{pizza week} Feeding Teenagers w/ Doughboys

We have three sons, now all in their twenties. For thirteen years, we had teenage boys at home.  Our house was filled with roving hordes of adolescent boys; boys with skateboards, boys with guitars and drums, boys with spray cans and paint brushes, boys with movie cameras, boys with paint ball guns and nerf guns, boys with bicycles, boys with do-rags and long hair and drooping pants held up only by their skinny little butts.  They all liked to eat.  Our oldest son, who is 6 foot 1 and topped the scale during adolescence at about 150 pounds, ate so much that when he left home to go to college, our grocery bill cut in half.  The savings paid for his room and board at college, easily.

Boys like comfort food, lots of it, all day long and into the night.  One of my kids’ favorite foods was from a snack bar in downtown Saratoga Springs, Esperanto.  They make a spiced chicken and cheese pizza roll called a “doughboy.”  When doughboys hit $3 a piece I talked to one of the teenagers I knew who worked there to ask him how it was made.  He gave me a description of the process, not exactly a recipe.  Then I bought a doughboy and dissected it, tasted it, and critiqued it.  There were things about it I didn’t like.  It was a little mushy in the center for my taste and had some odd spicing that I didn’t love.  After my taste test, I started experimenting to make my very own doughboys, using chunks of chicken rather than ground chicken, adding more hot sauce and leaving out the other spices.  I have made hundreds of them since then, usually 16 at a time, sometimes more.  When my kids come home, they call ahead and request them.  My youngest son is not a big eater but the last time I made him doughboys he ate nine in one evening, the equivalent of a large pizza plus an additional slice.  They are addictive, especially if you are a teenage boy.

Rudi is the world record holder at doughboy eating, 9 in one evening

I have also made vegetarian versions, with onions and chopped mushrooms in place of chicken, but if you do that be sure to cook the vegetables until they are dry so that the doughboys don’t get gluey inside.  Use one finely chopped onion and about 10 finely chopped mushrooms. Or use any other filling you want.  The key ingredients are Franks Hot Sauce and cream cheese; otherwise you can use your imagination.

Dough boys a la Dianna – Feeds two teenage boys or eight adults
Dough for two pizzas

8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs or one pound of ground chicken
6 to 8 ounces of Frank’s Hot Sauce
1 package of cream cheese, cut into 16 pieces
6 ounces grated cheddar plus 6 ounces grated mozzarella, mixed together
olive oil

three cheeses: cheddar, cream and mozzarella

Pizza Dough:  

4 1/2  tsp (two envelopes) active dry yeast
2 cup water around 110-115 degrees
4 1/2 to 5 cups flour
2 tsp salt
olive oil

Dissolve yeast in water.  Combine flour, salt and dissolved yeast in large bowl and let sit for 10 minutes.  Knead for 10 minutes, or mix with a dough hook in a standing mixer until dough becomes elastic.  This dough is a little soft, so don’t over do the flour.  Remove dough from bowl, form a ball, coat ball with olive oil.  Let rise in a covered bowl for 1 1/2 hours.  Divide into 16 parts.

Pieces of dough

Preheat oven to 350 for convection bake, 425 for regular oven.


Trim fat off chicken and cut into small pieces.  Brown lightly in a little olive oil over medium heat until chicken gives up its water.  Cook it down a bit and then add as much Frank’s Hot Sauce as you can stand, at least 6 ounces. The chicken should be red when you have finished cooking it.  Cook sauce down until the chicken is merely tacky rather than wet.  Cool it down enough so that you can handle it without burning your fingers.

Frank's-saturated chicken

Take each piece of dough and flatten it slightly.  Using a bread knife, smear on the cream cheese, further flattening the dough into a rectangle.  Add a heaping teaspoon of chicken along the center of the rectangle, then sprinkle on about an equal amount of grated cheeses.

a cream cheesed dough rectangle, ready for chicken

Roll up the sides of the dough rectangle and pinch the seams together, making a cylinder with the filling in the middle.  Pinch the ends shut.  Place each dough boy seam-side down on a large oiled baking tray.  Cram all 16 onto the tray and bake them for 30 minutes or until they are light brown. Remove from tray and cool on a plate.  Eat warm, cold, or at room temperature.  We have never had to store them for more than half a day, so I don’t know how long they last in the refrigerator.

doughboys ready to bake
doughboy ready to eat

5 Comments Add yours

  1. suzanne says:

    Dear God, Woman! You have just saved my life! I have 3 sons – a 15 year old, a soon-to-be 14 year old, & a 12 year old. I cannot begin to tell you how exhausted I am from shopping, cooking, cleaning up simply to feed them! This recipe is being put into action TODAY! Bless you! I always joke that recipes that feed 10 – 12 people will feed my 3 sons. I am fully aware that this will only get worse! All hats off to you!

    1. Dianna says:

      you made me laugh! Thank you. Keeping up with feeding three boys was practically a full time job during adolescence, so you have my sympathy. This recipe was cheap and filling and easy. It is even easier if you buy pizza dough, but luckily it isn’t hard to make. Good luck!

  2. Dianna—you must be a superb cook! I would love to eat a meal that you make! (You can 86 the Hot Sauce though…lol–this old tummy can’t take it….BUT, how you kept up with your Boys appitites—I will never know! BRAVA, my dear……(Naomi in CA.)

    1. Dianna says:

      Thanks Naomi, I am not that great a cook but I have some signature dishes that I developed to feed the hordes. We always ate real dinner that we really cooked when the kids were little, now Michael and I are a tad lazier and will stretch leftovers for a week. Hope all is well out there in Hollywood!

  3. Dianna says:

    disclaimer, Esperantos uses scallions in their doughboys, I don’t.

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