A little too crazy for you? Try these instead.
Quick and Easy Pizza Crust
A chewy pizza crust that can be made quickly with just basic pantry ingredients for when you are in a hurry. Makes 1 lb of pizza dough.
- 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon white sugar
- 1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
- 2 1/2 cups bread flour
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
In a medium bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
Stir in flour, salt and oil. Beat until smooth. Let rest for 5 minutes.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat or roll into a round. Transfer crust to a lightly greased pizza pan and spread it to the edges or shape it into a 12-14 inch round and place on a baker’s peel dusted with cornmeal. Add toppings and transfer to a preheated pizza stone.
Cheese Pizza with Caramelized Onions and Roasted Red Peppers
- 2 pounds store-bought or homemade pizza dough
- 1/2 cup drained roasted red peppers from a jar, sliced
- 1 teaspoon wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 large onions (about 4 pounds in all), cut into thin slices
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 6 ounces Italian fontina, sliced thin
- 6 ounces Roquefort or other blue cheese, crumbled (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
Heat the oven to 425°F. Oil two 12-inch pizza pans or large baking sheets. Press the dough into a 12-inch round or a 9-by-13-inch rectangle, on each prepared pan. Bake until the dough, without the toppings, begins to brown, 10 to 15 minutes.
In a large nonstick frying pan, heat the oil over moderate heat. Add the onions and salt and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the red peppers.
Divide the onion mixture between the 2 baked pizzas crusts. Top each with half of the fontina, Roquefort and Parmesan.
Bake the pizzas until the cheese melts, about 10 minutes.
Meat Lovers’ Veggie Pizza
- 1 pound pizza dough, fresh or frozen (thawed) at room temperature
- 3/4 cups marinara sauce
- 6 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese
- 4 ounces sweet Italian sausage, casing removed
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- 1 small green pepper, thinly sliced
- 3 ounces pepperoni, sliced
- 3 strips bacon
Preheat oven to 475 degrees F. Oil a pizza pan.
Stretch dough round into small circle. Place on the pizza pan, stretching and pressing to form a 14-inch circle. Spread sauce on dough; top with mozzarella in single layer.
In a skillet cook bacon. Drain and set aside. Add sausage and saute until no longer pink. Add mushrooms and pepper slices and saute until tender.
Top pizza with the vegetable mixture, pepperoni and crumbled cooked bacon.
Bake 20 to 22 minutes.
Chicago Deep-Dish-Style Veggie Pizza
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound fresh or frozen (thawed and at room temperature) pizza dough
- 2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
- 3/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, drained and thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives, each cut in half
- 1 can (14- to 14.5-ounce) chopped tomatoes with garlic and basil, drained
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
Preheat oven to 475 degrees F. Coat a 12-inch heavy ovenproof skillet with oil.
Pat dough into a 14-inch round on a floured board and carefully transfer dough to the skillet. Carefully flip dough once, so both sides are evenly coated with oil. Gently press the edges of the dough up the side of the skillet.
Sprinkle mozzarella evenly over the dough; top with broccoli, sun dried tomatoes, olives, tomatoes and Pecorino. Bake pizza 25 minutes or until the dough is puffed and golden brown. Cut pizza into slices to serve.
Roasted Chicken and Leek Pizza
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 3 large leeks, white and tender green portions only, sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick and separated into rings
- 2 cups shredded skinless roasted chicken
- 1/2 pound Italian Fontina cheese, shredded (2 cups)
- 1/3 cup oil-cured olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 pound pizza dough, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat the oven to 500°F. Generously oil a pizza pan.
Melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the leeks and cook over moderate heat until just softened but still bright green, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool. Stir in the chicken, half of the Fontina, the olives and season with salt and pepper.
Stretch the dough to the edges of the pizza pan. Spread the chicken and leek mixture on the pizza, leaving a 1-inch border of dough. Brush the border with olive oil. Sprinkle the remaining Fontina over the top and season with pepper.
