Adventures in Cooking – Week 5

Wow, am I tired today!  I don’t know if it’s that I had something to do after work almost every night this week or if it’s knowing that the next two weeks are only four-day work weeks for me(yay!).  Since I’m so exhausted, I’m glad I made this week’s recipe earlier on in the week.

After I started eating better, one of the things I missed eating was pizza.  There’s just something about the combination of cheese and bread that is so delicious.  That got me thinking that other people (trying to eat healthy) probably missed eating pizza as well, and that there might be some healthy recipes out there.  I browsed the internet and came across a recipe for a vegetarian Black Bean Nacho Pizza and another recipe for homemade pizza crust on the Eating Well website.

I think the end product turned out very well and it made enough that I had lunch for the rest of the week.  There are a couple of things I would do differently, like splitting the dough recipe in half to make one pizza since it wasn’t quite thin enough for my liking.  I would also add more toppings, such as corn, mushrooms, and homemade pico-de-gallo to add more flavor and color.

Thin-Crust Whole-Wheat Pizza Dough

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon lukewarm water (105-115°F)
  • 1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour (found at most large supermarkets and natural-foods stores)
  • 1 cup bread flour or all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

 Instructions:

  1. Stir water, yeast and sugar in a large bowl; let stand until the yeast has dissolved, about 5 minutes. Stir in whole-wheat flour, bread flour (or all-purpose flour) and salt until the dough begins to come together.
  2. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. (Alternatively, mix the dough in a food processor or in a stand mixer with a dough hook. Process or mix until it forms a ball. Continue to process until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 1 minute more in a food processor or 4 to 5 minutes more on low-speed in a stand mixer.) Place the dough in an oiled bowl and turn to coat.
  3. Cover with a clean kitchen towel; set aside in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Black Bean Nacho Pizza

(There are baking variations on the original website, so go there if you want instructions on using a pizza stone, grilling the pizza, etc.)

The end product!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup canned black beans, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup chopped jarred roasted red peppers
  • 1 medium clove garlic, quartered
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Yellow cornmeal, for dusting – or – Flax Seeds
  • 1 pound prepared dough
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 2 medium plum tomatoes, diced
  • 4 medium scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped pitted ripe black olives
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pickled jalapeños

Insturctions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F for at least 20 minutes.
  2. Roll out the dough and place on a flax seed-dusted inverted baking sheet, using enough so that the dough slides easily.
  3. Slide the dough onto the preheated baking sheet and cook until the bottom begins to crisp, about 3 minutes.
  4. Remove the crust from the oven using a large spatula (or two) and place it uncooked-side down on the baking sheet, making sure the underside of the crust is completely coated with flax seed. Quickly add the toppings and slide the pizza back onto the baking sheet.
  5. Continue baking until the toppings are hot and the bottom of the crust has browned, 12 to 15 minutes.

Hopefully, you guys like this recipe as much as I did!

Adventures in Cooking – Week 4

Like many projects that I have going on right now, I procrastinated on cooking a new recipe this week until the very last minute.  No really, I started this week’s recipe about 2 hours ago (after I stopped playing Tiny Tower) and just finished enjoying my first dish.  After last week’s disaster, I think I was a bit reluctant to get back in there and try something new.  I finally decided on Friday that I would make another “soup/stew” recipe since the first one I tried turned out great.

This week’s recipe was a success!  After browsing through Pinterest, I came across a vegetarian recipe for chili that uses quinoa, my favorite rice substitute.  Since I had most of the ingredients on hand, I thought I would give this one a try.  I did make a couple of substitutions since I’m not a big fan of using canned products when I can easily buy the fresher version.  I used dried kidney beans and black beans that had soaked the night before instead of the canned beans and I used 10 medium tomatoes instead of the canned tomatoes.

Vegetarian Quinoa Chili

Chili garnished with sour cream and green onions

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  •  rinsed 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, diced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper
  •  chopped 1 red bell pepper
  • chopped 1 medium zucchini
  • chopped 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 ounce) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 (15 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 2-3 tablespoons chili powder, depending on your taste (I used 2 1/2 and it was a bit too spicy)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Optional toppings: green onions, avocado slices, cheese, sour cream, Greek yogurt, chips, crackers, etc.

Instructions:

  1. In a medium sauce pan, combine the quinoa and water. Cook over medium heat until water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Set aside.
  2. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over high heat. Add the onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, jalapeño, carrot, celery, peppers, and zucchini. Cook until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the black beans, kidney beans, tomatoes, and tomato sauce. Stir in the cooked quinoa. Season with chili powder, cumin, salt, and black pepper. Simmer chili on low for about 30 minutes. Serve warm.

That’s it!  It does take a while to prep everything, but it was really easy to cook.  I was able to freeze the rest of it so I should be set for the next couple of weeks.  Hopefully, you’ll give this recipe a try.

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