Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Best Homemade Pizza...Healthy Too!

Despite the fact that Hubs and I grew up hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of miles apart, our families shared a common tradition: Friday Pizza Night. In my house, it was the one night Big Brother and I were allowed to drink Coke with dinner. We'd order two large pizzas, and depending on where we were stationed at the time, it was either Dominos, Little Caesars, Anthony's, or Papa John's. Well, here at Hagan House, Fridays are usually Date Nights, with Saturdays reserved for pizza and whatever game is on! I'm sure once Baby H arrives, we might fall back upon our old tradition, but we'll just wait and see! Although Hubs and I love Papa John's (Hubs even delivered Papa's when he was in high school...and shares Papa's hometown - Louisville, KY), we try to be healthy. So here's the recipe for our surprisingly tasty healthy homemade pizza (along with my recommendations for brands, as applicable, but feel free to sub in your own favorites)!

1 12-inch whole wheat pizza crust (Boboli or Mama Mary's)
2-3 T olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 jar tomato sauce (Barilla Tomato & Basil or anything by Classico)
a couple generous handfuls of julienned sun-dried tomatoes
1 large onion, diced*
1 large bell pepper, any color, diced*
1 2-cup package reduced fat shredded mozzeralla cheese (Sargento)**
1 pound spicy Italian turkey sausage (Butterball Fresh Hot Italian)*
1 1/2 - 2 oz crumbled goat cheese (Alouette)
*This is enough for three 12-inch pizzas. Simply separate your left over veggies and meats into zip-lock baggies and save them for next week!
** Fat free cheese does not melt the same way and tends to taste rubbery; I would only recommend the reduced fat version!

Preheat oven to 450. Remove sausage from casings and cook, breaking into bite-sized pieces, over medium heat (you might need to add a little olive oil to your skillet). Allow to cool.

Place pizza crust on pizza pan and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle minced garlic over the oil. Spread sauce over garlic and oil, leaving a 1-inch boarder. Top sauce with sun-dried tomatoes, onion, and bell pepper. Feel free to also add chopped fresh herbs, hot pepper flakes, olives, mushrooms, or other favorite toppings at this point as well. Sprinkle shredded cheese evenly over veggies. Top with cooked sausage. Sprinkle goat cheese crumbles over the meat.

Bake 14-16 minutes, or until cheese is melted, bubbly, and slightly golden-brown along the edges. Allow to sit for a few minutes before cutting into eight slices. Serve it up solo, or make a crispy Caesar salad on the side!

Feel free to come up with your own combo of toppings! I've used reduced fat pepperoni, black olives, and mushrooms. I've skipped the tomato sauce altogether and made a chicken and fresh basil "white" pizza. I've done BBQ chicken pizza, and I've even done a Thai Chicken pizza! Yes, I purchased the California Pizza Kitchen cookbook and used their recipes as inspiration! The key is to use the healthier versions of your favorite toppings!

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