All Things Pizza

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Pizza is something that everyone enjoys, in one form or another.  My personal favorite is cold pizza for breakfast.  Weird I know.  I love leftovers the following morning.  In my book, it’s a great go to for breakfast.  It’s got protein in the meat, dairy in the cheese, carbs in the bread, and very little sugar.  Need fruit?  Go for it!  Pizza is something that my son loves to help us make.  About a year ago we started making our own dough and pizzas at home.  We found they taste much better than the store bough frozen variety and were much healthier.  We’ve experimented with several dough recipes, and found a great no knead dough at Onceamonthmom.com.  I use this dough for pizzas and hot pockets.  What I hate though is buying a can of sauce for pizza, and having half a can left over and wasted.  So today I made all things pizza.  A great way to use up the sauce and pepperoni and have several breakfasts, lunches, and dinners all ready to go for school.

Breakfast

Mini Pizzas (can also be a great go to lunch)

Ingredients:

English muffins

Canadian bacon (or your favorite topping)

Cheese (Cheddar and or Mozzarella)

Pizza sauce

 

How to:

  1. Split the muffins and place on a baking sheet.
  2. Spread a thin layer of sauce on each muffin half.
  3. Top with a slice of Canadian bacon (or favorite toppings)
  4. Add cheese on top
  5. Bake at 350 for 7-9 minutes.

 

To freeze:

Flash freeze (freeze flat on the sheet until frozen) before wrapping individually. place eat pizza in a large zip lock bag.

To Serve:

Unwrap and place in microwave for 1-2 minutes.

 

Lunch

 

Pizzadillas

Just like a quesadilla, it’s a Pizzadilla!  Place your pizza toppings (without the sauce) in a tortilla and cook on a griddle or in a pan.  As with other pizza items, flash freeze before individually wrapping.  For little hands, cut the pizzadilla into strips.

 

Hot Pockets

I haven’t bought a box of hot pockets in quite a long time.  I love making my own, and while they aren’t always pretty, they taste much better!  These little pockets are also a great way to use up left over lunch meat (not enough for a sandwich) and other little nibbles in the fridge.  The possibilities are endless.

 

Using your dough that you’ve already made (and always have an extra ball in the freezer for last minute meals), roll into a rectangle about the size of your cutting board.  Cut into 3 long rectangles.  Place your toppings, sauce, and cheese in the middle.  Wrap it all up like a mummy.  I have the best luck with pulling the sides over and then the ends.  Place seam side down on a greased baking sheet and bake at 400 for about 15 minutes.  Watch for browning… you don’t want burned hot pockets!

 

Dinner

Other than the obvious thought of Pizza, I stumbled upon this wonderfully easy and frugal pizza tasting dinner.  It’s called Bubble Pizza.  Like bubble bread or monkey bread, it’s centered on the use of canned biscuits.  It couldn’t be an easier recipe to make either.  Like all pizza recipes, the flavor combination possibilities are endless.  Make it to suit your family’s likes.

 

Bubble Pizza

Ingredients:

2 cans of refrigerator biscuits (10 count each)

1 jar/can of pizza sauce

Favorite pizza toppings

2 cups Mozzarella cheese

Fresh basil (optional)

 

How to:

Cut the biscuits into quarters and place into a bowl.

Add the toppings, 1 ½ cups cheese, and cheese to the cut up biscuits.

Place into a greased baking pan.  I used a disposable cake pan this time.

Top with remaining cheese and basil if using.

Bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes.  Check for browning.

 

To freeze:

Allow to cool completely before freezing.  Cover tightly and label.

 

To serve:

Allow to thaw and simply reheat in the oven!  Couldn’t be easier!!

Start the Day Right!

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As a mom and a teacher I know that breakfast is the most important part of the day.  I also know that it’s the one meal that often gets skipped when we’re in a hurry to get to school, or the meal that contains the least nutritional value.  Too often kids are eating sugary breakfasts that lack any nutritional value or protein.  By recess, their brains are turning to mush, they are getting sleepy, and that important reading lesson that the teacher is presenting isn’t making any sense.  I’m guilty of this too!  I either skip breakfast as I run out the door or I run through the drive thru.  Neither are good for my waistline or pocketbook!  Here are my go to recipes for breakfast.  They are healthier than the sugar cereal or donuts and will help you and your little one make it to lunch.

