Pita Pizzas with Thai Chicken and Broccoli Slaw

Add a fun, flavorful and healthy twist to pizza night with our Pita Pizzas with Thai Chicken and Broccoli Slaw. Each “pie” is made with toasted whole wheat pita, a layer of cottage cheese and sautéed chicken, bell peppers, and green onions, and a topping made with broccoli slaw, fresh herbs, Thai peanut sauce, and chopped peanuts. The combination of ingredients will definitely tempt the adventurous eaters at your table.

Pita Pizzas with Thai Chicken and Broccoli Slaw via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

We’ve made plenty of pizza pies over the years, and for the most part, we’ve used pasta sauce for the base. For this recipe, we use cottage cheese. It’s a surprise for sure but works wonders in this recipe for a few reasons: Cottage cheese provides a hefty helping of protein (25 grams per cup), and its mild, fresh flavor balances out the hint of spicy in the peanut sauce and the brightness of the herbs.

Pita Pizzas with Thai Chicken and Broccoli Slaw via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

We also love the unexpected crunch from the broccoli slaw and the peanuts. If you want to kick up the flavor even more, use a chili lime flavored peanut 🙂

Pita Pizzas with Thai Chicken and Broccoli Slaw via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

 

Pita Pizzas with Thai Chicken and Broccoli Slaw
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dinner
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • Four 7-inch whole wheat pita breads
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 ounces boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch dice
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlics clove, minced
  • 1½ tablespoons Thai peanut sauce, divided
  • 1 cup low-fat cottage cheese
  • ½ cup shredded low-fat Mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup broccoli slaw mix
  • ¼ cup packed fresh basil
  • ⅛ teaspoon lime zest
  • 2 tablespoons roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the pita bread on a large baking sheet and bake until lightly toasted, 5 minutes. Remove from the oven, flip the pitas over, and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, bell pepper, green onions, garlic, and 1 tablespoon of the Thai peanut sauce and cook, stirring frequently, until the chicken is no longer pink and the peppers are tender, about 4 minutes.
  3. To make the pizzas, spread ¼ cup cottage cheese evenly over each of the pita rounds. Top evenly with the cooked chicken mixture and mozzarella cheese. Place back in the oven and cook until the cheese melts, 5 minutes.
  4. While the pizzas are in the oven, make the topping by placing the broccoli slaw, basil, lime zest, and the remaining ½ tablespoon Thai peanut sauce in a bowl; stir to combine.
  5. Remove the pizzas from the oven and cool slightly. Top evenly with the broccoli slaw mixture and the peanuts. Serve each pizza whole or slice into quarters.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: (1 pita), Calories: 360, Fat: 12g, Saturated fat: 3g, Carbohydrates: 35g, Sodium: 790mg, Fiber: 6g, Protein: 30g

Can’t wait to hear what you think of the recipe.

Crunchy, Juicy Apple, Edamame and Chickpea Salad – An Easy Side Dish to Balance Your Plate

I created this recipe and post in partnership with Nestlé’s Balance Your Plate program. I was compensated for my work, and all opinions are solely my own.

This sweet and savory side salad comes together quickly even on busy school nights by combining canned chickpeas wi Read more

Apple, Bacon and Maple Syrup Flatbread Pizza + A Taste of Ambrosia Apples

This flavorful apple-topped pizza comes together quickly with a store-bought flatbread pizza crust, Cheddar cheese, crispy bacon, green onions, sweet slices of Ambrosia apples, and maple syrup.

Add a fun new twist to family pizza night with a sweet apple topping!

Apple, Bacon, and Maple Syrup Flatbread Pizza via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

I created this recipe after joining six other food writers last weekend for an Ambrosia Apple Tour in Wenatchee, WA sponsored by Columbia Marketing International (CMI). My expenses were paid for, but I was not paid to write this post or develop this recipe. All opinions are my own.

Ambrosia apples via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

I traveled to central Washington state for a tour of Ambrosia apple orchards (and a few vineyards!), and I got a glimpse into how new apple varieties like Ambrosia are developed and how they’re grown, picked, and shipped to supermarkets across the country. I saw acres of apple trees heavy with fruit, tasted sweet, crisp apples out of hand and in dishes like Warm Curried Ambrosia Apple Soup with Creme Fraiche, and feasted my eyes on the Cascade Mountains which surrounded us during our entire visit.

