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Picky Eater Pita Pizza Pockets

"Like many kids, Jacob is a very picky eater! Pizza is one of his favorite foods, but he's well aware that the pizza we buy is generally not a nutritionally wise choice. Together we discussed ways to make a healthier version of pizza that he could enjoy for lunch," says Karen Ann, Jacob's mom. "We decided on using whole wheat pita pockets; a healthy, veggie-filled tomato sauce; chicken for protein; and mozzarella cheese. We would serve these pita pizza pockets with some fruit (his favorite are apples, bananas, and watermelon) to complete his plate for a healthy, well-rounded meal!" -  Jacob Hirsch, age 8, Michigan

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes
  • 2 medium carrots, shredded
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 medium zucchini, shredded
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup baby spinach leaves
  • 2 cooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
  • 4 whole wheat pitas
  • 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

Preparation: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. In a medium saucepan over moderate heat, warm the oil. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until they begin to soften and caramelize, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, carrots, bell pepper, zucchini, and oregano, and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the spinach, stir to combine, and continue simmering to wilt the spinach, about 1 minute. Remove the vegetables from the heat and let cool. Purée the vegetables with an immersion or regular blender, leaving the vegetables chunky, or leave the vegetables whole
  3. Open the pita pockets and place a quarter of the chicken cubes inside each one. Add a few tablespoons of sauce to each pita and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Arrange the pita pizza pockets on a large baking sheet and bake until the cheese is melted, 8 to 10 minutes.

512 calories; 54g protein; 53g carbohydrates; 20g fat (7g saturated fat); 520mg sodium

More information about the Kids' State Dinner:

  • Check out the other winning 2013 Kids' State Dinner Recipes here.
  • Learn more about Kids' State Dinner here.