Monday, August 28, 2006

A New Feature at Chez Val

As some of you may know, I'm currently on a quest to eat better and be healthier overall. I joined a gym in February (and currently exercise with Karen pretty often), and I've started doing things like bringing breakfast and lunch to work in order to eat better and more cheaply. (The $7 sandwiches were starting to get to me, too.)

So, I've decided to add a post or two a week to talk about the getting healthy process. Most of the content will be recipe reviews and interesting ideas I read about, rather than complaints about how I didn't lose any weight this week or fell off the wagon by eating a pint of Ben & Jerry's. Well, that's the plan anyway.

Today's entry is a review of Cooking Light's Herbed Cheese Pizza. I love the Cooking Light recipes I've tried. They strike the right balance between good food and healthy food. They know which ingredients are crucial to a recipe and which can be reduced or eliminated (and which can use reduced-fat or reduced-calorie versions of the same item). Plus, the website contains user reviews of most recipes.

Preparation: The pizza dough is a relatively easy one. It starts with a bread flour/sugar/water/yeast sponge, which makes rising time short at 45 minutes (plus 20 minutes resting). I ended up adding more all purpose flour than called for during kneading, because the dough was very tacky. I also parbaked the crusts for around 8 minutes, since I froze all but two pizzas. The sauce was also very simple, using canned tomatoes. I added the oregano spice mixture to the sauce, as it seemed a bit odd to me to add it as a topping. I used a kitchen scale to measure the amount of cheese for each pizza. It's a fairly generous serving of cheese--more than I'd thought.

I baked the two pizzas for Monday and Tuesday lunches last night, then bagged them up with foil to be reheated in the toaster oven at work. I ran into some problems with the toaster oven in the pantry near my office (it's apparently very prone to smoke and fire), so I'm going to bake these the night before and heat them in the toaster oven or microwave. I just can't risk catching the office on fire!

Taste: Really good. Like a more Greek/Middle Eastern version of a basic cheese pizza. The sauce is chunky, and I might go with finely diced tomatoes next time, rather than the chunky ones I used this time. With a piece of fruit, it seems pretty filling. I might change the dough next time; because of the quick-rising nature of this dough, it didn't develop a lot of flavor. I like the dough recipe in A New Way To Cook, which gives a variety of great instructions for fitting the rising schedule into your schedule.

Bottom Line: Good lunch option that can be made in advance (recipe makes 8 6" pizzas). Different than standard pizza fare. Would try a more flavorful crust recipe.


Sarah said...

Wow~ Two Val updates!

I love cooking and food too, so I like the food idea!

Those pizzas look pretty good to me!

And yeah, catching the office on fire would not be cool.

Debby said...

Best wishes on your quest for healthy lifestyle changes. It sounds like you are making choices that you can stick with for the long term, which is great...thanks for sharing the recipe with us!