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Fast and Easy Homemade Pizza Dough

I love pizza. My family loves pizza. It’s a once-a-week kinda thing in our house. However, the cost of having it delivered can add up…especially when four people all want different toppings. My solution? Homemade pizza night! Now, the thought of putting together yeast and waiting for it to rise totally turned me off to making my own pizza dough. But then I found—you guessed it—a shortcut. The best part? The kids love pitching in and helping make it.

Yeast-Free Pizza Dough
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup milk
¼ cup butter (at room temperature)

In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients. (If you have a KitchenAid stand mixer, now’s the time to break out that dough hook attachment and put it to use!) Mix until the dough forms. Sprinkle flour onto your hands and onto a rolling pin. Remove the ball of dough and pat down with flour—it might be a little sticky. Roll it out into your desired shape and thickness—I’ve made mine in flatbread rectangles or good ol’ circles, from ¼” to 1/2” inch thick. Top with sauce and any other toppings you want and bake for about 10-12 minutes at 450 degrees.

And there you have it! From start to finish, there’s a good chance you’ll be serving your pizza before a delivery guy would be ringing the doorbell.

Enjoy!

-Nicki

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Wine and Cheese: Perfect Pairings

Wine and cheese…it’s a party!

Those of you that know me know that I love my wine. When asked, “red or white?” my response is usually, “yes, please.” But if there’s one thing that I love more than wine…it’s cheese. And I am oh-so-happy that those things go together!

I recently put together a little wine-and-cheese party for some girlfriends. After hitting up Food City’s extensive wine selection and choosing my favorites, I set out to pick the right cheese pairings. Along the way, I learned some tips and thought I’d share them with you!

Sauvignon Blanc  – Mozzarella
Now was my chance to serve one of my favorite appetizers—mini Caprese bites! Just core out some cherry tomatoes completely—get the seeds and juices out of there. Wrap a piece of basil around a mozzarella cube and stuff it into the tomato. Repeat with all the cherry tomatoes and place on a platter. Sprinkle salt and pepper on top, and drizzle balsamic vinegar or glaze…and enjoy with a nice glass of Sauvignon Blanc!

Pinot Noir – Brie
By now we were getting a little hungry, so it was a perfect time for my baked brie. Just take a wheel of brie cheese and coat it in a beaten egg. Take crescent roll dough and wrap completely around the wheel of brie. Bake in the oven for about 15-20 minutes on 350 and serve with grapes, crackers, and you guessed it—a glass of Pinot Noir.

Cabernet Sauvignon – Parmesan
I started off with a nice Cabernet Sauvignon and pieces of Sartori’s Bellavitano Raspberry Cheese. Don’t let the name fool you—there is only a hint of raspberry on the rind of this delicious parmesan cheese wedge.

Riesling -Blue Cheese
Sweet wines go really well with salty cheeses—the saltiness of blue cheese really enhances the flavor of the wine. The perfect way to end your wine and cheese tasting party? A glass of Riesling and some blue cheese dates. Just take ½ cup of blue cheese crumbles and ½ cup of softened cream cheese and mix together until smooth. Halve and pit 12 dates, and fill with ½ tsp. of the cheese mixture. Wrap each date with a strip of prosciutto or bacon, and cook in 1 tsp. of oil and 1Tbsp. of water in a pan over low heat, for about 3 minutes.

I hope you’ve enjoyed by short list of perfect wine and cheese pairings and maybe learned a little something too. Make sure to check out Food City’s wine selection for your next party.

What have been some of your favorite wine-and-cheese combos? Share them with us at Facebook.com/FoodCityGrocery!

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Healthy Habits for Back-To-School

Back to school brings excitement, some stress, and for a lot of us, a much needed shift back to schedules and routines. Get your kiddos back into the swing of things with these fun, easy, and healthy ideas for back to school lunches and snacks.

