Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Weight Watchers Wednesday: Pizza, Pizza

Pizza is one food that my whole family can agree on. Now, not the same toppings. Getting any group of people, no matter where the people are from, how much money they make, what political party they identify with or how they feel about Obamacare to decide on pizza toppings is IMPOSSIBLE. My family is no different. Sam is a plain-Jane kinda guy--cheese or maybe some pepperoni (with no burnt edges!), whereas Gabby and I are definitely in the "more toppings, better pizza" camp. Matt and Alice are somewhere in the middle. But despite this, I know that if I make a pizza crust and throw some stuff on it (or better yet, let the kids throw their own things on it) I can get a meal on the table that everyone will eat.

And you would think that this would be counterintuitive to the whole Weight Watchers thing. However, since I restarted the program, I have found myself going to pizza more and more as a meal choice. For reals, you say? Yes, pizza. The truth is using a bit less cheese and a whole lot more veggies can turn the ultimate no-no into something you can feel really good about. And something that calms those cravings.

First off, let's start with the crust. Crust is really overlooked, I think, in the making of the American pizza. In many cases, it is an afterthought, merely a vehicle for lots and lots of gooey cheese. And while that kind of pizza has its place (when you are throwing back a few beers at the ballpark, for instance), I feel that if you are making something that will tame your cravings and give you some nutrition, every part has to be at its best. I have found the following crust recipe to be easy to churn out at a moment's notice and delicious:

Morgan's Pizza Crust
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tbsp. of yeast dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water (I put this in a 1 cup liquid measure)
1 cup cold water & 1 tbsp. olive oil mixed (I wash out the same 1 cup measure to mix this)
1 tbsp. honey

Blend this all together either in a stand mixer with a dough hook or in a bowl with a wooden spoon (you may notice that if you are doing this by hand, you need a bit more water. In that case, a couple of teaspoons of cold water will do the trick). Let rest for 20 min with a kitchen towel over the top. Knead and roll out and let rest for another 10 minutes. Place dough on a pan or pizza stone sprinkled with cornmeal. Spread with your toppings. Bake at 425 for 25 min.

Once you've made the crust, the world is your oyster. Be creative with your toppings. And although cheese is delicious, think about other things you can add. I have found the following toppings to be delicious:
--caramelized onions, a bit of mozzarella, goat cheese and a good drizzle honey
--dried figs, caramelized onions, and Stilton
--pesto, roasted vegetables (a mix of zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms, peppers, onions and asparagus), a bit of mozzarella
--mashed black beans, fire-roasted salsa, spinach, cilantro and a mix of monterey jack and reduced-fat sharp cheddar
--chopped pears, arugula, and blue cheese with a good glug of balsamic vinegar on top
--and the old reliable--roasted tomato sauce that you can make on Sunday and keep in the fridge for a few days, sliced fresh mozzarella, torn basil (especially good with a light Caesar tossed on top--yummo)

And there is always this--the child labor pizza. Buy a bunch of healthy toppings, make the crust and then let the kids make their own individual pizzas. Sometimes I double the recipe for the crust for this so that there is plenty in case someone wants to make an extra. Pineapple always goes fast when we do this. You might be surprised to see what your kids add. Sam shocked the crap out of me last time we did this by adding fresh mozzarella and broccoli to his pizza and then eating the whole thing!

Generally, these pizzas weigh in at about 4-5 Points Plus per slice. Which sounds like a lot. But the crust is hearty and filling and the slices larger than what you would find on a restaurant pizza (I usually follow an old Weight Watchers cookbook of mine and cut the pizza into 6ths rather than 8ths). With a big salad, one slice can be super filling. If you have the extra points to throw around, two slices is definitely a feast. Last night I did have the points, and found myself only able to get through one and a half slices before getting totally satiated. I ended up using my extra points on some Edy's slow churned ice cream. And you can always bring a slice for lunch the next day--mine is waiting on me in the fridge and I'm super excited!

If you have tried this, I'd love to hear your topping ideas in the comments!


  1. I totally used to do this. When I still lived in Virginia, next to a Trader Joe's, I'd buy their whole wheat pizza dough, and fix "hippie pizza" -basically pizza dough with a little sauce, low fat cheese, and whatever veggies I had some spare of. I really miss it. I used to make a sauce with greek yogurt and a spoon of pesto sauce.

  2. I've been wanting to try this recipe:

    Think I might get the ingredients to do so next week.

  3. I will eat anything with Greek yogurt, so that sauce sounds di-freakin'-vine. And I definitely want to try the sausage pizza. I have recently gotten on a bit of a sausage kick, so that is like reading my mind as to what would be tasty. Thanks for the tips!

  4. I totally C&Ped your recipe and sent to my husband. He makes bread, I bet he would make pizza dough!