Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Healthy Pizza Pockets

So my husband likes to eat pizza pockets. You know, those little puffs of ooey-gooey goodness that you cook in the oven. They're not at all good for you (which is why he doesn't eat them a lot), but they're...well...they're good. And so whenever he makes them (usually on a Saturday during football season, or when he comes home for lunch), I end up eating one. OK, maybe two. They smell stupid good in the oven, and then there's the ooey-gooey factor which I'm prone to NOT resisting. I'm human, alright? Bad snacks happen.

But they don't have to. For every bad snack, there exists a bad-snack-gone-good recipe. At least that's what I tell myself, for even if there isn't a better version of something sinful, it's just a call for some creativity in the kitchen.

Lucky for me, Rocco DiSpirito took care of the pizza pocket call. In an article written for The Associated Press, DiSpirito speaks of pizza pockets in terms of the childhood obesity problem we currently face. "One of the first—and easiest— ways to combat childhood obesity is to teach ourselves and our children to cook wholesome, nutritious foods. Which doesn't mean you or the kids need to sacrifice the foods you love." He goes on to explain that "part of this is teaching kids that convenience foods should be an occasional treat, not a dinner staple. Children also need to understand that meals are made from ingredients, not pulled from boxes."

Isn't that something we all need to understand, not just the kids of this world? Very, very rarely can you find a healthy, boxed meal option.

Behold, Rocco's pizza pockets:

Let's be honest, the above looks WAY better than the boxed (or do they come in a bag?) variety. Especially when you consider what I've stuffed inside it.

Uncooked, they look like this inside:

Quite simply, it's a flattened piece of whole wheat bread with a scoop of pizza mix. And by "pizza mix," I mean low-sodium spaghetti sauce, light mozzarella, and chopped basil, red onion, mushroom and zucchini. When you fold the bread, press the sides together and bake it, the insides end up looking more like this:


Have I tempted your taste buds yet?

They're every bit as delicious as they look. Jason loved them, in fact, he wants me to "add them to the rotation." That, in essence, means it's a winner.

As it should be. Rocco's recipe is so adaptable. I really didn't pay much attention to his at all, save for the cooking instructions. All I did was chop up a small zucchini, half a red onion, a few basil leaves and a handful of baby portobello mushrooms, after which I threw it all in a bowl and poured some marinara in to coat, adding a handful of light mozzarella cheese after I stirred it all up. And when Rocco tells you to spray the finished product with cooking spray, I did just that—and sprinkled on some garlic powder just for kicks. (A clutch move, if I might add.)

The whole process was super easy. Great for the kids, if you have kids that like to help in the kitchen.

OH, and—you can only fit so much of the filling into the slice of bread, which means I had half the bowl left after making last night's dinner.

You can imagine what tonight's dinner will be, can't you?

Question: What is your favorite bad-gone-good recipe? Share a link (if you have one) in the "Comments" section below!

REMINDER! Don't forget to enter my giveaway! You just might win a sampler pack from Umpqua Oats! (Contest ends at midnight EST on Thursday, October 6, 2011).

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