Lunch Box Idea: Easy Pizza

Pizza is ideal for lunch box as it is flexible in the combination of vegetables and meat that you know your kids will like. In order to make a healthier version, try to use whole grain pizza crust. You may even substitute the pizza crust with Indian naan bread like this Naan Pizza or with Italian focaccia bread or ciabatta buns.

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We made the pizza with two types of crust, i.e one with a regular pizza crust and another with focaccia bread. The focaccia has more flavour to it but then the pizza crust is more crispy.

Ingredients

  • 4 whole wheat flat breads such as Italian focaccia bread, ciabatta buns or Indian naan bread
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) pizza sauce
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) sliced button mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) sliced red pepper
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) sliced onion
  • 1/4 cup (75ml) chopped olives
  • 1 cup (250ml) shredded mozzarella cheese or soy cheese
  • olive oil for brushing

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Source: this recipe is adapted from Alive Magazine #275, September 2005

Serves 4

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Spiced Pumpkin Bread

Under normal circumstances, I will end a series of the community kitchen meet up with the dessert but for this week’s South Arm Cooking Club for Seniors, I will start with dessert.  The reason is, Charlene started off the day’s cooking with a quick briefing on baking.  Charlene observed some very common mistakes in her several seniors kitchens and she decided to share them with this kitchen.

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Baking is unlike other cooking that you can estimate the ingredients and more or less in fine.  Baking is science as the right amount of ingredients are crucial for the reaction of the of the processes to achieve the right texture in the baking goods.  Here is a summary of the briefing.

  • One must use a dry ingredient measuring cup to measure dry ingredients.  To measure flour, use a spoon to scoop flour into the measuring cup until it overflows.  Then, use a knife or spatula to level the flour.  Do not tap the measurement cup as this will compact the flour and yield more flour than needed. Do not scoop the floor directly into the measuring cup and try to level the flour by pressing against the wall of the flour container as this will also compact the flour.
  • One exception in measuring dry ingredient is measuring brown sugar.  You have to pack the brown sugar and the brown sugar should take on the shape of the measuring cup when you turn it out.
  • When measuring liquid, place the cup on a flat surface and check the liquid amount at eye level.

So, with the above fresh in mind, Ken and Frank started working on the Spiced Pumpkin Bread recipe.

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This Pumpkin Bread recipe is adapted from Vern Bertana and it makes 2 loaves.  This bread freezes well.  Wrap the loaf with saran wrap and place in a ziplock back and store it in the freezer until you have company.

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Roti

The South Arm Cooking Club for Seniors made Roti to serve with the Butter Chicken. It’s a perfect match. I had blogged about Roti here but the earlier post did not have the recipe as the demonstrator prepared the dough from her home.

Joyce made the dough for the Roti as she had many years experience in making bread. The rest of group helped out in rolling out the dough.

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The Roti is great to use as a wrap too as it is very thin. We tore the Roti into smaller pieces and scooped the Butter Chicken or Samosa style Potatoes and Peas side dish onto the Roti and wrapped it up to enjoy. You have to eat with your hands to enjoy this meal.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups roti flour (look for ‘durum atta’) flour at any Indian grocer)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flor for dusting
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter

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Flours may vary, so adjust the amounts according to the consistency of the dough. You can add extra flour to a dough that is too soft, but a stiff dough cannot be fixed!. This recipe is from Satta Lal.

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Breadstick

Carol, June and Karen were in-charged of making the anyway you like breadsticks for the South Arm Cooking Club for seniors. It is call any way you like breadsticks because you can vary the toppings to create breadsticks that could go with any sort of meal, from Italian to Mexican to Indian.

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The Breadsticks were very crispy and Charlene just cant stop munching on them. We made the breadsticks with parmesan and black pepper, dried rosemary, onion seeds and a pepper mix which Charlene brought fromher home. The pepper mix was from her friend who brought it back from overseas. I cant recall from which country.

The baked breadsticks may be frozen, in sealable plastic bags for 1 week. Reheat in a 350F oven until crisp.

Ingredients

  • 1 batch Pizza dough, kneaded and risen
  • cornmeal for sprinkling, optional
  • 1 large egg white, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoons seeds or herbs of your choice

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The toppings might include:

  • sesame seeds
  • chopped fresh or dried rosemary
  • fresh or dried thyme
  • nigella seeds (also called onion seeds)
  • poppy seeds
  • coarsely ground black peppers
  • cumin seeds

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Making Pizza from Scratch: Sausage, Fennel and Olive Pizza (Part 5 of 5)

Out of the four pizzas that the seniors made in the South Arm Cooking Club for seniors, I like this most. Perhaps, it’s the cooked sausage and sauteed onions and fennels which gives this pizza a lot of flavours. Joyce, Karen and Sydney worked together to make make this pizza.

