Thursday, April 21, 2011

Pizza Make-Over with a Veggie Take-Over

Most people tend to enjoy pizza. But, if you are trying to eat healthy or lose weight, pizza is usually not the best choice. Most commercial brand pizzas are loaded with fat and sodium. Toppings, such as ground beef, ham, pepperoni, sausage, or extra cheese just add to the calorie overload. With a little homemade effort, pizza can still be part of a healthy diet. Start with a handmade crust that incorporates whole wheat flour for additional fiber content. Make your own sauce to reduce added sugars. Then top it with fat free cheese and an assortment of sauteed veggies. This pizza tastes very similar to the veggie pizza at California Pizza Kitchen and is quite filling due to the fact that each serving contains 8g of fiber. Although goat cheese is not low fat, you don't need much at all because of its strong flavor and it is the perfect complement to the other ingredients. Of course this homemade pizza takes more time than calling for a delivery, but you can make the dough and sauce ahead of time. I have even cooked the vegetables the day before and refrigerated them so that I can throw the pizza together in no time at all. Even if you think veggie pizza is just not for you, I think you will be amazed at how delicious it can be. Feel free to change up the vegetables to suit your own preferences. Also, let kids help with the preparation for a great way to teach them about veggies they may have never seen.

Vegetable Pizza
serves 4

1 package yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tbsp Splenda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp olive oil
up to 1 cup luke warm water

1 (14.5 oz) can tomato sauce
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp fennel seed
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp Splenda
1/8 tsp allspice

2 cups broccolini, stems trimmed
1/2 medium eggplant, diced
3 cups fresh spinach leaves
1/4 cup red onion
1/4 cup sliced black olives
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
2 tsp garlic cloves, minced
1 cup fat free shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup goat cheese crumbles
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Sprinkle yeast over 1/4 cup warm water and let stand for 10 minutes.
  2. In a food processor, process the flour, sugar, and salt for 6 seconds. Add the yeast and process for 10 seconds longer. Combine the oil and water and drizzle through the feed tube while the machine is running (Once the dough clumps around the blade, process for 30-40 more seconds. Dough should be a little sticky).
  3. Divide dough in half and store one ball of dough in the refrigerator or freezer for later use.
  4. Spray a 16" pizza pan with cooking spray. Press dough from center out until it reaches the edges. Bake for 10 minutes.
  5. For sauce, combine all sauce ingredients and mix well. Spread over baked pizza crust. Sprinkle with 1 cup mozzarella cheese.
  6. For vegetables, spray a large non-stick skillet with cooking spray. Add garlic, spinach, onion, and eggplant and cook over medium-high heat until spinach is wilted. Add broccolini, mushrooms, and black olives and cook for 10 minutes until all vegetables are softened. 
  7. Top crust (and sauce and cheese) with cooked vegetables. Sprinkle with goat cheese. Return pizza to oven for 8-10 minutes.
***You will have extra sauce. You can heat it to use as a dipping sauce or refrigerate it for later use with the extra pizza dough.

Nutrition: (2 slices) 265 calories, 42g carbohydrate, 20g protein, 4.5g fat, 8g fiber
weight watchers points: 5
weight watchers plus points: 7

Sunday, April 17, 2011

PB & J the healthy way

Although typically known for being a childhood favorite, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are a common  lunch item for adults as well. Most people don't think of this a high-fat, high-calorie food, which is misconception. There are many types of peanut butter available. Some are creamy, crunchy, organic, low-fat, all natural, or low sodium. While some varieties are better for you than others, a typical serving of any type clocks in at about 200 calories and 16g of fat per serving. A serving size is 2 tablespoons which is much less than most people use on a sandwich. Next you have to consider the nutrient content of fruit flavored jams. A standard 2 tablespoons will add 100 calories to your meal and contains 24g of sugar. In order to make a sandwich, an essential item is bread. There are so many different breads to choose from, but soft, white sandwich bread tends to be what people associate with peanut butter and jelly. Two slices of white bread average around 120 calories and contain only a small amount of fiber. If you stick to proper serving sizes, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich will contain at least 420 calories.

