Monday, January 20, 2014

Personalized Pizza {Recipe ReDux}

We don't make or order pizza often at our house, but I know it's something that my husband and I agree on - we both love thin crust pies that remind us of our time in Rome (simple, flavourful ingredients).  We've successfully made our own with caputo 00 flour and san marzano tomatoes, but when I have a crowd to feed or need to make a meal in a hurry, I turn to pita pizzas.  I have yet to try using eggplant or pureed cauliflower as a crust, but I've pinned them to try in the future.

Pita pizzas are a great way to use up leftover vegetables, protein, and cheese, or to make extra veggies to be used later in the week with eggs, salads, etc.  Knowing that many of my clients prep food on the weekend, it's always great to think about planned extras and take advantage of the time you have, since we know there will be evenings when you need to get something on the table fast!
This month's Recipe ReDux challenge is Pizza Party! Give the delivery guy a day off; whether it is for Friday Fun Night with the kids, a pizza chef competition among friends, or for Super Bowl Sunday (February 2). Share your healthy pizza recipe that we can all look forward to after a long week…or a long day.

Pizzas are great since everyone can choose their own toppings.  You basically need the pitas, a sauce, lots of vegetables, and protein (cheese, chicken, sausage, my husband has even tried oysters).  You can be creative and use up what you have while creating a new favourite flavour combination.  Lately I’ve been loving roasted vegetables and Mediterranean flavours, which is what inspired me for this month’s challenge.

Personalized Pita Pizzas
Makes 4 pitas

Olive oil
1 pint (~40) cherry tomatoes, halved
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 artichoke, rinsed
1 1/2 – 2 cups of white mushrooms, sliced
1/4 – 1/3 red onion, thinly sliced
1 handful spinach
1/3 cup feta, crumbled
2 Tbsp cream cheese (optional, flavoured)
1 Tbsp milk
4 whole wheat pitas
Salt and pepper

  1. Roast tomatoes: preheat oven to 250F. Place parchment paper on a baking sheet and top with tomatoes, garlic, and 1 Tbsp olive oil.  Place on centre rack and roast for 1 1/2 – 2 hours, stirring/turning once and removing once aromatic and shrivelled to your heart’s content.  This can be done ahead of time and refrigerated for when you want to quickly make pizza.
  2. Cooking the artichoke: I chose to do this as a challenge to myself since I’ve only used the hearts in the past.  There are many videos on youtube if you’re also new to purchasing and cooking with artichoke. Start by removing the coarse leaves close to the stem, trimming the tiny thorns from the outer leaves with kitchen shears, trimming 1/8” off the stem, and using a sharp knife to trim about 1/2” off the top. Bring a pot of water (with a dash of salt) to a boil and add your artichoke; cook for 35-40 minutes (it’s done when an inner leaf comes off easily).  This can also be done ahead of time, and then you can also enjoy eating from the leaves.  Once you get to the heart, chop it and set aside.
  3. Heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a sauce pan over medium heat and add mushrooms.  Sauté 3-5 minutes to desired level of doneness (option to add a dash of salt). Remove from heat and set aside. 
  4. Using the same saucepan, sauté red onion until lightly browned. Remove from heat and set aside. 
  5. Use that saucepan one more time and heat up 2 Tbsp of cream cheese (we used herb and garlic) and 1 Tbsp of milk to make a white sauce.
  6. Preheat oven to 425F and start prepping your pizzas.  Lightly spread white sauce on four pitas and top with desired ingredients (tomatoes, onion, artichoke, mushrooms, spinach, and feta). Season with black pepper and place in heated oven for 8-10 minutes until cheese is melted and edge is golden brown.  Let cool 1-2 minutes, slice and enjoy!
How do you enjoy "pizza" and what are your favourite toppings?

Steph Langdon, RD
something nutrishus counselling & coaching