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A Vegetarian, Kid-Pleasing Recipe for Goat Cheese Pistachio Pizza!

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been a foodie. I can still taste my Nana’s lemon sponge cake at Thanksgiving, my mom’s baked ziti, and the cheese pizza from our local pizza place in New Rochelle, NY, which, by the way, cost just 25 cents a slice back in the 60s and 70s! Fast forward to today and things are clearly more expensive, but they’re also much more varied. Take that slice of cheese pizza for example. Back “in the day,” I never would have imagined a pizza topped with goat cheese, pistachios, honey, and red onions, but that’s exactly what I had last weekend while visiting my family, who now lives in CT.

Goat cheese pizza at Tarry Lodge via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

Josh was home from the University of Delaware for spring break, so we went down to Westport to visit my mom and dad. My mom and I grabbed lunch at Mario Batali’s restaurant, Tarry Lodge, and I ordered a goat cheese, pistachio, honey, and red onion pizza. And no, I did not eat the whole thing! I decided to recreate that same pizza once I got home … so here goes.

Goat cheese and pistachio pizza via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

I never would have thought of putting nutritious pistachios on a pizza, but if Mario did it, so can I!

Goat cheese and Pistachio Pizza via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

So pretty. To add another veggie to this pie, you could top it with lightly dressed arugula, diced avocado, or roasted cubes of butternut squash.

Goat cheese pistachio pizza via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

What are your favorite pizza toppings? I asked our Facebook fans that very question and heard all sorts of suggestions including Brussels sprouts and bacon, caramelized onions and a purée of cannellini beans with olive oil, garlic, and oregano, and a Greek-inspired pizza with olive tapenade, feta, tomatoes, onions, mozzarella, and topped with fresh spinach, cucumbers, and a drizzle of Greek dressing.

Goat Cheese Pistachio Pizza

Makes 2 Pizzas (6 Servings)

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 red onion, cut into very thin half-moon slices
  • One 16-ounce pizza dough, brought to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 cup shelled roasted, lightly salted pistachios, roughly chopped
  • A few sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed, optional
  • 4 ounces goat cheese, broken up into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons honey

1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large nonstick skillet or Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until it caramelizes and is lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Stir frequently.

2. Lightly oil or spray two small baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray. Divide the dough in half and place on each of the baking sheets. Top each dough ball with 1/2 teaspoon oil. Use your fingers and the heel of your hands to gently stretch and flatten each dough ball until it covers most of the baking sheet, measuring about 12 x 7 inches. The dough should be thin and the shape can be oval, round, or just plain ol’ rustic.

3. Spread 1/4 cup Cheddar cheese evenly over each of the pizzas. Top evenly with the red onion, pistachios, thyme as desired, and goat cheese, and then drizzle evenly with the honey.  Place the baking sheets in the oven and bake until the bottoms are golden brown and the cheese is melted and bubbly, 12 to 15 minutes. (Depending on the size of your baking sheets, you may need to cook the pizzas one at a time.) Slice and serve.

Nutrition Information per Serving: 340 calories, 14g fat (4.5g saturated), 750mg sodium, 41g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 11g protein, 10% calcium, 10% iron

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Announcing our Blogger Partnership with Backyard Farms, PLUS: A Recipe for Rustic Tomato and Cheese Pie

Say it ain’t so! It’s officially “spring,” but later this week, they’re predicting yet another snow storm here in New England. To soften the blow, we’re stocking up on Backyard Farms tomatoes. They’re grown hydroponically in Maine in huge greenhouses, and they taste like “summer” tomatoes. Given how cold we’ve been this winter, these Backyard Farms beauties are like a breath of fresh, warm air.

Backyard Farms Tomaties via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

The Backyard Farms greenhouse covers 42 acres. The tomatoes are grown year-round in Madison, Maine, and they’re juicy, sweet, and taste like summer no matter when you buy them.

To celebrate our new blogger partnership with Backyard Farms (we’re being compensated for creating a new recipe for their website and helping to spread the word about the flavor and versatility of their tomatoes) we’re sharing this recipe for Rustic Tomato and Cheese Pie from Mary Ann Esposito, the new Chef Spokesperson for the company.

Backyard Farms via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

Mary Ann, of PBS cooking show fame, demos how to make this simple and nutritious recipe in her YouTube video.

