It’s What’s Cooking Wednesday and this week we’re talking Pizza!
Like many people, on occassion we have a craving for pizza. And while the ones we bring home and bake are good, they often leave us in a sodium induced coma the next day. A couple of years ago, we landed on a healthier solution that we love and I think you will too!
The magic crust for these pizzas is Greek flatbread. They are light, tender, and a nice size for one or two people to share. They also freeze well, meaning you can always have the base for these pizzas at the ready.
Another change we made from traditional pizza is using olive oil for the sauce. It feels lighter, and hence healthier, than the traditional red pizza sauce and adds a nice flavor. Olive oils infused with garlic and herbs, as well as prepared pesto also work great for this application. When we do use a tomato pizza sauce, we use a heart healthy jarred marinara sauce that we usually have in the pantry, which allows us to control the sodium content.
Recently, we had group at the house of varying ages and dietary preferences. After planning meals at home for several nights, the last evening we were together I was at a loss as to what to serve. I opened the freezer, hoping to magically find something that would suffice. Voila! I spied the Greek flatbread and a package of grilled chicken strips. #Ithinkimontosomething
Now would probably be the time to step into the confessional and tell you that I’m somewhat of a food hoarder. I like my pantry, refrigerator and freezer full of the ingredients to make almost anything without going to the store. When I want to make something, I don’t want to have to run out for ingredients, and in this case, I was glad I had a pantry full of staples that make excellent pizza toppings.
Out came the ingredients, which were put into individual bowls: Olive Oil and Marinara sauce, grilled chicken, sliced pepperoni. sliced mushrooms (fresh or canned), sliced olives (black, Kalamata or green), pine nuts, artichoke hearts, bacon bits, fresh veggies such as onions, peppers, tomatoes, grated Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, and fresh herbs if available. Otherwise the shaker variety works.
Obviously, these are just suggestions that you can customize to your personal taste. If you aren’t in a time crunch, you can certainly add browned hamburger or sausage. Canadian bacon and pineapple is always an Aloha favorite!
Once you have the ingredients assembled, the fun starts. Call everyone to the kitchen and, in assembly line fashion, put the flatbreads on cookie sheets and let your guests go crazy. Put parchment paper underneath, and write each person’s name in front of their pizza, in case it changes in the cooking process to something unrecognizable.
Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until cheese is bubbly. Remove from the oven and enjoy. Served with a side salad or fresh fruit, these little pizzas make a great meal in a hurry, perfect for a work night family dinner or impromptu guests. Even a make-your-own Pizza party could be a fun theme with a little Chianti and red and white checked tablecloths. The possibilities are only as endless as your creativity!
Since it is typically just the two of us, I have included a couple of tried and true versions that we enjoy. For vegetarian options, leave off the meat and add more veggies, nuts and cheese.
Chicken Flatbread Pizza
One Greek flatbread, brushed with olive oil, and 2 Tbsp. pesto (optional)
Top evenly with ½ cup diced cooked chicken, 2 tsp. cooked bacon bits, 1/8 cup each of sliced olives and mushrooms, 2 tsp. pine nuts, and ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake at 400 for 10-12 minutes, remove, and top with fresh basil and sliced tomatoes, if desired.
Traditional Flatbread Pizza
One Greek flatbread, topped with ½ cup bottled marinara sauce of choice
Top evenly with ½ cup sliced pepperoni or salami or ham, 1/8 cup each of sliced olives and mushrooms, sliced onions, peppers and other veggies to cover, and ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake at 400 for 10-12 minutes, remove and top with grated parmesan cheese, fresh herbs and tomatoes, if desired.
So the next time you are in a pinch to create an easy meal or a way to lighten up your pizza options, try Greek flatbread pizzas. You will love them!