Monday, June 6, 2011

Meatless Monday: Pizza

Happy Meatless Monday! Wow, I wish I was better at getting recipes posted every week.

Recently, I haven't been cooking as much. I'm on limited house work and activity due to pregnancy complications, so we've been eating a lot of easy meals (pasta and sauce, anyone?). My husband has also been grilling out a lot for us recently. Next week, I think I'll feature his portabollo burgers.
This week, I thought I'd cover pizza. I wanted to do this because, previously, I always bought premade crusts when I wanted to make my own pizza. It's amazing how expensive they are! Why pay $5 for a pizza crust when the grocery store sells frozen pizzas for $3?

A couple months ago, I decided to make my own crust. It is so much cheaper, and it's not that difficult! Then, I decided to start making my own sauce. The flavor is much (much) better than grocery store pizza sauce.

Toppings are your choice, of course. Some good vegetarian options are mushrooms, onions, green peppers, and garlic. I frequently use spinach to make sure my toddler gets his leafy greens. I learned that spinach should go over the sauce but under the cheese. My son started picking out the larger pieces, so now I puree some spinach into the sauce, and it works perfectly.

Here's how to make your own pizza pie. Start with the sauce, since it needs the most time to bake.

Pizza sauce:
4-5 large tomatoes
5 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup spinach (optional)

1. Preheat your oven to 250 F.

2. Chop your tomatoes, or pulse them in your food processor. They shouldn't be fully pureed yet--keep them as chunks of tomatoes. Mix them with the olive oil and garlic. Spread the mixture on two cookie sheets (it should be pretty thin) and bake for about an hour or until the edges just start to brown.

3. Puree the baked tomato mixture with the honey, salt, and spinach (if you're using). Taste the sauce, and feel free to adjust it by adding more olive oil or dried basil or dried oregano.

While tomatoes are baking, start your crust. Please read the directions on your yeast. I've noticed that the quick-rising yeast often needs hotter water. Some yeast calls for temps of 105 while others call for temps of 130.

Pizza crust:

1 cup warm water
1 package of yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon part-skim mozzarella cheese
1 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese
Chopped veggies (optional)
Sliced basil (optional)

1. Stir the water, sugar, and yeast together until dissolved. Allow mixture to sit for approximately five minutes until it foams a bit. Stir the olive oil and salt into the mixture.

2. Mix flours into the yeast mixture. Once it's too difficult to stir, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead the dough for about 5-10 minutes, until it's smooth. If it's sticky as you knead, you'll need to add more flour (all-purpose). You might end up having to add up to a cup more.  Form it into a ball.

3. Take a clean bowl and drizzle the bottom with a touch of olive oil. Put your ball of dough in the bowl and turn it once to coat it. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and set it up somewhere high to rise.

4. After about 20 minutes or so (once your tomatoes are done baking), take your dough and punch it down to release the air. Have fun trying to toss the dough, or set it on a pizza pan and use your fingers to push the dough flat and to the edges (you might need some oil on your fingers to do this).

5. Once your pizza dough is spread out on your pizza pan, prick it multiple times with a fork to let it vent. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of cheese on the dough. Bake the crust without any other toppings at 400 degrees for about 7-8 minutes.

6. Pull the crust out of the oven and spread the sauce on the crust. Top the crust with remaining 1/2 cup of cheese, veggies, and basil (if using). Bake for another 10-15 minutes at 400 degrees, until the cheese begins to brown.

Per slice (8 slices): Approximately 330 calories and 9 grams of protein

No comments: