Garden, Plant, Cook!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Slow Food Challenge - Meal Version 2

Dear Folks,

Here is the second and final meal I prepared for the Slow Food Healthy Meal Challenge.  As I noted in my first meal post yesterday, I approached this as a homemade option to a "happy meal" to make something appealing to both adults and children.
Additional Note about Melted Cheese Sandwich Meal Version 1. I forgot to note that a great savory option to the apples is to substitute grilled eggplant and peppers for the apple (or keep the apple in) but make sure you use the basil with both.

Toaster Oven Pizza
Spiced Apples

This is a quick fix pizza and the ingredients are limited only to your favorites and imagination.  If you prefer more doughy pizza’s see the notes below.  I’ve been experimenting with this kind of pizza for a while and finally decided on the 2 flour tortilla layer to make it sturdier.

2 10-inch High Fiber/Protein Flour Tortillas
1 large tomato or 2 medium
1 leek
Half large yellow sweet bell pepper
4 oz low moisture mozzarella cheese
3 sprigs fresh basil
1 sprig fresh oregano
1/4 tsp coarse salt
2 tsp olive oil
olive oil spray
1 apple
½ tsp sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Most of the effort in this pizza is chopping the veggies, you can choose to leave them larger.  This sounds like a lot of work but you can saute, chop and toast the pizza in under 30 minutes total time.

Core and dice the tomato.  Rinse and dry the basil and slice into slivers.  Place the tomatoes in a colander over a bowl, sprinkle with 1/4 tsp of coarse salt and sprinkle the basil over. Set aside to drain.

Heat the olive oil in a pan and add the leeks, and about 3 tablespoons of water, saute on medium to low heat for 10 minutes.  Browning is okay, stir occasionally, don’t let burn.

Using an apple core and slice the apple into 8 segments and put in a microwave save bowl.  Mix the cinnamon and sugar together and sprinkle over the apple.  If you want them hot when served do this last, otherwise, cover with a paper towel and microwave for 2 minutes. Set aside.

Dice the bell pepper. Set aside.

Shred the cheese and separate into 4 piles. (You can always use more cheese.)

When the leeks are done cooking after 10 minutes you are ready to assemble the pizza.

Using a Pyrex pie plate, place one tortilla in it, sprinkle with 1/4 of the cheese and place the other tortilla on top.  Spray very lightly with the olive oil spray and spread the tortilla. Sprinkle with another 1/4 of the cheese.  Next, stir the tomatoes with basil and spread on the pizza, top with another 1/4 of the cheese.  Spread the bell pepper and top with last bit of cheese.  You can always add more cheese.

Turn your toaster oven on the highest temperature and “toast” and place the rack at the highest point in the oven.  Put the pie dish in and turn the timer on for 10 minutes.  Watch, that there is no ‘burning’ of the top cheese.   10 minutes is usually sufficient to melt all the cheese, maybe brown slightly and heat all the veggies completely through.

Cut while hot into quarters or eighths.  This is a very high protein/fiber pizza.  I’m going to show 1/4 slices as a meal.  A small child might find an eighth a filling snack/lunch with a glass of milk, an older child or adult will find a quarter slice satisfying with a glass of milk.

Serve with 4 slices of the apple and beverage of choice.

Nutrition and costs Stats
4 lunches for older child or adult
I am showing, again, only the totals for the meals. If you want the detail email me and I will be happy to send it to you.

Total Stats for 1/4 pizza, half of the apples and 1 glass of milk

Total Per Serving    Protein=20.58    Fiber=9.78    Calories=354    Cost per serving    $ 1.46
On hand sugar, cinnamon, fresh basil and oregano, olive oil, olive oil spray and salt.

#1 Choose a tortilla that is high in protein and fiber - I chose La Tortilla Factory- these usually have a combination of grain sources.   IF YOU prefer to have a doughy base, try a pita or focaccia bread halved as the base.  Dr. Humus and Classico Italiano have the pita or focaccia.
#2 Meaty or any heirloom if you can find them (I purchased the leek, tomato and pepper from One Windmill Farms)
#3 The colored vegetables add not only color to the pizza for visual appeal, they also add more antioxidants.
#4 Fresh mozzarella is wonderful, but low moisture is more nutrient dense.
#5 Milk fat level is a matter of preference and need -low fat is just as nutritious.