Rustic Tomato and Cheese Pie via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

When we made Mary Ann’s recipe, we added some fresh, chopped basil. Delish!

Rustic Tomato and Cheese Pie via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

It’s pizza time!

Rustic Tomato and Cheese Pie

Makes 4 to 6 Servings 

This recipe comes courtesy of Mary Ann Esposito

  • 1 pound store bought pizza dough
  • 1 tablespoon grainy mustard
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil plus extra to drizzle on top
  • 3 to 4 Backyard Farms medium tomatoes on the vine, sliced into ¼ inch thick rounds
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 cup grated Swiss or cheddar cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 425F.

2. Pat or roll the dough out on a sheet of lightly oiled parchment paper into a 12 or 13 inch round. Place on a baking sheet.

3. Mix the mustard and 1 teaspoon of olive oil and brush over the surface of the dough. Overlap the tomato slices on the dough to within 1-inch of the sides. Sprinkle the sugar evenly over the tomatoes. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the tomatoes. Fold the edges of the dough over the tomatoes, leaving the center open.

4. Bake 10 minutes, then lower heat to 375F and continue baking until the dough is nicely browned, about 15 minutes. Cool on rack and cut into wedges. Serve warm.

Backyard Farms via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

Last month, we attended a Summer in the City event in downtown Boston hosted by Backyard Farms and Clover Food Labs. All proceeds benefited the Greater Boston Food Bank.

Backyard Farms via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

And yes, it was freezing the day of the event. And yes, that’s Liz wearing Backyard Farms sunglasses.

We’re looking forward to working with Backyard Farms over the next few months. Stay tuned for our new chicken salad stuffed tomato recipe coming your way soon. (All photos with the exception of the picture grid, courtesy Backyard Farms.)

 

Cheeseburger Pizza Pie Bundles {Recipe Redux Cooking Challenge}

Kids love pizza and they also love to eat with their fingers, which is why our playful pizza “bundles” should hit the spot. We’ve made “bundles” before with egg roll wrappers (check out our Chicken Pot Pie Bundles and Beef & Bean Taco Bundles) and now we’re back with a new “bundle” recipe for this month’s Recipe Redux cooking challenge.

Cheeseburger Pizza Pie Bundles

Reduxers were tasked with giving the pizza delivery guy a break, so for our creation, we combined nutrient-rich lean ground beef and spinach with pasta sauce, mozzarella cheese, and low-fat cottage cheese for these adorable Cheeseburger Pizza Pie Bundles.

Cheeseburger Pizza Pie Bundles via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

The trick to the perfect bundles is a little bit of patience. Lining 12 muffin tins with egg roll wrappers takes a few minutes, and you have to be gentle so you don’t rip the wrappers. GO SLOW! But once the muffin tins are lined, you’re ready for the filling. This recipe is fun to make—get the kids involved!—but even more fun to eat.

Cheeseburger Pizza Pie Bundles

Makes 6 Servings

Instead of making pizza into a predictable pie or even using pita bread to build it, we gave pizza a non-traditional twist by turning it into a “bundle.” By using ingredients like lean ground beef, spinach, pasta sauce, and protein-rich cottage cheese and mozzarella cheese, we came up with a recipe everyone in your family will love. It’s nutritious and of course, filled with fun flavors. For even more of a flavor kick, you can toss in fresh chopped basil.

  • 3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • One 6-ounce bag baby spinach
  • 1 pound lean ground beef (90% lean or higher)
  • 2/3 cup pasta sauce
  • 1 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 3/4 cup low-fat cottage cheese
  • 12 egg roll wrappers (NOT the smaller wonton wrappers)

1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a large nonstick skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Raise the heat to medium-high, add the spinach and cook, stirring frequently, until the spinach wilts, 3 to 5 minutes. Place on a cutting board and coarsely chop.

2. Add the meat to the skillet and cook, breaking up the large pieces, until the meat is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Drain excess fat. Turn off the heat. Add the spinach to the cooked meat and stir to combine. Add 1/2 cup of the mozzarella cheese and the pasta sauce and stir until combined and the cheese melts. (You will end up with 3.5 cups of the meat mixture.)

