Monthly Archives: September 2010

Experiments in Asparagus Pizza

Standard

Jiffy box mixes have long been used in my family. The perfect quiche is only possible with Jiffy box crust and cornbread is always made from Jiffy’s box.  I recently began using Jiffy’s pizza crust mix and was not surprised when it turned out fairly tasty and extremely quick and easy.    The last two weeks  I have made veggie pizza’s using Jiffy’s box mix.

Last week I made a half box of pizza crust for a smaller pizza and added oregano and basil to the dough before rolling it out.  I topped the crust with olive oil, garlic and basil then added mozzarella cheese and slices of asparagus spears (thawed from the freezer).  We thoroughly enjoyed it dipped in home made (from the summer) cherry tomato sauce.

This evening I was coming home from a meeting and my loving husband made the pizza crust for me, this time using the entire box of mix, making a very large pizza.  He did not add any spice and rolled it out making a crust.  I’m not sure what exactly he did, but this time the crust just wasn’t as good. (No offense, dear.)  Maybe the spices are essential to a good crust or maybe he didn’t let the dough rest before rolling it out. Either way, it was made with love and it turned out alright.

I have this cookbook called “Deceptively Delicious” (by Jerry Seinfield’s wife) and it is all about hiding good fruits and vegetables into your food so your kids will eat them. Obviously I have no objection to eating my veggies, and I don’t have kids yet,  but I definitely do not eat as much as I should when it comes to dinner time. I get so focused on the main dish I forget until the last minute to make a vegetable. So, why not add some veggies to my main dish!  I had set some pureed yellow squash out to thaw determined to use it somehow this week and decided to try to mix it into my pizza somehow. We had a few differnt ideas but went with mixing it into the sauce.  So we came up with a yellow squash puree, olive oil, basil, flax seed and garlic mixture to top the pizza with. Doesn’t look too appetizing, but it actually turned out pretty well.

When I ran out of this half way through the pizza, we decided to make half with the cherry tomato sauce.

Then we topped it off with Mozzarella cheese and again sliced asparagus. and then some cherry tomatoes on the green side.

Baked for 16 minutes and wha- la! dinner is served complete with 3 different types of veggies, dairy and grains!

Besides the crust being a little lack luster and limp, it was tasty and there really wasn’t too much difference between the sides.  My husband actually liked the side with the yellow squash better (he could only taste all the garlic mixed in with it.) The asparagus may seem weird, but it actually has a very good taste on pizza. The heads almost taste a bit like olives (but obviously not too much or my olive hating hubby would not be eating it).  I wonder what kind of pizza we will create next Wednesday?

What is good for you in this pizza?

Flax seed: numerous health benefits, but to summarize:  high in omega 3, supports immune system, stabilizes sugar levels, high in fiber, reduces risk of heart disease and can slow growth of cancer tumors.

Asparagus: rich in iron, promotes energy and healing and helps fight infection.  Good source of several good vitamins and good for digestive health.

Tomatoes: source of lycopene which helps prevent prostate cancer, high in vitamin C, can prevent cataracts and keep heart and eyes healthy.

Garlic: a natural antibiotic, antiviral and anti fungal that can help reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.  High in vitamin C, potassium and calcium.

Eat, Enjoy and Be Healthy! 🙂

Advertisements

Autumn Spice Soup

Standard

I went Pumpkin picking this weekend at Hollin’s Farm and picked these beautiful pie pumpkins with the thought that I would make pumpkin pie.

After thinking through the process of turning the pumpkin puree into a more condensed state suitable for a pie, I decided this did not appeal to me. So I began rummaging through several pumpkin soup recipes and decided to adapt one I found on mom-mom.com for a Ginger Pumpkin Bisque.

I was making this soup with my mom who wanted to steam the pumpkin, while this was probably not a bad idea I had read in several places that roasting is a good way to do it too. So we sliced one pumpkin in half, threw it face down on a baking sheet with some cooking spray and placed  in the oven set at 400*.   We left my dad in charge of not letting the house burn down while we went out to the store to pick up a few additional ingredients.

When we returned about 30- 4o minutes later we realized just how much liquid was being retained in this bad boy. The bottom of the baking pan was covered with a good eighth of an inch of liquid.  I took the pumpkin out of the oven and was surprised to find how easily the pumpkin spooned out.  We put the pumpkin pulp in the blender and ended up with about 6 cups of pumpkin puree which we simmered for about 15 minutes to cook off some excess liquid while we chopped up the following ingredients:  3 heaping teaspoons fresh ginger, 1 and 1/2 cup chopped shallots, one cup sweet onion. We sautéed these ingredients in a tablespoon of olive oil then added 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, 2 cups chicken broth, and 1 cup apple cider to the sautéed mixture.  This made the thickener of the soup. After this got bubbly we added it to the pumpkin puree along with 2/3 cup real maple syrup, 2 bay leaves, 1/2 tsp: cinnamon, thyme, and pepper, with 1/4 tsp. ground clove.


After this simmered for about 20 minutes we took it off the heat to cool for about an hour.  We only did this because it was a while until lunch and the next step is to make it smooth by running it through the blender and my mom’s is plastic, so we wanted it to be pretty cool.

You should let it cool at least a little before moving onto the next step which is to add 1 cup whipping cream and 1 tsp vanilla extract which mellows out the spice and makes it creamily delicious.
Heat through then serve!  Garnish with home beat whipped cream, fresh thyme, or cinnamon.
My parents and I loved it but thought it was a bit too thick and will add more broth next time. Either thick or thinned out a little this dish would make an excellent appetizer, side dish or meal on a cool fall evening.
I love good food, but I also love to know what is in my food that is good!  I have an awesome book called 100 Best Health Foods and I want to share with anyone who cares what is good for you in the ingredients of this delicious soup:
(all info below is from the 100 Best Health Fods book unles noted otherwise.)
pumpkin– “The alpha-carotene and beta-carotene are potent antioxidants found in pumpkin and are pro-vitamin A carotenoids, meaning the body converts them to vitamin A. Vitamin A promotes healthy vision and ensures proper immune function. The beta-carotene in pumpkin may also reverse skin damage caused by the sun and act as an anti-inflammatory. Alpha-carotene is thought to slow the aging process and also reduce the risk of developing cataracts and prevent tumor growth. Carotenoids also boost immunity and lessen the risk of heart disease.” Also high in fiber – http://www.suite101.com
thyme- rich in flavonoid antioxidants (which protect your body), iron and vitamin C
cinnamon- anti-inflamatory, antibacterial, can help relieve bloating, heartburn and offers protection against blood clots, heart disease and strokes.
onions- a natural antibiotic that protects from cancers and heart disease while also helping ward off colds.  Also may help symptoms of arthritis, regulate insulin, increase good cholesterol and circulatory system health.
So eat, enjoy and stay healthy this fall!