#SimpleSaturdaySuppers

I’ve decided to start sharing some simple (easy) supper ideas with you – and since they’re usually what I end up cooking on Saturdays, I thought that would be a good time to share them with you, too.

Here’s an oldie but goodie that I’ve already featured on my blog – Pizza Bread. You can make it with homemade dough, or if you want it to be a truly Simple Saturday Supper, use the premade french bread dough like I do.

I make it with leftover spaghetti sauce, bagged Italian cheese blend and whatever pizza meats I have on  hand – pepperoni, bacon, sausage. I add bell peppers, etc. as the kids and SuperMan are in the mood for.

It’s quick, easy and really tasty.

Give it a try.

Easy weeknight supper idea

For the past month or two (or maybe longer) Little Bit has been asking me to make “pizza bread” for dinner.  I made it once a long time ago and it was apparently one of her favorite incarnations of pizza that I have made.

I’ve resisted making it because, frankly, it was a lot of trouble.  Making the dough, letting it rise, rolling it out, chopping up all the ingredients, etc.  And it has just seemed like we were too busy to bother making it again.

But she has persisted in asking and so, when I saw that the grocery store had French bread dough on sale last week, I decided to try an experiment.

And it worked!

Super easy, super fast pizza bread!

A perfect weeknight dinner idea, ready within 45 minutes and so very tasty. Almost as good as the made-from-scratch version.  The family loved it and I loved how easy it was.

Here are the cast of characters:

Easy Peasy Pizza Bread Ingredients
Easy Peasy Pizza Bread Ingredients

Not pictured, frozen bell peppers (chopped) and Italian seasoning.

The most difficult part of making this dish (and seriously, this is not difficult) was unrolling the bread dough.

Unrolling the dough
Unrolling the dough

Once I unrolled the dough, I sprinkled it with the mozzarella cheese blend and added the toppings.  We like sausage, pepperoni and bell peppers. I was super lazy last night and used frozen bell peppers that SuperMan had chopped for me when we only needed half of a pepper for a recipe.

Toppings
Toppings

(I hadn’t put the cheese on yet in this picture)

Once I had all the toppings in place, I rolled the bread back up into a loaf, sealed the seams and the ends and popped it into the oven.  I baked it at 350 for about 35 minutes.

While that was baking I warmed up some spaghetti sauce I had left over from another recipe. You could certainly use jarred sauce if you have that, too.

Once it was finished, we sliced the bread and gobbled it up.

And I mean, literally gobbled. I didn’t get a single picture of the finished product!

Seriously, though, this was so easy and perfect for a busy weeknight meal.

I hope you give it a try.

Quick and Easy Pizza Bread

Pillsbury prepared French bread dough
Shredded Italian cheese blend
pepperoni slices
Cooked sausage crumbles (I used Jimmy Dean frozen turkey sausage crumbles)
chopped bell pepper

any other pizza toppings you like

  1. Unroll the bread dough. (I did this on my silpat baking mat. If you do it on your counter be sure you spray it with cooking spray first so it won’t stick)
  2. Sprinkle about 1 cup of cheese on the dough
  3. Add your toppings
  4. Roll the bread dough back up, sealing the seams and the ends. Score the top with 2-3 shallow slices to allow for expansion in the oven.
  5. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes until golden brown.
  6. Allow to cool for about 5-7 minutes before slicing and serving with warmed spaghetti sauce.

Saturday Night is Pizza Night

When I grew up, lunch on Saturdays was always hot dogs (sometimes sandwiches) and dinner was often pizza.  Which was perfectly fine with me because I absolutely love pizza. Sometimes, Mama would make homemade pizzas, using leftover spaghetti sauce and we’d get to top our own pizzas. Those were always my favorite because they were meaty and heavy with my favorite toppings.

We’ve been making homemade pizzas for a while now. I had shared a grilled pizza dough recipe a while ago, which is one of the standard recipes we used all of the time on the grill and in the house.  However, because I’m not one to leave things alone, I’ve continued to fiddle with the recipe and research more recipes and I’ve come up with a pretty darn good recipe that we’ve been using for the past few months.

