Saturday, July 21, 2012

Pesto Veggie Pizza

     When pesto veggie pizza is for dinner and I’ve already eaten my two pieces, if I glance in the direction of the cutting board I WILL have another slice. Then as I’m cleaning up the kitchen, the pizza still looks appealing so I eat another slice. Pesto veggie pizza will fill me up, but I never get tired of eating it! I’ve been making it since my first Alabama apartment, nine years ago. For other pesto-containing recipes, I avoid jarred pesto sauce because it’s tangy, which is not my favorite type of pesto. But in this recipe, it works beautifully.
     My pesto veggie pizza recipe was inspired by a healthier (and chicken-ier) version in Lose That Last 10 Pounds by Denise Austin. I made the pizza larger and added more toppings! Good ideas that came from the book included using pesto as sauce and roasting vegetables in Italian vinaigrette dressing to marinate them! This pizza is very flavorful. And not too bad on the old diet, either J

Ingredients:
1 recipe pizza dough
1 zucchini or summer squash, sliced or diced
1 red bell pepper, sliced or diced (or a couple roma tomatoes!)
¼ c. basil pesto
1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
1 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese
¼ tsp. dried oregano leaves
½ c. sliced black olives (optional)
1 c. canned pineapple chunks (optional)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 ° F.

Ready to get cookin’
2. Slice and/or dice zucchini and red bell pepper. Combine them with Italian dressing in small casserole dish. Bake 20-30 minutes, until they are somewhat softened, but not mushy!

3. Prepare pizza dough.

4. Roll out dough and put on pizza pan as described in Basic Pizza recipe, up through step 6. (Stop right before the sauce is added!)

5. Spread pesto thinly over pizza dough. Brush some up on the crust so that it will become golden like focaccia in the oven.


6. Spoon roasted veggies evenly over pesto, then sprinkle mozzarella cheese over the whole thing.


7. If you’re including olives and pineapple, add them now.

8. Top with Parmesan and oregano.

9. Bake at 420 ° F  for 12-15 minutes, until crust and cheese become slightly golden.

10. Let cool a few minutes before cutting into slices.
Olive & pineapple version
Note: I made mine with white-flour pizza crust this time, but it works great with whole-wheat crust, too! (See pizza dough (link) recipe.)

*Pesto Veggie Pizza Nutrition facts:

Ingredient
Calories
Sodium (% RDA)
Fiber (g)
Protein (g)
Calcium (% RDA)
1 recipe pizza dough (white flour) (link)
1235
100
5
30
0
1 small to medium summer squash
31
0
2
2
3
1 medium red bell pepper
37
0
2
1
1
¼ cup Italian salad dressing (link)
310
17
0
0
0
¼ Tbsp. basil pesto
240
23
1
3
10
1 c. part-skim mozzarella cheese
320
36
0
24
80
1 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
30
5
0
3
9
Whole pizza (12 slices):
2203 kcal
181 %
10 g
63 g
103 %
1 slice:
184 kcal
15 %
0.75 g
5.25 g
8.5 %


*Pesto Veggie Pizza w/ Olives & Pineapple Nutrition facts:

Ingredient
Calories
Sodium (% RDA)
Fiber (g)
Protein (g)
Calcium (% RDA)
1 recipe pesto veggie pizza
2203
181
10
63
103
½ c. sliced black olives
138
22
0
0
0
1 c. canned pineapple chunks
140
0
2
1
0
Whole pizza (12 slices):
2481 kcal
199 %
12 g
64 g
103 %
1 slice:
207 kcal
16.5 %
1 g
5 g
8.5 %


*Calculated from food packaging and the following website: http://nutritiondata.self.com
 I used “Classico” brand jar of basil pesto, “Bakers and Chefs” (Sams Club) brand shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, “Kraft” brand grated Parmesan cheese, “Black Pearls” brand black olives, and “Dole” brand canned pineapple chunks.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Basic Pizza

Pizza is not the caloric Bad Guy a lot of us believe it to be, especially when homemade. It IS filling and a crowd-pleaser and a good way to feed groups of kids, especially when a variety of toppings are offered!

