Here’s another happy use for tomatoes for you this week!
This Lent I gave up all white and corn sugars, so I had to figure out how to do a lot of things without sugar, which is in SO many processed foods. I didn’t find a spaghetti sauce that was “clean”, and although pizza sauces generally don’t have the white stuff, I was out one day and wanted homemade pizza. I thought I could probably reverse engineer the idea and see what came up. I found a good deal! A big can of crushed tomatoes, which I like to get for $1 on sale, made enough for two pizzas, plus a whole 16 oz. jar to freeze for next time. I knew the nutrition was upgraded because I added real vegetables, and it tasted pretty good, too!
If you could always buy pizza sauce for 50% off and 2x the health benefits, wouldn’t you do it? This was so easy to make and only took a few minutes.
It’s so important to have a “go to” list for easy party foods that are made with real food, those items I can make quickly and without much thought when I have to bring a dish to pass to a big (hopefully peaceful) family gathering. Whether you’re hosting something yourself and need Mary’s tips for Stress-Free Entertaining or are traveling with food, If you are still looking for some healthy appetizers and homemade party food, you’re in luck!
When I bring food to a party, (whether it’s a football party, or a holiday party, or any other type of potluck get together) it must follow some if not all of the following qualifications:
- Real Food (whole ingredients, homemade, not processed)
- Not Too Expensive (is it tacky to say “cheap”?)
- Quick and Easy (often mutually exclusive with nos. 1 & 2, so this one is regularly compromised)
- Simple to Pack and Pass
Keeping these easy party food rules loosely in mind helps me to Eat Well, Spend Less when I’m sharing food or hosting a party, and that makes everyone happy.
RELATED: Frugal Meals with Beans and Lentils
- Saute the onion, sweet pepper and optional hot pepper in the olive oil.
- Add the crushed garlic.
- Add oregano, cayenne (opt.), Italian seasoning and tomatoes.
- Stir well.
I always have onion, peppers, and hot peppers chopped and ready to go in my freezer, usually from the reduced produce rack, so this was truly a 5-minute-or-less process and very inexpensive.
Olive oil, onions, peppers, garlic and tomatoes are ALL on the Super Food list, so you just can’t beat the nutrition here, and who doesn’t love pizza?
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You could certainly fiddle with the seasonings; my mom made some sauce a while back and said she actually doubled the herbs called for in the recipe, and it was perfect! Adding most herbs during the last 10 minutes of cooking makes sure they retain all their flavor. I used to think that long cooking would make tomato sauces better. It seemed like an Italian chef thing to do, leaving a pot of spaghetti sauce on the stove all day, smelling good. But of course, I read somewhere that I was wrong! I am constantly finding that I have lots to learn in the kitchen!
- In a large bowl, combine warm water, yeast, and honey. Let rest 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile combine both flours with salt. Add flour mixture to yeast and work to form dough.
- Knead for 2 minutes.
- Evenly coat a large bowl with olive oil.
- Place dough in oiled bowl, cover and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Heat oven to 425 degrees. Grease two baking sheets.
- Punch down dough and divide into two or four balls (depending on whether you want two family pizzas or 4 individuals).
- Flatten and shape into 4-8″ or 2-14″ circles. Top with toppings and bake for 15-25 minutes until crispy. (We liked thin crust better since whole wheat gets a bit dense.)
- 1 1/3 c. water
- 2 Tbs.
- ¾ tsp.
- 2 c. all-purpose flour
- 2 c. whole wheat flour
- 2 tsp. yeast
- Use the dough cycle on your machine.
- Top with toppings and bake on greased cookie sheets or pizza stone at 450 degrees for 10-14 minutes.
We found that this stuck pretty badly and will only use it on our pizza stone in the future, which gave great results!
You can hold the dough, covered and brushed with olive oil, in the fridge if it’s ready too soon.
Here are a few links for pizza dough. We’ve enjoyed Lindsay’s whole grain lately (it makes enough to freeze extras), and I am looking forward to trying
Sarah’s (no longer available) when we want a compromise meal! Here is another I haven’t tried, and one that is whole grain but a bit lighter. If you have a breadmaker, it’s almost as fast to make as it is to call for takeout!