Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Pizza Fever: The Quest for Easy, Healthy and Homemade Pizza


Recently I've found myself in quite the pizza obsession. We're not talking Papa John's be there in 30 minutes or your pizza's free pizza (or is that Dominos?). No, no. We're talking whole wheat, thin crust, extra veggies, light on the cheese pizza. You may think I'm pretentious or just weight conscious for lamenting that I prefer such a pizza, but in all honesty I don't like delivery pizza. I feel the massive amount of cheese is just not my cup of tea. It's far too heavy and overburdens the taste buds. That and the fact that too much cheese makes my stomach queasy, trust me, you don't want me to eat a load of cheese, it's not pretty. Perhaps it's an aversion I've built to the dairy block because of it's aftermath, regardless I never eat delivery pizza.

Instead, I prefer pizza that has a smidgen of cheese (just for some flavor) and some crunchy vegetables that have been cooked, but not completely so that when you bite down on them it elicits that sound as if you're biting into a sandwich that is drowning in lettuce. And no, I don't like authentic mozzarella that is placed on pizza like little marshmallows, that's far to much cheese in one bite. 


And the crust. Ahh, the crust, The doughy mass of goodness is my favorite part of a pizza. I prefer it thin crust with a light crunch to it, but a little thicker can be good when baked fresh out of the oven, just not deep dish style. That's a no go. Because of my torrid love affair with starches I try to opt for whole wheat crust to stay healthier, but I have no qualms in indulging in the good stuff if I must.

And so why all the hub bub about pizza? Well, I've always loved pizza. My mother used to make it from scratch on the regular when I was a child and as I've gotten older I started making pizza as well. Initially it started with the Pillsbury Dough can that are in a similar container as the crescent rolls. I don't know why I continued with that pizza crust, it should be ashamed for having those words written on the label. And so then I moved into making my own crust, yum! While Hubby doesn't care for it as much (His expectations for pizza are too high, I use the same dough to make stromboli or a calzone and he loves it.), my Sweet Pea and I love it. She even helps to make the pizza, thanks to her Barney DVD where they make a pepper, pineapple, pickle and peanut butter pizza.

Ever since Bambino was born, I haven't had the time to make the crust from scratch as I used to do, because I have to plan ahead for the day and make the crust in the morning only for it to rise hours later to properly make for dinner.

And so a couple of weeks ago I had some of my parents pizza. Because it's just the two of them they don't make pizza from scratch anymore. Instead, they buy frozen, cheese pizzas and scrape off about half of the cheese and then load it up with veggies. It tastes great and the calories are cut, genius! 


And so I started testing out some different quasi-homemade pizzas as well. I prefer my pasta sauce and low cal cheese, so I opted not to use the frozen variety. First up was the H-E-B pre-made crust that was a knock-off of Boboli. I opted for the wheat crust. Big mistake. I used my favorite H-E-B marinara sauce, fat free cheese, peppers, onions, mushrooms and tomatoes. Everything was good except for the cardboard...err crust. 
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So then I went the brand name route and went for the Boboli whole wheat crust. Pretty good, much better than the H-E-B crust. Not quite the homemade stuff or the frozen pizza stuff, but it was quick and easy and definitely put on repeat.

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Then one night when both sets of grandparents came for dinner, I bought the ready made pizzas at H-E-B where you just have to put it in the oven and bake (Only the crust is slightly baked, everything else is raw.) So I bought a cheese pizza and scraped off probably about 2 cups of cheese. (No joke!) Then added on the peppers, onions, mushrooms and tomatoes. Baked it in the oven and yum! My father agreed with me that it was the best pizza! Definitely one to be made again, but more for an indulgence since it still had a bit of whole milk cheese that I don't like to eat so often, bad stomach or not.

So Sunday night I made homemade dough and we all ate pizza for dinner, even Hubby who willingly ate a turkey pepperoni pizza. (I think his two brackets are doing well going into the final four, thus explaining the willingness.) It was perfect. Sometimes I make it with whole wheat dough, but since we were all eating it I went for white bread flour. (Do they make whole wheat bread flour?) And it was just perfect, like coming home again. 

Half pepperoni for Hubby and half cheese for the kids

So while my favorite, healthy pizza is when I make it with dough from scratch, my hearty and healthy alternative is Boboli Whole Wheat. A little expensive on the pocket, but meets my requisites nonetheless: easy, healthy and semi-homemade! 

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2 comments:

  1. Pizza is staple food for me and my waist feels you on not liking delivery pizza. I have managed to come across a few restaurants that offer healthier choices and even some that allow you to choose toppings, but I'd need to travel for a bit to get to them. That being said, thanks for sharing these healthier alternatives to make at home. I'll give them a try soon.

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  2. Thanks for your comment, Joseph! I feel you on the needing to travel a bit to get the healthier options, the suburbs don't always seem to cater to the health conscious, do they?

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