Ingredients:
1 recipe pizza dough
8 oz. tomato sauce
1 ½ Tbsp. Spaghetti seasoning mix
3 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
½ tsp. oregano (optional)
Toppings (optional)

Note about pizza pans: I use a mesh pizza pan and set it on a preheated pizza stone in the oven. Other people put their pizza dough straight on the preheated stone. Both ways work for achieving a good crust consistency.
     If you don’t have a stone, you can make pizza on mesh pan without a stone. And if you don’t have a mesh pan or a stone, you can always just use a cookie sheet.

Directions:
1. Once the pizza dough has risen for at least 5 minutes, set it on a floured surface.
Ready to roll!

2. Roll it into the shape of your pizza pan: mine is a 16” circle. Make your dough slightly wider than your pan, because you’ll fold the edge to make the crust. Flour the rolling pin, dough, and your hands as necessary to prevent the dough from sticking.
Rolled out.

Hmmm…will it fit?
3. If you’re using a mesh pan, spray with cooking spray. If you’re using a stone alone, sprinkle with a little flour or cornmeal. If you’re using a cookie sheet, spray lightly with cooking spray and lightly sprinkle with cornmeal.

4. Transfer the dough to the pan.
My kids love this part!

5. Fold under the edge to make a crust.

6. Make indentations with a fork all over the dough except the crust to help it cook properly.



My low-tech sauce
7. Spread sauce everywhere except the crust. I make inexpensive pizza sauce by combining 8 oz. tomato sauce with 1 ½ Tbsp. spaghetti or pizza seasoning mix. Really, you could probably get away with using prepared spaghetti sauce if you had to.
Okay, the sauce is on.
8. Evenly sprinkle 3 cups of mozzarella cheese over the whole pizza.  
Any toppings this time?
9. Optional: Add any toppings (veggies, etc.) and then sprinkle 2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese and ½ tsp. oregano over the whole thing.

10. Bake at 425° F for 12-15 minutes, until crust is slightly browned and cheese looks bubbly and golden.

11. Pull pizza out of oven and if you’re using a mesh pan or cookie sheet, let the pizza cool for a couple minutes ON the pan, on a wire rack.
Smells great!
12. Carefully transfer the pizza to a large cutting board and slice! Sometimes I take a spatula and run it between the pizza crust and pan to make sure the crust isn’t sticking to the pan before I slide the pizza off the pan onto the cutting board.

13. Serve and enjoy!



*Nutrition facts:

Ingredient
Calories
Sodium
 (% RDA)
Fiber (g)
Protein (g)
Calcium (% RDA)
1 recipe white pizza dough (link)
1235
100
5
30
0
1 recipe whole wheat pizza dough (link)
1185
100
17.5
30
0
8 oz. tomato sauce
70
38.5
3.5
3.5
0
3 c. shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
960
108
0
72
240
2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
60
9
0
6
18
Total
(with white crust):
2325 kcal
256%
8.5 g
111.5 g
258%
Total
(with wheat crust):
2275 kcal
256%
21 g
111.5 g
258%
1 piece (1/12) white:
194 kcal
21%
0.75 g
9 g
21.5%
1 piece (1/12) wheat:
190 kcal
21%
1.75 g
9 g
21.5%


*Calculated from food packaging and this website:
 I used “Great Value” (Walmart) brand tomato sauce, “Bakers and Chefs” brand (Sams Club) part-skim mozzarella cheese, and “Kraft” brand grated Parmesan cheese.

*Nutrition facts for Nancy’s favorite pizza!:

Ingredient
Calories
Sodium (% RDA)
Fiber (g)
Protein (g)
Calcium (% RDA)
½ 6 oz. can black olives
137.5
22
0
0
0
½ 8 oz. can pineapple tidbits
60
0
1
0
0
White-crust pizza, sauce & cheese
2325
256
8.5
111.5
258
Whole pizza:
2522.5 kcal
278 %
9.5 g
111.5 g
258 %
1 piece (1/12 of total):
210 kcal
23 %
0.75 g
9 g
21.5 %


*Calculated from food packaging:
 I used “Musco Family Olive Co.” brand black olives and “Great Value” (Walmart) brand pineapple tidbits.