Bake 16 -20 minutes until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbling. Transfer the pizza to a rack and let cool slightly before cutting.
Squid Pizza with Saffron Aioli
- Large pinch of saffron threads
- 1 teaspoon water
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
- Cayenne pepper
- 6 ounces cleaned squid—tentacles halved, bodies sliced crosswise 1/2 inch thick
- Freshly ground black pepper
- All-purpose flour, for dusting
- 8 ounces pizza dough
- Pinch of crushed red pepper
- 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 large plum tomato, diced
- 1 teaspoon chopped marjoram
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
Preheat the oven to 500°F. Preheat a pizza stone.
In a small bowl, crumble the saffron into the water; let steep for 5 minutes. In a blender or bowl, beat the egg yolk with the garlic and 1 teaspoon of the lemon juice. Gradually add the 3/4 cup of olive oil, beating constantly, until very thick. Stir in the remaining 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and the saffron water and season the aioli with salt and cayenne.
In a skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil until shimmering. Add the squid, season with salt and black pepper and cook over high heat until just starting to whiten, 30 seconds. Do not overcook. Transfer to a plate.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the pizza dough to a 12-inch round, 1/4 inch thick. Transfer the round to a lightly floured pizza peel.
Leaving a 1/2-inch border of dough, brush the round with olive oil and sprinkle with crushed red pepper, salt and black pepper.
Scatter the onion slices over the round and top with the squid, tomato and marjoram.
Slide the pizza onto the hot stone and bake for about 5 minutes, until the bottom is crisp.
Transfer the pizza to a work surface and drizzle with 3 tablespoons of the aioli. Serve aioli with the pizza or reserve the remaining aioli for another use. Garnish the pizza with the parsley, cut into wedges and serve.
What makes a recipe healthy? To me, healthy eating means consuming a wide variety of whole foods, eating lots of fruits and vegetables, limiting fat and sodium intake and trying to meet the minimum vitamin and mineral recommendations by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Because we lead busy lives, we need healthy recipes that can be completed in a hurry and provide all those requirements.
Since many of us do use processed foods to cut down on time spent in the kitchen, learn to read nutrition labels. Make special note of the number of servings in each package, and the serving size. Most people eat far more than the recommended serving size of most foods. Also pay attention to ‘use by’ and ‘sell by’ dates, to keep you and your family safe.
Besides the basics of paying attention to calories and serving size, here are a few tips from the Food and Drug Administration to guide you:
● Choose products with high daily value percentages (20 percent or more per serving) of fiber and of vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium and iron.
● Look for low daily value percentages (5 percent or less) of total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium.
● The following terms signal added sugars, which contain lots of calories but little nutritional value: corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, fruit juice concentrate, maltose, dextrose, sucrose, honey and maple syrup.
Ideally, if we had all the time in the world, we would cook everything from scratch for our families, using only the most fresh and organic products. But guess what? We don’t always have the time or energy. We know that life gets in the way of even the best plans, and sometimes we can use a little assistance in the form of a time saver when it comes to cooking. There are some convenience products that are great time-cutting products that, also, meet healthy standards for nutrition and flavor.
Here Are My Top 10. What Are Yours?
Using Healthy Convenience Foods for Quick Dinners
The recipes below have a low percentage of fat, lots of fiber, cruciferous vegetables, and fruits, and a wide variety of ingredients. They are ready in 30 minutes or less, or have a preparation time of 20 minutes or less. Try some of these recipes this week and feel good about the food you’re feeding your family.
Easy Baked Fish Fillets
Serve with quick cooking brown rice that cooks in 10 minutes.
- 4 (4 ounce) fish fillets, such as, tilapia, flounder, cod, grouper.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 lemon, sliced
- 1 (16 ounce) package frozen vegetables with broccoli and carrots (or any combination your family likes), defrosted and drained
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees F). Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish.
Place the fillets in the bottom of the baking dish and drizzle with olive oil.
Combine spices and sprinkle over top of each fillet. Top each one with a slice or two of lemon.
