Healthy Pizza with a Cauliflower Crust

A couple of weeks ago I saw a great recipe posted on Twitter. This was a healthy alternative to pizza which used cauliflower as a primary ingredient in the base.

To be quite honest, I was a little unsure about using cauliflower to make an entire pizza crust, but trust me when I say this – it is pretty amazing, and I will definitely be making it again!
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This recipe is easy to follow and shows pizza can be healthy, and still deliciously good. The crust already has cheese so you don’t really need much more on top.

Also pays keep in mind that the cauliflower crust isn’t quite as hearty as most regular pizza dough so you don’t want to weigh it down with a lot of ingredients.

Healthy Pizza with a Cauliflower Crust
Serves 8

For the crust:

  • 1/2 head cauliflower (about 2 cups)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup parmesan (an alternative can be mozzarella)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400° F. Grease and line a baking tray.
  2. Remove the stems and leaves from your cauliflower and chop the florets into chunks. Add to a food processor and pulse just until the texture is similar to rice. If you don’t have a food processor, you can grate the cauliflower with a cheese grater or chop it.
  3. Place cauliflower in an uncovered microwave-safe bowl and cook for 8 minutes. In a bowl combine the cooked cauliflower with all remaining ingredients.
  4. Spread dough out evenly over the baking paper. The pizza should be about 9-10 inches in diameter.
  5. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the crust is golden, crispy on the edges and cooked through the middle.
  6. Remove the crust from the oven.
  7. Top with pizza sauce and toppings. You can top the pizza with whatever you like desire. Keep is simple. Be careful not to add too many heavy toppings as you don’t want to weigh down the crust.
  8. Bake the pizza for 5 minutes, or until the toppings are hot and the cheese is melted. Allow the pizza to cool for 2-3 minutes then cut and serve immediately.

Tip: I found the pizza only lasted 1-2 days in the fridge, so it is best eaten in one go!

 

Homemade Hamburgers

Every now and then I go over to the Healthy Food Guide and grab a recipe for dinner. They have hundred of recipes that are healthy, low-cost (using few ingredients) and easy!

As a kiwi, I enjoy an outdoor barbecue every now and then! And like most, I also enjoy creating a homemade hamburger! Seems awfully simple and not entire worthy of a blog post, but helpful none the less.

Homemade Hamburgers
Serves 6

  • 500 grams beef mince
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garlic or onion salt (I used regular cooking salt)
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats

Place the beef mince, carrot, onion, salt and rolled oats into a bowl. Mix with clean hands and divide into 6 lots. Press each lot into a saucer to make a patty, or shape patty with your hands. At this stage place all 6 patties on a plate and pre-cook in the microwave for around 5 minutes. This really speeds up the cooking process!

Now if you’ve got yourself a beautiful sunny evening, you can use the BBQ to cook these. I didn’t so I sprayed a frying pan. Put patties in and fry, turning, until cooked. Remember to turn down the heat if you find they are cooking too fast.

Split buns in half. Grill until golden. Spread with tomato sauce. To put hamburgers together, place cooked meat patty on top of sauce, then tomato slices on top, then lettuce and other salad ingredients of your choice! Put lid on top and serve. Yummy.

Warm Roast Pumpkin Salad with Feta

I’m a real salad person. I can order a bowl at a cafe or restaurant and be completely content. It is just so refreshing and tasty. Sometimes there is nothing quite like a roast vege salad. Infact it is one of my favourite things to have as a light, quick meal or a really delicious lunch for work. Salads are so easy to throw together and best of all, there are no rules! Choose whatever you like and throw it together. You’ll have yourself a delicious salad in no time!

I usually use a mix of pumpkin and kumara (sometimes potato) as a base and then the world’s my oyster. Tomato? Cheese? DIY dressing? Sure, why not!

This salad is really tasty so make sure you bookmark it! Roasted veges are so heavenly so feel free to play with this recipe and use whatever veges or ingredients you have on hand!