Homemade Cereal Bar Cookies

Author/Source:

Tricia @ Onceamonthmom.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1. 5 cups oats, ground (or oat flour)
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour (I used fresh milled hard red wheat)
  • 1 cup white flour (I used fresh milled hard white wheat)
  • 1 cup sucanat (brown sugar if whole foods isn’t your gig)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1.125 cups (9 ounces) organic jam (I used blueberry and apple)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix all the ingredients, except the jam, together in a large bowl. It is easiest to do this with your hands. Once it is mixed well together (there should be no dry ingredients dust, but well incorporated) add half of the mixture to each of 18 14 muffin tins. Press the mixture into the muffin tins creating a bit of a lip as you would for a pie. Add in 1 Tablespoon of jam on top of each “crust”. Next, with the remaining mixture create 18  14 equal size balls. Smash each of the balls into a circle large enough to cover the top of each “cookie”. Add the disc to the top of the “cookie” and press the edges to meet the sides of the bottom dough. Bake for 20-25 minutes until slightly browned. Remove from the oven, allow to cool for 5-10 minutes and then gently remove to a cooling rack. (I inverted a cookie sheet on top of the muffin tin, flipped the muffin tin and then turned the cookies over to cool a bit longer. Be warned, they are very soft when warm).

Freezing Directions:

Follow directions above but allow to cool completely. Add to a gallon freezer bag and freeze. To serve: Allow to thaw overnight or place in a microwave and heat for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Be careful as internal contents will be very warm.

Servings: 18 cookies

On a side note-  I usually make mine a little thicker, this only getting about 14 in a batch.  I LOVE using my silicone muffin pan because they simply pop out!  Add some peanut butter first and you’ll have a PB&J cookie bar.  This is a wonderful recipe for emptying out those jelly jars that have just a little bit left in it. 

Breakfast Burritos

It’s as simple as it sounds.  Tortillas and filling.  I usually stick to egg whites (can’t eat regular eggs), hash browns, crumbled bacon (get the bag from Costco that’s already crumbled), cheese, and whatever else you may like.  The trick to these is to make a bunch and freeze them.  I usually make a BIG pan full of filling and then start filling and rolling.  When you are ready to freeze them wrap them in either wax paper or parchment paper first, then aluminum foil.  Make a stack of foil, with wax/parchment on top, then foil, and wax/parchment, etc.  Then when you are ready to assemble, just wrap, wrap, and go to the next one.  Place them all in a freezer bag.  To serve, unwrap the foil and wax/parchment if you wish and microwave for about 1-2 minutes. 

Homemade Pop Tarts

These may not sound very healthy to you, and you’re right.  I always have these with either yogurt, a glass of milk, or string cheese.  I leave off the icing on top and use log sugar jam or nutella (my son’s favorite). 

Start with store bought pie crust, the kind you get in the biscuit area that comes in a roll.  Roll it out and cut into rectangles.  I bought the fruit pie cutter from wilton, and LOVE it!  Place your filling in the middle, not too much though and then top.  Press the edges with a fork and place on a greased cookie sheet.  Bake at about 350 for 15-20 minutes, or until lightly browned.  2 boxes of pie crust (on sale right now) make 12 pop tarts.  I used less than 1 jar of jam.  These are another great item to use of end of jars.  A tip.  If using jam or jelly, add a little cornstarch to it before filling your poptarts.  This will make the filling a little thicker so it doesn’t run out the edges.  After they have cooled, wrap each one individually and freeze.  To serve: I pop them in the toaster oven and toast, like a pop tart.  To be honest, I don’t own a regular toaster, so I’ve never tried that method.  I am worried about the filling getting hot and oozing out in my toaster.

Time to Get Ready for School

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It’s almost over…. my summer break that is.  It’s been a great summer… baseball, sleeping in, trips to the movies, ORGANIZING, and crafting.  But all good things must come to an end, and this year not only is mom going back to school, but my big kiddo starts kindergarten.  This means I must be really organized.  I’m lucky that my husband works evenings so someone is home with the little one all day, but this means dinner, homework, baths, stories, and lunch packing are on mom’s plate each evening.  Can you tell I am getting a little nervous?  With my freezer packed and some good planning, everything will go smoothly, make that smoother.  Tonight I started getting meals ready.  I’m sharing this recipe for Mini-Monkey bread from my favorite site- onceamonthmom.com.  I’m posting it for a few reasons… 1) they are SUPER easy to make and the big one loves helping, 2) they are YUMMY, and 3) canned biscuits are on sale for 39 cents a can this week at Savemart- making this dish about $1!!!  I’ll probably make 2 batches since they seem to disappear quickly!  Enjoy!  I’m working on breakfasts for mom and the kinder tomorrow- check back for a yummy breakfast pizza that was posted and I am dying to try.

