My hubby and I have always enjoyed pizza nights at home, way before any kids were in the picture. In fact, it’s almost hard to go out for pizza because we prefer our tasty homemade creations. Ok, except for Serious Pie downtown Seattle. They make some seriously good pizza. Kudos Tom Douglas. Now that we have a dude to feed, pizza nights have become slightly more frequent but also healthier. I often buy organic cornmeal or whole wheat pizza crusts, which our son loves, and top it with a light tomato sauce, an array of veggies, a little deli meat and a light coating of cheese. Our son loves the crust and the cheese and I take delight in the fact that it becomes a secret delivery mechanism for broccoli, red peppers, and zucchini (ditto for my husband … don’t tell him I said that). Sometimes, like tonight, he gets wise to the fact that there are superfluous ingredients and he takes great measures to remove every vegetable trace, but other days he eats them without much thought. I’ll take what I can get.
I know pizza gets a bad rap as being unhealthy, and for the most part it is, BUT, when you make your own pizza at home it almost always has less calories, less fat, and less SODIUM. You get to control what is in the final product and therefore pizza can be healthy, believe it or not. Find a healthy crust at your local store (organic grocer if possible) or consider finding a whole wheat recipe online and making your own crust. You’ll save a lot of dough … pun intended. Load it up with veggies, choose a nitrite-free deli meat for a touch of protein, add a minimal amount of cheese and add only a trace amount of salt to your sauce and whala, you have a healthy dinner. Add a salad and your totally set.
Also, this is a fantastic dinner to get your kids involved with. Let them grate or spread cheese, dollop on the sauce, and add all the toppings. I even got my 2-year old to join in. Unfortunately he cried when the fun ended and it had to go in the oven, but he reaped the tasty benefits shortly thereafter. Hope you’ll give it a try!
My little helper.
Not the oven!
Danielle’s Family Night Pizza
· 2 homemade or store-bought pizza crusts, 6-8’’ diameter
· 1/2 cup pizza sauce (see below for homemade sauce)
· 2 cups chopped veggies (broccoli, zucchini, red peppers, etc)
· ¼ lb thinly sliced turkey or chicken deli meat, nitrite free (if nitrite free is not available, use shredded chicken or turkey breast)
· 1 cup shredded mozzarella
· 2-3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1. Preheat oven to 425 or according to crust package directions. Place crusts on a baking sheet and spread thin layer of pizza sauce.
2. Top pizza sauce with a thin layer of cheddar cheese.
3. Add other toppings as desired.
4. Cover the toppings with the mozzarella and rest of the cheddar cheese.
5. Bake 10-15 minutes or as directed by your crust package.
Homemade Pizza Sauce
· ½ – ¾ cup tomato sauce, preferably not from a can to avoid BPA (jarred passata, pureed Pomi in BPA-free cartons)
· Assortment of dried herbs/spices, 1/8 – ¼ tsp each – basil, oregano, thyme, parsley, onion powder, garlic powder, etc. (For my latest creation I used ¼ tsp each oregano, thyme, basil and parsley. You can change it up each time to find out what you prefer.).
· ¼ tsp salt or to taste
1. Place tomato sauce in a bowl and stir in desired herbs and salt. Spread on pizza dough!