Warm Roast Pumpkin Salad with Feta
Serves 2

  • 1/2 a pumpkin, chopped into cubes
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp cooking salt
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 spring onion
  • 40 grams creamy feta
  • 25 grams sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp light sour cream
  • 1 tbsp hummus (of your choice)
Mix the chopped pumpkin with a splash of balsamic vinegar and a tsp of salt. Place the mixture on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Bake on 200 degrees for about 20-30 minutes.
Remove the pumpkin and place in a large glass bowl to cool down slightly. Chop up some spinach and place in the bowl. Add spring onion, feta and sun-dried tomatoes.
For a quick dressing, mix together 1 tbsp of hummus (I used a spinach and feta one but anything goes!) with some light sour cream. Add a small splash of balsamic vinegar and mix until combined. Add to the bowl and toss salad until lightly coated in the dressing! This salad is best eaten straight away, or refridgerate immediately for lunch!
Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a warmed slice of ciabatta bread.

Beef and Vegetable Pie

I came across a food magazine the other night at the supermarket that I hadn’t seen before. It is published here in New Zealand and is called Recipes+. The April issue contains at least 300 recipes which are no-fuss and extremely budget friendly.

Every recipe in the magazine is easy, and delicious! I was particularly impressed to see it also had plenty of recipes that were gluten-free and vegetarian. Best of all, it contained an excellent index! There isn’t anything worse than seeing a recipe and having to flick through to find it again a couple of months later!

I have a few meals that I am going to try this week. So if you’re looking for a delicious, filling weeknight meal which is inexpensive and low in fat, look no further.

Beef and Vegetable Pie

  • 500 grams beef mince
  • 1 brown onion, chopped
  • 500 grams vegetables, chopped (I used broccoli, carrots, potato, and zucchini)
  • 1/3 cup brown onion gravy powder
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Grease a 20 cm square ovenproof dish. Heat oil in in a saucepan over a high heat. Add mince and onion. Cook stirring to break up any lumps in the mince, for 5 minutes or until browned.

Add chopped vegetables, gravy powder and a 1/2 cup of water. Cook and stir for approximately 3 minutes or until the sauce is nice and thick!

Transfer mince mixture to prepared dish. Place a pastry sheet over the mince mixture to cover. Roll the overhanging pastry inwards to form a border around the edge of the dish. Score the top of the pastry with a small sharp knife. Brush with extra milk.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until browned.

This pie is perfect to eat around this time of the year when the nights are cooler and all you want is a nice, hot meal when you get home. On a sweet note, the April issue also includes a picture of a pretty amazing looking White Chocolate Mud Cake – something else I might have to try! Drool.

Sultana and Bran Loaf

There is not a lot one can say about loaf. Nothing riveting anyhow.

Every now and then I decide to make something to put in my lunch to take to work. Mainly because I often get a case of the 3 o’clock munchies (come on, you all get it too). I like to have something with me so I don’t waste money on something unhealthy or ridiculously overpriced.

Batches of muffins often do the trick but this time I settled on a loaf. I haven’t had a slice of loaf in a while and it is so easy to make, and more importantly only uses one bowl!

I’m really not sure who to credit for this recipe (possibly Alison Holst) as I quickly copied it down from one of Mum’s recipe books. It truly is quite delicious! What’s more you don’t need any eggs or butter, and the loaf is still moist.

Although I only used 1 cup of sultanas, a second cup of chopped dates and other finely chopped dried fruit such as dried apricots would work really well.

Bake this in a loaf tin which holds 5-6 cups.

Sultana and Bran Loaf

  • 2 cups bran
  • 2 cups sultanas
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 2 cups of trim milk
  • 2 cups self-raising flour (or 2 cups flour & 2 tsp baking powder)
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp mixed spice

Preheat the oven to 150 degrees. Spray a loaf tin and line with non-stick baking paper. Mix all the dry ingredients together and scrape into a tin.

Bake for 90 minutes or until a skewer in the centre comes out clean. Cool completely before wrapping in cling film and refrigerating. Leave overnight before cutting with a sharp serrated knife. I find this loaf is best eaten in 8 – 10 days.



Banana Muffins

Muffins, muffins, what to write about muffins?