Monkey Bread Bites

lisa @ Onceamonthmom.com

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans refrigerated biscuits (10 biscuits per can)
  • .25 cups of sugar
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease muffin tin. Combine cinnamon and sugar in shallow bowl.  Cut each biscuit into 4 small pieces.  Roll biscuit pieces in cinnamon/sugar mix until completely coated. Place approximately 6-7 pieces int each muffin tin.  Bake 15-20 minutes or just until tops get firm.

Freezing Directions:

Follow directions above.  Cool bites completely and transfer to a gallon freezer bag.  TO SERVE: Microwave from frozen state 45-60 seconds until warm.

Servings: 12

Fast Food at Home

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Tonight’s dinner didn’t start in the freezer, but the leftovers will surely end up there!  My oldest son LOVES corndogs.  He particularly loves the giant ones he eats at the baseball game with his grandparents.  I’m all for fun food on a stick, but sometimes I worry about what is in those darn tasty dogs.  (I don’t worry about them when I’m eating them just when I should be doing other things!)  Since we’ve been working on eating healthier and watching what is in the food we are eating, I thought homemade corn dogs would be a good item to try.  I have to admit, I’ve tried these in the past and failed miserable.  The corn part falls off and the things looks like some sort of alien food or something that a small child mixed up and put in the oven.  Then I stumbled across a recipe on Pinterest (LOVE THAT SITE, THOUGH IT TURNS INTO A BLACK HOLE!!).  The website  Out of the Box has tons of recipes for people trying to ovoid boxes foods filled with preservatives and other things most people cannot even pronounce.  The recipe is simple.  The neatest part is HOW they get the corn batter on the dogs.  First, make the batter in a jar (YUP, a quart size jar).  Then after sticking the stick on your dog, roll it in flour, and dip it into the jar to coat it.  Brilliant!  The coating stayed on, and they turned out beautifully.  My son said, “WOW!  Those look Yummy!”  I got to use healthier turkey dogs and everything in the batter I could pronounce.  Success!!  The leftovers will be frozen and make for quick and easy lunches, or dinners when dad is at work.  Enjoy the recipe!

SERVES: 8 corn dogs

TIME: Prep- 6 min
Cook – 3 to 5 minutes per batch

SUPPLIES: large pot (preferably wide and deep), fry thermometer, quart jar w/ lid, wood skewers

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/4 C corn meal
  • 3/4 C whole wheat pastry flour, plus 1/2 C for dredging
  • 1 1/2 tsp aluminum-free baking powder 
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 C whole milk
  • 8 hot dogs
  • 8 wood skewers
  • Vegetable oil or grapeseed oil for frying (approximately 2 quarts)

DIRECTIONS:

Step 1:

  • Preheat 1-2″ oil in large pot to 375 degrees.
  • Skewer hot dogs.

Step 2:

  • Place cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt into the quart jar.  Secure lid and shake until ingredients are combined.
  • Add eggs, milk and honey.  Shake again until mixed thoroughly.  Open jar and give batter a few stirs with a spoon to make sure all ingredients are incorporated.

Step 3:

  • Pour reserved 1/2 C flour onto plate and roll skewered hot dogs in flour to coat.
  • Dip hot dogs into jar several times to coat with batter making sure all parts of floured hot dog are coated.  Let excess batter drip off.
  • Place corn dog in 375 degree oil and cook until golden brown.
  • Remove to paper towel lined plate.

Total Time: 9 to 11 minutes

To Freeze:

  • Let corn dogs come to room temperature, then place in plastic freezer bag and freeze.
  • Corn dogs can remain in freezer for up to 3 months.

To Reheat:

  • Preheat oven or toaster oven to 350 degrees.
  • Bake corn dogs for 10-15 minutes, turning occasionally.

TOO HOT to cook!

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Hello friends!  It’s been a LONG time since I posted, but have no fear, this working mom of 2 is still freezer cooking.  In fact, even though I am technically on vacation, I am still using my freezer.  Why?  If I am home most of the day and have nothing super important to do before 9:00 in the morning, what’s the big deal?  Well, when the thermometer approaches 100, I have no desire to turn anything on in the house that produces even the slightest amount of heat.  I will crank down the AC once a month and get it all done.  Then on days like today when it’s a sweltering 98 degrees, the only thing going is my microwave.  Today’s tasty selections were smoothies, pita pockets, and southwestern skillet with cornbread.  NOTHING required more than my microwave or blender.  YIPPEE!!  Here’s the recipes for today.  Enjoy.  Check back tomorrow for tasty baby food.  Yup, I’m making my own baby food.  I have no idea why I didn’t try this with my first child, and you would think that with 2 children it would be impossible, but it’s not.  (So far, so good!)

