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Adding nutrition to frozen pizza

Published: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 1:15 a.m. CST

We all try our best to plan meals in advance, have all our ingredients on hand, and pre-prep for meals when possible. There are times, however, when life gets in the way, and your backup dinner plan is put on the table.

For many of us, the frozen pizza is the backup plan. In just minutes, you can turn an easy, but not-so-delicious or -nutritious pizza into a pizza that will appeal to all your senses and boost your nutrient intake, as well.

When looking at your frozen pizza, think about ways you can add more taste and color. All types of frozen pizza can benefit from the addition of fresh or leftover cooked vegetables.

The following vegetables may be added as toppings: tomatoes, red and green bell peppers, mushrooms, spinach, kale, red onion, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, and shredded carrots. Add some pineapple for a flavor change!

For additional lean protein, try Canadian bacon, turkey pepperoni or sausage, or soy crumbles (All of these are high in sodium, so be careful of the amount you add). Leftover grilled chicken and shrimp make for great lean protein toppings. Don’t forget extra spices such as fresh garlic and basil.

Instead of frozen, make your own pizza at home, which is fun for everyone and allows you to have more control over sodium and fat content. Start with a whole wheat pizza crust, flatbread or tortilla. Add a sauce of some sort, such as pizza or barbeque sauce, pesto or a brush of olive oil. Top with veggies, lean protein items and your cheese of choice. It’s ready to cook!

The following recipe is a spin-off of homemade pizza and makes a great quick appetizer or snack item to enjoy when watching the NCAA Tournament.

Pizza Monkey Bread

Makes 12 servings

½ pound Italian turkey sausage

1 can (13.8 oz.) refrigerated pizza crust (or homemade crust)

1½ cups 2 percent shredded Italian three cheese blend

½ cup pizza sauce

Extra vegetables

½ tsp. garlic powder

2 Tbsp. grated parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Brown sausage; drain. Unroll pizza dough onto lightly floured surface; roll into 14x12-inch rectangle. Top with shredded cheese and sausage and any extra vegetables. Mix pizza sauce and garlic powder; drizzle over sausage. Roll up, starting at one long side; cut into 16 pinwheels. Place cut sides down, in 8-inch square pan sprayed with cooking spray; sprinkle with parmesan. Bake 25 minutes or until golden brown. 

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