Sunday, February 20, 2011

It’s pizza pizza pizza daddio!!

One of the best kitchen gadgets I have invested in is a pizza stone. I absolutely CRAVE pizza and am always looking for healthier ways to eat it. From brunch, dinner, yes even dessert, making your own pizza can be great for fast weeknight dinners and a really fun way to entertain!!

Why have you done a good thing?

I love pizza as much as the next girl but it can be loaded with calories. At some pizzerias, 2 slices of traditional NY style pizza can cost you up to 1200 calories and a hefty serving of saturated fat and sodium. Making pizza at home allows you to control the calories by choosing your type and amount of cheese and reducing slice sizes. You can also up the fiber content by loading on the veggies or purchasing whole-wheat pizza dough. This is also a great way to get the kids in the kitchen and trying new veggies!

Another bonus: if you don’t have the best oven (especially if you live in a rental in NYC), keeping a pizza stone in your oven while you use it keeps your oven calibrated and gets it hotter.

How to make your own pizza:

You can make your own pizza dough, but honestly who has the time? Stop at your local pizzeria and purchase pizza dough. Most pizzerias now are even selling whole-wheat dough as well. Whole Foods market and Trader Joe’s also sell DELICIOUS pre-made pizza dough.

It’s super easy! Just 3 simple steps!!

Step 1: Preheat oven to 500 degrees or as hot as it will get.

Step 2: On a floured surface, roll out your pizza dough on pizza stone using a rolling pin until about ¼ - ½ inch thick and just slightly bigger than the stone. Form a crust on the edges.

**Note: if you don’t like bubbles in your crust, lightly prick the crust with a fork and this will avoid bubbles.

Bake crust for 7 minutes or until it starts to brown slightly.

Step 3: Carefully remove pizza stone with crust from oven. Top with your choice of toppings and bake for 10-15 minutes more, or until browned like pizza should look!!

For traditional pizza toppings, try these on for size in any combination:

Fresh mozzarella cheese, goat cheese, fontina cheese, ricotta cheese, artichoke hearts, asparagus, tomatoes, tomato sauce, pesto, fresh garlic, onions, grilled chicken, mushrooms, broccoli, peppers, eggplant, olives, zucchini, yellow squash, spinach

For brunch pizza, try:

Scrambled eggs, hardboiled eggs, Canadian bacon, cheese (of any variety: recommend cheddar, Monterey jack, Swiss, gruyere), and any veggies or your choice.

For dessert pizza try these ideas:

-Nutella or peanut butter with dark chocolate chips, banana and strawberries

-Ricotta cheese with fresh lemon juice and fresh fruit such as berries

-Cinnamon sugar with baked apples and plain yogurt

-Graham cracker crumbles, marshmallows, and dark chocolate chips

**N0te: when making breakfast or dessert pizza, bake the crust one time for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Then put toppings on just until cheese or chocolate melts, for example.

What’s a dietitian’s advice for going out for pizza?

-Order extra veggies on your slices to reduce the amount of cheese used or ask for low-fat cheese

-Order whole-wheat sometimes

-Order one traditional slice and a salad on the side.

-Try “healthier” low-fat pizza places like Slice or Rev’d Up in NYC

-Or make going out for pizza an occasional treat and have the real deal…J

--Amy Santo, MS RD

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