NOTES: The wonderful thing about this kind of pizza is you can use any toppings you desire.  Deane loved this version, but wondered if a bit of pineapple added would have made it even more delicious.  You can certainly choose to add meats of your choice, like cooked sausage, hamburger, or healthy choices of cured meats like salami or pepperoni.   By alternating the cheese with the layers of vegetables I used less cheese but still got a nice gooey cheese mix in with the layers.  I served the tomato water from the drained tomatoes because it still has a lot of good things in it and is refreshing.  I have not tried cooking this pizza in a frying pan on the stove top, but I’m going to give that a try.  The toaster oven is just so handy and does not heat up the kitchen in the summer, like the main oven.  The down side is that bottom tortilla does not harden up, which is why I’m going to try the next pizza in a covered frying pan.  I chose a pyrex to keep all the ingredients ON the pizza.

In keeping with the “happy meal” concept, I am showing another of Susan Decker’s cute toys.  Available from Susan beginning the end of September or beginning of October at the Mesa Farmers Market. Susan's site is here.  Either of these toys are priced at $1.50 only at the Market.

I hope you enjoy and are able to try these recipes either as I have presented them or make them uniquely your own.

Have a great weekend,

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Slow Food Challenge - Meal Version 1

Dear Folks,

Here is the first of 2 meal versions for Slow Foods Healthy Meal Challenge.  I decided to make "happy meal" versions which I think will be appealing to either adults or children.  I tried for nutrient dense options with a lot of flavor.  Due to time constraints I purchased items from traditional grocers, but you will be able to find many, many of the ingredients or all of them from your local farmers markets.  I chose high quality ingredients, organic when I could so the prices will be in the ball-park when shopping with your local farmers.  I have provided only the totals for the nutrient value and cost.  I would be happy to email the detail to anyone who wants it.  I kept the cost of each meal well under $5 and added a toy option for the children's options.

Yogurt onion dill dippers
Apple Cider

Makes 2 Children’s Lunches (half sandwich) or 1 Adult

2 Multi-Whole Grain Bread slices
2 ounces whole milk, white American cheese slices
8 fresh basil leaves
half of gala apple sliced thin
half cup of yogurt
1 tsp of dried onion
1 tsp of dried dill
pinch of salt
1 carrot cut in sticks
1 celery stalk cut in sticks
Apple Cider

1. Toast bread       
2. Mix yogurt, salt, onion and dill, set aside
3. Layer one slice of bread with cheese, basil, apple and repeat to create 4 layers ending with cheese.  Top with other slice of bread and microwave for 30 seconds to melt cheese.
4. Spoon yogurt dip into glasses and divide the carrot and celery between them.
5. Serve with 8 ounce glass of apple cider (Or substitute with milk)

2 Children’s Meal Stats
Total    Per Child    Protein=11.93g     Fiber=4.25g    Calories=388    Cost            $ 1.73

1 Adult Meal Stats
Total Adult        Protein=21.10g Fiber= 8.2 g    Calories=622        Cost            $ 2.68
On hand:   dried onion and dill, celery, carrots, salt and fresh basil

ADD a toy!  Susan Decker came up with a toy for each of the two meals I’m creating for this challenge.  Susan will have this toy beginning the end of September or beginning of October at the Mesa Farmers Market (Fridays) for $1.50 plus tax.  Susan is only able to offer the toy at that market and not through the mail because the cost would be prohibitive.  She is the most incredibly gifter I have ever met.  Susan's site is here.

NOTES:   Options include choosing a different fruit, bread or cheese.  I used whole milk White American Cheese - low fat versions (I bought Boars Head) will reduce calories by about 40.  The flavor of La Brea multi-grain whole wheat is excellent for people including children who may not like the flavor of whole wheat.  The addition of honey offsets the slight bitterness of the whole wheat and there are a lot of grains in this ‘multi’.  I chose yogurt for the dip to boost the nutrient value over ranch or sour cream.  You can choose to double the cheese and reduce the amount of apple.  Use pear or other fruits in place of apple.  The basil goes well with all fruits, but can be left off if the children are not used to its flavor.

I hope you enjoy this idea for a homemade option to fast food and slow down for a family meal that is enjoyable, tasty and wholesome.

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady