Freezer Cooking

Personal Pizzas Recipe

by Beth Montgomery on May 29, 2010 · 1 comment

in Frugal Cooking, Main Dish Recipes, Recipes

I love jalapenos and banana peppers my pizza.   Unfortunately for me, I’m the only one in my family.   In fact, I’m told that that juices actually infect the rest of the pizza, if I try to put it in just a tiny part.   That’s not our only problem though.

My husband, Scott, wants sausage, ham, pepperoni, mushrooms (gag!), and onions.   Izy wants just plain cheese pizza.   Ady wants sausage, pepperoni, and chicken.   And, I want pepperoni, sun-dried tomatoes, green peppers, and those jalapenos and banana peppers.   See our problem?   We could compromise and make a pepperoni pizza, but where is the fun in that?

So here’s my solution

- – Ingredients – -

Crust

  • 2 1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Cup Warm Water
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 2 TBSP Active Dry Yeast
  • 2 TBSP Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Salt

Pizza

  • Toppings
  • Cheese
  • Sauce

- – Directions – -

  1. Depending on how long it takes for your oven to heat, you’ll want to preheat it to 425 sometime during this process.
  2. Combine the yeast, sugar, and warm water in a bowl until dissolved.   Set aside for approximately 1o minutes until creamy.
  3. Add flour, salt, and oil.   Beat until you have a smooth dough.   Set aside to rest for approximately 5 minutes.
  4. Divide dough into 4-5 pieces and give them to your children to play with make their own pizza crust.   Have them roll it into a ball, then flatten it into a circle.   They can pick how thick and how big their pizza will be. Just make sure it’s not so thin it will fall apart easily or not be strong enough to hold the toppings.   Or, you can do this yourself, but kids are more likely to eat things they make!
  5. Bake the pizzas for about 10 minutes on cookie sheets or baking sheets.
  6. Lay out all of the toppings and let them design their own pizzas.
  7. Bake an additional 10-12 minutes until crust is golden brown and cooked through.
  8. Enjoy!

- – Cooking Tips & More – -

  • Save Money - Depending on sales and your tastes, make your own sauce, use spaghetti sauce, get pizza sauce, or use plain tomato sauce.
  • Make It Healthier – Instead of all-purpose flour, use 1/2 wheat and 1/2 all-purpose flour to make wheat crust.
  • Get Creative - Did you realize that pizzas don’t have to be circular?   Or even rectangular?   Oh no, they can be triangles, hearts, or even Mickey Mouse’s head with pepperoni eyes.
  • Freezer Cooking - Single?   Make these and freeze the extras to pop in the oven for a quick personal meal!   Not single?   Double up or freeze the extras.   They only have to cook at 450 for about 12-15 minutes and are much cheaper than buying frozen personal pizzas.
  • For Kids - Having a party?   Don’t worry about food!   Let them make their own pizzas.   They’ll love it.
  • Make It Easier - Yes, you can always buy pre-made pizza crust to make this a lot easier.
  • Encore Meal - Use any left over pizza crust and toppings to make your own pizza rolls.   Just flatten out small squares of dough, stuff with toppings, and then fold the dough to cover the toppings completely.   Cook with the personal pizzas and freeze for a quick lunch or dinner later!

Want more?   Brows the recipe index to check out all of my recipes!

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Cooking in Bulk

by Beth Montgomery on February 6, 2010 · 0 comments

in Frugal Cooking, Tips & Basics

The following guest post was written by Joanne who keeps three blogs! How she has the time, I don’t know!

My name is Joanne and I met Beth through our stay at home mom’s group.   I am thrilled to be doing a guest post for her while she blisses out at Blissdom.   I am the mom of three – Anthony, who is four, Maria, who is two and Veronica, who is eight months old.   We are busy around our house, and noisy and crazy, too.   I keep blogs for all three of my kids – Anthony’s is http://anthonyjoseph2005.blogspot.com, Maria’s is http://luckynumbertwo.blogspot.com, and Veronica’s is http://madnessneverend.blogspot.com.

About two years ago, Anthony was diagnosed with Autism, and of course our lives changed a lot since then!   He attends an ABA therapy school about 25 miles from our home, so even though my husband works about a mile from home and I am a stay at home mother, we log a lot of miles every week, getting him to and from school.   Our insurance covers quite a bit of his therapy, but there are also a lot of out-of-pocket expenses and about a year ago, I decided we had to start saving money.   Since we are always (it seems) having a baby around here, one of the habits that we’ve fallen into is ordering carryout a lot.   On average, we were spending around $125 a week on takeout food, which I just thought was ridiculous.   I knew I’d have to have a plan, though, because if I leave it until dinner time to figure out what we’re going to have for dinner, I always end up with the phone in my hand.

