A taste of Italy at home

Cathi Litzenberger said pizza made at home is tasty and economical

Not too long ago I picked up an amazing bargain on a medium-size deluxe frozen pizza, the perfect thing to have on hand for those rushed hockey game nights, or so I thought. I mean, when do you see a pizza for $3.39?

The picture on the box looked really good. Well, the day came to cook my pizza. I opened the box, took a look, immediately checked the box, looked again. This surely is the wrong pizza! But wait; there were rounds of pepperoni, 10 in fact (the box displayed 20, and yes I did count them) bunched well inside the two-and-a-half-inch-thick barren looking crust. Then I spied three pieces of pepper, oh, and then two pieces of onion, and wait, could that be a piece of mushroom? Hmm, I guess it was a deluxe pizza after all. Whatever sauce there was had to be hidden somewhere in the middle of the thing under a couple of teaspoons of white cheese and the said toppings. I felt ripped off! But then, what did I expect for three bucks? Still, it’s not fair to trick people, especially those who might be on tight budgets.

My solution is to make your own pizza; it’s inexpensive and far healthier than purchasing a cheap bargain. Today I also have a delicious dessert that the kids will love. It’s a quick and easy recipe for frozen fruit yogurt. Both are well suited to be served at one meal.

Low-fat Pizza With Turkey Sausage and Sweet Peppers

1 prepared pizza crust (recipe below)

1 cup prepared pizza sauce

3 links sweet Italian turkey sausage (I like spicy)

1 yellow sweet pepper, sliced into rings

1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms

2 cups shredded fat free mozzarella cheese

Optional topping additions:

Sweet red onion, chopped

Sliced black olives,

Chopped spinach,

chopped  tomato

Heat oven to 425 F. Prepare your pizza crust (pre-bake on a greased pan for 10 minutes if freezing for a later time).

Sauté the turkey sausage links in skillet until done. Cool briefly and dice into chunks. Spread pizza sauce over crust, top with sausage chunks, sliced pepper rings, mushrooms (extra toppings as desired) and mozzarella.

Bake for an additional 10-12 minutes or until cheese is melted and lightly browned.

Quick and Easy Pizza Dough

2 cups flour

1 tablespoon yeast

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

2/3 cup lukewarm water (plus an additional 2 tbsp.)

Mix 1 cup of flour with all other ingredients.  Gradually add second cup of flour until it forms a ball. Use your hands to form and knead the dough.  Let the dough rest 10-15 minutes in a bowl covered with a dish towel or plastic wrap to keep it warm.

Spread out onto greased pizza pan and top with your favourite toppings. Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 15 minutes. Enjoy!

Instant Frozen Fruit Yogurt Dessert

1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1-16-ounce package unsweetened frozen peaches*, or blueberries, or strawberries, or raspberries (about 2 cups) or a mixture of frozen fruit of your choice.

1/2 cup sugar, preferably superfine

Stir together yogurt and vanilla in a measuring cup.

Combine frozen fruit and sugar in a food processor; pulse until finely chopped. With the machine running, gradually pour yogurt mixture through the feed tube. Process until smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice. Scoop frozen yogurt into chilled dessert dishes.

Will make six 1/2 cup servings.

Tips and Notes: To make ahead: cover and freeze for up to 4 days. Let soften in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes before serving.

*If using peaches, 1-2 tbsp. of peach schnapps to enhance the flavour.

Cathi Litzenberger is The Morning Star’s longtime food columnist, appearing every Wednesday and one Sunday per month.