We talk a lot about breakfast being the most important meal of the day, but lunch is also critical to a child’s overall health and school performance.  Without adequate fuel during the day, kids are more likely to have trouble concentrating, have poor energy, and over-indulge in “empty” calorie snacks. The tricky part is that lunches and snacks need to be nutrition packed but still kid-friendly – a feat much easier said than done. Follow these tips to keep your kids loving their lunches and snacks rather than trading them for something better.

1. Put Your Kiddo in the Chef’s Hat

Smiling Girl in Chef's Hat

Smiling Girl in Chef’s Hat

When kids have a say in the planning and preparation of their meal, they are more likely to eat it. If your kids eat school lunch, review the menu together to help them pick the things they like. School lunch serves up cost-saving, nutrient-rich meals with all the food groups, so it can be a great value and convenient option. If your child is more likely to eat a home-packed meal, try to create a system for developing menus that works for you. Discuss with your kids the key components that should go into every lunch: some protein, a grain, at least one fruit and veggie, a dairy product, and an optional small dessert or snack item.

Healthy Eating Plate

Healthy Eating Plate

Make planning fun by creating a checklist for your child to fill in or check off his or her preferences for each food category. Get the whole family involved in meal prep on weekends by forming an assembly line to measure and bag items needed in lunches for the following week.  When kids are invested in making the meal happen, they will also be invested in eating it!

2. Go for Gold Star Food Choices

A well-balanced meal should include a variety of foods from all the food groups. So what should you do when your child wants the same lunch for two weeks in a row? Don’t worry too much! As you know, kids can change their minds pretty quickly. Instead of fighting picky eaters, work around dislikes by making a list of alternatives that you could offer instead. For example, a plain old sandwich could be replaced by a colorful and flavorful wrap, lunch box tacos, mini salads with a combination of cheese, nuts and beans, or even pinwheels with lunchmeat and cheese. These alternatives provide the same food groups found in a sandwich, but they are re-vamped in a slightly different, and more fun, way.

Like adults, kids eat with their eyes first. Help your lunch compete with attractive fast food packaging by using a reusable lunch bag or box with favorite cartoons or colors. Be as creative as you can to make foods bright and colorful and use cookie cutters to make fun shapes and sizes.

Heart Shaped Sandwich

Heart Shaped Sandwich

3. Raise a Smart Snacker

A day of healthy, perfectly balanced meals can be undone quickly by grazing and unplanned snacking. When snacks are timed appropriately between meals, they can actually keep kids energized and help them maintain a healthy weight. When snacking is unplanned and random it can lead to problems with weight, as well as interfere with appetite and disrupt natural hunger and fullness cues. Most children and teens need to eat every three to four hours throughout the day to meet their nutrient needs. This translates into three meals and one to two snacks per day.

The key is consistency. A good rule of thumb is to offer snacks a few hours after one meal ends and about one to two hours before the next meal begins. Provide nutrient-dense foods that could otherwise be lacking in your child’s diet, such as:

  • Trail mix with nuts, dried fruit, whole-grain pretzels and low-sugar dry cereal
  • Low-fat cheese and pear slices
  • Reduced-sodium deli-sliced turkey breast wrapped around apple slices
  • Low-fat yogurt, fruit and nuts
  • Celery sticks filled with almond butter and sprinkled with dried cranberries and chopped pistachios (aka. Ants on a Log)
  • Baked tortilla chips dipped in salsa
  • Whole-wheat tortilla with reduced-sodium turkey breast and low-fat cheese heated in the microwave
Yogurt with Fruit and Nuts

Yogurt with Fruit and Nuts

 

Ants on a Log

Ants on a Log

Remember that the location of the snack is also important. If snacks are eaten at home, designate an “eating-only zone” and keep all snacking in that area. Avoid grazing on foods throughout the house. Studies show that this type of mindless munching leads to overeating and unhealthy weight gain.

Share your fun school lunch ideas with us at Facebook.com/FoodCityGrocery!

Elizabeth Hall, RDN, LDN
Food City Registered Dietitian
Twitter: @FCDietitian