In the states, people are getting ready for the big game on Sunday. Even those of us who really are not football fans enjoy the commercials, entertainment, and of course the food aspect of the Super Bowl! Every year I try new recipes and am sharing a few favorites from past years. This year I am trying two new Buffalo Wing style pizzas made of course in my cast iron skillet! Plus a Buffalo Style dip and maybe even a dessert!! What are your food plans for Super Bowl Sunday and do you have a favorite team?
Cooking with a cast iron skillet is so much fun with making different types of pizza. We have tried different versions including Rustic Cast Iron Skillet Vegetable Pizza Topped with BBQ Chicken and each was easy to make and delicious! Not only are they easy to make but they are a healthy alternative to the traditional cheese and pepperoni pizza. A slice of this Hawaiian BBQ Pizza is about 435 calories if you cut it into four slices. Not too bad for dinner even if you have two slices. Consider adding a healthy salad such as Blood Orange Avocado Salad with Macadamia Nut Oil and you might only have one slice!
I made this version a couple of times. The first time I used 1/2 cup BBQ sauce and felt that the BBQ sauce overpowered the other ingredients. My preference is 1/4 cup (which is how I calculated the calories) and felt that was a better ratio to the other ingredients. Often BBQ sauce is brushed on chicken or pork chops while being grilled or served as a dipping sauce. So keep in mind the more BBQ sauce added the more concentrated the flavor is with your pizza. The cast iron skillet is easy to clean. While it is still warm, take a damp cloth and wipe it out. Then dry it and place back into the oven to ensure it is dry. Then season with olive oil. It is easy to clean as long as your crust does not get too thin resulting in the ingredients leaking onto the pan. Then you might have a bit more clean up to do. But overall the cast iron skillet is easy to clean when making pizza!
10-inch Cast Iron Skillet
Whole Wheat Pizza Dough – 14 ounces
¼ to ½ cup BBQ Sauce
½ cup Pineapple, tidbits, drained
4 ounces Chicken, diced
¾ cup Ham, diced
Sliced red onions
⅔ cup Cheese, shredded
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Season the cast iron skillet. Roll out pizza dough into desired size and place in the cast iron skillet. Let it rest for a few minutes. Place BBQ sauce on the pizza dough, add pineapple, chicken, ham, sliced red onions, and then top with the cheese. Bake for about 20 to 25-minutes.
This is a quick and easy meal to make after work. I tend to cheat by purchasing some prepared items to save even more time. It is a fairly healthy dish as long as you limit the butter-lemon sauce and use it more to enhance the flavors. It is important to add a lot of spinach since once cooked it greatly reduces in size. Mushrooms have the same problem! I tend to purchase them whole to cut them thick to avoid them cooking away to almost nothing! Add more or less roma tomatoes depending upon how much sauce is preferred with the linguine. Mix a quick salad, throw a loaf of bread in the oven, pour a glass of red, and plate the Linguine Pasta with Roma Tomatoes and Shrimp – and you might think you are in a great Italian restaurant with its wonderful food and aromas! Mangia!
1 pound linguine
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
4 – 8 ounces White mushrooms, sliced
1 pound medium shrimp
4 cups Baby Spinach about 5 ounces, chopped
1 can Roma tomatoes
1 – 2 tbsp Butter-Lemon Sauce (I bought mine premade from Wegmans)
2 tbsp Fresh basil, chopped
Salt and White Pepper
Cook the linguine according to the instructions on the package. While the linguine is cooking, make the sauce. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a pan and cook the white mushrooms until tender. Transfer to another bowl. Add the remaining olive oil in the pan and cook the shrimp. I take a shortcut as I purchase cleaned, cooked shrimp to save time. I might add it cold to the pasta or at the very end mixing with the pasta. Add the spinach and cook for about a minute. Add tomatoes and butter-lemon sauce and cook until heated through. Add the cooked mushrooms and fresh basil. Drain the pasta and add to the pan to mix with the sauce. Season with salt and white pepper before serving.
