Monthly Archives: March 2012

Guilt-free Pizza

Are you shunning America’s favorite fast food because it’s rich with fat and calories? Good news: You can have your pizza and eat it, too. The caveat: you need to make your own. With the growing availability of whole grain, thin crusts, you can make pizza that isn’t labor-intensive.

Today I took leftover pasta sauce (which I’d made using ground lean turkey, lots of garlic and onions, and San Marzano tomatoes crushed using my Vitamix) and spread it on a store-bought crust. I added a few items (sliced Crimini mushrooms, a bit of green bell pepper, and sweet onion), topped with reduced fat Mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese plus a sprinkle of Redneck Pepper Italian. I baked it ten minutes in a preheated 450° oven (but I used a Pampered Chef stoneware baking pan. If you use a metal pizza pan, reduce heat to 425°). After removing it from the oven, I sliced it into six pieces (3 servings).

You can use any combination of toppings you like. There are pizza sauces available. Just read the labels to be sure you don’t get too much fat or sugar. Shred your own cheese or buy it already shredded and ready to use. The two big offenders that make pizza less healthful are meats and refined flour crusts. If you stick to meat-free or lowfat meats like ground turkey, and if you use a thin, whole wheat crust, you can enjoy two slices of pizza without wrecking your diet.

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Gravy Train

Several have asked me about my fat-free roux method for making gravy or sauce. Traditional roux is made from browning equal amounts of fat (typically butter) and flour. Although my gravy isn’t fat-free (I finish it with a Tbsp. of butter for flavor and gloss), mine is a lot lower in fat calories. I recently made a batch of this gravy to reheat leftover cooked turkey. The turkey flavored the gravy while the gravy gently warmed the turkey. That’s a win-win!

Start by preheating a quality, heavy-duty skillet. To make one cup of gravy, add two tablespoons flour to the dry skillet over medium heat. Whisk often to cook the flour. Season the flour as desired. When the flour turns light brown and emits an aroma indicating it’s cooked, remove the skillet from the heat.

Carefully add about a pint of broth or stock, whisking into the roux. Stand back as the hot skillet may steam from the cold liquid (as an additional step, preheat your broth or stock before adding it to the roux). After roux is incorporated into the liquid, return the skillet to medium heat. Whisk occasionally.

Allow the gravy to thicken and reduce, then lower the heat. If using the gravy to reheat cooked food (see photos) such as leftover turkey, place the food in the gravy and let it cook gently until warmed.

To serve, remove all food from the gravy and plate for serving. Remove skillet from heat. Stir in one pat (approx. 1 Tbsp.) butter to finish the gravy. Pour into gravy bowl to serve.

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Filed under cooking, gravy, Healthful Eating, sauces, turkey