This recipe makes two fourteen-inch (sort of) pizzas, or four “personal” sized pizzas if you divide the dough into smaller pieces.  One of the things I love about this dough is that it bakes up light and crispy – especially if you use a pizza stone and a screaming hot oven.  IMG_2304

A few things to know:

  • Using a pizza stone makes a MUCH better crust.  And pre-heat the stone while you’re pre-heating your oven.  Then the crust will crisp quickly when it hits that hot stone.
  • Cook in a HOT (HOT!) oven – I usually cook mine at 500 degrees (F).  If I didn’t set off all of the safety mechanisms on my stove and range hood, I’d do it hotter, but I’ve learned that it’s not worth having all the alarms go off for 50 degrees more heat. Smile with tongue out
  • Rising time is important. Plan your meal prep with enough time to allow at least 45 minutes for the dough to rise. You really can’t rush the little yeasties. Patience will pay off.
    IMG_2293

    ^^ before the rise ^^

    IMG_2294

    ^^ after 45 min rise time ^^

  • Get some grits. I know this sounds crazy, but we have learned (the hard way) that your pizzas will not slide off of a peel or cutting board very well once the dough is a little warm from rolling it out and then heavy from adding the toppings.  Last week we had cheese, dough, etc. all over my oven door and floor because of an uncooperative pizza that didn’t want to slide off of the peel.
    Grits (corn meal) under your dough (before you top your pizza) will act like little marbles and let the pizza slide right off of the peel.  And they add some crunch to your crust!
  • If you don’t have grits (you’re not from the South, are you?) then you can always roll your dough out on parchment (not wax) paper and bake the pizza on the parchment paper.  You just have to be careful because the parchment gets really crispy (brittle) in the oven and makes it a little tricky to pull the pizza out of the oven.
  • You can make this in a stand mixer or in your food processor. I’ve done it both ways. It usually depends on which appliance happens to be out on my counter at the time (or which is clean and not dirty!) Heck, you can even mix this by hand if you want. It’ll be a good workout for you. Winking smile
  • We usually get two meals (at least) out of this pizza-making session. One the night we make them and then one for lunch or supper a few days later. And it’s WAY cheaper than takeout pizza (and SO MUCH tastier!)

Pizza Dough

1 cup very warm water
2 1/4 tsp yeast
1 Tbsp honey
2 tsp salt
2-3 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese (like Kraft Parmesan)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp Italian Seasoning
~3 Cups flour (I used King Arthur White Whole Wheat flour)

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine water, yeast & honey. Let the yeast “bloom” for about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the oil, half of the flour (1.5 cups) and mix with a dough hook.
  3. While mixing, add the Italian Seasoning, salt and gradually add the remaining flour a little at a time until the dough begins to form a ball and pull away from the sides of the bowl.
  4. Knead for 6 minutes.
  5. Once the time has elapsed, remove the dough hook and form the dough into a ball.
  6. Lightly oil the mixing bowl and put the dough ball back in.  Cover with a towel and let rise in the for 45 minutes to an hour. (preheat your oven while dough is rising)

In Action

Here’s our little pizza making session Saturday night:

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^^ Rolling out the dough – topping the kids’ pizza ^^

PL 4x6 print pages - Page 062

^^ SuperMan making his monster pizza with 45 toppings. I swear it weight 10 pounds! ^^

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^^ Topping my BBQ Chicken pizza. ^^

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^^ The masterpiece ready for the oven. ^^

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^^ SuperMan says quit taking pictures and let’s eat! ^^

Cheesy Breadsticks

My plans for dinner on Tuesday night went awry when I couldn’t make what I’d planned – and I ended up coming up with a new dinner to cook.

I rummaged around on my Pinterest pins and tried to find something that would be easy to prepare and simple for the girls to serve/eat as I would not be home at suppertime and I wanted minimal fuss for them.

I ended up stumbling across this pin – and it was a fortunate stumble indeed. We thoroughly enjoyed these – and the girls took leftovers in their lunches today. I sent them with a salad and these breadsticks for a side.  They were pretty excited about their lunches (which is always nice).

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I’d strongly encourage you to try this one night. Other than the rise time, it was pretty quick to assemble and well worth the wait for the rise.  GREAT, kid-friendly food (and would be good for a game-day snack, too!)

