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Dinner in Minutes: Using pita as crust gets pizza out quickly

Its origins may be Italian, but pizza has become an American way of life.

These days we have gourmet and designer pizzas topped with such exotic ingredients as wild mushrooms, pesto sauce and prosciutto. But old-style pizza parlor pizzas are regaining their popularity.

In less time than it takes to get a pizza delivered, you can make this one, and it’s guaranteed to please.

I use pita bread slit in half as the base. It works well and the thin crust lets you enjoy all of the toppings without too much bread.

Other possibilities include a French baguette sliced lengthwise, an English muffin split in half or the original Italian base of thick, toasted slices of country bread. And of course there are ready-made pizza bases in the supermarket, too.

This meal contains 630 calories per serving with 33 percent of calories from fat.

Pepper, Mushroom and Onion Pizza

Olive oil spray

1 cup sliced red onion

1/2 cup sliced green bell pepper

1/2 cup sliced red bell pepper

1 cup sliced baby bello mushrooms

2 medium-size pita breads or 2 small pizza bases

1/2 cup low-sodium pasta sauce

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 teaspoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking tray with foil and place in the oven to warm.

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Spray with olive oil spray and add the onion, green bell pepper and red bell pepper. Saute 2 minutes.

Add the mushrooms and continue to saute 3 minutes or until mushrooms are soft.

To assemble pizza, remove baking tray from the oven and spray with olive oil spray. Split two pita breads into four rounds. Place, cut side up, on the foil.

Spoon tomato sauce over each base. Sprinkle onions, peppers and mushrooms evenly over the top. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the vegetables. Drizzle olive oil over the pizzas.

Place in hot oven for 5 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

Yield: 2 servings.

Nutrition per serving: 435 calories (39 percent from fat), 18.6 grams fat (8.1 grams saturated, 7.1 grams monounsaturated), 33 milligrams cholesterol, 23 grams protein, 42.9 grams carbohydrates, 4.7 grams fiber, 851 milligrams sodium.

Italian Lettuce and Bean Salad

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1/2 tablespoon olive oil

4 cups washed, ready-to-eat Italian-style salad

1 cup rinsed and drained cannellini beans

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Whisk vinegar and oil together in a small salad bowl. Add the lettuce and beans to the bowl. Toss well. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Yield: 2 servings.

Nutrition per serving: 196 calories (19 percent from fat), 4.2 grams fat (0.7 gram saturated, 2.5 grams monounsaturated), no cholesterol, 10.8 grams protein, 30.6 grams carbohydrates, 8.4 grams fiber, 11 milligrams sodium.

Linda Gassenheimer is the author of 14 cookbooks. Visit her Web page at www.DinnerInMinutes.com or email her at Linda@DinnerInMinutes.com.


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