Pizza seems to be a comfort food for many folks, yet it’s considered a “not-so-healthy” choice. There are many ways to make your pizza healthier, and the sauce is one item that could use a makeover.
Making pizza sauce is not hard, and not all pizza sauces have to be tomato-based. A basil or spinach pesto could be used or even a white sauce can be made. To keep things as traditional as possible the recipe below is tomato-based. To make it convenient, this recipe uses tomato puree, but you can also make your own tomato sauce starting with fresh tomatoes or canned crushed tomatoes. The sugar in most tomato-based dishes is used to cut down on the acidity of the tomatoes.
1 onion, finely minced (can put in a food processor)
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
3 cups of tomato PUREE
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon honey or other sweetener of choice
½ teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes or some other hot pepper (optional)
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon of olive oil
Heat oil in pan and sauté onions until translucent over medium heat. Add garlic, and sauté another minute with the onions. Add tomato puree, the herbs, salt and sweetener. Stir. Bring to a low boil then turn down heat and simmer, stirring occasionally. Cook for 20 minutes until sauce has thickened a bit and flavors have married. Add vinegar, stir and simmer for another 5 minutes.
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What’s in a label? The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is considering making changes to nutrition labels to include additional information that will help consumers make responsible food choices. Until then, you can identify the best foods for your diet by using these simple tips:
Find the secret ingredient. Did you know that you can find partially hydrogenated oil in many foods packaged foods? This is the manufactured form of trans fat, which experts agree is among the worst fats for your body.
Less is more. Most health experts advise avoiding foods with long ingredient lists, which tend to belong to foods that are highly processed and full of chemicals and additives. Focus on whole foods that undergo less processing.
Go to the back. The back of the package, that is. Don’t be fooled by the BIG letters or claims on the front of the package. Look at the label on the back or side panel of the package to really understand the ingredient list. Continue Reading »
If you are eating seasonally, you are in luck because there are many foods grown in Wisconsin that are in season this time of year. One of my favorites is fennel.
Fun fact: fennel is a flowering plant that belongs to the same plant family as carrots. Fennel is a hardy perennial plant, considered both an herb and a vegetable. It has yellow flowers and beautiful, soft, feathery leaves similar to dill. It typically grows in the Mediterranean, but it is also grown in Wisconsin.
Smelling fennel is an experience in and of itself! It is very aromatic with a deep pungent aroma that resembles anise, similar but much richer smelling than licorice.
Fennel is also a very flavorful herb. Almost every part of the plant can be used in cooking. The dried fennel seeds are aromatic and taste like anise. Green seeds are best for cooking, having the most flavor. The leaves can be used to finish off a dish to produce a delicate flavor, and the bulb can be used as a vegetable by putting it in salads and soups. It is crisp and can be sautéed, baked, grilled or eaten raw.
Many Indian and Middle Eastern dishes call for fennel in their recipes. It is also found in some Chinese spice powders. Fennel is often used to make Italian sausage, and it is also found in breath fresheners. It can be used to make tea, which tastes much like licorice or anise tea.
All in all fennel is a wonderful food that can be used in many ways. Look for it in the grocery stores or at your local farmer’s market.
Summertime means cookout time, but just because it comes from the grill doesn’t mean it has to be unhealthy! We have ideas for keeping your summer diet healthy for your heart and your waistline—all it takes is thinking a little differently about the standard grilled menu.
Forgo the traditional beef griller for fish! Oily fish, like tuna and salmon, are full of omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients. You could form patties or treat a fillet with lemon juice, and add your favorite herbs and spices for even more flavor. Keep in mind fish cooks fast, so you want to be attentive while you are grilling it.
Slim down your burger
If you can’t go without your red meat, use lean or extra lean beef and drain or pat off the excess fat after you’ve grilled it. Did you know that the recommended serving size for a hamburger patty is three ounces? A three ounce burger is the roughly the size of the palm of your hand. Keep your patties on the slim side, or add in finely chopped vegetables like peppers or onions to make a thick burger that’s heavy on nutrients.
Take the mixed veggie-burger one step further by grilling vegetables instead of meat. Kabobs are an easy way to grill up a variety of veggies, and they’re easy to handle, too. Fill a skewer with veggies like mushrooms, peppers, cherry tomatoes, zucchini or yellow squash—anything with some “flesh” to it should work well. Lightly spray the skewered veggies with olive oil and place them on the grill. For the most flavor you’ll want to keep flipping occasionally, until they are slightly blackened. You can also grill corn on the cob right in its husk; place on the grill for about 30 minutes, rotating occasionally. Let it cool for about five minutes after removing it from the grill, and before you peel the husk off. Continue Reading »
I received a survey in the mail last week. You see, back in 2009 I enrolled in a cancer prevention study and have received lengthy surveys every few years or so. It is a very thorough survey that includes hundreds of questions and takes several days to fill out. The survey inquires about every aspect of health and lifestyle: information about immunizations; diet; hours spent sitting, sleeping or moving; medications taken; caffeine consumption and more.
Except for a few minor, non-life threatening ailments, I consider myself a pretty healthy person and my doctor gave me a clean bill of health during my annual wellness/preventive visit (don’t forget to schedule yours!). I was confident that my answers to the survey questions would be a no-brainer. Overall, boy, was I surprised, especially when it came to the diet section.
The survey listed every kind of fruit and vegetable and asked the respondent to indicate frequency of consumption. I thought I was a good fruit and vegetable eater, but there are some foods that I don’t eat that often for various reasons. So my consumption of kale, which I tend to eat frequently in the summer, but not as much in the winter, actually results in a low monthly average consumption overall. Likewise, cantaloupes and other melons are eaten only seasonally, so their consumption average was low. Continue Reading »