Tag Archives: tomato sauce

Feel Good Pizza Dough

11 Sep

My friend N (aka pizza-lover-extraordinaire) was a lovely house guest this past week, here from BC while completing a pediatrics elective at Sick Kids Hospital.  It was nice to have a friend around to help me transition from cohabitation to living on my own.  When I first learned of her visit, I promised N a homemade whole wheat pizza.  A veggie-loaded, light-on-the-cheese, 100% whole wheat crust pizza is the perfect way to enjoy one of my favourite foods sans guilt.

Feel Good Pizza... Nom nom nom

I’ve modified the timing of this recipe each time I’ve made it based on whatever else I have going on that day.  Pizza dough is nice that way… it’s not as finicky as a loaf of bread but you still get that yeasty, doughy goodness (and at a fraction of the time!).  Allow about an hour to prepare the dough and another 20 minutes or so for baking.  Top with tomato paste, tomato sauce, or easy pizza sauce (recipe below), lots of veggies, lean protein such as cooked chicken or deli ham if desired, and a sprinkling of cheese.  Voila!  Homemade pizza that you can feel good about eating.

Wheaty Goodness

 
 100% Whole Wheat Pizza Dough (adapted from Allrecipes.com)

1 package (7 g) active dry yeast
1 cup warm (approximately 100 degrees Fahrenheit) water
1 tablespoon honey
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup wheat germ
1 teaspoon salt

  1. In a small bowl, dissolve honey in warm water.  Add yeast and stir until dissolved.  Let stand about 10 minutes, until creamy and foamy.
  2. In a large bowl combine flour, wheat germ, and salt.  Make a well in the middle and add yeast mixture.  Stir well to combine, then knead with your hands for a few minutes until the dough comes together and feels somewhat smooth.  Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise for a minimum of 20 minutes. The original recipe says to let the dough sit for a few minutes.  If you’re pressed for time, a few minutes might be fine but I always prefer to leave the dough for longer.  Tip: heat a cup of water in the microwave for a minute or two, then use the microwave as a warm place to let the dough sit.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Place a large baking sheet upside-down on the middle rack.
  4. Prepare your work surface.  You can use a counter top sprinkled with a bit of flour or, for easier clean-up, a large piece of waxed paper sprinkled with flour.  Punch dough and with floured hands, turn out onto work surface.  Lightly sprinkle flour over the dough.  Split the dough in half and roll to desired thinness, ideally yielding two 12-inch rounds.  Transfer to baking sheets sprayed with non-stick spray and poke holes in the dough with a fork.  Alternatively, you can make one large rectangular pizza as big as your baking sheet and one small pizza with the remaining dough.
  5. Optional step: Let dough sit on baking sheet for an additional 10 minutes to rise.
  6. Place baking sheet with dough on top of the hot upside-down baking sheet and prebake crust for 10 minutes.  Spread with pizza sauce, add toppings and cheese, and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes depending on how crispy you like your crust.  I usually bake my pizzas in two separate batches due to limited baking sheets and oven space.  Supposedly using an upside-down preheated baking sheet helps make a crispy pizza crust.  Feel free to experiment with different baking methods, or use a pizza stone if you have one.
  7. Cut into slices and enjoy!

Makes approximately 12 slices.  Per slice (dough only): 82 kcal, 0.6 g fat, 2.8 g fibre, 190 mg sodium

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Easy Pizza Sauce (adapted from Allrecipes.com)

1 cup tomato sauce (a plain canned variety works well)
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tbsp dried oregano
1/4 to 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp paprika
chili flakes (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a bowl.  Leftovers can be refrigerated and used for pita or english muffin pizzas.

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Meaty Meatless Eggplant Parmesan

21 Aug

Eggplants are an interesting vegetable.  Large and deep purple with a spongy flesh that is virtually inedible raw but becomes tender and meaty when cooked.  E’s uncle lives on a farm and grows a variety of vegetables for personal consumption.  Earlier this week he surprised us with two gorgeous eggplants from his garden, along with a handful of cherry tomatoes.

With two eggplants in hand, the first thing that came to mind was Eggplant Parmesan.  I’ve never made the dish before but I sifted through my cookbooks and found a couple of recipes: one was lengthy and involved salting the eggplant then allowing it to sit for 45 minutes.  The other was very straightforward: no salting, relatively few ingredients, and it was much healthier.  Can you guess which one I made?

As an aside, I did a bit of research just to be sure that I wasn’t sabotaging my dish by omitting the salting step.  Adding salt to the eggplant removes bitterness and was a step in traditional recipes because earlier strains of the vegetable were much more bitter than our current strains.  According to the wise Wikipedia, most modern varieties of eggplant do not need this treatment.  Phew.

The Eggplant Parmesan was super flavourful and, in the words of meat-eater E, was very satisfying despite being a vegetarian dish.  Pair this with a healthy Caesar Salad (more on that another day) and you have yourself a balanced meal.  As an added bonus, the leftovers were phenomenal the day after!

Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant Parmesan  (from Crazy Plates)

1 cup unseasoned breadcrumbs (preferably whole wheat)
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tsp dried basil
4 egg whites
1/2 tsp salt
2 medium eggplants (about 2 pounds),
unpeeled and each sliced crosswise into 8 rounds
cooking spray
3 cups low-fat tomato sauce
(use one that you like– the tomato sauce dominates in flavour.  I used slightly less than the amount called for and there still seemed to be a bit too much sauce)
1 cup shredded, part-skim mozzarella cheese (4 oz)
2 tbsp chopped, fresh parsley

  1. In a shallow bowl or pie plate, combine bread crumbs, Parmesan, and basil.  Mix well.
  2. In another shallow bowl, lightly beat together egg whites and salt.  Working one at a time, dip eggplant slices into egg whites, then into crumb mixture.  Turn to coat both sides with crumbs. Place slices on 1 large or 2 small baking sheets that have been sprayed with non-stick spray.
  3. Spray tops of slices lightly with cooking spray.  Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes. Remove eggplant slices from the oven, turn them over, and spray again with cooking spray.  Return to oven and bake for 15 more minutes.
  4. To assemble casserole, spoon 1 cup tomato sauce over bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish.  Top with 1/2 eggplant slices.  Spoon another 1 cup tomato sauce over eggplant, followed by 1/2 mozzarella.  Repeat layering with remaining eggplant slices, sauce, and mozzarella.  Sprinkle parsley over top.
  5. Return to oven and bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes, until cheese is completely melted and sauce is bubbly.  Serve immediately.

Makes 6 servings.  Per serving: 260 kcal, 6 g fat, 6.4 g fibre