 

Tropical Green Smoothies

(Don’t forget, make these all ahead and pour individual servings into freezer bags.  then take them out one at a time to thaw slightly while you get ready in the morning.  Presto, smoothies ready when you are.  If they aren’t entirely ready, a few seconds in the microwave finishes the job.)

  • 1 cup frozen fruit (I used mango and pineapple)
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup apple juice (no sugar added, 100% juice) or water
  • 1 cup+ fresh spinach (I cram as much as I can) (YES, spinach…You can’t taste it, I PROMISE!!)

Blend extremely well, and freeze. If you want to add some punch to it, add a scoop of chia seeds.

Pita Pockets

  • 1 package pita pockets (I used a soft bread variety, but anything will do)
  • your choice of lunch meat
  • mozzarella cheese of cheese of your choice)

These couldn’t be easier.  Cut up the lunch meat and add the shredded cheese.  Add the mixture to the pita pockets.  Wrap individually and freeze.  To eat, thaw and warm in microwave until the cheese melts.  OOEY GOOEY goodness.  Pita pockets also have less carbs than traditional sandwich bread.  This is great news for people watching their carb intake and my diabetic friends. 

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Southwest Skillet and Cornbread

This dish is completely made ahead of time and frozen. When you’re ready to eat it, simply defrost it and warm it up.  We served it with warm homemade cornbread.

Ingredients:

  • 1 batch Quick and Easy Corn Bread, cut into wedges
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • .5 cups onion, diced
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 7 teaspoons Homemade Taco Seasoning
  • 2 cups black beans
  • 2 cups fresh corn kernels
  • 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes with chilies
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1.5 cups shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

Directions:

Mix and bake cornbread as directed. While cornbread is baking, sauté ground beef and onions in a large skillet until meat is no longer pink and onions are soft. Add garlic and cook 1-2 more minutes. Stir in taco seasoning, black beans, corn, tomatoes, and tomato sauce. Mix well to combine and heat through. Spoon mixture over wedges of cornbread. Sprinkle with pepper jack cheese and chopped cilantro.

Freezing Directions:

Bake cornbread and cook skillet as directed (do not garnish with cheese or cilantro). Cool and store in freezer bags. TO SERVE: Thaw and reheat. Serve as directed above with cheese and cilantro.

Original recipe from http://onceamonthmom.com/southwestern-skillet-with-cornbread/

 

A Mini Cook Weekend

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I haven’t had much time for a big weekend cook, though I’m hoping next Sunday will allow me some prepping and cooking time. The freezer stockpile is almost depleted, and there are surely no lunches or breakfasts left. I worked hard last week to make sure that when I went to bed each night, lunches and breakfasts were ready for grabbing before heading out the door. I even managed to get in a quick 10 minute workout each morning due to my organized nights. So today I got the week prepped and organized. Here’s this week’s plan:

Breakfasts: homemade cereal bars (favorite of my toddler) and Whole Wheat Egg white McMuffins. I might sneak in some Peanut Butter and Jelly French Toast too. It wad a hit last wee!

Lunches: Pizza Rolls, hot pockets, Chicken quesadillas, and fruit and nut salad.

Dinner: Skinny Fish cakes (my husband and son have been spending lots of time at the lakes), pizza, Chicken Cordon Blue Bake, leftovers, and Tamale Pie.

It’s a short work week with the local fair starting, and family coming to visit on Saturday. Enjoy the recipes!!

   Homemade Cereal Bars


These taste just like the fruit filled cereal bars you find at the store. I got the recipe from my favorite freezer cooking blog. It’s so simple that after making them once, you won’t need the recipe anymore!

 

 

Ingredients:
1 C white AND Whole wheat flour
1.5 C oat flour (throw some old fashioned oatmeal in the food processor and grind it to a flour)
1 C brown sugar (I only use 1/2)
1 C softened Butter
You’re favorite fruit jam/jelly/preserves

Mix all ingredients except the jam/jelly in a bowl. I’ve done this with my hands and with my kitchen aide. Both work. Mix until a crumbly mixture forms. (Like the crust to a tart or cheesecake). Take small balls and press into a muffin pan, forming a cup. Fill with filling (I made some with peanut butter and jelly today!!). Then add more crumb mixture to the top. Mason loves to help make AND eat these!! Bake at 350 for about 20-25 minutes. Then let cool before removing from the pan. I use my silicone muffin pan and they pop right out.