3. To prepare the bundles, use a muffin pan with 12 medium-size cups (do not coat with nonstick cooking spray). Gently place 1 egg roll wrap into each cup, letting it extend over the sides. Place a generous 1/4 cup of the meat mixture into each wrap. Top each with 1 tablespoon of the cottage cheese and arrange the remaining cheese evenly over each bundle. Fold the corners of the wrappers up and over the top of the filling and press to seal the edges (it doesn’t have to be perfect!). Brush the remaining 1 teaspoon oil on top of the bundles.

4. Bake until golden and crisp, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool slightly before eating.

Nutrition Information per Serving (2 bundles): 210 calories, 7g fat (2.5g saturated), 370mg sodium, 21g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 15g protein, 15% vitamin A, 10% calcium, 15% iron

Print Recipe

Cheeseburger Pizza Pie Bundles via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

Foods that Boost Beauty and Longevity … and a Recipe for Rustic Red, White and Green Pizza (Podcast #221)

As we get older (and no, we will NOT reveal our real ages), we’ve been thinking more about the connection between what we eat and how we feel and look … inside and out.  The link is quite strong. Take berries for example. Strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries are rich in antioxidants, which protect against the daily wear and tear of our cells and cell membranes and guard against premature signs of aging. And then there are foods like Swiss chard, kale, spinach and other dark green leafy vegetables that contain vitamins A and C (both powerful antioxidants), vitamin K, a strong bone builder, and a nutrient called biotin, good for the health of hair and skin. On this week’s Cooking with the Moms radio podcast, we outline both everyday and surprising foods that boost beauty and keep us young … and we serve up two recipes filled with life-enhancing ingredients: Apple, Rhubarb & Berry Crisp and this Rustic Red, White and Green Pizza. Our intern, Catherine, joins us on the show, and she helped with all the research.

A rustic, family-friendly pizza made with Swiss chard, red onion, basil pesto, and fresh mozzarella

We haven’t met too many kids who don’t love pizza, so we cooked up this thin-crust pizza with a 16-ounce pizza dough, sauteed red onion and Swiss chard, basil pesto, and fresh mozzarella cheese.

Swiss chard is as easy to prepare as spinach

When you buy Swiss chard—this happened to be an organic bunch—wash it well, and then slice the leaves away from the stems. Give the leaves a rough chop and then saute in extra virgin olive oil just like you would spinach. It takes about seven minutes on medium heat for the leaves to soften up compared to spinach, which takes about three minutes.

Baby spinach, red onion, fresh mozzarella, basil pesto and pizza dough

If you can’t find Swiss chard at the market (though this time of year it’s EVERYWHERE), use a 6-ounce bag of baby spinach instead.

Rustic Pizza topped with Swiss chard, red onion, fresh mozzarella, basil pesto

Before the cheese melts … after the cheese melts.

Rustic Red, White and Green Pizza

Makes 2 Smallish Pizzas, 6 Servings

When we dream up nutritious recipes for families, we always think about keeping things flexible. So in the case of this recipe, if “green” is not your family’s favorite food color, saute diced red or orange bell peppers and use those instead. Or sub out the green with sliced mushrooms. For more tweaks, you can sprinkle with fresh thyme for a more herb-y flavor or use goat cheese or feta in place of the mozzarella.

  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 red onion, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • One 12-ounce bunch Swiss chard (leaves alone weigh 9 ounces), washed, leaves trimmed from stems, and roughly chopped
  • One 16-ounce pizza dough, brought to room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons basil pesto
  • One 8-ounce ball fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 14 thin slices

1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.

2. Heat 1 teaspoon of the oil in a large nonstick skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until it softens and browns, about 5 minutes. Stir in the Swiss chard and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the chard wilts and softens, about 7 minutes. Set aside.

3. Lightly oil or spray two small baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray. Divide the dough in half and place on each of the baking sheets. Top each dough ball with 1/2 teaspoon oil. Use your fingers and the heel of your hands to gently stretch and flatten each dough ball until it covers most of the baking sheet. The dough should be thin and the shape can be oval, round, or just plain ol’ rustic.

4. Spread 1 tablespoon of basil pesto evenly over each of the pizzas. Top evenly with the red onion and Swiss chard mixture. Arrange the mozzarella slices evenly over each pizza. Place the baking sheets in the oven and bake until the bottoms are golden brown and the cheese is melted and bubbly, 12 to 15 minutes. (Depending on the size of your baking sheets, you may need to cook the pizzas one at a time.) Slice and serve.

