When it rains, make pizza!

pizza dinnerThanks to tropical storm Andrea, the grass has never been greener, the flowers are in full bloom, my car looks washed, allergies are at an all time low and it’s a perfect time to make homemade pizza!  (Yes, it’s a glass half full state of mind!)  This evening I had a craving for homemade whole wheat pizza margherita.  (Yes, I’m very specific!) 

I’ve never made whole wheat dough before, nor have I made margherita pizza so I was super excited to challenge myself with this (Yes, I find this fun).  Plus I have this thing going on with my leg/groin/hip flexor area and have put running on hold the past few days so I had extra time to be productive!

pizza dough

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough Ingredients: 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour, 2 1/4 tsp active yeast, 1 cup warm water, 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp sugar, 2 tsp basil (optional).

Dissolve yeast in warm water then combine all ingredients in a bread maker.  Set the bread maker on the dough setting and let the magic happen.  Can I just say – I love 21st century technology!!  1 hour later, I had perfectly mixed and risen dough! 

Margherita Sauce Ingredients: 1-28 oz can tomatoes (I used diced.  You can use whole peeled as well), 2 tsp minced garlic, 1 tsp kosher salt, 2 tsp basil, 1 tsp thyme, 2 tbsp olive oil  and pinch of crushed red pepper for a little heat! 

In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil and garlic.  Add spices.  Drain and then crush the tomatoes.  Add to oil mixture and stir.  Bring to a boil and then simmer for 10 minutes.

pizza sauce

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.  Roll dough out to a very thin (about 1/8-1/4 inch).  I do not believe in round pizzas (because I choose not to can’t make them).  I like all shapes of pizza.  No symmetry required in my kitchen! Spread sauce evenly.  Top with thinly sliced fresh mozzarella.  For this you will be about 6 ounces.  Top with fresh chopped basil leaves.  Bake for 10-12 minutes and smell the goodness…

pizza pics

OMGoshhh… with 3 minutes left, the kitchen started smelling like fresh pizza!  And I thought the pizza didn’t look to shabby either!  I made the pizza for my dad and I and I must say, even though it wasn’t a meat lovers, super saucy pizza, he still really liked it.  Add this to the list… boy approved!  I love the fact that it’s whole wheat, homemade, homemade sauce, part skim mozzarella… Cassie approved!

pizza cooked

Era squisito! (Click here to translate) 🙂

Antioxidant Cupcakes

Blueberry Spice Cupcakes display

Blueberries rank among one of the highest sources of antioxidants of all fruits, veggies, spices and seasonings.  As one of my favorite fruits, I decided to try a Blueberry Spice Cupcake recipe from WeightWatchers. 1 cupcake has 5 PointsPlus and is very yummy, frosting not needed!  I had leftover buttermilk from the red velvet cupcakes and instead of letting it go bad, I put it to great use!  How resourceful, I know!

I actually had all the ingredients except blueberries so after a little R&R at the pool, I stopped into Publix and picked up frozen blueberries.  Two things about frozen: First, studies have shown that frozen raw fruits and veggies don’t lose any nutrients as the fresh stuff.  Secondly, frozen blueberries are so much easier to work with that fresh ones.  I wanted to make sure my cupcakes had whole berries in them, and frozen was the only way to go.  Instead of looking like blueberry cupcakes, the cupcakes would have just looked blue.  I’m not a graceful baker.  Actually, I can make the argument that I’m not a graceful anything.  So naturally, the frozen ones were perfect for me!

Blueberry Spice Cupcakes wheat flourAnother interesting ingredient the recipe called for was whole wheat flour.  I don’t usually use whole wheat flour in baking (not sure why) but I had this on hand.  This flour got me in the mood for homemade pizza!  I haven’t made homemade pizza in a while and it’s one of my favorite things to make so I’ll have to put this on the dinner menu soon!  Thank you Italians!

If you’re looking for a sweet treat, a yummy breakfast side or just a semi-healthy (it’s all relative!) dessert, this one is for you!

Blueberry Spice CupcakesWhisk the following dry ingredients in a large bowl: 1 cup whole wheat flour, 1 cup all-purpose flour, 2 cups sugar, 1 tsp baking powder, 3/4 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp nutmeg.

In a separate bowl, mix 1 cup fat free buttermilk, 3 large eggs, 1/2 cup canola oil and 1 tsp vanilla extract.

Combine the wet and dry mixtures until just combined.  Add 2 cups frozen blueberries and fold into mixture.

Line 24 regular cupcake tins and spray with cooking spray.  Fill tins to a little more than 3/4 full.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Blueberry Spice Cupcakes rawBlueberry Spice Cupcakes done

I’m always up for trying healthier options to desserts (note: I say healthier not necessarily healthy…).  WeightWatchers has great recipes with good serving sizes and the recipes I’ve tried have been yummy!   1 cup is 5 PointsPlus for these blueberry spice antioxidant cupcakes. 🙂

Other WeightWatchers recipes I’ve made are the Cappuccino Cupcakes and Zucchini Cupcakes, Brownie Bites and Carrot Spice Cake.  ALL have  proven to exceed my expectations!

Have you tried any healthier option desserts that were delicious?!

Bon Appetite!

A not-your-typical-lasagna pesto lasagna

pesto lasagna3I love LOVE pasta of all types.  Italian is probably my favorite food type.Ever.  I could eat pizza, pasta and bread everyday.Seriously.  Me in Italy would probably be like a kid in a candy store.  The problem downside less-than-perfect-issue with Italian food is that it’s so heavy.  There’s always a ton of heavy sauces (that are yummy), juicy meats (that are tasty) and carbs that could will make you go into a carb coma.

Naturally, I love lasagna.  I love meat lasagna, veggie lasagna and now I love pesto lasagna!  This recipe comes from Bethenny Frankel with a few tweaks of my own.  Click here for her recipe. 🙂

The thing I like most about this recipe is that there is NO MEAT SAUCE!  After a long week of not working out, I wanted to make a yummy complete meal that wasn’t super heavy.  And voila… pesto lasagna with pine nuts!

pesto lasagna4

Mix 15 oz part skim ricotta cheese, 1/4 cup pine nuts, 1/4 cup basil and 1/4 cup parsley in a medium bowl. 

pesto lasagna5

Cook 9 whole wheat lasagna noodles according to the package.  In a 9×13 dish, spread two spoonfuls of pesto spread on the bottom.  Place 3 cooked noodles on the bottom of the pan.  Spread half of the ricotta mixture over the noodles.  Sprinkle with a small layer of mozzarella cheese.

pesto lasagna

Layer with 3 more noodles.  Spread 2 spoonfuls of pesto on the noodles and remaining ricotta mixture.  Top with 3 more noodles, pesto spread and 1 cup  part skim mozzarella cheese.

pesto lasagna1

Bake covered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Remove foil and bake another 10 minutes until cheese is bubbly.

pesto lasagna2

I must be honest.  This is better served for a girls’ night dish.  I’ve tested this on 3 guys in the family and they seem to think meat, sauce and thick cheese when it comes to lasagna.  I appreciate the lighter, flavorful options!! 

If you give this recipe a try, please let me know how it goes!  Do you have any healthy Italian dishes?

Bon Appetite!