I personally think muffins are completely underrated. Or should I say, homemade muffins are completely underrated. My opinion of muffins is often tainted by the cafe or supermarket type – often too dry, too dense, too sweet…….I could go on. They really make you forget how incredibly moist and delicious a fresh, baked-from-scratch muffin can be.

A muffin recipe would have to be one of the easiest recipes to follow. So easy and often with very few ingredients, you can have these in the oven in 10 minutes flat. The greatest thing about this recipe is that the *best* banana aroma fills your house as they bake…

Banana Muffins

  • 1 1/2 cups self raising flour
  • 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 ripe bananas

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Spray 12 cup muffin tray with cooking spray.
Sift flour into a bowl then add sugar, oil and milk. Mix well but do not beat. Add mashed bananas and fold through mixture. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake for 15-20 mins until golden.

Rolled Oat and Sultana Square

Well, this *thing* has many names in my family but it sits in Mum’s recipe book under “Crunch”….why? I do not know. For the benefit of the reader I have renamed this *thing* to ‘Rolled Oat and Sultana Square’. This is literally an Anzac Biscuit in a slice. Yum!

This thing has been around. It was the slice that filled our school lunchboxes for many years and the slice that traveled throughout New Zealand as we went to our regular camping spots as kids, baking in the heat of the caravan during summer or taken to the beach only to end up a little bit crunchier… This slice even turned up to our netball and hockey games. A lot of my blog posts stir up memories of years past but if I was to really remember one baked item from my childhood, it would be this one.

This recipe is very tasty, easy to cook and perfect for the school (or errr, work?) lunch box!

Rolled Oat and Sultana Square

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup flour
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 cup coconut
  • ¾  cup raisins
  • 150 g butter
  • 2 tablespoons golden syrup
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Put the rolled oats, flour, sugar, coconut, and raisins into a large bowl. Melt the butter and golden syrup together. Add the baking soda and stir.

Pour into the try ingredients and mix until well combined. This will create quite a moist mixture. Press into a sponge roll tin. Bake at 180 degrees for about 25 minutes.

Do you like Frittata?

If you do, try this easy Spinach and Leek Baked Frittata.

A frittata is mostly like an omelette except without the fuss of that folding over thingee that you do with omelets. The thingee that in 25 years….I haven’t quite mastered…which is kind of why I prefer frittata. I guess a frittata is almost a cross between a quiche (a family staple I grew up on!) and an omelette. You sort of get the best of both worlds, except healthier. Bonus.

It’s flat and usually thicker than an omelette, with a lot more stuff in it. Making a frittata is a good way to use up those odds and ends of vegetables and cheese that might otherwise get thrown away. Spinach? Leek? Courgette? Mushrooms? Feta? You name it..a frittata can be whatever you want it to be!

I’ve always been a big fan of eggs in all their forms, scrambled, boiled (with soldiers of course) and especially poached. In fact I make an egg-related dish pretty much once a week. It is such a fast weeknight meal and you can usually make it with ingredients that you already have in the fridge! Total money saver right there.

The following recipe is very basic but totally reliable. It is wonderfully delicious AND super simple. Double win.

Spinach and Leek Baked Frittata

You can serve this frittata warm or cold with roasted tomatoes or a leafy salad. It’s also a great finger food, cut into small squares.

  • 250 grams baby spinach leaves
  • 1 whole leek, thinly sliced
  • 6 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons cornflour
  • 100 ml skim milk
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 180°C. Spray a 20cm square non-stick cake tin with oil. Line base with baking paper. Cook spinach in boiling water for 30 seconds, or until just wilted. Drain and squeeze out any excess water. Allow to cool, then roughly chop.

Cook leek for 3 minutes in same cooking water. Drain and allow to dry. Scatter spinach and leek into bottom of tin.

Beat eggs with cornflour and milk. Season well with salt and pepper. Pour this mixture over vegetables, pressing down with back of a fork. Scatter over cheese and bake for 20 minutes, or until risen and golden brown.

Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes, then turn out. Serve warm, cut into wedges with a green salad. Any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 1-2 days.

