Because I love to eat, my key to sticking to a weight loss plan is that the food still has to taste really good and I need lots of variety. Plans that are extreme; like no/low-carb, no-sugar, no salt, no alcohol, no coffee, no meat, no fat, no....well you get the picture, make me a little crazy and more likely to "cheat". Truth be told, a "cleanse" of any sort makes me positively "postal". I need an "everything in moderation" approach. I can handle moderation. Except when it comes to those wasabi-soy almonds. Apparently those are a deal breaker. If those suckers are present in my house, I will kill a whole container of them in a moment of weakness. Just sayin'.
A few months back, my husband and I decided to eat healthier with the goal of shaving off some pounds. As far as I can remember, this is the first time we have dieted simultaneously, and I have to say that it is much easier when my partner isn't trying to order pizza or suggest that we go out for breakfast while I am trying to watch my intake. It also keeps me accountable when I know that my husband is going to ask, "how many calories is this dinner?" It's been a
That's how I chose this recipe for our dinner. We are a house full of pizza lovers. Since we started counting our calories, when the craving strikes, we have resorted to ordering thin crust pizza with vegetables or grilled chicken and practiced that annoying discipline of portion control; limiting ourselves to a slice or two. Last month, we even made homemade thin crust and went light on the cheese. But sometimes I love a thick, deep-dish, loaded with sausage and boasting all of that great tomato flavor. Which is why this wanna-be pizza recipe graced our table this week.
I won't say that I didn't miss the crust, but at 225 calories per "slice" for this crustless wonder versus 500-600 calories per slice of my favorite carry-out Chicago-style deep dish, I'm a fan. These little sacrifices are paying off. In just a few months of counting calories (gotta love that "there's an app for that" these days!), eating more fruits and veggies, focusing on lean proteins, drinking plenty of water, and making exercise a daily priority, we have shed a collective 50+ pounds! So for now, "modified" pizza works for us. And it was so tasty! All of the flavors are there. Another bonus, this is a quick and easy meal that I was able to throw together pretty quickly after work.
So here's how it came together:
As is my tradition, I gathered the ingredients. We like our pizza "loaded", and so I rounded up turkey sausage and turkey pepperoni, diced tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, banana peppers, and cheese. I also grabbed some olive oil and Italian seasonings.
To get started, I opened a can of diced tomatoes and poured them into a colander to drain while I prepared the other components of this dish.
Then I set about preparing the sausage. I purchased Italian turkey sausage in link form, then removed the casings.
I fired up my cast iron skillet and added a couple teaspoons of olive oil and a sliced onion.
The sausage went on top and I browned up the whole mess, breaking up the sausage as it cooked. You can also sprinkle with Italian seasoning or add garlic/garlic salt at this step.
Once the sausage was nice and brown and the onions were perfectly tender, I added in some sliced mushrooms.
Once the mushrooms cooked down a little, I built the "pizza". First, I topped it with the drained diced tomatoes.
Then, I added some banana peppers and turkey pepperoni.
And finally, the cheese.
Then I popped the whole skillet into a 400 degree oven and baked it for 15-20 minutes until the cheese melted and the edges were bubbling nicely.
Then BOOM! I sliced the "pizza" into 6 pieces and tah-dah....Dinner!
Quick, easy, low-calorie, and delicious!
"Pretend I'm a Deep Dish" Pizza Skillet
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
16-20 oz. Italian turkey sausage, either link or bulk
1 onion, sliced
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
2/3 cup low-moisture, part-skim mozzarella
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drain diced tomatoes, set aside. Heat 1-3 teaspoons of olive oil in an oven-proof skillet. Add onions to the heated skilled. Remove sausage from casings, if needed. Add sausage to skillet and break apart as you brown the mixture. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning and/or add garlic if desired. Add mushrooms to skillet and cook until soft. Top sausage-onion-mushroom mixture with drained diced tomatoes, banana peppers, pepperoni, and cheese. Remove from burner and bake for 10-20 minutes, until cheese is melted and sides are "bubbly". Remove from oven and slice into 6 portions.
1 "slice"= 1 cup of the mixture= 225 calories
If you're looking for a more labor-intensive Chicago-style pizza (with a crust!) check out this "Lightened Up" Chicago Deep Dish Pizza Recipe.
Happy cooking, everyone!