My sister turned me on to the idea of preparing a lot of food at once.   She sent me this link, which had a million ideas on preparing bulk foods.   I went to Costco and bought 15 pounds of ground beef, which cost about $30.   On a Sunday, where I had my husband home to help corral the kids, I separated it into 15 one pound bunches and went to work.   I made regular size meatballs, for spaghetti and meatballs, smaller meatballs, for soup, meatloaf, burgers, regular ground beef for meatsauce, and stroganoff, and taco meat.   I stored everything in freezer bags and wrote on them with a Sharpie what they were.

For the burgers, I started by putting the beef into a pound bag and folding them in thirds each way.   This way I had square burgers, already in the right size.   I found a problem with this, though, when I tried to take them out and thaw them, if I only wanted three burgers.   Then I read this link about storing one burger per sandwich bag and then putting the sandwich bags in a gallon bag.   This is a lot easier.

Here’s another site I used for excellent tips and planning.   One thing I learned here is to flash freeze the meatballs that you’ve made (on wax paper on a cookie sheet) so that the meatballs don’t just glom together in the freezer bag.   This site also has good recipes, and she also has a entry on cooking chicken in bulk.

One of the most important lessons I learned about cooking ground beef in bulk didn’t come until a few weeks later, when my dishwasher stopped working.   Out of nowhere, my new-ish dishwasher started getting clogged up and wouldn’t drain.   The Sears repairman who came told me that it looked like there was GREASE in the drain of the dishwasher.   Ooh, I was embarassed!   I had of course drained all the ground beef and put the grease in a coffee can, but I really should have wiped out the pans well with a paper towel before I washed them.   All that extra grease went down the sink and into the garbage disposal and then to my dishwasher.   Lesson learned!

It is a lot easier to do meal planning and shopping now, knowing that I have the meat of the meal (I mean that literally and figuratively) ready to go.   It’s also nice to not have to work with raw meat every day, since I always have a kid or two climbing up and around me while I prepare dinner.

Note from Beth: Umm… I’m pretty sure we all know by now that I’m pro-freezer cooking!   It makes life so much easier and avoids those nights when you just aren’t in the mood to cook and end up at a restaurant.   Check out the Freezer Cooking Series to find out tips for freezing everything from herbs to meats, plus get some great freezer recipes!

Share with me! How do you avoid calling for take out?

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Chicken, Spinach, & Parmesan Hot Pocket by In Good Cents width=

- – Ingredients – -

- Pocket

  1. 2 1/4 cup flour
  2. 1 egg
  3. 1/8 cup sugar
  4. 1 1/8 tsp yeast
  5. 1/3 cup   milk
  6. 1/3 cup water
  7. 1/4 tsp salt
  8. 1/2 stick butter (melted)

- Stuffing

  1. 2 cooked chicken breasts, diced into bite-size pieces
  2. 2 cups pasta sauce
  3. 1/2 cup fresh spinach
  4. 2 cups grated Parmesan

- – Directions – -

  1. Mix and then kneed all of the pocket ingredients until well blended.   Cover and set aside to rise for about 1 hour or longer.
  2. Preheat oven to 350.
  3. When done, separate dough into approximately 6-7 equal piece.   Kneed, roll and flatten each piece into a circle.
  4. Top each circle of dough with chicken, douse with pasta sauce, layer with spinach, and sprinkle with Parmesan (leave a bit of Parmesan for later).
  5. Gently close each circle of dough around the chicken stuffing mixture and seal by pinching.   At this point, you can gently shape them as well, if needed. Top each one with remaining Parmesan.
  6. Place on a foil-lined or greased cookie sheet or baking sheet and place in the oven for approximately 20-30 minutes until done.
  7. Serve hot.

    Homemade Chicken, Spinach, & Parmesan Hot Pocket

- – Centsible

Cooking Tips & More – -

  1. Be Centsible: Replace the Parmesan cheese with cheddar, Velveeta, or whatever you have on hand or plan around what is on sale at your local grocery store.
  2. Get Creative: Add your favorite vegetables or get even more creative and make breakfast hot pockets with eggs, sausage, and cheese or lunch hot pockets with ham and cheese.
  3. Freezer Cooking: This meal is the perfect freezer meal! Simply place the pockets in a freezer save resealable bag and place in the freezer. Remember to remove as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn.   They keep up to 3 month.
  4. Simplify It: Use your bread machine on “dough” setting to make the pocket dough!
  5. Encore Meal Idea: This is the perfect Encore Meal! Use left over chicken breasts or other meats, omelets,   and vegetables to make your hot pockets.

Get more cent saving recipes! Browse by ingredient or search.

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I’m done! I made it to the bitter end and now I have 3 Gingersnap Pumpkin Pies, 2 Cranberry Layered Cheesecakes, Homemade Whip Cream, and a Chicken & Vegetable Pot Pie (pictured above) for tonight’s dinner.

