Published 7:26 am Monday, January 23, 2006
What do children like better than burgers? Pizza.
Pizza is at the top of my list as well. I love a pizza covered with lots of vegetables and plenty of cheese. The cheese is the tough part to overcome. There are some cheeses with a lower fat content than others. For example, the most popular cheese on pizza, of course, is mozzarella. Whether it is a fresh or processed product, the fat content is usually around 68 percent. You can get part-skim mozzarella cheese that has a fat content of 56 percent. That's not much of a fat savings, but if you eat a lot of pizza, every fat gram counts.
As far as other toppings, try replacing pepperoni, sausage, beef and high-fat meats with shredded, cooked chicken or browned ground turkey. I've even had a buffalo chicken pizza before and was very impressed. There was no tomato/pizza sauce. The restaurant used what appeared to be bottled buffalo wing sauce topped with shredded chicken and drizzled with ranch dressing instead of cheese. It was surprisingly good. (I think they may have sprinkled a little parmesan cheese on it at the end of the baking process.)
If you are game enough to try a pizza at home, you can make your own crusts or buy some already prepared in the dairy or frozen foods department at the grocery store. You can even find the dough in a dry form that you prepare at home. This can usually be found on the same aisle as the pizza, tomato, and spaghetti sauces. Either way, the toppings are the most important part, and the part that you can control completely.
If you want to try making your pizza dough from scratch, this is one of the easiest recipes I was able to locate.
1 and one-fourth cups warm water (105 degrees to 115 degrees)
1 (.25 ounce) envelope active dry yeast
1 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 cups flour
One-half tsp. salt
Coat a large bowl with oil; set aside. In a glass measuring cup, mix the water and the yeast to dissolve. Pour into another large bowl. Add the oil and 1 cup flour. Beat until smooth. Add 1 cup flour and the salt; beat until smooth. Add 1 cup flour. Stir until the mixture forms a clump. Place the remaining one-half cup flour on a work surface. Push most of the flour to the side. With a dough scraper, lift the dough onto the surface. Sprinkle lightly with flour. With the scraper, fold the dough several times to get rid of surface stickiness. With your hands, knead for five to six minutes until the dough is resilient. Use additional flour only to prevent surface sticking. Some flour may remain. Place in the prepared bowl. Coat lightly with oil. Cover with plastic wrap. Set aside to rise for about 45 minutes, or until doubled in size. Punch down the dough. Shape into a ball and transfer to a work surface. Let sit five minutes. Shape, add toppings, and bake according to recipe directions.
If you like onions, then this next recipe should be one that will give you great pleasure in eating a good, home-made pizza. This recipe doesn't call for any sauce or cheese - an even better choice.
Onion and Olive Pizza
1 recipe pizza dough
1 tbsp. cornmeal
One-fourth cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 large onions, sliced
One-fourth tsp. salt
One-fourth tsp. dried oregano
One-half cup dry-cured ripe olives, pitted
Coat a 14- or 15-inch round pizza pan with oil. Sprinkle with the cornmeal; set aside. Punch down the dough and place on a lightly floured work surface to sit for 5 minutes. With lightly floured hands or rolling pin, pat or roll into a 15- or 16-inch circle. Transfer to the prepared pan. Fold the edges to make a rounded border. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for about 15 minutes, or until slightly risen. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place a large saut