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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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Oven-Fried Chicken from Sunset

Who doesn’t love fried chicken? Developing a good oven-fried chicken recipe is not an easy task, but I am very happy with this version. Using nonfat buttermilk and egg whites works perfectly with the mixture of flour and cornmeal. If you want to add herbs, you can combine dried seasonings or finely chopped fresh herbs into the flour mixture. Also, if you want to speed up the cooking process a bit, purchase chicken cutlets or chicken tenders which are smaller and thinner. This is a family-favorite that’s great anytime of the year.

 

Oven-Fried Chicken

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 40 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

1  cup  nonfat buttermilk

2  large egg whites, beaten

1  cup all-purpose flour

1/3  cup cornmeal

1  teaspoon kosher salt, divided

3/4  teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4  teaspoon ground red pepper

3  chicken breast halves, skinned (about 11/4 pounds)

3  chicken drumsticks, skinned (about 3/4 pound)

2 tablespoons  canola oil

Cooking spray

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 425°.

2. Cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine buttermilk and egg whites in a shallow dish; stir well with a whisk. Combine flour, cornmeal, 1/2 teaspoon salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and red pepper in a separate shallow dish; stir well. Sprinkle chicken evenly with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Dip chicken in buttermilk mixture; dredge in flour mixture.

3. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Place chicken on prepared baking sheet; lightly coat chicken with cooking spray. Bake at 425° for 30 minutes or until chicken is done.

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Who doesn’t like pasta? My family loves it, but I don’t make it very often, especially when I’m trying to be good and eat moderate amounts of carbs at night. But, when the weather is as cold as it is (for so many of us), there’s really nothing better. This recipe is so wonderful for so many reasons. It’s quick, it’s a one-dish meal, it has great flavor and it’s really not too bad if you’re watching your weight. Not to mention, it’s 8 ingredients and can be prepared in under 20 minutes. What else can I say?

 

Quick and Easy Skillet Rigatoni

Prep: 4 minutes

Cook: 15 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

8 ounces uncooked rigatoni

1 small onion, finely chopped

1/2 pound lean ground round

1 (8-ounce) package sliced fresh mushrooms

1/2 cup dry white wine or low-sodium chicken or beef broth

2 (8-ounce) cans tomato sauce  with garlic, basil and oregano (I used Hunts)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

Grated Parmesan cheese

Preparation

1. Cook rigatoni according to package directions.

2. While pasta cooks, cook onion, ground round and mushrooms in a large lightly greased skillet over medium-high heat. Cook 6 minutes or until beef is no longer pink. Add wine; bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes or until liquid is evaporated. Stir in pasta, tomato sauce, basil and red pepper flakes, if desired; cover and simmer 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Sprinkle each serving with Parmesan cheese.