I had forgotten how good pesto can be. That is, until I had more basil in my garden than I knew what to do with. Then, it was tortelloni with pesto, pesto chicken pizza, pesto on bread, pesto in everything! It all starts with a great pesto.

3 c basil leaves
4 cloves garlic
1/4 c pine nuts (toast 'em if you  like)
1 c grated parmesan cheese
1/2 c olive oil


    Pulse all ingredients in a food processor until they form a paste. 

    If you're not going to use all of it at once, make sure you pour a little olive oil on the top before you put it in the refrigerator, because the basil will turn brown when it's exposed to air. 

    For a fantastic Pesto Chicken Pizza, top your favorite pizza dough with pesto, a cut up cooked chicken breast, some artichoke hearts, and some shredded mozzarella.

    For me, the most important part of a pizza is the dough. If you don't get the dough right, the whole thing just doesn't work. Here is a quick and easy pizza dough that you can throw together, and top it with whatever your family likes.

3 c flour
1 packet fast rize yeast
1 T Sugar
1 t salt
1 t dried Italian seasoning (herbs)
1 c warm water
2 T olive oil

In a large bowl, mix flour, yeast, sugar, salt, and Italian Seasoning. Then, add water and oil, and knead together until smooth. It's better if you let it sit, covered, for up to an hour, but if the troops are hungry, go ahead and roll it out on your baking pan and top as desired. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.

For BBQ Chicken Pizza- top with BBQ sauce, cooked chicken, sliced red onion, and mozzarella. After it bakes, garnish with cilantro.

For White Chicken Pizza- top with minced garlic, Alfredo sauce, parmesan cheese, cooked chicken, and mozzarella. I also like to add chopped spinach and artichoke hearts before I put on the mozzarella, but then it wouldn't technically be "white."