Thursday, April 29, 2010

Whole Wheat Pizza with Chicken, Roasted Red Peppers, and Portabellas

We had this for dinner last night and it was soooo good! The dough is flavored with rosemary, but you can obviously omit it if you'd like. It takes a little more time than most of the stuff I make, but if you have time you can prep some of the things the night before and just put it together the next day. I swear this was better than any take-out or frozen pizza I've ever had.

Here's everything you need:
-All the stuff for the dough mentioned below
-1 red bell pepper
-olive oil
-2 cloves garlic
-1 boneless, skinless chicken breast marinaded in olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, basil and oregano
-1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
-a handle of mushrooms, baby portabellas used here
-1 cup or more of shredded mozzarella
-dried basil and oregano
-salt and pepper (of course!)

For the Dough:
1 1/2 cup warm water
1 t. sugar
1 package instant dry yeast
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour (plus some more for kneading)
4 Tbl. olive oil (plus a little more for coating the dough)
1 t. salt
1 Tbl fresh chopped rosemary

Dissolve sugar in water. Sprinkle top with yeast and let set for 10 minutes. Add flours, oil, salt, and rosemary. After mixed together, flour a flat surface (cutting board, clean countertop) and knead dough for about ten minutes until it all comes together and form it into a ball. Rub a little more olive oil on the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and put into refrigerator. Let rise for at least 4 hours in the fridge (or overnight). Take the dough out and let set at room temperature for an hour. Then stretch the dough onto a pizza sheet and let it set for another 15 minutes or so. Right before you are about to bake the pizza, stretch it again until it is the desired thickness (mine filled up pretty much the whole pizza sheet with a nice crust around it).

How to roast a red pepper:

Take a whole pepper and set it directly onto the stovetop range. You can do this under a broiler or on a grill, too. Turn the heat to medium-high and turn with tongs so all sides get charred. You want it to turn black on the outside while cooking through the pepper. After the whole pepper is charred, place in a bowl and cover with a plate or plastic wrap and let it cool while trapping the steam inside. After it cools, peel away the black skin (leaving a little bit is ok) and cut the top and remove seeds. Marinade in this:

Marinade for pepper:

1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves chopped garlic

This is becoming a lot of work, huh? Totally worth it.

Cook your chicken breast in a pan until cooked through. Chop into small cubes.

To make the pizza:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Brush olive oil over the dough. Sprinkle about 1 cup mozzarella cheese over it and add your toppings. I used baby portabellas, my chicken, and my chopped roasted red pepper. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until it's slightly browned around the edges and dough is cooked through.
While you are baking your pizza you can start a simple marinara sauce to dip it in if you want.


Use your leftover oil and garlic from the pepper marinade and add to a small saucepan, Saute for 5 minutes and add crushed tomatoes, salt, pepper, and a little dried basil. Simmer until pizza is done! (this was Karl's favorite part of the whole dinner) We just dipped the pizza into it, but you can make it ahead of time and use it as a sauce directly on the pizza.

Ahhh ok! We are all done. FINALLY. Lots of work, but once you get the hang of pizza dough, it really isn't too hard. And like I said, better than any pizza you can find frozen or have delivered! And healthier too, since you can control the amount of cheese and it's made with whole wheat.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Zucchini Flax Muffins (vegan)

I've actually never made any baked vegan items before. I don't really bake a whole lot, but am trying new things. As always, it's trial and error. Cooking comes much easier to me than baking because I don't like to measure which you kinda have to do when baking. These turned out really good, especially for vegan! They don't contain any oil or eggs so they are low-fat and have tons of fiber because of the flax and wheat flour. You can add raisins or walnuts also if you would like.

Preheat oven 350 degrees

Mix in large bowl:
2 cups wheat flour
1 cup white flour
4 Tbl. milled flax
1 1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1 1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt

Mix in small bowl:
2 cups shredded zucchini
1/3 cup applesauce
2/3 cup soy or almond milk (I used almond) you can also use regular if you don't care about the vegan thing
1 t. vanilla extract
1/4 cup maple syrup

Add the wet mixture to the dry and then add 2 cups shredded zucchini. Fold in your raisins or walnuts at this point also. Line muffin pan with liners and fill each about 2/3 full. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean and the tops get a little bit browned. Makes exactly one and a half dozen.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Hummus Wrap

If the saying "you are what you eat" is true (which it totally is in certain ways) I must be half chickpea. Chickpeas are versatile, affordable, and delicious. This lunch took me 15 minutes from start to finish to make, but I made a whole batch of hummus which I can save for later use. This hummus is just plain, but there are many things you can add to spice up and change the flavor. (red peppers, cayenne pepper, jalapenos..the list goes on) The wrap I used for this is the brand Flatout. I buy the multi-grain ones (white or bleached anything is an empty carb) and they are only 100 calories each! I also use a sprinkle of feta on it. Cheese is delicious and everyone loves it, besides vegans of course. (secretly I think they like it too.) Unfortunately, cheese is pretty much all fat. However, there is a solution to this cheese dilemma! I often use stronger tasting cheeses, such as feta or goat cheese instead of the regular old cheddar or jack. They taste stronger, therefor you use less of them making it less fat you're adding to your meals. They also usually come in reduced fat varieties. Check into and type in some different cheeses. You may be alarmed at how much fat they can contain. I also want to mention, since this is also about saving money while eating healthy, I love Marc's. They have a good selection of items for low prices, good prices on produce if I can't make it to Shaffer's (a little market close to my house), and usually I pretty much find everything I need for sometimes half the price of what they charge at the big name grocery stores. Anyway! On to the recipe for my lunch today...

1 multi-grain wrap (see above for the kind I use)
a handful of greens...I used spring mix for this one
2 t. crumbled feta

Hummus: (plain)

1 can chickpeas, drained, brine reserved in bowl
1/4 cup Tahini (sesame seed paste) ..can be found in the international section of grocery store
1/8 cup lemon juice or juice from one lemon
2 t. chopped garlic (I sometimes just buy the prechopped little jars packed in olive oil)
3 Tbl. olive oil (plus more in needed)
1/2 t. paprika
salt & pepper to taste

Add all ingredients of hummus to a food processor. Slowly add some of the reserved liquid back in until the mixture becomes smooth and creamy. You can also add a little more olive oil if if you wish. Heat the wrap in a skillet until bottom gets a little toasty. Smooth out about 1/2 cup of hummus on wrap, add your greens and feta, and wrap it up as best you can :) I usually fold the bottom up, the 2 sides in, and then roll it so both ends are closed, but whatever works. I also had 2 strawberries to finish out the meal.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Here I am, starting a food journal so all of you can witness my experiments, good and bad. I believe everyone has the ability to cook healthy meals that are simple, quick, and affordable. I believe we have become to reliable on fast food and prepackaged garbage that is affecting our health and our children's health. People have become "too busy" with their lives that they forget to stop and think about what they are putting into their bodies. Work, school, taking care of seems hard to fit in a healthy homemade meal with everything going on. Now that I have more time on my hands, I want to share with everyone my cooking experiments, share recipes, get others' input or recipes of their own to trade, and to hopefully make someone realize they can cook nutritious and fresh meals in a short amounts of time instead of stopping at the drive-thru. I will post pictures when possible with my "guess" recipes (I rarely measure unless I'm baking) and I would love for you to share yours also!