Life's too short

Life's too short

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Cottage Cheese... Please

I've been trying to eat healthier lately, and I've decided that my granola bars are probably a bit too sweet and not healthy enough for me.  I know that cottage cheese is thought of as a diet food, but it's just not that wonderful to eat plain.

I wanted to see how I could make it more appetizing to me, so I rummaged through the spice cabinet to see what I could find.  I remember putting paprika on cottage cheese when I was young, but I didn't have any in the cupboard.  My brother had purchased something called Bittersweet Paprika once upon a time, and although it didn't sound exciting, I thought I would give it a try.  All I can say is WOW!  I love this stuff.  Basically, it is like adding a smokey flavor to the cottage cheese.  What a complete turnaround my snack is getting.  I had never seen this spice before, but found it online here: Bittersweet Paprika Tin.  Now my snack was tasty, but still lacked texture.  What else was in my cupboard?  I came upon some ground up pistachios.  Perfect!  This combination of the health benefits from the cottage cheese, the smokey flavor and the crunchy nuts make this my go-to snack in the morning. It's not only filling but tasty, and a nice break from the sweet granola bars.

What you may not know is cottage cheese is low in calories, fat and carbohydrates.  And it is packed with protein and calcium.  I found an article on that talks about adding flaxseed oil to the cottage cheese for more benefits.  I'm going to have to try that next.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Backyard Pizza

I just had the most delicious dinner and need to share!  I read some articles about barbecuing pizza on your outdoor grill, and wasn't sure how it would turn out, but I like to try new things, so why not?  The pizzas turned out great, tasted fresher than from a pizza joint, and it was super easy.  Here's what we did...

I bought the dough from Fresh and Easy - it is near their cheese section.  I'm sure other stores have the dough too, I just haven't seen it before.  I bought both the whole wheat and white varieties, but liked the wheat better.  Twenty minutes prior to cooking, take the dough out of the fridge, unpackage it and let it rest.  I put them on wax paper, but it stuck - next time I will spray the paper with cooking oil.  While it is softening up, I prepped the toppings.  We made one Hawaiian style pizza and one with sausage and veggies.  You want your toppings cooked before grilling, so I cooked the sausage and heated the frozen pineapple chunks.  I  left the veggies raw and they were good - I guess it just depends on how you like them.  I was excited to use tomatoes and a pepper from our garden. If making Hawaiian pizza, you can cook the ham steak on the grill first, and then cut into small pieces.  

I took all the items and put them in a bowl, added seasonings, minced garlic, a little olive & garlic oil and mixed it up.  That way it is easy to put on the pizza at one time.  I didn't measure anything - I knew what was left over would make a wonderful omelet.

Once your dough is ready, put some olive oil on a cookie sheet or pizza pan.  Put your dough on the pan and stretch it out. The more you stretch it out, the thinner and crispier it will be.  Flip it over to get both sides oiled.  Place your dough directly on grill and cook for 3 minutes. It won't stick because of the oil you rubbed it in.  No need to oil the grill. Flip the dough over and put on pizza sauce if you are using it.  Now quickly add some cheese, your toppings and then more cheese.  If anything, I was a bit too conservative with the cheese - I think more cheese would have held the toppings on better.  I sprinkled the toppings with more seasonings (oregano and such) and then closed the grill cover.  It should only take 3-5 minutes, and it is ready.  Just don't keep lifting the lid to check on it, as that releases the heat that is melting your cheese.  We ended up turning off the flame under the pizza, and only running the flame on the side.  The dough cooked too fast for us as we took too much time getting the toppings on. I think you will be surprised at how crispy and delicious this turns out.

The one thing I recommend is having all your seasonings and toppings ready to put on the pizza as soon as you turn the dough.  Also, I think you could prep several bowls full of the ingredients and freeze them so you have them on hand for a quick pizza any time this summer.