Nutrition Information per Serving:   320 calories, 16g fat (6g saturated), 400mg sodium, 35g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 13g protein, 60% vitamin A, 15% vitamin C, 15% iron

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We’re big fans of whole grains, but whole wheat pizza crusts often taste too “wheaty,” even for us. For this recipe, we went with a store-bought dough (all white), but if you want to make the dough yourself, America’s Test Kitchen just featured a recipe for Thin-Crust Whole-Wheat Pizza in their June issue … and they also blogged about it.

Dan Souza from America's Test Kitchen serves up whole wheat pizza at the Kohler Signature Store in Natick, MA

Liz stopped by the Kohler Signature Store’s grand opening in Natick, MA last month, and Dan Souza from America’s Test Kitchen was there sampling a whole wheat pizza. It was crispy, flavorful, and the ricotta topping was “to die for.”

Here’s some additional information on the food / beauty connection:

> Walnuts, flax seed, seafood, expeller pressed canola oil: All provide omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential oils that have anti-inflammatory effects in our bodies. They keep our skin cell membranes strong, helping them to hold in moisture; they also help reduce damage to artery walls.

> Low-Fat Dairy Products: Good source of vitamin A, which boosts immunity and promotes vision health. Yogurt also contains probiotics, so-called good bacteria, which help with intestinal health and regularity … a form of inner beauty!

> Whole-wheat products, turkey, tuna, and Brazil nuts: Contain selenium, another vitamin/antioxidant that plays a role in skin health by helping to prevent cell damage caused by the sun.

> Oysters: Rich in zinc, a mineral which plays a role in collagen production and wound healing. It’s also important for growth and development.

> Water and hydration: Drinking adequate fluids is the easiest way to promote beauty. It keeps skin lubricated, circulates nutrients, and removes toxins.

Wow. That’s a lot to swallow … Cheers!

Food Network Throwdown / Part III: Paula Deen’s Chicken Empanadas Get a Healthy Makeover

As we wind down our three-part Food Network Throwdown series, we take on the Queen of Butter and Cream, Paul Deen. Our interns, Ashley and Cristine, chose Paula’s recipe for Chicken Empanadas — made with a super-rich pie crust, whole-milk cheese, and full-fat cream cheese — and made it lighter, easier to assemble, and super kid friendly. Our made-over recipe for Chicken Empanada Hot Pockets is as fun to look at (thanks to the colorful bits of red bell pepper and corn) as it is to eat.

Chicken Empanada Hot Pockets via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #PaulaDeen #recipe #makeover

Chicken Empanada Throwdown Mission:
Replace the buttery pie crust with something lower in saturated fat and higher in fiber
– Simplify the recipe and streamline the process (the original calls for using cookie cutters to cut the dough into a bunch of rounds)
– Substitute the full-fat cheese and cream cheese with lighter versions

Throwdown Makeover Magic:
– We used a whole wheat pizza dough to slash the saturated fat and increase the fiber, and we created one giant calzone to streamline the prep process
– We switched to reduced-fat Cheddar cheese and light cream cheese to lower the saturated fat
– We added more red bell peppers and tossed in a cup of corn kernels for extra veggies

Chicken Empanada Hot Pockets via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #PaulaDeen #recipe #makeover

Chicken Empanada Hot Pockets

Makes 6 Servings

  • 2 cups coarsely chopped cooked chicken (8 to 10 ounces cooked)
  • 1 cup shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper (half a bell pepper)
  • 3 ounces light cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons canned diced green chile peppers
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • One 16-ounce whole wheat pizza dough

1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Spray a large, rimmed baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

2. Place the chicken, Cheddar cheese, corn kernels, bell pepper, cream cheese, green chiles, cumin, and pepper in a large bowl and stir until well combined.

3. Place the oil in the center of the baking sheet. Roll the dough in the oil until it’s completely coated. Use your fingers to gently stretch the dough until it covers the entire baking sheet. Your pizza dough should resemble a large rectangle at this point. Use your fingers to pinch together any tears in the dough.

4. Spread the chicken mixture evenly over the wider bottom half of the crust, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Carefully fold the top part of the dough over the filling. Use a fork (tines facing towards you and away from the pizza) to press the edges together. Make three 1-inch cuts across the top to allow steam to escape.