So I just have to ask… what kind of weather is everyone experiencing? Earlier this week I went to work on a -7 degree Fahrenheit day – that would be -22 Celsius. In that weather you bundle up before you get out of the Jeep to walk the very short distance to the door. Holding your breath is a good idea to avoid that frigid air entering the lungs. Of course during that short walk, you need to be anti-social until you get into the building. It is all about survival during that 15-seconds walk to the door! Today the temps got to 40 and it felt like a heatwave while running my errands this afternoon – in fact I was getting hot. But no complaints here!
The newer ingredient for us is the brown basmati rice – in the past I used white but as we all know brown is typically healthier. Previously I made Basmati Rice With Spices – it was excellent and now I want to try it with brown basmati rice.
Another newer ingredient is raw pumpkin seeds – I prefer raw cashews and almonds to avoid the added salt. So I figured raw pumpkin seeds should be pretty good too! From the book Power Foods they recommend to refrigerate the raw pumpkins seeds to avoid going bad since they are high in oil. They can be eaten raw and sometimes I add them to the Blood Orange Avocado Salad with Macadamia Nut Oil instead of the dried fruit. Pumpkin seeds of course can be roasted. Most of us remember doing that as a child – scooping the seeds out of the pumpkin and then baking them – well maybe mom was baking them! That is a messy job and raw pumpkin seeds that are shelled can be found in the bulk section of many grocery stores. Just be sure to purchase from stores where the pumpkin seeds are fresh. Also throw a few in a skillet and roast for a few minutes to top granola, salads, oatmeal, and other dishes. Just be careful to not burn them – you know how it goes – you take your eyes off for only a moment and then they are burnt!
Rinse and drain rice until the water is not cloudy. I like to soak it for a few minutes, drain with a strainer, place back in the bowl, and add more water, drain – repeat until the water runs clear.
In a saucepan add the rice, pumpkin seeds, water or chicken broth, and a shake of salt. Cover and bring to a boil, stir and reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 50-minutes. Remove from heat, add the peppers and let sit covered for about 10-minutes to finish cooking. Another option is to add the pumpkin seeds at the end. Plate the rice and top with garnish ingredients. I like to add more pumpkins seeds as they are delicious!
Working for a small private company has a lot of perks and some challenges that include not having a cafeteria and needing to drive to the closest restaurant for lunch. For several months a food truck stopped with sandwiches, soups, salads, pizza, and other wonderful options. But suddenly they stopped coming – though who could blame them with the winter storms and bitter cold temperatures. Not really sure how they made money with stopping at companies in the business park for a few minutes. They did not make the food but coordinated with local fast food restaurants to stock the food truck! The upside is no temptation for pizza and the downside, of course, no back up plan in case a lunch is not available to bring to work!
It becomes important to pack a lunch and a decent lunch so you are not tempted to make a trip to the vending machine for something unhealthy! Healthy is the key – healthy and something that taste good. If it is bland you end up needing something sweet or fun to eat. It feels like I am always trying to figure out my lunch routine. Plus I do not like to eat the same lunch every day – maybe for a week or two – then I need a change. The Greek Style Chicken Wrap is a wonderful, tasty lunch at about 200 calories for a low-carb flatbread. This means there are enough calories left for a Greek Yogurt, a square of dark chocolate, or a handful of green grapes. Life is good!
The new ingredient in this recipe is the low-carb Flatout FoldIt Artisan Flatbreads. They are sturdy enough for a sandwich and taste good – you never know when the package says low-carb. And no, I am not one of those low-carbs or carbs are evil people. But since I sit in front of a computer or in meetings all day, I do need to be careful with my overall calorie intake. I hope you enjoy this recipe!!
Place all ingredients except for hummus in a bowl; toss to combine. Spread 1 tablespoon hummus over 1 side of each flatbread. Top with about 1/2 cup chicken mixture. Cover with the other half of the flatbread and enjoy!
If I was stranded on an island and could only have one food – that would be Pizza. I just adore pizza – nothing like a gooey cheese and pepperoni New York Style pizza with rolling the slice to eat! Nothing better. Then reality sets in. I can have this type of pizza once in a great while but if I want pizza more often it needs to be a healthy alternative.
