The best way to eat healthfully is to eat at home. After all, if you make the food yourself, you know exactly what's in it. Only you can ensure that what you eat has minimal pesticide residue, no antibiotic or hormone residues and no added sugars. Only you can ensure that what you eat has lots of fiber, good fats, and high nutrient density. And only you can ensure that your food is fresh-tasting and absolutely, wonderfully, marvelously delizioso!
Photo Credit: Well Plated by Erin
Pizza probably seems like a bit of a project to you -- first making a yeast dough, then making a sauce and preparing various toppings. But wait! It's not that complicated. Pita makes the perfect pizza crust, and whole wheat pita is even better.
Here are the simple ingredients:
Start by pre-heating your oven, making it as hot as possible, usually 525-550 F degrees. If you have a little pizza oven, better yet. Start with your pita crust. Spread tomato sauce on it, then cover with cheese slices, maybe fresh mozzarella. Next, add thinly sliced veggies of choice. Alternatively, slice the veggies thicker, coat lightly with olive oil, and pre-roast before adding to the top of the pizza. Sprinkle a different cheese over the top, perhaps Parmesan slivers. Add seasonings like oregano or basil and salt if desired. Bake 'til edges of crust are brown, and cheese has brown, bubbly spots. Enjoy!
You don't need to make your own Italian pasta for good health either. Whole wheat pasta has come a long way! There are so many delicious brands on the market, and most of them feature simple, pure ingredient lists. Just boil the pasta in salted water with a few drops of olive oil until al dente, drain, and set aside.
Now prepare and organize your veggies in separate bowls or piles on the counter next to your burner. These additions can include: crushed fresh garlic, sliced red or yellow bell peppers, sliced onions (yellow or green), sliced green or black olives, quartered artichoke hearts, white Albacore tuna, capers, slivered or chopped spinach or kale, diced tomato.
Add extra virgin olive oil to a very large sauté pan, and add the crushed garlic along with seasonings, possibly salt, crushed red pepper, oregano and basil. Stir fry remaining veggies (and tuna if desired), adding in succession as listed above. When veggies (and tuna) are al dente, turn off the heat, fold the pasta and sautéed veggies together, re-season, and serve with slivered Parmesan or Romano cheese.
Photo Credit: The Heritage Cook
Pre-cook the cannellini beans in about 3 cups of water until tender, and set aside.
Add extra virgin olive oil to a 6 quart stock pot. Add crushed garlic, onions, carrot and celery and sauté briefly until barely softened. Add zucchini and summer squash, and continue to sauté. Add water and all seasonings, bring to a boil, turn down the heat, cover, and simmer until everything is uniformly tender. Add diced tomatoes and chopped kale. Simmer briefly, check seasonings and serve with shaved Parmesan.
OK, well, it won't exactly be an Italian "ice". This take-off on the original carries more nutritional punch than artfully combined sugar, water, and flavors. And the only sugars are those in the fruits and veggies. But when you're in the mood for an Italian-style dessert or an icy treat in the summer, this "Ice" will be just the thing!
A high-powered blender will make the smoothest "Ice." Add 8-10 ice cubes to the blender bowl, a little water or apple or pomegranate juice to help the blend start, 5 large chunks of pineapple, half a banana, half an apple, half a peeled orange, and lots of roughly chopped kale or spinach or both. Cover, start blender on low, and gradually increase speed as a vortex forms in the center. Blend, gently pushing ingredients toward the blades if needed. When all is smooth and a beautiful bright green, move into a covered freezer container to enjoy at the perfect moment.
Photo Credit: Bread Experience
Spelt is a type of wheat, and it's a great flour to work with for bread-making!
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl, and let sit for 10 minutes. Over a period of one hour, do 3 sets of stretch and folds, flipping the dough upside down after each set. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours, the longer the better.
Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Divide it into 3 equal parts, and shape into rectangles. Let rest for 15 minutes. In the meantime, pre-heat the oven to 480 degrees, placing a 14x16" baking stone on the top rack and a bread pan filled with hot water on the bottom rack.
Stretch each dough rectangle slightly and fold into a cylinder, sealing the seams. Roll the cylinders gently, stretching to about 14-15 inches. Place on a floured surface, seam-side up, side-by-side, and cover with plastic, propped on the sides to hold their shape. Alternatively, use a baguette pan for the cylinders.
Let rise 30-40 minutes. Remove the plastic cover, and pull the baguettes apart. Place them seam-side up, and dust off the excess flour. Use a sharp knife or razor to make 3-4 scores on each baguette. Put the baguettes on the baking stone. Close the oven and reduce temperature to 460 degrees. Bake 15 minutes, turn, and bake another 15 minutes until deep golden brown.
Photo Credit: Goumei Market
(Wait! doesn't that make six recipes?? This one is a saucy bonus recipe, something to dip your Italian bread in or use on your healthy sandwich along with some other great plant foods like grilled eggplant and mashed cannellini beans with Italian seasoning).
Wash the peppers and place them on a baking sheet in a pre-heated, very hot oven (550 degrees). Turn every 5 minutes until skins brown and loosen. Remove from the oven and cool. Peel the peppers, and remove white pulpy material, but leave the seeds - they're great nutrition and work as a pretty garnish! Cut the peppers into strips and place in a bowl. The peppers will put out a fair amount of juice. Keep that in the salad. Add the remaining ingredients, and toss together lightly.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos