This was inspired by Matt. I had five loaves of multigrain French bread that I got basically for free at Publix when I was stocking up on canned tomatoes and I wasn’t sure what to do with them. Matt LOVES pizza and he had been making himself mini pizzas in the toaster oven for the past two weeks using bagels (which we also got on sale). He suggested we make some French bread pizzas for dinner. I thought it was a great idea but I also figured, if I was making 4 pizzas, I might as well make a few more and stock the freezer. Then he would be able to have them any old time without making a mess in the kitchen...which he took to mean that he could eat them for breakfast...every day...for a week. Before that he was taking a box of cheerios and eating them dry in the car so I guess technically the combo of whole grains, veggies, and protein is an improvement. And it makes him happy :)
How I “healthified” the recipe:
- The original recipe called for two loaves of white French bread cut into 8 pieces. I substituted a Multigrain Baton instead (which is the same thing as a French bread, that’s just what Publix calls it). It was not 100% whole grain but it was 50% whole grain which is better than nothing. I’m going to try to make my own whole grain French bread but that’s a post for another day. Also, I cut each loaf into six pieces because the serving size was huge if they were cut into eight.
- In the original recipe, the pizza sauce was made by combining tomato paste, water, and some Italian seasoning. I used 2 cans of Hunt’s All Natural basil, garlic, and oregano paste so I didn’t have to bother with the seasonings. Also, I used only ½ cup of water and pureed 2 cups of spinach into it (while Matt wasn’t looking...insert slightly evil cackle of glee) to equal 1 cup of liquid. I combined that with the tomato paste to make the sauce. The sauce did end up being kind of brown instead of bright red but I threw the toppings on there before Matt came back into the kitchen and he didn't notice :)
- The original recipe used a 6oz package of regular pepperoni. I substituted turkey pepperoni because it’s leaner and reduced the amount to about ½ a package, or 4 slices per pizza.
- Finally, I added finely chopped broccoli to our pizzas (below the cheese so no one could pick it off…Matt) to boost the nutritional profile. You know I’m all about adding veggies to everything and with the flavor of the sauce, no one noticed the broccoli.
- The results – I compared my homemade pizzas to a store bought pizza (Stouffer’s Pepperoni French Bread Pizza) for the nutritional analysis. The homemade version had significantly fewer calories and less fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, and total carbohydrates. It had more dietary fiber, protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and iron. Not to mention I could pronounce all of the ingredients and I knew exactly what was in it.
- 2 loaves of whole grain French bread, sliced in half lengthwise and again width-wise into thirds to make a total of 12 pieces
- 2 6oz cans Basil, Garlic, and Oregano tomato paste (or plain tomato paste, 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning, and 1 tsp garlic powder)
- ½ cup hot water
- 2 big handfuls fresh spinach (or half of a 9oz box of frozen spinach, thawed and drained)
- 1 6oz package reduced-fat turkey pepperoni
- 1 12oz package frozen broccoli, cooked and chopped small
- 2 cups part-skim mozzarella cheese
- 2 cups 2% cheddar cheese
TWO: Spread the sauce evenly over the 12 pieces of bread, about 2 Tbsp each. Place the broccoli on top, dividing it evenly amongst the pieces.
THREE: Top each bread with 4 slices of pepperoni. Sprinkle on the cheese distributing it evenly over the pizzas.
TO EAT IMMEDIATELY: Preheat oven to 375. Place pizzas on a cookie sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes until crust is crispy and cheese is bubbly.
TO FREEZE: Wrap each pizza in a double layer of foil, place 4 pieces each into a gallon-sized freezer bag, and freeze.
TO REHEAT: Preheat oven to 375, unwrap desired number of pieces, and place on a cookie sheet. Bake 20-25 minutes. (Matt unwraps his and puts it in the toaster oven at 200 for 12 minutes. I don't know why it cooks so much faster. Maybe because it's a smaller cooking space?)
We made a huge batch the other day and set them up like an assembly line:
|Lay them all out on pieces of tinfoil|
|Add on all of the toppings|
|Wrap them all up|
|Stick them in labeled freezer baggies |
(Note: The haul above only lasted Matt 2 weeks, LOL)
Store Bought Pizza: 410 Calories (180 Calories from Fat), 20g Fat, 7g Saturated Fat, 15mg Cholesterol, 810mg Sodium, 43g Total Carbohydrates, 4g Dietary Fiber, 5g Sugars, 15g Protein, 10% DV Vitamin A, 6% DV Vitamin C, 15% DV Calcium, 10% DV Iron
New Healthier Recipe: 268 Calories (80 Calories from Fat), 9g Fat, 5g Saturated Fat, 30mg Cholesterol, 678mg Sodium, 31g Total Carbohydrates, 6g Dietary Fiber, 4g Sugars, 19g Protein, 28% DV Vitamin A, 35% DV Vitamin C, 35% DV Calcium, 15% DV Iron