A Trio of Pizza Recipes

Superbowl Sunday appetizers are notoriously unhealthy, and this year, I wasn’t going to have much control – or ability to experiment – as we were visiting my sister and her family in North Carolina.

Luckily for me, she pulled out all the stops and served up a mixture of finger foods that her 4 kids (and mine) would like… alongside healthier options for the nutritional-conscious adults. I’d never had her Tomato-and-Corn Pizza but it was both delicious and easy to make — though a quick heads-up for pizza purists: this is a pesto, not a red sauce pizza.

We made a few recipe modifications. Kathy bought a whole wheat Boboli thin crust pizza for a healthier base, and we used part-skim mozzarella. Wanting to gloat about our amazing lo-co meal (OK, wanting to feel better about eating this pizza after many pigs-in-a-blanket), I was disappointed to find that this ‘Southern Living’ recipe does not list nutritional info.

ARGH.

But we gloated anyway because the ingredient list is all quite healthy.

Back home in Connecticut, I searched for recipes that would fit both my lo-co needs and that my son would also like (let’s just say he much preferred the pigs in a blanket to the tomato-and-corn pizza…but hey, he tried it!)

On Cooking Light’s website I discovered Spicy Sausage and Mushroom Pizza. It was a big hit – my husband, son and I all loved it. And at only 311 calories, 7.3 grams of fat and 21 mg of cholesterol per slice, it is definitely lo-co. A side salad and a slice (or 2) was a perfect meal for me; 2 slices with some steamed broccoli on the side (hate that lettuce allergy) was just right for my teenager. And he had the leftovers the next day – big bonus.

I made several changes to this recipe. First and foremost, I used Trader Joe’s Ciabatta Flatbread because I am too lazy to roll out dough. As I despise bell peppers I left them out (tried to substitute broccolini as that is DELICIOUS on pizza but TJ’s was out that day). Last but not least, I accidentally bought sweet Italian chicken sausage rather than hot – so I added red pepper flakes as I cooked the sausage.  Also, I sliced the sausage into disks rather than crumbled because, well, because it wouldn’t crumble!

The only problem I had with this recipe was slicing onions. Never have I suffered from onion-tears, but this time as I mandoline’d away I cried like crazy. Like, dangerous-slice-your-finger-what-is-happening tears! Apparently, this is a common issue after LASIK…who knew contacts protect your eyes from onion fumes? (Yes, it’s true, I looked it up.) To remedy, I now wear swim goggles while slicing onions. No, I’m not joking.  Yes, it works. And no, there will be no pictures posted.

Not wanting to don swim goggles again, I looked for a no-onion option, and found yet another quite good ‘pizza’ recipe – Cuban Chicken Pizza. The reason I put pizza in quotes is that I’m not sure how a recipe with not a hint of sauce – no pesto, no red, no sauce of any kind – can be called a pizza.  But that said, this was really quite tasty.

This ‘pizza’ is served on tortillas that you pre-bake in the oven.  There’s a nice video on the recipe site – I know because I looked to see what I did wrong, as mine came out more like matzoh and couldn’t be “flattened.” But still, the flavors that you put atop the tortilla are very very good, and it’s a snap to make.

Next time I prepare Cuban Chicken Pizza (and there will be a next time) I’ll skip the tortilla base and either make it on an actual pizza crust – like a Boboli or the TJ’s Ciabatti Flatbread.  Or I’ll just use a tortilla and panini it.

In fact, I highly recommend the panini route – as I had some of the black bean/chicken/ corn mixture left over, for lunch the next day I rolled some into a tortilla, added some avocado, then panini’d it to perfection.

So next time you need some finger foods for a party – or want to try a different kind of pizza for a weeknight dinner – you can’t go wrong with any of these 3 lo-co pizza options.

 

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