Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Pizza Party...Healthy and Hearty



Pizza is one of the most loved foods available. Perhaps because there are so many varieties, that everyone is likely to find a type that suits his or her preferences. As much as pizza can vary based on flavor and texture; the nutrition status differs greatly as well. Things that add tremendous amounts of calories and saturated fat to a slice of pizza include thick crusts such as “deep dish”, large amounts of cheese, high-fat meats, and white pizza sauces. Some large pizzeria-style slices can contain up to 500 calories per slice.  While pizza can be made healthier by reducing the fat of the toppings, most pies still have a high ratio of simple carbohydrates to protein. In order to reduce the simple carbs, look for pizzas made with whole-wheat dough or thin crust options. If you are making homemade pizza, use simple swaps to cut calories by topping the crust with reduced-fat or fat-free cheese, turkey pepperoni, and fresh veggies.

This recipe for Pizza Quiche sounds odd and maybe a bit unappetizing, thinking about the combination of eggs and pizza. The dish gets its name because the crust is made from an egg and cheese mixture, but it has no reminiscence of a typical breakfast quiche. The original recipe was part of the Atkins diet, which suggests eating very low carbs combined with high fat meats and cheeses. I adapted the recipe to use low fat substitutes; saturated fats have been linked to increase the risk of Cardiovascular Disease, Hypertension, and Diabetes. This pizza alternative is so cheesy and delicious; you would never guess that it has only 270 calories per serving. Many recipes deemed “healthy” simply cut the serving size to such small amounts that the nutrition stats seem to fit a diet plan. The only problem is that you will be left hungry, which sets you up for unhealthy snacking just hours later. The Pizza Quiche allows you to consume a large portion and fills you up with 45g of protein per serving. It is prepared in a 9x13 baking dish and serves 4- yes you get to eat a fourth of a 9x13 pan for 270 calories. My stats only include turkey pepperoni and mushrooms as toppings but feel free to add whatever you normally order on a pizza. Just keep in mind that adding meats and other high-fat items will increase the fat content and calories of the dish. If the word “quiche” makes you feel like this should be a breakfast meal, well then have it for breakfast. A high protein, low carb meal will get your day started and keep you full until lunch. If the common cold pizza breakfast appeals to you, store leftovers in the refrigerator for a quick morning treat. I had my doubts upon making this for the first time, but if you like pizza you will love this. It is also a very kid-friendly dish as well- let them help with preparation and it is guaranteed to become a family favorite.

Pizza Quiche
serves 4

Ingredients
4 oz. fat free cream cheese
1 cup egg beaters
1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk or skim milk
1/4 grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp fresh minced chives
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp dried oregano
1 cup shredded fat free Cheddar cheese
2 cups shredded fat free Mozzarella cheese
1 8oz. can tomato sauce
1 cup fresh sliced mushrooms
34 turkey pepperoni (2 servings)

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a food processor or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, blend together the cream cheese and egg beaters until smooth. Add the milk, Parmesan, chives, garlic, and oregano. Blend until smooth.
  3. Scatter the Cheddar cheese and 1 cup of the Mozzarella in the prepared baking dish. Pour the egg mixture over the cheese. Bake for 30 minutes.
  4. Spread the tomato sauce over the baked crust. Layer the pepperoni, mushrooms, and other additional toppings. Cover with remaining 1 cup of Mozzarella cheese.
  5. Turn on the broiler and broil about 6 inches from the heat until golden and bubbly. (Keep a close eye because the broiler will burn the dish quickly. This probably only takes about 2-3 minutes.) Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
Nutrition: 270 calories, 12g carbohydrate, 45g protein, 4g fat


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Nutrition student with a passion for giving yummy recipes a healthy make-over. Future RD on a constant search for the best food finds. And new blogger trying to relay my tasty ideas to everyone else.

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