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Instead of using pizza crust, why not try pita bread? This recipe is great topped with Italian sausage, green peppers and mushrooms, but feel free to use your own favorite toppings. These pizzas can also be grilled easily. Grill over medium heat 7 minutes or until cheese is melted and crust is lightly browned. Not only are these pizzas delicious, but they are economical and child-friendly. 

 

Mushroom Pita Pizzas

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

3/4 lb. spicy Italian sausage

1 cup marinara sauce

4 (6-inch) pita bread rounds

1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms

1 cup diced green bell pepper

11/3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Preparation 

1. Brown sausage in a medium pan over medium heat 5 minutes or until meat crumbles; drain, if needed

2. Spread each pita round with 1/4 cup marinara sauce. Top evenly with sausage, mushrooms, green pepper and cheese.

3. Bake at 350F 15 minutes or until pita is browned and cheese is melted.

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Since Saint Patrick’s Day is one week away, here’s a quick and easy dip that is sure to be a party pleaser. This low-fat, low-calorie delight is perfect for spring. It’s filled with fresh dill and fresh basil. Guests won’t believe that this dip is low-fat, and don’t tell them it took only 10 minutes to prepare.

 

Low-Fat Fresh Herb Dip

Prep: 10 minutes

Yield: 31/2 cups

Ingredients

1 (16-ounce) container light sour cream

1 cup low-fat mayonnaise

2 cloves garlic

3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Fresh vegetables, crackers

Preparation

1. Combine all ingredients in a container of a food processor; pulse until combine. Cover and chill. Serve with fresh vegetables or crackers.

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This is one of my all-time favorite dips, and it’s low in fat and so high in flavor! I have made this numerous times for parties and showers, but I brought it up to the baseball field for my son’s 5:30 game, and everyone went nuts over it. I like to use rehydrated sun-dried tomatoes that are already chopped. These are less fat since they’re not packed in oil, and they can be found in the produce section of your local grocery store. This recipe is so quick, light, simple and delicious. What else can you ask for?

 

Sun-Dried Tomato Dip

Prep: 10 minutes

Yield: 11/2 cups

Ingredients

1 (8-ounce) package low-fat cream cheese

1/2 cup low-fat mayonnaise

2 cloves garlic

1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes

1 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Preparation

1. Combine all ingredients in a container of a food processor; process until combined. Serve with crackers or vegetables. 

Tomato Basil Mozzarella Salad

February 25, 2009

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Since spring is around the corner, I was getting so excited that I decided to make my favorite spring/summer salad. And since I have tomato and basil on my mind from yesterday’s blog, I thought I would give you this recipe that is so easy and a true favorite at my house. Serve it with practically any main dish. Even my kids eat this salad, and they especially like it when I serve it with some warm crusty bread. Don’t forget to serve it with olive oil and balsamic vinegar so they can dip.

 

Tomato Basil Mozzarella Salad

For an extra sprinkling of color, use multi-colored peppercorns and grind them over the salad just before serving.

Prep: 20 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients

1/2  pound  fresh mozzarella cheese*

2  large red tomatoes, sliced

1  large yellow tomato, sliced

3  tablespoons  extra-virgin olive oil

Freshly ground pepper

1/2  cup  shredded or chopped fresh basil

Balsamic vinegar

Preparation

1. Remove cheese from brine, and cut into 12 slices; sprinkle tomato slices. Alternate tomato and cheese slices on a platter; drizzle with olive oil. Cover and chill 4 hours if desired. Just before serving, sprinkle with freshly ground pepper and basil. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar.

Note:*Fresh mozzarella is a soft white cheese available in the gourmet cheese section of any local grocery stores.

Fresh Tomato-Pesto Pizza from Cooking Light

It’s pizza night at my house, so I thought I would share this recipe. With only 240 calories and 9 grams of fat, you can’t go wrong. Feel free to add cooked chicken or shrimp on this pizza. And if you want a shortcut, purchase jarred pesto in the grocery store. I love using Mama Mary’s crust or Boboli, which work great on busy weeknights (which is always at my house with 3 kids, especially during baseball season).

 

Tomato-Basil Pizza

Prep: 15 minutes

cook: 12 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients

FOR THE PESTO:

4  cups basil leaves

2  garlic cloves

1/4  cup  fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

1  tablespoon grated fresh Parmesan cheese

1  tablespoon olive oil

FOR THE PIZZA:

1  (1-pound) pizza crust (such as Boboli or Mama Marys)

3  cups  chopped seeded tomato (about 2 pounds)

3  garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1  cup  (4 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese

1/4  cup  thinly sliced basil leaves

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 475°.

2. To prepare pesto, place 4 cups basil leaves and 2 garlic cloves in a food processor, and pulse 5 times or until coarsely chopped. With processor on, add broth, Parmesan, and oil through food chute; process until well-blended.

3. To prepare pizza, place pizza crust on a baking sheet. Spread pesto over crust, leaving a 1/2-inch border; top with the tomato, garlic slices, and mozzarella. Bake at 475° for 12 minutes or until the cheese melts. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup basil. Cut the pizza into 8 wedges.

Banana-Apricot Bread from Real Simple

I love to make quick bread, which in food terms, means “bread that is quick to make because it requires no kneading or rising time”. And whether you have 3 kids or not, time is everything. Using dried apricots and bananas creates a wonderful flavor combination. You can also add red or golden raisins, dried cranberries, dried cherries and flaked coconut if you wish. I like it how it is below, and it’s perfect to have on hand for the weekend (except for the fact that it goes so fast). Please share with me some of your favorite quick bread recipes when you get some open time. Thanks, Alison

 

Apricot-Banana Bread

Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 1 hour

Yield: 1 loaf

Ingredients

3  cups all-purpose flour

1  cup  granulated sugar

2  teaspoons baking powder

1  teaspoon baking soda

1  teaspoon ground cinnamon

4  tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces

1  cup chopped dried apricots

1/2  cup chopped pecans (optional)

2  large, very ripe bananas, peeled and mashed

1  cup nonfat buttermilk

2  eggs, beaten

Preparation

1. Heat oven to 350º F. Lightly coat a 5-by-9-inch loaf pan with vegetable cooking spray. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Using your fingertips or a pastry blender, work the butter into the dry ingredients until it looks like coarse crumbs. Mix in apricots and pecans, if desired. Stir in the bananas, buttermilk, and eggs until well blended. Pour into pan.

2. Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Turn onto a wire rack.

Healthy Organic Trail Mix

February 18, 2009

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When I am on the go (which is all of the time), I like a quick healthy snack. This trail mix is perfect because it has the combination of a sweet and salty crunch made with some of my favorite ingredients. Today, I am taping 4 different cooking segments for a new local NBC show, “Daytime Alabama”. I can’t begin to explain what it’s like to prepare for 4 different cooking shows (I thought 1 show was difficult). Don’t get me wrong, it’s really fun. I would like to give thanks to my friend Alacia who helped me prepare for these television segments. 

 

Organic Trail Mix

Prep: 5 minutes

Yield:  6 cups

Ingredients

21/2 cups Oatmeal Squares

2 cups granola

1 cup peanut-butter filled pretzels

2 (10-ounce) package Harvest blend trail mix (I used Back to Nature)

1 (5.2-ounce) dried strawberries

1 (5.2-ounce) dried blueberries

1 (8.3-ounce) yogurt covered raisins

Preparation

1. Combine all ingredients in a airtight container and store at room temperature.