There is a way to lower these stats while still enjoying the reminiscent flavor. First, swap the high-fat peanut butter for a product called PB2. It is an all-natural peanut powder that has 85% of the fat calories removed. PB2 starts off in powder form and when you add water, it becomes creamy and delicious. It has only 45 calories and 1.5g of fat for each prepared 2 tablespoon serving. Next is a very simple substitution. Choose a sugar free variety of jam, which only contains 10 calories per tablespoon. My favorite is the Polaner brand. It is made with real fruit and contains 3g of fiber in each serving. Finally, choose a light wheat sandwich bread. There are several brands that have as few as 35 calories per slice. By using these alternative ingredients, you can have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with 135 calories and 15g of fiber. Kids will enjoy this healthy version as well.

PB2 and jelly sandwich
serves 1

2 slices light whole wheat bread
2 tbsp sugar free jam
2 tbsp PB2 prepared

Nutrition: 135 calories, 37g carbohydrate, 14g protein, 4g fat, 15g fiber
weight watchers points: 1
weight watchers plus points: 5

Click here or here to order PB2 powdered peanut butter. It also comes in chocolate!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Crab topped Mahi Mahi

Now that the warm weather and sunshine seems to have set in, all I can think about is going to the beach. Of course there is the sound of waves crashing, beautiful ocean views, sand between your toes, and sun-kissed skin. But even if none of those things existed, I think the fresh seafood is enough to leave me longing for a vacation on the coast. Since I don't have a trip planned within in the next few months, I decided that I could still re-create the cuisine. Mahi mahi is one of my favorite types of fish because it so light and flaky. It pairs great with any lemon butter sauce and, of course, crab meat. I found a recipe that made my mouth water and adapted it to meet my nutrition standards. The end result was every bit as amazing as a meal at the beach. The fish had the perfect texture, which was complemented with a lump crab topping, and finished with a lemon wine sauce. Not only is the flavor to die for, but this is a great recipe for anyone searching for a high protein, low carb entree. With my substitutions, you can feel like you are indulging for a little over 200 calories. 

Crab topped Mahi Mahi
adapted from Cake, Batter, and Bowl
serves 4

4 (4 oz) Mahi Mahi filets (or any other white fish)
8 oz. lump crab meat
1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 large shallot, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp fat-free mayonnaise
2 tbsp egg beaters
1/4 tsp salt

lemon sauce
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tbsp light butter
1 tbsp all purpose flour
1/2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp fat-free milk
1/8 tsp salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine crab meat, bread crumbs, shallot, garlic, mayonnaise, egg beaters, and 1/8 tsp salt. Mix well.
  3. Sprinkle mahi filets with remaining salt on both sides and place on baking sheet. Evenly top filets with crab mixture. Bake for 25 minutes or until fish is cooked through (center should be 145 degrees). 
  4. Turn broiler on and broil for 1 minute until crab topping is golden brown. 
  5. Meanwhile, make prepare lemon sauce by placing wine and lemon juice in a small sauce pan. Heat for 6-8 minutes over medium.
  6. Place butter in a separate sauce pan and melt over medium heat. Whisk in flour until smooth. Then add wine and lemon mixture and honey.
  7. Mix until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and stir in milk and salt. Drizzle over cooked filets (You will have extra sauce).
Nutrition: 228 calories, 13g carbohydrate, 33g protein, 2g fat, 0g fiber
weight watchers points: 5
weight watchers plus points: 5
Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Nosh on Squash

I am pretty much always in the mood for fresh vegetables, but lately I have really been craving fresh summer vegetables. I love steamed or grilled yellow squash by itself so I figured it was be just as good with a few added ingredients, in order to make a casserole. This side dish recipe reminds me of the squash casserole at a local market/restaurant but I'm relatively sure that their version is far from low-fat. It seems that most vegetable casseroles contain very few actual vegetables and are smothered in cream soups, cheese, and other high calorie ingredients. I really liked the fact that the squash is the main ingredient in my recipe and its flavor is still distinct. The addition of cheese and greek yogurt really complemented the squash without overpowering it and the corn flakes provided a crunchy topping. I served this with grilled chicken tenders and sauteed turnip greens for a healthy, southern dinner. 

Cheesy Squash Casserole
serves 8

6 medium yellow squash, thinly sliced
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 cup fat-free shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup fat-free plain greek yogurt
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup corn flakes

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease 2-quart casserole dish.
  2. Boil squash and onions until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain.
  3. In a large bowl combine squash and onions, Parmesan, Cheddar, and yogurt. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
  4. Transfer mixture to prepared casserole dish. Top with corn flakes. Bake for 20 minutes.
Nutrition: 93 calories, 9g carbohydrate, 10g protein, 2g fat, 2g fiber
weight watchers points: 2
weight watchers plus points: 3

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About Lauren


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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