I served ours last night with marinara for dipping. I had some leftover spaghetti sauce from Sunday’s dinner, but you could easily use a jarred sauce. If and when I use a jar sauce, my preference is to use Barilla or Bertolli Tomato Basil marinara sauces.

The secret to these breadsticks:

I think the secret to these yummy breadsticks is the fact that I tried to mimic the environment of a pizza oven like you’d find at a pizza kitchen. You know how they cook pizza in a screaming hot oven? Like 900 degrees or something crazy like that? Well, I think that is part of what makes them so good. The dough rises fast, cooks crisp and turns out fantastic.

So, I tried to do this in my oven. There are a few suggestions for you:

  1. Preheat your oven.  As hot as you can. 500 degrees is the max on your oven? Go for it. I cooked mine at 500 degrees.
  2. Preheat your pizza stone. While the oven is heating, put it in there and let it get smoking hot, too. Don’t have a pizza stone? Use an upside down cookie sheet. (suggested in the original recipe I linked to above)
  3. Roll out your dough on parchment paper. This will allow you to just slide your parchment paper right onto the baking stone and then right off the stone and onto a pan when you take the pizza out. Less chance for accidents that way.

I did make some modifications to the original recipes, so I thought I’d share my finished recipes with you here –

imgp4495

Cheesy Breadsticks

1 recipe pizza dough (recipe below)
2 Tbsp butter, room temperature
2 tsp minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 c parmesan
2-3 c mozzarella (or Italian cheese blend)
salt/pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees (or as hot as you can)
  2. Add pizza stone to preheat with oven.
  3. In a small bowl, mix butter, garlic & Italian seasoning. Set aside.
  4. Roll out your dough on a piece of parchment paper. If you are using the fool-proof recipe below, you should get two “pizzas” out of it. I rolled mine to about a quarter of an inch thick by about 12-14 inches in diameter. (although it was nowhere near a perfect circle)
  5. Spread the butter mixture on the dough
  6. Sprinkle your cheese on the top.
    (I also sprinkled some mini pepperoni on there before I put the cheese down)
  7. Slide parchment paper onto a cookie sheet and then off the cookie sheet and onto the baking stone in the oven.
  8. Bake for about 9-10 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and brown. Your dough should also bubble up nicely, too.
  9. Remove from oven. Let cool for 1-2 minutes before slicing into strips.
  10. Serve with marinara for dipping.

Pizza Dough

1 cup very warm water
2 1/4 tsp yeast
1 Tbsp honey (I used Agave syrup)
2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp Italian Seasoning (I used Mrs. Dash Italian Medley)
~3 Cups flour (I used King Arthur White Whole Wheat flour)

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine water, yeast & honey. Let the yeast “bloom” for about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the oil, half of the flour (1.5 cups) and mix with a dough hook.
  3. While mixing, add the Italian Seasoning, salt and gradually add the remaining flour a little at a time until the dough begins to form a ball and pull away from the sides of the bowl.
  4. Knead for 6 minutes.
  5. Once the time has elapsed, remove the dough hook and form the dough into a ball.
  6. Lightly oil the mixing bowl and put the dough ball back in.  Cover with a towel and let rise in the for 45 minutes to an hour. (preheat your oven while dough is rising)

You can use this dough for breadsticks, pizza, calzones, etc.

You can also add 1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese to the dough for a cheesier crust. You may need less flour if you do this.

Remember, doughs are going to behave differently based on the humidity in your home – if it is a rainy day, you may need more flour than the recipe calls for. If it is dry, you may need less. The three cups the recipe calls for is a good guideline, but use your instincts and go slowly adding the last half of the flour into the dough. Let it incorporate a little at a time until you have the right consistency.  If you’ve got enough flour, your dough should not stick to the sides of the bowl and you should have a nice ball of dough that is not sticky to the touch.  (the original recipe I used has some good pictures of the consistency you are looking for)

Linking up with the Weekend Potluck.

It’s Monday… again.

