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I don’t know many people who don’t love a good pizza.  Anything Italian I’ll probably eat, and sometimes think I was mistakenly born in the midwest and should have originated from somewhere in the Mediterranean region like Italy or Greece (insert dreaming harp music here)…….

Amalfi Coast of Italy, Image Source Page: http://www.italianvisits.com/amalfi_coast/index.htm

…..but that’s a story for another day and where my husband would say, “Jerilyn, come on, wake up”…..okay, back to pizza making.

You haven’t really lived until you’ve had pesto roasted vegetable pizza  (maybe a little overly dramatic description, but it is pretty darn good)!  A great spring and summer time pizza.  Roasting brings out all the flavor goodness in the vegetables and garlic, put over basil pesto and a delicious wheat crust, all topped with fresh mozzarella, how could you go wrong with that flavor profile?

Serve with a nice, big green salad tossed with olive oil, fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper, along with a large bowl of fresh, whole strawberries.  And you’ve got yourself a meal!

My wheat pizza dough will convert any frozen pizza lover to making homemade.  Top with your favorite toppings and bake until cheese is melted into such gooey goodness that your mouth waters. Pizza dough can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator or freezer.

I’ve also included an easy, and tasty pizza sauce recipe made for basically the cost of a can of tomato sauce.  I freeze extra in little snack zip top bags to thaw for delicious, convenient pizza sauce anytime.

PESTO ROASTED VEGETABLE & CHICKEN PIZZA

makes 2 pizzas

  • 1 RECIPE FANTASTIC WHEAT PIZZA DOUGH (recipe below or use store-bought)
  • 15 CHERRY OR GRAPE TOMATOES
  • 8 BABY CARROTS, julienned
  • 1 large RED OR GREEN BELL PEPPER, cut into strips
  • 1 medium ZUCCHINI W/SKIN, chopped
  • 1 medium YELLOW SUMMER SQUASH W/SKIN, chopped
  • 1 small ONION, roughly chopped
  • 10 ASPARAGUS SPEARS, ends trimmed and cut into 2″ pieces
  • 8 GARLIC CLOVES, WHOLE, peeled
  • 1 tbsp OLIVE OIL, EXTRA VIRGIN
  • 1 tsp ROSEMARY, CRUSHED, DRIED
  • SEA SALT AND PEPPER TO TASTE
  • 6 tbsp PESTO W/BASIL, (homemade or store-bought)
  • 12 oz CHICKEN BREAST, BONELESS, SKINLESS, cooked
  • 12 oz MOZZARELLA CHEESE, FRESH
  • 4 tbsp PARMESAN CHEESE, SHREDDED, FRESH

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray.

2. Toss all vegetables and garlic in olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper; place on prepared baking pan.

Roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until vegetables start to soften and brown. Remove whole garlic cloves when finished baking.

3. On each pizza crust (made through step 4 – or store-bought dough, prebaked for 5 minutes) spread 3 T. pesto, 1/2 the roasted vegetables, 6 oz cooked shredded or chopped chicken, 4 chopped roasted garlic cloves and each topped with 6 oz. fresh mozzarella and 2 T. parmesan cheese.

Sprinkle with dried parley if desired. Bake for 10-12 at 425 degrees or until crust gets golden brown and cheese melts (I broiled mine a minute or two for the brown cheese on top).

VARIATION: Omit chicken for a vegetarian pizza. Add other vegetables like broccoli, corn, spinach, etc. Shrimp would be great too.

NUTRITION INFO PER SLICE OF PIZZA: 220 calories, 10g fat, 3.5g sat fat, 25mg cholesterol, 22g carb, 3g fiber, 2g sugar, 15g protein

FANTASTIC WHEAT PIZZA DOUGH

makes 2 thin crusts

  • 1 tsp SUGAR OR HONEY
  • 2 1/4 tsp YEAST, ACTIVE, dry (1 package)
  • 1 cup WATER, WARM
  • 2 cups WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR
  • 1 cup WHITE-WHEAT OR WHITE FLOUR, ALL PURPOSE
  • 1 tsp SALT, SEA
  • 2 tsp OLIVE OIL, EXTRA VIRGIN

1. In a large bowl, dissolve sugar or honey in warm water. Sprinkle yeast over the top.

And let stand for about 10 minutes, until foamy.

 Stir olive oil and salt.

Then mix in the whole wheat flour and 1/2 cup of the whole grain white flour until dough starts to come together.

2. Pour dough out onto a surface floured with the remaining 1/2 all-purpose flour.

And knead until most of flour is absorbed, and the ball of dough becomes smooth, about 10 minutes.

Place dough in an olive oil or cooking sprayed bowl, and turn to coat the surface.

Cover with a damp towel, and let stand in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

3. When the dough is doubled, roll out onto a lightly floured surface, and divide into 2 equal sized portions for 2 thin crust, or leave whole to make one very thick crust. Form into 2 tight balls. Let rise for about 45 minutes in separate oiled or sprayed bowls, covered with a towel, until doubled in size.

3. If using later, wrap dough balls tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours or freeze.  Preheat an oven to 375 degrees. Stretch one ball of dough with your hands, rotating to start forming dough to the shape of your desired pizza pan. With a rolling pin finish rolling dough to fit.

Place into cooking sprayed pan and poke a few holes with a fork in the bottom of the dough. Brush or spray with a little olive oil if desired for a crispy, golden brown crust. Repeat with other dough ball. Bake for 5 minutes to start crisping.

5. Remove crusts from oven and top with favorite toppings.  Bake for an additional 10-12 minutes, at 425 degrees. 1/16th of crust = about 90 calories.

BASIC PIZZA SAUCE

makes about 2 cups

  • 15 oz TOMATO SAUCE, (1 can)
  • 1 tsp ITALIAN SEASONING, DRIED
  • 1 tsp PARSLEY, DRIED
  • 3/4 tsp GARLIC POWDER
  • 3/4 tsp SALT, SEA
  • 1/8 tsp SUGAR
  • 1/4 tsp BLACK PEPPER, GROUND

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Makes one cup sauce. 2 Tbsp = about 10 calories.  Freeze leftovers in snack zip top bags, I put about 1/3 cup sauce in each.

Using the Basic Pizza Sauce, I also made a turkey sausage, green pepper, mushroom and onion pizza last night for dinner at my sister’s house.  Baked it in a 9-inch round pan for a “thicker” and healthier Chicago style crust.

ENDLESS PIZZA POSSIBILITIES….TRY CREATING YOUR OWN TONIGHT

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