Easy, Make Your Own Winter Veggie Pizza

Just about everyone loves pizza, myself included. However, traditional restaurant pizza is generally made with refined (white) flour, and loaded with saturated fat and sodium – things that can quickly lead to weight gain and harm your health. To make pizza something I can feel good about eating regularly, I’ve found ways to make my own healthier versions. The key is using whole grains, less cheese and loading up on lots of cancer-protective veggies.

This weekend I wanted to make a quick, personal-sized pizza using seasonal, winter veggies.

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Eating produce that’s in season helps you save money and also ensures you are getting a good variety of foods and nutrients.

This pizza included some of my favorite veggies and herbs: Brussels sprouts, butternut squash and fresh sage. Pizza can be fairly labor intensive if you are making the dough, but the whole wheat pita pockets in this recipe made this dish incredibly easy and was perfect for a personal-sized pizza. Continue reading

Build a Cancer-Fighting Fridge in Five Steps

Cancer Prevention Month is a great time to make it easier than ever for you and your family to make a habit of choosing healthy, cancer-protective foods for those times you wander into the kitchen looking for a little bite to eat or need a quick meal.

Starting with your refrigerator and freezer, re-stocking and rearranging can make all the difference in what you choose. Follow these five steps and you and your family will be on the road to healthier eating and lower cancer risk.

  1. Fill your freezer with easy-prep veggies and fruit: Frozen greens, peas, corn and other veggies are simple to steam for a quick side at dinner. Mix frozen fruit chunks and berries for a colorful and healthful dessert or smoothie. Ditch the frozen fries and make room for bags of convenient, affordable frozen fruits and veggies.
  2. Swap out refined “white” grains with cancer-fighting whole grains: Keep whole grain wraps, pitas and sliced bread in the freezer to make a quick sandwich or use the pita or a whole-wheat crust for a healthy homemade pizza. And, instead of Healthy Fridge Final[2] (1)white rice, stock up on already cooked frozen brown rice – super convenient as a base for veggie stir-fry or stew.
  3. Stock up on carrots, celery, bell pepper, apples and oranges: Produce items like these are cost effective and have minimal waste. Cut up those veggies and fruits, clear off your top fridge shelf and put them on a tray front and center. Place your favorite dip there too, so when you and your kids open the fridge door, you can easily grab a veggies and fruit snack.
  4. Feature creative healthy beverages and ditch the sugary drinks: Sugary beverages contribute to obesity, a cause of 10 types of cancer. You can replace sodas and other sweet drinks with a couple pitchers or bottles of water – plain and sparkling, along with plain black, green or herbal teas. As a family, experiment adding in fruits like lemon, lime or orange slices, frozen berries, a splash of 100% juice or fresh herbs like basil, mint or ginger slices. Make flavored ice cubes with juice, tea or chopped fruit.
  5.  Use see-through containers for healthy ingredients: Next to the plain yogurt, keep leftover canned fruit chunks, sunflower seeds, nuts and other fruit in see-through containers to inspire a colorful yogurt parfait. Put the peanut butter jar, hummus container and leftover chicken where it’s easy to see and grab.

Now that your fridge and freezer are stocked and ready to go, try these ideas for quick and affordable meals and snacks:

Winter Veggie Pita Pizzas (and other recipes)

Get your free Cancer Prevention Action Planner for 30 steps to better health

AICR Healthy Kids

How you can cook up cancer-fighting broccoli rabe (rapini or raab)

After many years of writing about new ideas and unexpected ways to enjoy familiar foods to appear in print, I am now sharing them as a blog. If you already know my Something Different recipes, I hope you’ll enjoy seeing them in living color and with even more detail. If it these recipes are catching your eye for the first time, welcome.

As a food writer, I get invited to some intriguing events. One of my favorites last year featured not Champagne, posh chocolates, or over-the-top desserts. It starred broccoli rabe, aka rapini, raab, and cima di rape.

Broccoli rabe’s distinctive, bitter and pungent taste is not for everyone, but at this event the family that distributes most of the rabe grown commercially in the U.S. served up dishes with wide appeal. Some were authentically Italian, like arancini, fried rice and cheese balls, filled with broccoli rabe, or a colorful combo of roasted potatoes and roasted rabe drizzled with lemon. More surprising was a vivid smoothie blending broccoli rabe with apple, banana, pineapple juice and yogurt.

But best of all was pasta tossed with broccoli rabe pesto.

Broccoli Rabe Fusilli-05At home, I tweaked the irresistible pesto to suit my taste, using less oil and sharp pecorino (sheep’s milk) cheese instead of Parmesan. This also made it better combined with the taste of whole-wheat pasta. Plus I topped my version with juicy cherry tomatoes rolled in a hot skillet until they sizzle and burst. Continue reading