Pre-fab frozen pizza pockets have long been a guilty pleasure for anyone looking for a quick pizza fix. Now you can shelve those boxes with a lengthy ingredient list of whatchamacallits in favour of stocking your freezer with these healthier hand-held pizza bombs that will appeal to all generations of a household.
Tortillas are a hack that streamlines the production and lets you save on doughy calories. Simply reheat and eat, or go upscale and serve pizza bundles on a plate draped in more warm tomato sauce, grated Parmesan, and sliced fresh basil. Or serve with dips such as guacamole, sour cream, or salsa.
Look for jarred marinara sauces with no added sugars in their ingredient list and that are lower in sodium. Or for fresher flavour, rustle up your own red sauce for all your pizza and pasta needs.
Simply place 2 lbs (1 kg) Roma (plum) tomatoes, 4 minced garlic cloves, 3 Tbsp (45 mL) balsamic vinegar, 2 Tbsp (30 mL) fresh thyme, 1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt, 1/2 tsp (2 mL) red chili flakes, and 1/4 tsp (1 mL) black pepper in blender, and blend until smooth. Pour mixture into medium saucepan and stir in 3 Tbsp (45 mL) olive oil. Bring tomato mixture to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and maintain a strong simmer until slightly thickened, about 30 minutes.
In large pot, place chicken and add enough water to completely cover by at least 1 in (2.5 cm). Bring water to a very slight simmer with just a few bubbles breaking the surface. Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover, and poach chicken for 15 minutes, or until meat is cooked through. Adjust heat as needed during cooking to maintain the slight simmer (you donu2019t want to boil the meat) and skim off any foam that forms. Remove chicken from water and, when cool enough to handle, thinly slice.
In skillet over medium, heat 2 tsp (10 mL) oil. Add mushrooms and heat until softened.
Preheat oven to 400 F (200 C).
To assemble each pocket, spread about 3 Tbsp (45 mL) marinara sauce on a tortilla. Place 1 cup (250 mL) spinach, 1/6 of the mushrooms, 1/6 of sliced chicken, and 1/4 cup (60 mL) cheese on bottom third of tortilla. Roll up tortilla like a burrito: fold sides in, then fold bottom up and over ingredients, and roll up tightly, continuing to tuck in sides as you roll. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Place each wrapped hot pocket, seam-side down, in large baking pan. Brush tops with 1 tsp (5 mL) oil and sprinkle on oregano.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until tops are browned and turning crispy. Let cool for a few minutes before serving.
To freeze pizza pockets for future meals, let them cool down to room temperature on metal rack and then wrap tightly for storage in freezer. Frozen pockets can be reheated in the microwave, but for crustier results, heat in 400 F (200 C) oven for 15 minutes or heat in microwave for 3 minutes and then run under the broiler for about a minute.
This recipe is part of the Scratch Batch collection.
These whimsical weeknight quesadillas offer a great excuse to break out the long-forgotten waffle iron. The smoky, tangy pepper sauce is the perfect sidekick for this dish, but it’s also wonderful when tossed with pasta, stuffed into sandwiches, and slathered on burgers. TIP : When assembling quesadillas, keep fillings centred 1/2 in (1.25 cm) from the edge of the tortilla so they don’t spill over. TIP : Chipotle chiles are dried, smoked jalapenos. Adobo is a slightly sweet red sauce. Put them together in a can and they become a versatile pantry staple to add deep smoky heat to sauces, dips, marinades, and soups. No waffle iron? Then make these quesadillas using this skillet method. Place 1 tortilla in skillet, preferably cast iron, and cook over medium heat until dark spots appear and bottom is crispy, about 1 1/2 minutes. Turn over and cook until crispy and darkened on the other side. Remove tortilla from skillet and replace with another tortilla. Cook until darkened and crispy on one side, flip, and top with stuffing ingredients. Place crispy tortilla on top, press down gently, cover pan, and cook for 1 minute, or until cheese has melted.
This Mexican-Mediterranean hybrid dish gleans its tempered kick from parched ancho chilies, the dried form of poblano peppers known for their smoky quality and sweet to moderate heat. It’s a fantastic saucy, and comforting, appetizer or meal on its own. Serve with crusty bread to sop up every last bit of the red sauce, or spoon over cooked grain. Chili choices Experiment with different dried Mexican chili peppers in your dishes. Instead of ancho, other options, each with different heat levels and flavour nuances, include pasilla, guajillo, or morita. Look for them in Latin markets and some supermarkets. For leftover lovers Because the flavours in this dish only deepen with resting time, it’s a definite candidate for serving as leftovers; simply reheat in the oven or microwave. Cheezy choices If possible, compare labels and look for lower-sodium feta options. A ball of fresh mozzarella or bocconcini are great alternatives, or try a block of medium-firm tofu and substitute agave syrup in place of the honey for a vegan-friendly dish.
A good option for both backyard barbecues and healthy snacking, this creamy dip benefits from a little spicy crunch, courtesy of quick-pickled peppers. If you want your dip to have a smoky edge, blend in a chipotle-flavoured salsa. Or forgo the salsa and, instead, blend in a couple tablespoons of tomato paste and a single canned chipotle chili pepper. Extras of the pickled peppers are an exciting topping for burgers, sandwiches, and tacos. TIP : When using prepared chili pepper products such as bottled salsas, examine the ingredient list for items you really don’t want or need, namely sugar and high amounts of sodium.
Treat yourself to a steak dinner, using tofu instead of meat. The tangy chili-spiked marinade does double-duty as a finishing sauce and transforms otherwise bland tofu into a dish that’ll sound your taste buds’ fire alarm. Bird’s eye pepper would be a good substitute for habanero if needed. Dousing the fire If you find yourself with a mouth on fire after taking a bite of a chili-infused dish, don’t try to douse it with water. Instead, reach for a glass of milk. The protein casein in dairy is known to help subdue the flame. Water won’t help nearly as much.