We are going to be trying different types of pizza and other dishes in our cast iron skillet. Using a 10-inch cast iron skillet pizza makes 4 large slices or 8 small slices. Based upon the below portions, a pizza cut into 4 slices has approximately 400 calories a slice. Typically I do not measure my ingredients in these types of dishes but it is important to control the calories and fat by adding cheese, so it is important to measure the cheese. Banana peppers do not have any calories (per the jar) but are high in sodium so be careful on how much you add. Slicing your own pepper might be a better option. Pizza sauce is delicious but can be high in sodium. Try to use less pizza sauce and add more chopped tomatoes. Or better yet make a quick sauce controlling the ingredients and sodium. A nice compliment to this dinner is to add a Blood Orange Avocado Salad with Macadamia Nut Oil. It is packed with a lot of good vitamins and nutrients!
Don’t forget the Blood Orange Avocado Salad with Macadamia Nut Oil!
10-inch Cast Iron Skillet
1 small or medium sweet onion, cut in half and sliced
1 tbsp Olive Oil
½ cup Your Favorite Pizza Sauce
Bbout 2/3 cup Your Favorite cheeses, shredded
1/4 cup chopped tomato
Red and Orange Peppers, chopped
Banana Pepper Slices, chopped
4 ounces Rotisserie BBQ Chicken
Whole Wheat Pizza dough – 14 ounces
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Caramelize the onions in the olive oil. Season the cast iron skillet. Roll out pizza dough into desired size and place in the cast iron skillet. Let it rest for a few minutes. Add your favorite pizza sauce. Top with caramelized onions, chopped tomato, chopped peppers, and banana peppers. Add a blend of cheeses and top with BBQ cooked chicken. Don’t forget to add the basil either fresh or dried. It does add a lot of flavor! Bake for about 20 to 25-minutes.
This is why I call this recipe “rustic”. When I was assembling the ingredients it had a rustic look to me!
A little cheese can go a long way to help bring flavor to the pizza without being the main ingredient. You could reduce the cheese to about 1/3 cup and this pizza will still be delicious!
This is a wonderful recipe adapted from: Healthiest Meals on Earth: The Surprising, Unbiased Truth About What Meals to Eat and Why by Jonny Bowden. You can find this valuable book at this location. I made some minor changes to the recipe and for one salad it is about 300 calories. Avocados and macadamia nut oil are high in calories and nutrients. Try reducing either if you need to eliminate some of the calories. For this recipe I ventured into several new ingredients as discussed in my New Years Eve posting about the 2015 direction for Realistic Cooking Ideas. Click here to read the sneak preview. Today’s new ingredients include: blood oranges, avocado, Macadamia Nut Oil, agave nectar, and butter lettuce. Almost every ingredient in this healthy salad was new to us! Needless to say I will continue researching recipes to use these wonderful ingredients! It is a beautiful salad to present and delicious to eat! You could segment the blood oranges to remove the skin for a more elegant look. This posting provides a method.
I conducted additional research on the ingredients and their benefits. At first I was not sure how to peel an avocado but it ended up being easy. Just cut off an end and then peel it like a banana. It is nutrient-dense with 50 calories for 1-ounce while providing a lot of vitamins and minerals. If you do not want to use the entire avocado, leave in the pit and place in the refrigerator to extend its life.
Blood oranges are delicious but a bit expensive at least during the winter. At about 80-calories they are a good source of vitamin C. One cup of butter lettuce is 5 calories providing about 30% of vitamin A.
The combination of macadamia nut oil (high in omega-3) and agave nectar made a fabulous dressing! Simple to make, healthy, and the agave nectar has a low glycemic index value and is 1.5 times sweeter than sugar.
Almonds are good for the heart – just remember to purchase raw almonds – no added salt. They are high in calories so be careful about adding too many. Slivered almonds are nice to control the calories. Dried fruit can be high in sugar and calories so I just added a few for color and a bit more sweetness.
Ingredients for 2 Salads Salad Ingredients
2 cups Butter Lettuce, washed and leaves torn into pieces
1 Ripe Avocado, cut into slices
1 Blood Orange, peeled and separated into segments
2 tsp Almond, slivers
2 tsp Dried fruit such as cranberries or apricots
Place butter lettuce on a plate and then add the avocado, blood orange segments and top with sliced almonds and dried fruit. Mix together macadamia nut oil with raw honey and then drizzle over salad.