Hello, all, and happy Monday (I think – it is probably too early to tell just yet)

After a happy, but busy, weekend, we’re kicking off the week with a countdown to spring break… the girls and I can hardly wait.  Not waking up at 5 AM is certainly something to look forward to! We have not finalized our plans yet… they have changed several times in the past week or so and so I’ve just about decided to not worry about PLANS and just roll with the tide. Maybe we’ll stay home, maybe we’ll go somewhere. Just not sure yet.

Planning some grill cooking this week – the weather is so beautiful, it is hard to resist dinner on the grill. On Saturday, we cooked our entire meal on the grill. I made these yummy three-cheese potato pockets. They were so good. Although, next time I make them, I’ll probably only put the onion in the pocket for SuperMan. Too much onion for the girls and me. But yummy nonetheless.

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We grilled ribs, corn (wrapped in foil and slathered with butter) and the potato pockets. It was a yummy, yummy dinner. Made especially good because there were very few dirty pots to wash. (my dishwasher is dead)

Sunday night we had guests for dinner – our friends from our Bible Study group at church.  I made a nacho bar. I have to say that this is a terrific idea when you are feeding a crowd. I would think it would be great for a bunch of teens, too.

I made shredded “taco” chicken in the crock pot on Saturday and then browned ground beef on Sunday for a second crock pot-full.  We had toppings galore – cilantro, onion, lettuce, olives, cheese, jalapeños, three kinds of salsa, and on and on and on.  I also made a cheese dip with some Velveeta and salsa.  Yeah, not the healthiest, but it sure was good. Smile

I served this warm bean dip as a side item, but most of us just put it on our nachos. It was a huge hit (another one of my finds from Pinterest)

Everyone was able to fix their own plate of nachos to their liking. I have to say, there were very few leftovers and I like it that way!

This week I’m still working out my menu plan – so far I know we’ll be doing the following:

Monday: Creamy chicken & rice (crock pot)

Tuesday: Leftovers from Sunday – probably turned into quesadillas

Wednesday: Asian Chicken Salad (new recipe for us) – I’ll share this recipe later this week. It’s a yummy salad recipe shared by a friend. After I’ve made it, I’ll let you know all about it!

Thursday: Slow Cooker Salisbury Steak (new recipe for us) Big Girl has a doctor’s appt for her tummy so we will go with slow cooker recipes to make it easier for mama.

Friday: Pizza night

Saturday:  Grilled goodness (not sure what yet)


NEED MORE IDEAS?

You can find more yummy recipes on orgjunkie.com where you can find some great recipes and menu plans.

I’ll be back tomorrow with some updates to my Project Life pages.

Menu Plan Monday ~ 30 August

Happy Monday, everyone!

This week will be an interesting one for us. SuperMan is going on a new work schedule and won’t be home until after 7 each night (boo!) which means that the girls and I will be on our own for supper most nights. This will be a challenge for me. What to cook that the girls will enjoy/eat and will still be appetizing for SuperMan when he gets home…

Here’s what I have planned for the week:mpm-1

  • Twice-baked potatoes with a salad
  • Chicken Parmesan
    This will be a new one to try on the kids. I don’t know if they will like it or not.
  • Steaks cooked on the grill with fresh veggies and buttered potatoes
    This is usually a SuperMan-cooked dinner. It will be interesting to see how I do cooking steaks.
  • Pizza Braid
    I saw this recipe last week when I was perusing other Menu Plan Monday posts. Have to try it.
  • Sloppy Joes with homemade french fries & fresh fruit
    Kid-friendly & fast – good for one of those nights we have dance classes.
  • Chicken Pomodoro
    I have had this on my list for two weeks and haven’t made it yet. Maybe this week?

 

What are you cooking this week?

Join us over at orgjunkie.com and share your menu plan!

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What’s for dinner?

What’s for dinner at your house tonight?

I have been trying to come up with something creative, appetizing and quick/easy for us tonight. My attention has been a little distracted the past week with a little person who is under the weather (hence the less-frequent-than-normal posts, too.)Pizza poppers baked close up

I just stumbled across this recipe for Stuffed Pizza Bites on a blog I follow: Our Best Bites (have you heard of them? If not, you should check them out – they have a lot of yummy recipes.

I’ll post some pictures and let you know how the munchkins and SuperMan like it tonight.