What do you make when you have mushrooms, onions, bell peppers, ham, homemade tomato sauce and plenty of Mozzarella? And your favorite bakery is selling pre-made pizza dough? Make pizza of course!
Sharing our Adventure in Pizza Grilling!
Note: I received the gift of a cheese subscription from Dairy Max, as part of their Quarantine Cooking project. The recipe and opinions here are my own!
Let me backspace a bit. We order country French loaves from our local bakery weekly. (Yes, the real white kind–no whole grains whatsoever! But my husband is French–what can I say?) We’d seen that you could order pizza dough but we were a littly iffy about ordering, until our back neighbor told us that the dough was excellent!
So next, we order the pizza dough and try to remember our pizza skills. Not having made pizza in a while, we were a bit nervous. I remembered we had a pizza stone tucked away in our pantry, which we dusted off. (In reality, we had to wash the dust off–it had been that long!) Hubby was going to use the oven, to which I quickly argued against. Hello…it’s 109 degrees outside!!!Tired of #quarantinecooking? #TooHot to #cook inside? Try our #grilled #Pizza! It's #healthier than you think! #QuarantineKitchen @dairyMAX #DairyAmazing #Ad Click To Tweet
So without looking at any instructions on how to use a pizza stone on the grill, we laid out the dough, added the homemade sauce, with all the veggies, we had sauteed, followed by Mozzarella cheese from The Mozzarella Company in Dallas–almost local! (The cheese was a gift from DairyMax.)
We put the grill on medium high. It was only then I started looking up instructions for using a pizza stone on the grill. (Ever feel like you are doing things a bit backwards?)
The first blog post I read (which it turns out was selling a grill-safe pizza stone) was basically telling why you shouldn’t use a Pampered Chef pizza stone on the barbecue. You guessed it! Ours is Pampered Chef! With the dough and all the yummy ingredients on the stone, there was no turning back, so we put the stone on the grill once it was hot (about 550 degrees hot)! And crossed our fingers.
You need to know that at this point, we were just waiting for the stone to explode or crack and all of that yummy cheese to be fire-branded. Much to our surprise, it didn’t! The pizza stone came out unscathed except for a bit of black around the edges. Cooking times vary per grill, crust thickness and temperature. Most recipes recommend cooking 3-5 minutes, and checking, then keeping watch to make sure the crust doesn’t burn! Another technique involves heating the stone on the grill first, then adding all the prepped ingredients. Consult the instructions for your pizza stone.
And the pizza? Let’s put it this way. This will not be the last pizza we grill!! When you’re sick of eating the same old stuff, homemade pizza is a fun family experience, and is pretty yummy too! In our case, it was also pretty healthy.
Let’s Talk Nutrition
Your teenage son or daughter (or husband) may have tried to convince you that pizza does indeed contain all 5 food groups. and it actually does! Let’s break it down:
- The crust provides carbs, which are the foundation of a healthy diet. The trick is getting just the “right” amount of carbs! In other words, you shouldn’t eat this whole pizza! Two to three slices should satisfy.
- If you’ve ever made homemade tomato sauce, you know that it takes a lot of tomatoes and it reduces by at least half, due to evaporation. We made a rough estimate that the sauce we put on this pizza was comprised of 12-15 tomatoes. We ate the pizza in 3 sittings, so each time we ate it, we each ate the equivalent of two tomatoes! (Because tomatoes are technically a fruit, this pizza has both fruits and veggies!)
- But what’s that you say? The tomatoes are cooked so isn’t their nutrient content reduced? Yes, but it’s also concentrated! Let me explain. Water soluble vitamins like vitamin C are more sensitive to light and heat so yes, those are reduced with cooking. On the other hand, fat-soluble vitamins like beta carotene become more concentrated with cooking and lycopene, a phytochemical that is important for male fertility, is more bioactive in cooked foods.
- Cheese…is yummy and can be eaten by those who are lactose intolerant too. Each serving of our pizza (1/6 of pizza), we each ate about 1/2 cup of shredded cheese providing about 15 grams of protein (equal to that in two eggs) and 42% of our calcium for the day, as well as magnesium –also important for strong bones.
Yes, Pizza CAN be Healthy!
- Veggies…provide vitamins we can list and quantify, but more importantly, vegetables (and fruits) contain hundreds of phytochemicals, some that probably haven’t been discovered yet.
- Onions and garlic and others in the allium family contains organosulfur compounds and other phytonutrients thought to be antiviral, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. They also contain pre-biotics, which are good for gut health. Foods in the allium family are also thought to help lower cholesterol, thus decreasing the risk of heart disease.
- Bell peppers are rich in carotenoids like beta carotene as well as vitamin C.
- Mushrooms contain beta glucan, a type of fiber thought to lower cholesterol, as well as the antioxidants ergothioneine and glutathione, which are thought to decrease signs of aging and reduce your risk of neurological diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. If you buy mushrooms labeled “UVB” of “contains Vitamin D”, you’ll also adding an excellent source of vitamin D to your menu! Mushrooms contain a natural “umami” flavor, meaning they give that savory taste to foods without adding salt!