For those of you who don’t know me personally, I run when I haven’t done a ridiculous thing to injure myself sometimes. As a true running nerd I have Runner’s World sent to my inbox everyday. Recently they had a post on building a better pizza, since we all (runners) apparently eat at least one a month (yep a whole one). With some extra sauce saved from the other day’s meatballs I thought ‘Hey why not?’. There were 6 categories on how to improve a pizza’s nutritional qualities.
- Use whole wheat dough (not so revolutionary) and substitute flax seed meal or wheat germ instead of the flour or corn meal you might normally use rolling out the dough (have both stocked in my kitchen, awesome!).
- Use marinara sauce which is “rich in lycopene, a cancer-fighting antioxidant.” Homemade is better (also kind of a no-brainer).
- The third one is about cheese, which isn’t really negotiable for me. Vegan Gourmet it is!!
- Choose lean protein. (Hopefully the meat in the sauce counts?)
- “PILE ON VEGETABLES” I will take any opportunity to eat vegetables on something rather than on their own. Modeled mine after this Green Pizza.
- “Give your pizza extra pizzazz.” HA. I wasn’t really feeling the chopped nuts they suggested but I did sprinkle on some minced onions and garlic.
- 1 lb. whole-wheat pizza dough
- 3 T wheat germ
- 2 cups broccoli, chopped
- 1/4 cup water
- 5 oz. bag baby arugula
- 1 cup prepared marinara sauce
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese alternative (Vegan Gourmet!), shredded
- salt, pepper, garlic, dried minced onions to taste
Preheat oven to 450F and place rack in the lowest position. Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray. Roll out dough on a surface sprinkled with the wheat germ (I usually just do it in the pan to create less mess, but then the extra germ burns… you win some you lose some). Transfer dough to baking sheet and bake until lightly crisp, 8-10 min.
While the dough is firming up, heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Cook broccoli in the water for 3 min or until tender. Stir in arugula and cook until slightly wilted, 1-2 min.
Once dough is ready, spread sauce evenly over crust. Sprinkle half of the cheese over the dough. Distribute broccoli/arugula mixture. Top with remaining cheese. Season with salt, pepper, garlic, onions or whatever else comes to mind. Bake until crust is golden and cheese is melted, 10 min.
The first time I saw my Grandmaman’s recipe for meatballs I thought “3 pounds of beef?! Who is going to eat 3 pounds of meat?!” (forgetting she often cooked for 15 of us =) Then I went and added a pound of pepperoni haha (something I learned from L’s mom that is a nice addition)… I’m going to Miami in a month and am on a diet I swear. I decided to make meatball subs with some rolls from Dag’s (being from A*town, where else would I get rolls really?) and some “mozzarella”.
Serves an army.
- 3 lbs. lean ground beef
- 3 slices whole wheat bread (I was advised against it, but I really don’t do white bread)
- 2 eggs
- 1 lb. stick of pepperoni, cut into pieces about 1 cm big
- 4 TB olive oil
- 4 cups frozen chopped onions (Secret that’s not so secret, I am super lazy. Also chopping fresh onions makes me cry, and not just tear up, we’re talking balling here.)
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 tsp each oregano, basil, & thyme
- 2 28 oz. cans of crushed tomatoes
- 28 oz. chicken broth
- 28 oz. water
- 2 6 oz. cans of tomato paste
- 2 tsp sugar
- celtic sea salt & pepper to taste
- 16 oz. baby bella mushrooms, sliced
In a large mixing bowl, soak the 3 slices of bread in water for 15 min. Using your hands squeeze and discard all of the water from the bread. Add in ground meat and eggs. Using your hands again, mix well and form meat into balls. I thought about how you’d possibly do this without using your hands and realized while you could maybe get away with a mixing spoon… there’s just no better way. Over the weekend I heard a story about a guy who would only eat his wife’s and mom’s meatballs. Perhaps this is why haha. Set meatballs aside.
In a large stockpot (dutch oven is too small… someone found out the hard way and had to use 2 of them!) heat oil and add onions and garlic. Sauté until soft and golden. Add in spices and mix well. Next add in tomatoes, paste, broth, water and sugar. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Add meatballs and pepperoni to the sauce and continue to simmer for 1 hour. Add in mushrooms 15 minutes before the end of cooking.
I broke out the meatballs and sauce into 3 batches. One for now, one to freeze, and one for some lucky person who lives nearby. Maybe I’ll ask Grandmaman to do a taste test =)
Pizza squeeze sauce… I was intrigued. My house-mates and I are quasi-foodies. We love food… cheap food, expensive food, exotic food, plain food. I say quasi because all of this is within reason, I don’t see any of us off to eat goat testicles in rice wine any time soon (it’s a real thing!). So the other day when L told me her favorite pizza sauce was “Pizza Squeeze” by Contadina I was a bit surprised. Usually anything you squeeze from a bottle is… well… the first thing that comes to mind is “Easy Cheese” =P. But knowing that L is a purveyor of great food I had to try this stuff out.
When making pizza I really like the cheese brand vegan gourmet, which you can usually find at Whole Foods. It comes in block form, so you have to do the shredding yourself, but the end result is well worth it. This cheese actually melts and tastes like the real deal, because let’s be honest… a lot of substitutes don’t! When picking out the sausage be sure to buy fresh sausage so you can remove the casing. Processed sausage will retain it’s circle shape and doesn’t work as well.
Inspired by Whole Foods recipes.
- 1.5 cups Contadina Pizza Squeeze
- 6 pieces Trader Joe’s garlic tandoori naan bread (from bread isle, not frozen)
- 10 oz. mozzarella cheese alternative (Vegan Gourmet!), shredded
- 1 lb. hot Italian sausage
- 3 roasted red peppers, sliced or chopped
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 bag baby arugula blend
- 3 roasted red peppers, sliced or chopped
- a few dashes of Vegan grated Topping
- 3 T balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 450F-500F.
Over medium heat, cook sausage in large frying pan with a little bit of olive oil spray. Sausage should be removed from casing and easy to break apart in small pieces by a wooden spoon. When sausage is no longer pink, remove from heat and set aside, roughly 10 min.
Spread about 1/4 cup pizza squeeze over each piece of naan. Sprinkle mozzarella across all pieces until the block is finished. Place sausage and roasted red peppers strategically across pizzas. Sprinkle red pepper flakes and oregano on top.
Bake 5-10 min or until cheese is clearly melted. (It will happen, I promise!) While pizza is cooking make salad dressing and arrange arugula on the plates topping with roasted red peppers and grated Topping.
I have to say I was a fan of the squeeze. Not only was it the easiest way I’ve ever made a pizza but it tasted great too!