.  Then I started making pizza with Chebe last summer.  You can read about all of our early experiments with Chebe here.  Since I wrote my last Chebe pizza post about our Sausage & Spinach Pizza, I actually found great gluten free pizza at a restaurant.  You can read about our dining experiences at California Pizza Kitchen here.  

The key ingredients for all of our Chebe pizzas are Chebe Original Cheese Bread Mix and Organic Valley Mild Cheddar Cheese.  We tried the Chebe Pizza Crust Mix, but weren't crazy about the seasonings in it, so we make our pizzas with the Cheese Bread Mix instead.  I purchase it from amazon or Chamberlin's in Winter Park. 

We love our cast iron pizza pan.  If you don't own one, it is worth the investment.  We tried making Chebe pizza on an aluminum pizza pan and the crust did not crisp up.  Lodge cast iron pizza pans are available from amazon for a very reasonable price.  You can view them here.  We clean our cast iron pizza pan with a rub of salt and water, then season it with a little bit of oil before putting it away.  I store all my cast iron pieces in the warming drawer of my oven, so I don't have to worry about getting oil in my cabinets.  

My new favorite mozzarella cheese to make pizza with is Bel Gioioso Fresh Mozzarella Pearls, because I don't have to slice them, and it's easy to sprinkle them around the pizza.

When using fresh mozzarella on a pizza, it is important to remove some of the moisture before baking, by placing it between two paper towels for at least 15 minutes.  

On the back of the Chebe Original Cheese Bread Mix box, it says you will need 2 tablespoons of oil, 1 cup of shredded cheese, 2 large eggs, and 1/4 cup of water.  I pack my Organic Valley Mild Cheddar Cheese into my 1 C measuring cup.  When I let go, it looks like it is overflowing.  

I like to beat my eggs in a large bowl, then add the cheese and 2 T of extra virgin olive oil or organic canola oil.  I then mix these ingredients well with a fork.  

Next, I slowly add the Original Cheese Break Mix to the bowl, and stir it with a soup spoon

Here is what my pizza dough looks like after I stir in 1/4 C of water.  

I knead it before placing it on my lightly oil pizza pan.  Even though our pan is always seasoned with olive oil before we put it away, I add a little more and gently wipe it with a paper towel before adding my pizza dough.  

With my hands, I evenly spread the dough out on my pizza pan.  

I par bake my crust on the bottom shelf of my preheated oven on 450 degrees for 12 minutes.  It usually comes out with several large bubbles, which I flatten with the back of a fork before adding my toppings.  We have tried pricking it with a fork before par baking it, but the bubbles still happen anyway.

I evenly brush the pesto on my par baked crust.

After I cut off the tops of my tomatoes and squeeze out the seeds, I slice them in half or in thirds before adding them to my pizza.

A generous amount of chicken goes on next.

Lastly, I add the mozzarella, Parmesan, Romano, and Feta cheese.

I love pizza night and our pesto chicken pizza is one of my favorites.  I am looking forward to a leftover slice for lunch tomorrow!

Chebe Pesto Chicken Pizza


1 box of Chebe Original Cheese Bread Mix
2 T olive oil or organic canola oil
1 C of shredded cheese (sharp or hard works best) -- firmly packed
2 large eggs
1/4 C water

1 to 1 1/2 C cooked chicken breast -- cut into small pieces (I use chicken from a Costco Rotisserie Chicken)
1/2 recipe of pesto (see below)
1 10 ounce bag San Marzano tomatoes or a small container of grape tomatoes -- cut off the tops, squeeze out the seeds, and cut in half or in thirds
8 ounce package of fresh mozzarella
Parmesan and/or Romano -- grated
Feta crumbles


Preheat your oven to 450 degrees and lightly oil your pizza pan.

Place your mozzarella between two paper towels to remove moisture.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs before adding the shredded cheese and 2 T of oil.  Mix well with a fork, then slowly add the Chebe Original Cheese Bread mix.  Stir well with a spoon before adding 1/4 C of water.  Mix as well as you can with a spoon, then knead the dough until smooth with your hands.

Place the pizza dough on an oiled 14 inch cast iron pizza pan and spread it out evenly with your hands.

Par bake the crust on a shelf in the bottom third of your oven for 12 minutes.  Flatten out any bubbles with the back of a fork before adding toppings.

Brush the pesto on your pizza.  Add the tomatoes and chicken.  Finally, add the mozzarella, and an even sprinkle of Parmesan, Romano, and Feta cheese.

Bake for another 11 minutes on the bottom shelf before moving the pizza to the top third of your oven and turning it to broil.  Broil for a minute or two until the cheese is bubbly and perfectly browned.

Loosen your pizza from the pan with a large spatula before carefully sliding it onto a serving platter or pizza pan to slice and serve.

You can view other Chebe pizza ideas in my Pizza Experiments blog post here.

FYI -- The package states that Chebe Original Cheese Bread Mix is free of gluten, soy, corn, rice, potato, yeast, peanut/tree nuts, egg, iodine, and sugar.  It is certified gluten free and non GMO.  It contains manioc (tapioca) flour, modified manioc starch, dry milk, and iodine-free sea salt, making it grain free as well.

We buy our Feta crumbles, Romano, and Parmesan in the cheese section of Whole Foods.   I purchase Bel Gioioso Fresh Mozzarella Pearls from Publix.

For more information on Chebe and where it can be purchased, you can visit Chebe's website here.

Pesto Recipe


1 C fresh basil -- packed
2 T pine nuts
1 clove garlic -- minced
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp coarse ground black pepper 
1/3 C extra-virgin olive oil 
1/4 C grated Romano or Parmesan cheese


Combine the first 5 ingredients in a food processor, and pulse until they are well combined.  Add the oil and cheese.  Pulse until smooth.  

This recipe makes enough pesto for 2 pizzas.  

Leftover pizza right out of the fridge is something I always look forward to.  It is amazing!  My daughter Kate loves to pack a leftover slice for lunch at school.

August 17, 2014 Update

Today, I used mozzarella balls, and a three cheese shaved blend of Parmesan, Romano & Asiago.  Super yummy!  


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