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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Whole Wheat Herb Veggie Pizza's and Some Health Benefits

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 packages (1/4 ounce each) quick-rise yeast
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, basil and parsley

1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm water (should be luke warm to wrist)
2 tablespoons olive oil

1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1-1/2 teaspoons dried basil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 cup chopped zucchini
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1/4 cup each green and sweet red pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil
1-1/4 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

In a large bowl, combine the first five ingredients. Add water and oil; beat until smooth. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes,( I usually turn my oven on to 400 degrees, keeping a covered bowl on the outer top of the stovetop).

In a small saucepan, bring sauce ingredients to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 15-18 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat; set aside.
Punch dough down. Divide in half, roll each portion into a 12-in. circle. Transfer to two greased 12-in. pizza pans. Prick dough with a fork. Bake at 400° for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned.
In a small skillet, saute vegetables in oil until tender. Spread pizzas with sauce, sprinkle with vegetables and cheese. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until cheese is melted and browned. 

In the past it was commonly believed that pizza was not really a healthy food. Part of the reason for this is that it was put in the same group as other fast foods, such as hamburgers and fries. This is a major misconception, as pizza can actually be a highly nutritional meal.
One of the main ingredients of pizza is the tomato, which contains lycopene, a powerful antioxidant. Lycopene is known to help fight many different types of cancer. Studies have shown that people who eat pizza at least once a week were much less likely to develop colon and mouth cancer as well as stomach and lung cancer. It is known to be especially helpful in fighting prostate cancer and lower your chances of developing esophaegeal cancer.
It is the tomato that is the main cancer-fighting ingredient of pizza. Incredibly, studies have also shown that processed tomatoes such as those found in pizza or spaghetti sauce are actually higher in lycopene than fresh tomatoes.Tomato sauce is extremely healthy, and for this reason so is pizza.
Another health benefit of pizza is the dough. In actuality, wheat pizza dough is another ingredient of pizza that is high in antioxidants, and through certain baking techniques the antioxidants in the dough can actually be increased.
Adding even more health benefits to pizza is simple. A vegetable pizza with just a little  low fat cheese is a very healthy food. You get the great taste and health benefits of pizza without all the extra fat and cholesterol normally associated with meats and cheese. If you a meat lover then try your pizza with some grilled chicken to your vegetable pizza. Chicken offers many health benefits that other meats don't, and it tastes great.
With the many health benefits of pizza, it can no longer be viewed in the same light as other fast foods.