J and I approach food in two completely different ways. It’s almost comical sometimes; the food editor who muses about all things culinary and savors every morsel and the former football player who has spent the last eight years of his life eating for fuel, wolfing down thousands of calories without much of a second thought about the actual taste of his food.
I’m working on him, going to places off his beaten path, encouraging him to slow down and taste what it is he’s eating. But truth be told, sometimes I need a lesson in slowing down and savoring each bite, too; because at the end of a long day, sometimes cooking a meal seems like the world’s most daunting task and a bowl of cereal never looked so good.
This Greek Salad Pizza is here to tell you, and me, that a dinner worth savoring isn’t out of reach. Trust me, I found myself with a bag of pitas and the fixings for Greek salad last week and ate this meal three days in a row. And while pita bread pizzas are hardly anything new or revolutionary, this dish was a fresh reminder of how deliciously easy a ten minute meal can be.
Greek Salad Pizza
*2 small whole pita bread rounds
*4 Tbsp. hummus
*4 Tbsp. roasted tomato pesto or other jarred pesto
*1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
*4 to 6 pepperoncini peppers, thinly sliced
*1/4 cup thinly sliced black olives
*2 cups romaine lettuce, thinly sliced or chopped
*2 to 4 Tbsp. Greek style salad dressing
*Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil; set aside.
*Spread 2 tablespoons hummus on each of the pita breads, followed by 2 tablespoons of the pesto. Top each with a 1/4 cup feta cheese. Evenly divide the pepperoncini peppers and black olives between the two pitas.
*Place in the oven and bake for 7 to 10 minutes, until the pita is crispy and the toppings are heated through.
*Toss the romaine in the Greek style salad dressing. Top each pita with some of the lettuce mixture, or serve along side the pitas.
I spent all summer eating the same thing for breakfast day-in and day-out. This is not an exaggeration in the least bit. Aside from times when I was traveling, and even then sometimes, my breakfast consisted of Greek yogurt, some type of berries, a little cereal, and a dollop of homemade nut butter.
Maybe that’s strange; in fact, it more than likely is. But for me, breakfast is a particular meal. It really does set the tone for my eating choices throughout the rest of the day, and either makes me feel full of energy or dragging my feet. Anyone else with me on that?
But for the last few weeks, I’ve slowly been stepping out of my self-imposed breakfast box, exploring things like Buckwheat-Greek Yogurt Pancakes and this Whole Wheat-Flax Seed Banana Bread. By keeping a serving of fruit in my breakfast, paired with some healthy whole grains, I’ve found that feel-good breakfasts aren’t really as cut and dried as I’ve made them lately. In fact, breakfast is starting to be a whole lot more fun.
So when I spotted banana bread on the cover of Cooking Light magazine this month, I jumped at the opportunity to put my own spin on an already delicious recipe. My only real complaint about the original was that it called for all-purpose flour instead of whole wheat. In its place I used whole wheat pastry flour, which gives you less gluten development and a lighter texture than regular whole wheat flour (aka it’s better for getting all-purpose flour-like results). If you don’t have whole wheat pastry flour on hand, use a 50/50 mix of whole wheat and all-purpose flour.
Whole Wheat-Flax Seed Banana Bread
Adapted from Cooking Light
This recipe calls for baking the banana bread for 55 to 60 minutes. If you prefer your bread to be firm and fully-baked, shoot for 60 minutes. If, however, you are more like me and prefer it to be slightly soft and moist in the center, shoot for something closer to 55 minutes. After eating this for breakfast two days in a row, I can assure you it is even better the second day.
*3 medium ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
*5 Tbsp. butter, melted
*1/3 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt (I used Danon Light and Fit)
*1/2 cup sugar
*1/2 cup brown sugar
*2 large eggs
*1 tsp. ground cinnamon
*3/4 tsp. baking soda
*1/2 tsp. salt
*1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
*1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
*1/4 cup ground flax meal
*Preheat oven 350°F. Grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan. Set aside.
*With an electric mixer, beat together the bananas, butter, yogurt, sugars, and eggs until well combined. Beat in the cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and vanilla extract.
*Add in the flour and flax meal and beat until just combined. Do not over mix. Pour patter into prepared loaf pan. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.
*Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack.
Despite what the sweets on this site may suggest, I’m a bit of a health nut. I bake because it soothes me, makes me feel happy and gives me a creative outlet. But after one slice, bite or piece is eaten by me, I typically take those baked goods and gift them off for others to enjoy, both because I like to share my baked goods and because I don’t trust myself with an entire cake, pie or dozen cookies in the house.
So when a craving for something sweet hits, my house isn’t exactly full of ready-to-eat junk food options. My solution? Lazy Girl Apple Crisp. The name says it all: it takes little to no time to prepare, it’s in the realm of what might be considered healthy as far as desserts go, and it hits the spot when the craving for dessert strikes.
A couple years ago, I made a variation of this dessert for Jamie Oliver, with both apples and pears. I believe his exact words were, “That apple thingy, or whatever it was, was absolutely delicious.” And hey, if it’s good enough for Jamie then I think it’s most certainly good enough to share with you all.
Lazy Girl Apple Crisp
*2 Tbsp. butter
*2 medium apples, roughly chopped*2 Tbsp. brown sugar
*1 tsp. ground cinnamon
*2 Tbsp. golden raisins
*1/2 cup granola
*1/4 cup whipped cream
*In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, melt butter. Add in apples and brown sugar. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until apples are softened.
*Add in the cinnamon and golden raisins. Cook 1 minute more. Remove from heat and divide among two glasses or bowls.
*Top with granola and whipped cream.