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Junk Food Gets a Makeover

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“Mom,” said my twelve year old son, “can you just make healthy food taste as good as junk food?” 

He’s right. It stinks that things that taste so good are also often full of sugar, fat, salt, high fructose corn syrup, trans-fats, and other less-than-healthy ingredients.

Still, sometimes there’s nothing quite like a chip. And who doesn’t love pizza?

Well, guess what – chips and pizza are back on the table!

Microwave Chips

Okay, special equipment required. You’ll need one of these to get started: Microwave Chip Maker.

These silicon mats are magical. They turn all kinds of vegetables, plus some fruits and breads, into yummy, fat free, guilt free chips! You can get the chip maker from Amazon, Pampered Chef, Sur La Table and I hear that Bed, Bath and Beyond also carries them.  

Now, once you have procured the magical chip maker, it’s time to experiment. You’ll want to choose your base chip material – carrots, potatoes, corn tortillas, apples, sweet potatoes and other root vegetables work well. The instructions also suggest apples and mango. I gave jicima a try, just out of curiousity, since it fit the “root vegetable” profile.

Slice your chip material to approximately 1mm thickness if you’re using fruit or vegetable. I used carrot and jicima, and chose to use my salad shooter for slicing since we’ve had an incident with mandolins in our house.

The result was pretty awesome. We spiced the carrots with Spike seasoning and the jicima with cinnamon. The carrots were very savory and the jicima was a neat surprise. When “chipped,” the jicima had the flavor of roasted marshmallow. Since these were all vegetables with zero point spices, the points value was (you got it!) zero!!

The vegetables vary on cooking time, and the jicima took about 10 minutes per batch. We’re thinking about pre-drying the vegetable slices in a low heat oven or in our dehydrator to see if this speeds the chip process.

The tortilla chips were incredible. I cut two corn tortillas into 8 pieces each for a total of 16 chips. Three minutes in the microwave, a little salt while they were still hot, and WOW! Three (3) PP for all 16 chips. Nice! Big difference from 7 to 12 PP for restaurant versions. Plus, the microwave chips are very sturdy and hold the salsa extremely well. I even made a batch to take with me when we were going out for Mexican one night. They were perfect, and my husband said the microwaved version was better than the restaurant’s.

Pizza Roll Ups

This is a slight variation on a great Weight Watchers recipe available in the Tastier than Takeout cookbook (available in WW meeting rooms only). The pizza roll ups are approximately 6 points plus and are made in the microwave. It takes less than three minutes to prepare, and it’s completely pizza-like. My son gives it two thumbs up, and he’s a tough judge.

Ingredients

1 Whole Wheat Damascus Roll Up*

¼ Cup All Vegetable Pizza Sauce**

½ Cup Fat Free Mozzarella Cheese

Turkey Pepperoni (13 slices) and/or any other preferred toppings

Dried Basil (to taste, optional)

 

Roll Up Instructions

  • Place Roll Up on microwave safe plate
  • Spread sauce to the edges of the Roll Up
  • Layer on toppings – pepperoni, peppers, onions, mushrooms, whatever you like
  • Sprinkle cheese evenly over the top
  • Sprinkle dried basil over the top if desired
  • Put pizza in the microwave for approximately 1 to 1 ½ minutes, until cheese is melted.
  • Remove pizza from microwave and carefully roll up into a pinwheel shape working from the narrow end.
  • Put pizza roll in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour to cool.
  • Remove from fridge and cut into four pieces on the diagonal

Yields 1 serving

*Available at Costco

**All Vegetable Pizza Sauce

All Veggie Pizza Sauce

Okay, a little extra work here. Whe only way to keep out the sugar and chemicals while keeping all the good vegetables is to make your own pizza sauce. The goal is to sneak in as many veggies as you can! Good news, though – your options are the easy and even easier recipes!

 

Easy Sauce – Food Processor

Start with a small, 6 oz can of tomato paste in your food processor. If you’re feeling really creative, use roma tomatoes instead of the tomato paste (be sure to seed them first). Blitz in red peppers, spinach, kale, basically any high-nutritional-punch veg available. If the sauce gets too watery, add sundried tomatoes (NOT packed in oil) to the mixture until it thickens up. If the sauce is too thick, add plain tomato sauce from a can. Once it’s the consistency of pizza sauce, add salt, pepper, basil, oregano to taste, plus other spices you and your family like. Make a big batch (or two) to keep in the fridge and freezer.

 

Easier Sauce – Bowl and Whisk

A quick sauce option (fewer veggies, but still no sugar or chemicals) is to whisk together one 6oz can of tomato paste with one 8 oz can of tomato sauce. Add salt, pepper, basil, oregano and other spices to taste. Simple and effective!

More Makeover Ideas

I keep looking for more options to make “fun food” that is also healthy food. One of my favorite inspiration sites is http://www.skinnytaste.com/. Check it out for more recipe ideas, and keep checking back for more interesting experiments from my own tiny test kitchen.

In the meantime, have an awesomelicious day!!

~Kimi

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