Sunday will mark the first day of National Pizza Week and for all the pizza lovers, I have several different pizza recipes that will peak your interest for sure.

While I love my favorite pizza place as a go-to, I still like to make homemade pizzas every once in a while. I don’t like frozen pizzas, but when I buy one, I add special ingredients and make the pizza to my liking.

There is one frozen pizza that I buy at Sam’s Club that I can’t get enough of — artichoke and jalapeno. They are personal size pizzas, come six to a package and are so delicious. There are just enough jalapenos on the pizzas to give them that added kick of heat.

Although I’m a big fan of pizza, I can’t eat a lot of it. It’s so filling and by the time I eat two small pieces, I’m stuffed. If I order a pizza, I normally order one with pepperoni, sausage, pineapple and banana peppers. I know it sounds weird, but don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.

When at home, I throw everything on my pizza but the kitchen sink and sometimes come up with the wildest concoctions. Avocados are one of my favorites foods, and once the pizza is baked, I slice an avocado for the top. The heat from the pizza gives the avocado a silky texture that melts in your mouth.

With the passing of the holidays and all the mounds of food eaten by many, including myself, we are normally looking for ways to cut calories at the beginning of the new year, but still eat the foods we crave.

Instead of adding tons of fattening ingredients on your pizza, try a healthy vegetarian Mexican pizza. I know the words “healthy” and “vegetarian” don’t sit well with some, but this pizza is absolutely delicious and low on calories.

I found the basis for my recipes this week on a website called “Cool Mom Picks.” I followed the recipes and added my own touches. You should really check out this site. It has a lot of very delicious recipes just waiting for you to try.

Healthy Vegetarian Mexican Pizza

Your favorite pre-made pizza dough, preferably whole wheat

1 (16-ounce) can of no sodium black beans, drained

1 (10-ounce) can of Ro-Tel, drained (I prefer the hot/spicy)

1/2 red bell pepper, sliced thinly

1/2 green bell pepper, sliced thinly

4 ounces mushrooms, thinly sliced

1/4 red onion, thinly sliced

1 1/2 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese

Sliced avocado and cilantro for topping

Lime juice (I prefer lemon juice)

Directions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Flour the work surface and evenly roll out the dough to roughly 12 inches across. Combine the drained black beans and Ro-Tel in a bowl. Spread on top of dough. Top with cheese. Distribute veggies evenly. Bake until the cheese melts and crust turns lightly browned, approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Serve with cilantro and avocado. Lime or lemon juice really brightens up the dish.

As an added note, you can use any kind of vegetables you wish on this pizza. I love zucchini, so I add it when making this pizza. Also note there is no tomato sauce in this recipe. That’s because the Ro-Tel tomatoes take the place and they’re just as good. However, you can use tomato sauce if you prefer — just remember to count the calories.

For those who insist on having meat added to their pizza, try this light barbecue chicken pizza recipe. This is really mouth-watering and offers a secret ingredient that no one would ever think about for pizza.

Light BBQ Chicken Pizza

1 head of cauliflower

2 Tbs. of olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup cornmeal

2 eggs

2 tsp. Italian seasoning

1/2 cup barbecue sauce

1 cup cooked, shredded chicken

3/4 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese

Thinly sliced red onions

Fresh cilantro

Directions

Chop the cauliflower into medium pieces. Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add the oil and heat until shiny. Place the cauliflower in the hot oil, stir to cover with oil, and place a lid on the skillet. Check every few minutes to keep cauliflower from burning, but let it get a nice browned roasted outside. Continue to let the cauliflower cook, covered for approximately 10 to 15 minutes, or until tender-crisp. Allow to cool for a few minutes before handling.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. In a blender or large food processor, place the eggs, cornmeal, seasoning and cauliflower in a blender and puree until you have a semi-smooth, thick batter.

Cover pizza pan with parchment paper and pour batter into the center of the paper. Spread until you have about a 1/2-inch thick crust or thinner if desired.

Bake the crust for 20 minutes, checking to keep it from burning.

While the crust is baking, coat the chicken with barbecue sauce. When crust is done remove it from the oven and top with the barbecue chicken, half the cheese, red onion and then the remainder of the cheese. Bake for another 10 or 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

Top with the cilantro and serve! I throw a dab of light sour cream on this, and it is so delicious and only 157 calories per slice.

And now for those who have a sweet tooth, there’s even a dessert pizza — apple cinnamon streusel dessert pizza.

While the recipe lists ingredients for a homemade crust, I still prefer pre-made pizza dough. Also, this recipe can be made with other fruit toppings such as peaches, raspberries, blackberries or any fruit of your choice. Instead of the glaze on this recipe, I used caramel sauce. Apples and caramel pair together so well and anytime I can eat apples and caramel sauce, believe I will. I like it so much it’s become somewhat of a staple in our household.

Apple Cinnamon Streusel Dessert Pizza

Cinnamon streusel topping

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 tsp. cinnamon

4 Tbs. butter, softened

Apple topping

1 Tbs. of butter

2 apples, peeled, cored and chopped

2 Tbs. of brown sugar

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Glaze

2 Tbs. of butter

1/3 cup of milk

1/3 tsp. vanilla

2 cups powdered sugar

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Mix the cinnamon streusel topping by stirring together the brown sugar, flour and cinnamon. Add the soft butter and mix with a pastry blender or your fingers until the mixture is crumbly and the butter is well distributed.

For the apple mixture, heat the butter in a 10-inch skillet until melted. Add the chopped apples, brown sugar and cinnamon and cook, stirring often until the apples are tender, but not mushy and the mixture is thick and bubbly.

Press the dough into a 16-inch pizza pan or into a rectangular baking sheet. Scoop spoonfuls of the apple mixture over the dough. It won’t cover the dough completely; just distribute the apples as evenly as possible.

Sprinkle the cinnamon streusel over the top of the apples and let the pizza rest for about 10 minutes to allow the dough to puff slightly.

Bake the pizza for 12 to 15 minutes until the edges are browned and the pizza topping is hot and bubbly. While the pizza bakes, prepare the glaze by heating the butter and milk in a medium saucepan until melted. Add the vanilla and mix in the powdered sugar gradually, whisking to combine until the glaze is smooth.

Let the pizza rest for 10 minutes before drizzling the glaze over the top. Serve the pizza warm.

Enjoy the pizza recipes and until next time, happy cooking!

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