Pizza is one of the first foods to end up on the forbidden list of calorie-counters and of those limiting fat and cholesterol in their diets. But it doesn't have to be totally taboo if you learn how to cut the fat and control your consumption.
The villains in pizza are the cheese and the meat toppings -- hamburger, pepperoni and sausage. Limit the cheese and use only low-fat products made with skim milk. Nix the meat toppings and replace them with veggies, such as artichoke hearts (in liquid, not in oil) and fresh mushrooms. Make yourself a big salad with diet dressing and limit your pizza consumption to preferably one and not more than two slices. This still isn't low-cal diet fare, but it won't do as much damage to your waistline and heart as the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink pies.
These days supermarkets are making it easier to get the pizza to the table in less than 30 minutes because most of them stock premade pizza shells in the dairy case. They taste good, bake in 6 to 8 minutes and can be more satisfying than many of the restaurant offerings.
To make this Fastlane Feast, put together the pizza first. Then make the salad and banana dessert while the pizza is baking in the oven.
Items you should have in your pantry include: olive oil, garlic, shallots, butter, salad greens and dressing of your choice.
Your 10-item or less shopping list should include:
* 8 ounces fresh mushrooms
* 1 can (14 ounces) artichoke hearts in liquid, not oil
* Premade Neapolitan pizza shell,
* 12-inch diameter
* 1 jar tomato and basil sauce or other flavored sauce
* 1 can (3 1/2 ounces) pitted black olives
* 1 package pizza cheese mixture, part-skim mozzarella and Cheddar combination
* 4 bananas
* 1 package chopped pecans, 2/3 cup
* 1 bottle orange-chocolate liqueur, such as Sabra
Pizza with artichokes, olives and mushrooms Makes 4 servings.
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 shallots, minced fine
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 can (14 ounces) artichoke hearts in liquid, not oil, cut in half
1 premade Neapolitan pizza shell (12-inch diameter), found in the dairy case
3/4 cup tomato and basil pizza sauce
1/3 cup ripe black olives without pits, cut in half
1/2 cup pizza double cheese, shredded part skim mozzarella and Cheddar combination
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan. Saute garlic, shallots, mushrooms and artichoke hearts until soft, about 5 minutes.
Put pizza sauce on top of shell, leaving about a 1/4 -inch rim of plain crust. Add sauteed toppings, cheeses and olives. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes or until bottom of pizza is brown and cheeses are melted.
Bananas with pecans and orange chocolate Makes 4 servings.
1 package ( 2/3 cup) chopped pecans
1 tablespoon butter
8 tablespoons orange-chocolate liqueur
Peel bananas, cut into slices and place in four separate bowls. Put butter and pecans in a microwave-proof bowl and cook on high for 1 minute, stir with a wooden spoon. Repeat twice. Top bananas with toasted pecans and top with orange-chocolate liqueur, allowing 2 tablespoons per serving.