Arrange the frozen mixed vegetables around the fish, and season lightly with salt and pepper.
Cover the dish and bake for 2o to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, until vegetables are tender and fish flakes easily with a fork.
Cheese Ravioli with Veggies
Use any combination of frozen vegetables that you like in place of the California Blend.
- 1 package (16 ounces) frozen California-blend vegetables
- 1- 9 ounce package whole wheat cheese ravioli
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon Mrs. Dash garlic herb salt-free seasoning blend
- 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Fill a Dutch oven two-thirds full with water; bring to a boil and add salt to the boiling water.
Add the frozen vegetables; cook for 5 minutes. Add the ravioli. Cook 5 minutes longer or until vegetables and ravioli are tender; drain.
Gently stir in oil. Sprinkle with seasoning blend and cheese.
Pork Chops With Chard and White Beans
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 boneless pork chops (3/4 inch thick; about 1 1/2 pounds total)
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 1 bunch Swiss chard, stems thinly sliced and leaves torn into bite-size pieces (about 5 cups)
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 15-16 ounce can low sodium cannellini beans, rinsed
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Season the pork with the paprika, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a platter and tent with foil.
2. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chard stems and onion and cook, tossing occasionally, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the beans, chard leaves, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper and cook, tossing frequently, until the chard is wilted, 2 to 3 minutes more. Mix in the vinegar and serve with the pork.
For a bit of sweetness, add a handful of raisins to the bean mixture.
Baked Eggs Florentine
- 36 ounces frozen spinach
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for greasing pan
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 8 large eggs
- 8 slices tomato
- 1 cup grated Parmesan
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cook spinach according to package instructions. Wring out as much water as possible and stir in olive oil and butter. Season to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.
Spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Spread spinach over bottom of the dish. With a spoon, make 8 indentations; place tomato slices into indentations. Crack eggs over tomatoes and lightly season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Evenly divide and sprinkle parmesan over casserole.
Bake on middle rack of oven 20-30 minutes, or until cheese is golden and eggs are cooked to desired level of doneness.
Fettuccine with Scallops
Serve with a small salad on the side.
5 servings, about 1 1/2 cups each
- 8-9 ounces fresh whole-wheat fettuccine
- 1 pound sea scallops or bay scallops
- Salt and Pepper
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 1/2 cups low-fat milk
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, (Wondra all purpose flour works well here)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 2 cups frozen peas, thawed
- 3/4 cup finely shredded Romano cheese, divided
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh chives
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook fettuccine according to package instructions. Drain.
- Meanwhile, pat scallops dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and scallops and cook until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.
- Whisk milk, flour, white pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl until smooth. Pour the mixture into the skillet and bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring constantly. Continue stirring until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Return the scallops and any accumulated juices to the pan along with peas and return to a simmer. Stir in the fettuccine, 1/2 cup Romano cheese, chives, lemon zest and juice until combined. Serve with the remaining cheese sprinkled on top.
Quick Berry Cobbler
Self Rising Flour is a time saver. It is all purpose flour that already has the leavening ingredients (baking powder and salt) in it that gives quick breads, biscuits and other similar recipes the ability to rise. It is considered a convenience item for a baker because it cuts down on the number of ingredients to measure out.
- 1 cup of sugar ( or use 1/2 cup light sugar-Domino or Truvia)
- 1 cup of lowfat milk
- 1 cup of Self Rising Flour
- 1/2 cup of water
- 2 cups of fresh, washed berries *
- 4 tablespoons butter or Smart Balance Blend
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Melt butter in a glass 8 inch square baking pan in the microwave.
Combine sugar, milk, water, and flour in a large measuring cup
Pour mixture over melted butter.
Pour berries over the top and spread them evenly.
Bake: 350° for 45 min.
* whatever berries are in season
- Quick Summer Side Dishes (jovinacooksitalian.com)
- Speedy After-Work Dinners (jovinacooksitalian.com)
- Recipe – Baked Fish with Herbs, Healthy, Delicious and Easy to cook! (ahdalin.wordpress.com)