And I also have this…


Which I left out of my baking day, because I can’t take credit for it. You see, my there is something wrong with my husband. He doesn’t like Pumpkin Pie or Cheesecake! In fact, there isn’t a “Thanksgiving Dessert” that he does like. He’s a pretty picky dessert eater! I’ll pretty much eat anything with sugar in it and some days, I get desperate enough to eat straight sugar. Okay, not really. Well, not unless I’m really, really desperate. Scott, however, requested the pie above bought to you by…

Jell-O! He loves this stuff and it’s easy to do, so I whipped it up, so he could have his own special dessert tomorrow. Of course, he’s spend all evening trying to convince me to break into it now. I’ve stayed strong though (and I’m already over-sugared from all those Gingersnaps I ate earlier!)
Back to baking… while my pies were cooling, I made dinner. Before I had Daelan, I made 30 meals to fill my freezer for my “maternity leave”. We didn’t use them all yet though. I still have a few tucked away. One I had was a Chicken-Biscuit Casserole meal I had altered to fit what I had on hand and the other meals I was making that day.
You see, when doing a huge baking day or freezer cooking day, it helps if you have meals with similar ingredients. That way you can multitask!

I wasn’t sure how it would turn out, but instead of following the directions, which were to put it in a casserole dish and top with biscuits, I poured it into my 4th pie crust and topped it with my 5th pie crust! It baked at 350 for about an hour until the crust was golden brown.
For a side, I whipped up some mash potatoes and I mean literally whipped. I used the remaining part of my whipping cream, which not only makes your mash potatoes extremely fattening, but it also makes them absolutely delicious. Of course, because of that whole “extremely fattening” thing, I only make them once in a very blue moon.
I have to tell you, my Chicken and Vegetable Pot Pie was out of this world! And my Cranberry Layered Cheesecakes cooled beautifully. Unfortunately, you don’t get to see the finished product today, because I plan to top it with the remaining cranberry sauce and sprinkle it with the leftover cookies right before serving.
And the best part… I was very on top of my “clean as you go” policy today, so I ended with a clean kitchen! My husband is upstairs putting the girls to bed, so we get to enjoy a night of peace and quiet, before the chaos tomorrow.
It’s not bad chaos though. It’s a blast!
Want to know how this baking day started? Go HERE to get the plan, along with my recipe for the Flaky Pie Crust and Gingersnap cookies. Then, head HERE for my recipe for Cranberry Layered Cheesecake. Next, go HERE to see my Lesson-Of-The-Day. Check HERE To see how to roll out the perfect pie crust! And finish up HERE to see my Gingersnap Pumpkin Pie.

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Egg Pie Recipe (a.k.a. Quiche)

by Beth Montgomery on November 11, 2009 · 0 comments

in Breakfast Recipes, Frugal Cooking, Recipes


INGREDIENTS
1 Cup Sausage or Ham (diced & cooked, optional)
10 oz Spinach or Broccoli (frozen & thawed slightly or fresh)
1 Cup Cheese (cheddar or other favorite)
2 Small Chopped Onion
2 Cups Milk
4 Eggs
1/2 Cup Flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
Other veggies and meats desired

Mix eggs, milk, flour, and baking powered together until well blended. Add meat, veggies, and cheese. Pour into a freezer bag and remove as much air as possible. Freeze flat.

To serve, thaw in the refrigerator. Mix until blended. Pour into a pie plate pre-covered with non-stick cooking spray or into a pie crust. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes and serve hot.

Customize this recipe. Make mushroom and broccoli quiche or spinach and chicken. The options are endless!

This recipe is from the In Good Cents archives. Thanks goes to my stepmom, Jacqui, for the idea of calling this tasty dish “Egg Pie”.

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Sandwich Bread Recipe

by Beth Montgomery on September 18, 2009 · 0 comments

in Bread & Grain Recipes, Frugal Cooking, Recipes


INGREDIENTS
6 Cups Flour
3 TBSP Sugar
3 TBSP Yeast
2 tsp Salt
1 Cup Water (Warmed)
1 Cup Milk (Warmed)
2 TBSP Butter

Combine two cups of flour, sugar, salt, yeast, water, and milk. Beat well for about 2 minutes, then add more flour 1 cup at a time until you’ve added 4 more cups. Remove dough and knead on kitchen table by hand. Let rest for approximately 10 minutes. Punch down dough and divide in half to make 2 loaves. Shape into loaves and let sit to rise until doubled (approximately 45 minutes). Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Remove from pan immediately upon removing from oven and let cool.

After your bread is completely cooled, wrap in aluminum foil or plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag to freeze. If you prefer, you may slice your bread before freezing. Stays good up to 6 months.

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