Since the weather has been so nice lately, we’ve been grilling a lot at my house. We have a pretty large gas grill, so even though we are just a two-person household, we make sure to cook enough food to justify firing up the contraption in the first place. That means leftovers.
We use the extras in salads and fajitas, but when there’s spare chicken, my favorite thing to make is a West Coast Pizza — sort of a hybrid between a pizza and a tostada. It’s a recipe that originated as a way to use up leftovers, but it has become a favorite meal in its own right.
These individual creations have all the best parts of a regular pizza — crispy crust, cheese, and lots of toppings. But they’re fresh and light, and quick to prepare. Plus, they lend themselves to customization. For instance, peanut sauce tastes great on this, but if you don’t like it, try barbecue sauce or ranch dressing.
West Coast Pizzas
Note: I like to cook these on the stovetop, but you could also make them on the grill or in the oven, especially if you’re cooking for a crowd. Bake them at 400 degrees until crispy.
Medium-sized whole-wheat or low-carb tortillas
Citrus grilled chicken (recipe below), diced, or any leftover chicken, beef or shrimp
Shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Prepared peanut sauce
Salsa and sour cream, optional
Assemble ingredients and do all prep work before starting.
Place a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When heated, spray both sides of a tortilla with cooking spray and place in skillet. Let cook until brown and crisp, about five minutes.
Flip tortilla and quickly spread a few spoonfuls of peanut sauce on tortilla. Top with cheese and some chicken.
Put a lid on the skillet (or, if there isn’t one that fits, put a smaller lid over the tortilla) to help the cheese melt and warm the chicken.
Once cheese is melted, slide onto a cutting board. Top with tomatoes and avocados. Use a pizza cutter to cut in four pieces.
Slide onto plate, and top with lettuce. Add salsa and sour cream, if desired. Serve immediately.
Citrus Grilled Chicken
Note: I’ve found that chicken breast cutlets (which are breasts sliced so that they’re thinner) are better for grilling than whole breasts because they cook more evenly. You can buy them already sliced into cutlets, or buy breasts and slice them yourself. Just lay the chicken on a cutting board and place your hand on top of the chicken. Hold the knife parallel to the board and carefully slice in half. This chicken is terrific by itself or diced for use in the pizzas.
6 chicken breast cutlets, patted dry
Juice and zest of two limes
Juice of one orange
Juice of one lemon
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup onion, chopped
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
Combine all ingredients except chicken in a large freezer bag. Mix, then add chicken. Place in refrigerator and let marinate for 30 minutes. (Don’t leave too long or citrus juice will begin chemically “cooking” the chicken.)
Heat grill to medium high and oil grates by holding a wadded up paper towel with metal tongs. Dip paper towel in oil, then rub on grates.
Use tongs to place chicken pieces on grill. Cook for about five minutes on each side.Remove to clean plate and let rest for a few minutes before cutting. For pizzas, chicken can be added warm or cold.