DIY Pizza

D.I.Y. Pizza

2 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
1/2 tbsp sugar or honey
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp instant yeast
1 tbsp olive oil
3/4 cup room-temp water

Make It: [1] Stir together all ingredients in a large bowl to form dough. [2] With damp hands, work dough into a coarse ball. Let rest 5 minutes; divide dough in half, form into smaller balls, and rub each with olive oil. [3] Place each ball into a ziplock bag. Let sit for 15 minutes, then toss 'em into the fridge.
Shape It: [1] Remove dough from fridge 2 hours before you plan to roll it out. [2] Dust hands with flour. [3] Stretch dough by hand into a pizza shape, or flatten it with a rolling pin.
Bake It: [1] Dust an inverted metal cookie sheet with flour; place shaped dough on top. [2] Add toppings. [3] Bake for 10 minutes at 500 degrees or until the crust is crisp.

Spaghetti sauce works fine on pizza in a pinch, but if you want authentic Italian taste, try this easy-to-make option instead.

1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp dried basil or 2 tbsp minced fresh basil
1 tsp dried oregano or 1 tbsp minced fresh oregano
1 tbsp granulated garlic powder or 5 cloves fresh garlic, minced or pressed
2 tbsp red-wine vinegar or fresh lemon juice
1 tsp salt

To Make: [1] Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl, mashing tomato pieces as small as possible while you stir. [2] Apply sauce to pizza as needed. [3] Store unused sauce in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Makes 4 cups.

But Can it be good for you?
Pizza may often be classified as junk food, but it doesn't have to be. The basic ingredients of pizza all have healthy potential. It's only when you go overboard on toppings or the amount you eat that pizza earns its bad rap. To keep a pizza lean, all you've got to do is keep it simple:

Order the whole-grain crust.
Whole grains are high in fiber, which helps you feel fuller-and thereby limits or prevents overeating. It also keeps your digestive system running smoothly and may reduce your risk of stroke, heart disease, and type-2 diabetes. Opt for a thin crust, as well-even if it's made with whole grains, a thicker crust boosts your slice's total calorie count.

Load up on sauce.
Known for its ability to reduce the risk of prostate cancer, tomato sauce is also an excellent source of vitamin C. Ask for extra sauce on your pizza, or even some on the side to dip your crust into.

Don't OD on cheese. Yes, cheese is all kinds of creamy goodness, and we'd never tell you to eat your pizza without it. However, that doesn't mean it's OK to order a pizza with cheese stuffed into every possible nook and cranny. Stick with a single layer of cheese on top of the pizza, though, and it can actually be good for you. That's because getting a bit of extra calcium every day may actually help keep you lean. According to a study in the journal Obesity Research, men and women who cut calories but added dairy foods high in calcium to their diet lost 70% more weight over 24 months than people who only dieted.

Order smarter toppings.
Pepperoni may be the most popular pick, but it's certainly not the healthiest. If you're craving meat, try turkey pepperoni or Canadian bacon. Or, for an even better option, have your meat of choice added to the top of a veggie pizza. Realistically, you won't be getting a ton of vegetables on top of two slices, but every little bit helps, and it's certainly a wiser alternative to sausage and extra cheese.

Always get a side.
Before you dig into any pizza, dive into a side salad full of as many colors as you can cram into the bowl: dark, leafy greens such as spinach; red, yellow, or orange peppers; yellow chickpeas. Top it with a lean dressing, and you've got a dish that will not only boost the nutritional value of any meal but also help you feel fuller-meaning you may just be able to resist that extra slice.

Throw on an Apron
Whether you're just bored with Pizza Hut or Domino's or are looking for a leaner, more guilt-free option, you may want to consider making your own pie. It's easier than it sounds...

Plan ahead.
Make the dough the day before you need it. (For an easy recipe, see "D.I.Y." on page 103.) Or buy a ball of premade dough from a local shop.

Turn up the heat.
Crank your oven as high as it will go. It won't come close to the 800 degrees of a commercial pizza oven, but maxing out your oven's temp will maximize your crust's crunchiness.

Use a pizza stone.
Pizzerias bake their pies directly on the oven rack, but for home ovens, a pizza stone is the best way to let heat radiate into the dough. You can get one starting around $10.


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