Today I added Chia seed to them, and I’ve been known to add things such as sunflower seeds and flax seeds to the crumb mixture too. They freeze well, but we never get them to the freezer!

For my GF friends, here’s the link to a GF version.  http://onceamonthmom.com/gluten-free-dairy-free-oamm-makeover-cereal-bar-cookies/

The original link: http://onceamonthmom.com/homemade-cereal-bar-cookies/

 

Pizza Roll-Ups

 

This was a recipe that I stumbled upon on Pinterest.  Oh how I can get lost on Pinterest!  These roll-Ups are so easy to make, and my little one LOVE to help make them.

 

Ingredients:
1 can crescent rolls
4 sticks string cheese
32-40 pieces of pepperoni
Garlic powder

Roll out and separate the crescent rolls on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray or covered with parchment paper.  Place 4-5 pieces of pepperoni on each triangle.  Add half a string cheese stick on top.  Roll them like you would a roll, and tuck end over.  Sprinkle garlic powder on all the rolls.  Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes.  Dip in pizza sauce and enjoy!  These will freeze well too, but we will just keep these in the refrigerator for this week. 

The link: http://www.plainchicken.com/2011/12/crescent-pepperoni-roll-ups.html

 

Whole Wheat Egg white McMuffin Sandwiches

 

I am addicted to the McDonald’s drive thru.  This is bad for my pocketbook and my waistline!  So here’s my own healthier version of their McMuffin. 

 

Ingredients:

Egg whites (I buy them in a carton so I don’t waste the egg yolks)

Canadian Bacon (in the deli meats section with the pizza toppings)

Sliced cheese

Whole Wheat English Muffins

Split the muffins in half with a fork.  Place 1 piece of Canadian Bacon on each bottom.  Cook the egg whites in a pan. Figure on 2-3 egg whites per sandwich.  Add salt and pepper to the eggs while cooking.  When done, divide into the number of sandwiches you are making and place on top of the bacon.  Add a slice of cheese on top of the eggs.  Top the sandwhich and wrap.  I wrap these sandwiches in parchment paper before wrapping in foil if I can going to be freezing them. 

The WW Plus points are the same for both this sandwich and the one at your local drive thru, but the savings come in the cost!  I made my 4 sandwiches for $4, instead of the $12 I would have paid… Go me!

Start Small

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Start Small!  Have you been thinking about freezer cooking, but the idea of cooking all day just overwhelms you?  Are you afraid that the food you freeze won’t possibly taste good later? Have no fear, it’s possible to freezer cook in smaller batches, and what you make will taste just as good when you warm it up as when you make it originally.  You’ll enjoy the meal even more when you know that the prep and clean up is a breeze. 

I’ve been talking to many busy working moms about my freezer cooking adventures.  Some are making crock-pot meals for 2 times a week when they have kid chores (dance practice, cheer practice, gymnastics, etc.).  Others are making some quick and easy breakfasts and lunches to have on hand.  Whatever your need, START SMALL.  I’m posting some easy go to recipes to get you started.

Breakfast Burritos

Ingredients:

Eggs or egg whites

Cheese

Onions and peppers

Salt and pepper to taste

Chopped ham or sausage

Tortillas

  1. Cook sausage or sauté ham in skillet.  Add onions and peppers.
  2. Add eggs or whites and scramble all together.
  3. Add cheese and cook until cheese is melted and well combined.
  4. Warm tortillas and add filling.
  5. Wrap up and set aside. 
  6. Wrap each burrito in either wax paper or plastic wrap, and then again in foil or freezer paper. 
  7. Place all your burritos in 1 bag. 

To serve: Remove from freezer.  Remove foil and plastic/wax paper.  Wrap in paper towel and microwave for about 1 minute, or until warm.  ENJOY on the go!

To make these stretch a little farther, add some hash browns to the mixture.  This is my personal favorite!

BBQ Quesadillas

Ingredients:

Shredded chicken or chunked can chicken

BBQ sauce of your choice

Cheese

 

1.Mix chicken with BBQ sauce.

2.Warm each tortilla on grill and add chicken mixture.

3.Sprinkle with cheese and fold over.

After cooking, let cool.  Wrap each one individually in wax paper and then again with foil or freezer paper.  Store in large freezer bag.

Make it vegetarian by omitting the chicken or Gluten free by using corn tortillas instead of flour tortillas.  Change the meat to pulled pork or whatever you left over.