Puttin' on The Mitts: Losing fat from the 4th
In my opinion, summer is one of the hardest times to try and lose weight. Oh, who am I kidding? It's a struggle no matter what the season, but it seems the summer is always full of yummy grilled burgers and brats smothered in toppings, potato sal...
In my opinion, summer is one of the hardest times to try and lose weight.
Oh, who am I kidding? It's a struggle no matter what the season, but it seems the summer is always full of yummy grilled burgers and brats smothered in toppings, potato salads, pasta salads and, of course, who can forget all the tasty treats the Fourth of July offers? There's cotton candy, kettle corn, slushies, corn dogs, mini doughnuts and the like. Fat, sugar and carbs every time you turn around.
Don't get me wrong. Some of that is OK in moderation, but not if you're really trying hard to lose weight and that's the category I am currently in.
Since May 1, I have been following a relatively strict diet but was recently given some leeway in what is called a maintenance phase, when some foods I couldn't eat before were reintroduced back into my diet. Summer or not, I've been missing pizza. I could eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner, seven days a week. Pizza is not the healthiest of choices when watching your caloric intake, but I found a way to "cheat" the system with this recipe I call Pizza Quesadillas. It gives the illusion of pizza without all of the calories. It's filling and can be created to fit whatever your pizza cravings are.
Another bonus to this kind of "pizza" in the summer? No need to turn on the oven. This can be made in a non-stick skillet on the stove.
One serving, 313 calories
- 1 Flatout Artisan Thin Pizza Crust (I used the rosemary and olive oil crust)
- 1/4 cup reduced fat mozzarella cheese
- 2 tablespoons pizza sauce
- 5 yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
- 3 mini peppers, sliced
- 2 ounces of grilled chicken breast (I had some leftover and decided to dice it up and add it to my pizza).
- Any seasonings you prefer. (I used some garlic powder and basil).
Spread the sauce on the crust.
Transfer the crust to a non-stick skillet. (I used a little cooking spray as well, just to be sure).
The skillet I used was small so part of the crust was in the pan while the other part was draped over the handle. That way, when you load up one side with all of the toppings, you can just flip the crust over on top of the filled side.
Add the chicken, peppers and tomatoes.
Top with cheese, seasonings and then fold the quesadilla over.
Heat on medium heat for 2-3 minutes, or until the cheese starts to melt.
Gently flip the quesadilla over.
Heat for another 2-3 minutes until crust is golden brown and crusty on both sides.
Cut in half and serve.
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I guess my Mitts partner and I both had pizza on the brain this week!
Probably because the Fourth of July got the best of me, between working a lot and celebrating in between. Whenever I go off the rails a bit with healthy eating goals, it incites additional fantasies about naughty foods-sometimes indulged for additional harm.
This time, though, I managed to mostly cut myself off from the fanfare and return to normalcy. The pizza cravings remained, however, resulting in this week's recipe for a lighter take on the quintessential junk food.
One of my favorite low-calorie foods is the Flatout flatbread. These little wraps are versatile, taste good and are friendly to the waistline, provided they're not loaded with indulgent ingredients. Yes, they're processed-but frankly, I've made my own whole-wheat, low-calorie tortillas, and if I'd paid myself a living wage, they cost me about $30. Sometimes, you have to make decisions about how you plan to spend your time in the kitchen, and this is one area I have no qualms turning to a processed product.
As you've likely guessed by now, you can top these flatbreads with pretty much anything your heart desires, but I found this combination to be a winning one. I used grilled peppers and onions (the ones I mentioned in our last column, grilled alongside shrimp and other veggies to get good use out of my charcoal!), but you could easily use jarred roasted peppers and thinly sliced raw onions, should you choose.
MEDITERRANEAN GRILLED VEGETABLE PIZZAS
Two servings, 323 calories each
- 2 Flatout flatbreads of choice
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup grilled or roasted sweet peppers, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup grilled or roasted sweet onions, roughly chopped
- Handful fresh oregano and rosemary, chopped
- 1.5 ounces Kalamata olives, chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh garlic
- 1.5 ounces mozzarella cheese
- 2 tablespoons crumbled Feta cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Drizzle olive oil
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray (or if preferred, use a large frying pan and make one flatbread at a time).
Mix together the cherry tomatoes, peppers, onions, oregano and rosemary; season with salt and pepper to taste.
Divide the mixture in half, placing half on each flatbread.
Divide remaining ingredients in half, using each half to spread evenly across each flatbread.
Finish with a little salt and pepper to taste.
Drizzle with about 1 teaspoon olive oil on each flatbread.
Place on baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, or until cheese has begun to brown and bubble. Or, cook in a frying pan until flatbread has achieved desired doneness.
To serve: keep flat or fold in half, sprinkling with additional olive oil if desired.