28 November 2011

Pizza night: It's not delivery!

Wow, it has been a while! So sorry for my absence but it has been a busy Autumn! Not much to report about my favorite foodie holiday, Thanksgiving, since we didn't host this year, except to say we  had an incredible time surrounded by beautiful friends and could not have asked for a better day. Now..... Let's get to it!

Tonight was pizza night at our house. no, that doesn't mean breaking out the menus and calling for delivery. Pizza night means rolling out our favorite dough from Trader Joe's (garlic and herb, or whole wheat!), making the easiest sauce in the universe, and getting ready our usual toppings of crimini mushrooms, spinach, turkey pepperoni and sometimes diced red peppers. We do vary the toppings every now and then but the thing that never changes is how great it tastes when we're done, and we so enjoy making it!

Pizza gets a bad wrap sometimes as a food that is fattening, full of sodium and cholesterol and really, if made with certain ingredients, that is exactly what it is. However, like any dish you can make with and for your family, pizza can be a wonderfully healthful meal full of flavor and fresh ingredients!

By using whole grain dough, reduced fat cheeses and loading it up with fresh veggies and leaner, low sodium meats you can enjoy pizza that tastes amazing, is not greasy, and leaves you feeling satisfied rather than bloated and stuffed.  Some healthy alternatives to sausage and pepperoni are diced grilled or roasted chicken, and of course, the turkey pepperoni we use. It is much lower in fat and has a fantastic flavor! Any veggies that go on our pizza are raw and fresh, and you really can use anything with out needing extra oil or seasonings. By using such fresh ingredients, you maintain the taste and integrity of your ingredients and the nutrients therein! Reduced fat cheeses, yes they melt and taste as good as the full-fat varieties, are readily available in grocery stores these days, as are some choices for pizza dough! WinCo and Trader Joe's both offer doughs, Trader Joe's has a few more varieties than some markets. You might also be able to go to your local pizzeria and buy dough fresh from them! As for the sauce, you can use store bought sauce for pizza, a basic jar marinara, or a cold pizza sauce from the deli (usually located near the aforementioned dough!) but why buy something when you can make a super simple sauce that will taste incredible!?

For your next pizza night, get the family together, gather your toppings, get the kids helping grate the cheese and choose the veggies, give a little drizzle of good olive oil on the finished product before baking, and enjoy a fresh, delicious meal that is easy, really fun to put together, and gets everyone sharing the kitchen!

Simple Pizza Sauce
1 can diced tomatoes (plain, not stewed) 
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp cracked pepper
1-2 cloves peeled garlic (depending on your love of garlic :) 
2 tsp dry italian seasoning
1/2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp worcestershire sauce 

Put everything in a blender, blend on high for 1 minute or so until everything is smoothly blended. 
That's it! You can also use fresh tomato that's been seeded! Use it on pizza, of course, or for a bread dip, veggie dip, on chicken, steak, shrimp or anything where you need a little fresh, light taste full of flavor! 

Pizza Pizza! Family Fun! Enjoy!

NEXT TIME: Holiday treats and ways to enjoy a great day in the kitchen with your whole family!