Healthy Beef and Lentil Lasagna

Homemade Lasagna is just so tasty. Beef and Lentil Lasagna even more so. The combination of beef mince and lentils provides a nutritious, cheap and healthy substitute for the usual beef mince filling. Lentils are high in protein but low in fat and are also one of the best vegetable sources of iron.

Pasta would have to be in my top five favourite meals. It is filling, super tasty and damn, can you experiment with it or what! I grew up on Lasagne, Alison Holst’s popular Lazy Lasagna to be exact (one of the easiest recipes ever – definitely try it if you haven’t already!).

This recipe actually contains half the fat and calories of regular lasagne but still tastes amazing. I often make this dish because it freezes so well and if you are short of time, you can also make in advance and let the flavours develop a bit more.

Although you can use dried pasta, from experience fresh pasta sheets work much better!

Beef and Lentil Lasagne
 
  • 500 grams minced beef
  • 550 gram tomato-based pasta sauce
  • 400 gram can of crushed tomatoes, with herbs
  • 220 gram can of brown lentils
  • 1 1/2 cups of trim milk
  • 1 tbsp of cornflour
  • 1 tbsp of mustard
  • 4 individual fresh lasagne sheets
  • 1/2 a cup of grated parmesan cheese
 
Preheat oven to 180°C or 160°C fan-forced. Lightly spray a 24cm x 20cm (2L/8-cup capacity) ovenproof dish with oil.
 
Lightly spray a large non-stick frying pan with oil and heat over high heat. Add mince and cook, breaking up any lumps with a wooden spoon, for 3–5 minutes or until browned. Add the pasta sauce and tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes or until thickened. Stir in lentils.
 
Meanwhile, blend ¼ cup (60ml) of the milk with cornflour in a bowl. Bring remaining milk to the boil in a small saucepan. Stir in cornflour mixture. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes until sauce boils and thickens. Add mustard. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
 
Place 1 lasagne sheet in the base of the prepared dish and trim to fit. Top with one-third of the beef mixture. Repeat layering with remaining lasagne sheets and beef mixture, finishing with a lasagne sheet. Spread the white sauce over the lasagne and sprinkle with parmesan.
 
Bake for 30–35 minutes or until pasta is tender and top is golden. This healthy beef and lentil lasagna is great on a cold winter night, served piping hot from the oven alongside a crisp green salad and crusty bread. I highly recommend!
 

Crunchy Caramel Cookies

Well, I’m lost for words. I can’t really think what to write about this recipe for Caramel Oat Biscuits. They simply could not be easier to make let alone pretty super duper healthy. A good idea of something to make after that pre-Christmas binge that goes on with junk food and other sweet treats!

The recipe makes about 50 small biscuits or about 20-ish regular sized ones. Something I like about them is that they’re not overly sweet! Made from a combination of plain and wholemeal flour…one small biscuit certainly fills that hunger gap. They follow a slightly different process (quite American I believe!) which actually makes it really easy to make in smaller batches, if needed. Definitely recommend!

These biscuits can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Try adding a little ground cinnamon to the biscuit dough if you like a bit of spice. I was thinking after these had been cooked, adding a few currants, raisins or sultanas…any dried fruit for that matter, would be a really nice addition! Enjoy.

Crunchy Caramel Cookies

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 cup wholemeal flour
  • 1/2 a teaspoon baking soda
  • 76 grams of butter

Preheat oven to 200°C. Set aside 2 non-stick baking trays. In a large bowl, cream together butter, sugar, egg and vanilla using an electric mixer. Add remaining ingredients and beat thoroughly. You may need to add 1-2 tbs iced water if mixture is too dry.

Scrape dough out of bowl and onto a large piece of plastic. Roll dough into a log, approximately 4cm wide. Completely wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate until firm, for at least 60 minutes, or overnight.

Cut dough into 3mm thin slices and arrange on baking trays well apart. Bake for approximately 10 minutes, or until lightly browned around edges and biscuits are firm to the touch.

Allow cookies to cool on trays then remove using a spatula to a cake rack to cool completely.