5. Bake until the crust is golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes. Slice into 6 stuffed pizza pocket pieces and serve.

Nutrition Information per Serving (1 pocket): 410 calories, 13g fat (3.5g saturated), 480mg sodium, 41g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 36g protein, 15% calcium, 35% vitamin C, 15% vitamin A, 10% iron

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Before the Throwdown (6 servings) …
Calories = 620
Total Fat = 40 grams
Saturated Fat = 20 grams
Fiber = 0 grams

After the Throwdown (6 servings) …
Calories = 410
Total Fat = 13 grams
Saturated Fat = 3.5 grams
Fiber = 2 grams

Refrigerated pie crusts are over the top when it comes to saturated fat. One 15-ounce package contains an astonishing 47 grams. That was our major motivator for switching over to a whole wheat pizza dough. All of our kids — Janice’s daughters, Leah and Carolyn and Liz’s sons, Josh and Simon — were wowed by our healthy hot pockets, and we certainly hope your family is wowed too!!

Mediterranean Diet Month and a Recipe for Make-Your-Own Veggie Pita Pizzas {Podcast #144}

The Mediterranean diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seafood, nuts, legumes, and olive oil, and it’s one of our favorite styles of eating. It’s naturally nutritious, and the flavors are irresistible and kid friendly. So when our friends at Oldways told us that May was Mediterranean Diet Month,  we invited their president, Sara Baer-Sinnott to join us on Cooking with the Moms and to cook up these playful Make-Your-Own Veggie Pita Pizzas.

Make-Your-Own Veggie Pita Pizzas via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

With lots of veggies to choose from, we all created our own pizzas. For the smiley-face design (which Janice gave to Leah when she got home from school), we used chopped baby spinach for the hair, sautéed bell peppers for the mouth, mushrooms for the nose, and orange grape tomatoes for the eyes.

Make-Your-Own Veggie Pita Pizzas via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

Our lunch also included a platter filled with crisp vegetables—zucchini, summer squash, bell peppers, grape tomatoes, and sugar snap peas—that we dipped in hummus, baba ganoush and tzatziki. How could you NOT love veggies after looking at this photo?

 

Oldways is a non-profit group in Boston dedicated to helping people everywhere live longer, healthier lives by embracing the “old ways” of eating,” and they were the group that launched the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid over a decade ago. During the month of May, they hope to get their lushly illustrated pyramid into the hands of over one million Americans and showcase all the health benefits associated with this scientifically-proven way of eating. You can download your own copy (and be counted) on the Oldways website.

Make-Your-Own Veggie Pita Pizzas via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

Talk about bright colors, big flavors, and good health! Our toppings included veggies, part-skim mozzarella cheese, feta cheese, basil pesto, and pasta sauce. And the base was easy as pie, because we used whole grain pitas.

Make-Your-Own Veggie Pita Pizzas

Makes 4 Servings

These vegetable-topped pitas are more of a concept than an actual recipe. Anything goes in terms of the sautéed veggies you choose to use. We like onions, mushrooms, bell peppers, and baby spinach, but depending on your family’s taste buds, you could also add olives, eggplant, broccoli, diced butternut squash, and tomatoes. For a non-vegetarian option, use cooked chicken sausage or grilled shrimp. As for amounts, it’s entirely up to you and your family.

  • 4 large whole grain pita rounds
  • Pasta sauce
  • Basil pesto
  • One 5- or 6-ounce bag baby spinach, sautéed
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, coarsely chopped and sautéed
  • 1 Vidalia onion, sliced into thin half-moons and sautéed
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice and sautéed
  • Shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • Crumbled Feta cheese
  • Extra virgin olive oil for sautéing

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Arrange the pita rounds on one large baking sheet.

2. Spread pasta sauce or basil pesto (or both) on each pita and then top with your choice of vegetables and cheese.

3. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cheese melts and is lightly browned.

Print Recipe

 

How many foodies does it take to sauté onions, mushrooms, bell peppers and spinach? Apparently, quite a few!

Our meal was fresh, flavorful, and easy. It was a lovely break from all the usual Meal Makeover Mom happenings and reminded us that we need to do this more often (i.e. eat a leisurely lunch). The next day, Liz set up a pizza bar for her family, and everyone — especially hubby, Tim who is still sticking with his vegetarian diet — said the meal was amazing!

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