Since I have started a new job and have a longer commute, I have less time to make dinner every day. I’ve started putting together dinner components to make the process go faster, sort of like Once a Month Cooking and Dream Dinners, but on a much smaller scale. I fry bacon and freeze it for baked potatoes and omelets. I freeze chicken legs in marinades of soy sauce and garlic. I make pizza dough and toss it in the freezer after its rise, which is one of my favorite time-savers.
The pizza dough recipe I have been using is basic, found on Eat, Live, Run because I have a lot of whole wheat flour right now. But I really like the Pioneer Woman’s Perfect Pizza Crust (really the trick is just to let the dough “age” before baking). They both freeze beautifully. Usually I’ll make a batch (both recipes make enough for two pizzas) and use one for dinner that night (usually a weekend) and freeze the other (wrapping it tightly in plastic wrap and storing in a freezer bag. To defrost I take it out the night before and put it in the fridge, then take it out and leave it on the counter for at least 20 minutes while I prep the toppings. Getting it to as close to room temperature as possible is important, as the dough won’t stay stretched out very well if it’s too cold. Pizza dough that keeps snapping back is so awfully frustrating.
I’m really not fancy with toppings, I just use whatever I have. The pizza above was a blend of bell peppers, bacon (previously frozen), garlic, chopped onion, mozzarella, parmesan and spices (sea salt and rosemary). The cheese comes from Grocery Outlet, they always have goat cheese and fresh mozzarella for significantly cheaper than anywhere else. I really like fresh mozzarella too, it just gets so much more melty than pre-shredded.
You may notice that there is no sauce. I never use sauce on my pizzas. Though sometimes I’ll use a thin layer of raspberry jam as it’s really quite good with mozzarella, pepperoni and goat cheese. Really! Well, at least Caleb likes it. I think it’s pretty tasty too.
I also started sprinkling the pan with cornmeal. It works a thousand times better at preventing the evils of baked-on crust than a smear of olive oil.
For my next trick I’d like to try baking a pizza in my cast iron pan. I’ve seen it around on a few other blogs and it looks awful purdy. But soon I am also going to try freezing biscuits after they rise. I always make drop biscuits, but I’d like to take the time to roll them and cut them out properly. Seems like I should be able to do that, freeze them on a cookie sheet then pop them into a freezer bag. Defrost and bake when needed.
Other meals I have waiting for me in the freezer are gyros (chicken pieces marinating in tzatiki, which will be combined with some frozen pitas), pre-cooked brown rice (just reheat in the microwave) and lots of various chicken parts marinating in a variety of sauces. But tonight I think we’ll be having another pizza. I’ll need to replenish the freezer with more dough soon!
P.S. Thanks MIL for the inspiration from Dream Dinners!