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Although I’m not a fan of olives, I find that the taste of these black olives is quite mild. I love the sweetness from the sauteed fennel and onion and a hint of spiciness from the Italian sausages. This Sausage, Fennel and Olive Pizza gets the thumbs up from me.

Ingredients

  • 2 Italian sausages
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pizza dough
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce
  • 1/3 cup black olives, sliced
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

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Making Pizza from Scratch: Roasted Garlic, Mushroom and Roasted Red Pepper Pizza (Part 4 of 5)

Hugh, Frank and June made this Roasted Garlic, Mushroom and Roasted Red Pepper Pizza. We took a short cut using jarred roasted red peppers instead of roasting the peppers ourselves. However, we still have to roast the garlic. This require a bit of time management as the garlic takes 30 minutes to roast and you need to let it cool down before you can squeeze them out from the husks.

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The Roasted Garlic and Roasted Red Pepper add sweetness to this pizza. However, I find that the rosemary is a bit overpowering.

Ingredients

  • a pizza dough
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce
  • 2 heads of garlic
  • 1 cup grated Mozzarella cheese
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 3/4 cup sliced jarred roasted red peppers
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese

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Making Pizza from Scratch: Margherita Pizza (Part 3 of 5)

Lorna, Christina and Paul made this Margherita Pizza in the South Arm Cooking Club for seniors. The original Margherita Pizza is made with tomato, sliced mozzarella, basil and extra-virgin olive oil.

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Margherita Pizza is another easy to assemble pizza. It only needs some mincing and slicing.

Ingredients

  • a pizza dough
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup Mozzarella cheese (we used shredded ones instead of sliced ones)
  • 2 thinly sliced roma tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup sliced basil leaves

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Making Pizza from Scratch: Pizza Dough (Part 1 of 5)

Someone suggested to make pizza from scratch in the South Arm Community Kitchen for seniors some time ago. So, finally Stella and Charlene organized for a pizza making session for the seniors.

Due to the time constraint, Charlene prepared some pizza dough ahead of time. She prepared four pizza dough as the seniors are going to make four different kind of pizzas. Hurray!

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Does’nt the risen pizza dough look lovely, soft and smooth? Nevertheless, Charlene did show the seniors how to make pizza dough from scratch with the help of Joyce, Karen and Sydney. The recipe is adapted from Gourmet. It makes enough dough for two 9 inch pizzas. However, the seniors are going to make a large rectangular pizza instead of two 9 inch round pizzas.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup warm water (105-115F – it should feel like warm bathwater)
  • 1 package active dry yeast (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for oiling dough

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Napa Cabbage and Pork Steamed Bun (Choy Yoke Pau)

Grace showed us how to make another batch of dough on the spot. For this batch of dough, we made Napa Cabbage and Pork Steamed Bun or in Cantonese it’s called Choy Yoke Pau.

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The Napa Cabbage and Pork Steamed Bun is moist and taste great. You can substitute the cabbage with garlic chives.

Ingredients

Ingredients for the dough:

  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (you may substitute with water plus two tablespoons of milk powder or 1/2 cup of coconut milk plus a cup of water)
  • 1 tablespoon margarine
  • 1 teaspoon yeast
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 egg, optional

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Ingredients for the filings:

  • 1/2 lb lean ground pork
  • 1/2 head small Napa cabbage
  • soy sauce
  • sesame oil
  • cornstarch
  • ginger powder
  • salt
  • sugar
  • white pepper

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Click on the link below for the instructions.

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Red Bean Paste Steamed Bun (Dao Sar Pau)

The participants of the Gilmore Church Park Community Kitchen were very excited when they knew that Grace will be demonstrating to us how to make Chinese Steamed Buns from scratch. Grace has recently coming back to the kitchen after she quit her job in the T&T kitchen. She had been working in the T&T kitchen, the Chinese Buns section for more than six months. She learned her trade of making Chinese Buns there. According to Grace, working in the T&T kitchen is very back breaking and the staff have to work for long hours. We are so fortunate to have Grace showing us what she took more than 6 months of hard work to learn.

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The Red Bean Paste Steamed Bun is fluffy and lightly chewy, which the Chinese said has a good bite to it, (ko garn).

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Nothing beats some freshly made steamed buns from a bamboo steamer in your own kitchen.

Click on the link below for the instructions.

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