The Freezer is my Best Friend Part 5: Homemade Pizza

It’s not delivery. And there’s no way it’s DiGiorno’s. (Did I even spell that right?)

But sometimes (ummm- a lot of times!), us food allergy families want an easy dinner.

We occasionally enjoy Daiya “cheese” pizza, but at almost $10 for a small frozen pizza, it’s quite spendy. It’s worth it, though, for the sake of ease and convenience.

A friend of mine blogs over at Ally’s Sweet and Savory Eats. She wrote about a way to freeze homemade pizza. I pinned it and finally gave it a go.

Ally’s recipe needed a few changes to adapt it to our diet.

Here’s how I made dairy, egg, and beef free pizzas for our freezer.

Homemade Pizzas for the Freezer:
(Freezer instructions come from this recipe. Thanks Ally!)

Ingredients:

Directions:

  • Click on the homemade pizza dough recipe above. I don’t follow their instructions. I put it all in my bread machine and press the “dough” button. In an hour and a half, I have gorgeous homemade pizza dough!
  • Click on the homemade pizza sauce recipe above. Double the recipe.
  • Prepare your toppings. I like to use chopped onion, chopped green bell peppers, and olives.
  • Once the pizza dough is ready, preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  • Flour large surface. Separate pizza dough into 4 equal parts (Or 8 if you want smaller pizzas). Flour your rolling pin. Roll each portion of dough into a round circle. Use a fork to prick the raw dough. Place onto a round pizza pan or pizza stone. (I use $3.99 pizza pans with holes in them. They work great.) Bake for 6 minutes. Repeat with each pizza dough. (I always have a few pizza dough bubbles and prick them again with the fork.) Let the partially baked pizza crusts rest on a cookie rack while you pre-bake them all.
  • Spread pizza sauce on each pizza. I didn’t measure it. I just eyeballed it. If you like really saucy pizza, you might have to make more pizza sauce.
  • Spread cheese on the pizzas. I generally use 1/2 bag per pizza.
  • Add toppings.
  • Flash freeze in the freezer for 45 minutes. (The tricky part is finding space to flash freeze them. You flash freeze the pizzas unwrapped.  I put the pizzas on a cookie sheet in the freezer.)
  • Wrap the pizza in plastic wrap several times and label and date with reheating instructions.
  • Ally’s reheating instructions are to bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Vegan Cheese Pizza

Vegan Cheese & Veggie Pizzas

Random Notes:

I almost ran out of vegan cheese because I did this on a whim and wasn’t quite as prepared as I should have been. I will add a bit more cheese to the cheese pizzas when I bake them.

Also, I decided to make 2 of the 4 cheese pizzas. I can add toppings later if I want or leave them as just cheese.

I made two normal size round pizzas and four smaller ones. The smaller ones are above in the photos.

The Daiya “cheese” is $4.99 a bag, but even at that price, these pizzas still come out cheaper than the store bought Daiya frozen pizzas ($9.59 at my HyVee.) The cost of the other toppings are minimal and are always in my pantry or fridge as staples, so I don’t really count that towards the final price of cost savings. (One onion, one bell pepper & a jar of olives maybe cost $3.00. Add the two bags of “cheese” and the cost for all of the pizzas are maybe $12.98. This is my best quick estimate. I’m not figuring in the pizza dough or pizza sauce.) By this rough estimate, each pizza costs about $3.25!

I’m so EXCITED to have 4, that’s right 4, homemade and SAFE pizzas in my freezer right now. I almost don’t want to use them because then I’ll have three… I know, that doesn’t make sense. I wish I would’ve made more!

Right now, I’m one happy mama!

I’d love to know:  What are your favorite pizza toppings?

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15 Days of Dairy & Egg Free Dinners: Part 3

I know meal planning can be hard and it’s even harder with food allergies.

I hope these menu plans have helped you, my sweet readers, find some new, safe & yummy recipes.

In this menu, I’ve included 12 new recipes! I’m feeling brave. And why not? I pin so many recipes- I may as well make them!

Here’s what I have planned for the second half of September.  You might notice the menu is beef free.

1. Pineapple Fried Rice (Sub veggies, omit sesame oil and sub olive oil)

2. Vegan Spinach Meatballs, Homemade Spaghetti Sauce & Whole Wheat Angel Hair Pasta

3. Chicken Ranch & Rice Soup & Crackers

4. Lentil Sloppy Joes, Tater Tots & Sautéed Zucchini

5. Chicken & Biscuits (Make homemade cream of chicken & use homemade biscuits & use frozen Italian veggies)

6. Garlic Balsamic Pork Kabobs, Sautéed Fresh Spinach & Pineapple Chunks

7. Flex Meal

8. Creamy White Bean & Bacon Soup & Homemade Biscuits

9. Raspberry Glazed Pork Chops, Baked Sweet Potatoes & Sautéed Zucchini

10. 20-40 Clove Garlic Chicken, Baked Potatoes & Steamed Broccoli

11. Lemon Garlic Orzo Soup (Add 1 cup of cooked chicken and use safe pasta)

12. Veggie Pot Pie

13. Easy Ranch Chicken (Use homemade dairy & egg free ranch. Use Just Mayo & Non-dairy milk) & French Fries & Grilled Asparagus

14. Slow Cooker Maple & Brown Sugar Pork Tenderloin, Baked Potatoes & Roasted Carrots

15. BBQ Chicken Pizza

Here’s a pic of my homemade dairy and egg free biscuits. I’ll post how I modified the recipe to make it safe soon.

Homemade Biscuits.  Yum!

Homemade Biscuits. Yum!

Beef Allergy?

Beef by J.R.

I have to share something.

SG has always eaten beef safely. Mostly cooked ground beef in stuff like spaghetti and meatloaf, but also steak.

This summer, we let her eat her steak cooked medium, the same way we eat it. Normally, we cooked her steak well done. We prepared and grilled it at home. Several times this summer she had 2-3 hives around her mouth, which quickly went away.

After she had steak the last time and broke out in a few hives, the light bulb went off in my head. I sat and thought about it and finally pinpointed it to beef- or rather steak. I thought it was because we tried a new brand of steak and maybe there were cross contamination issues.

The last night she had steak and we realized it must be the beef, I kept SG up late, letting her watch movies and holding her by my side. I was armed and ready with her EpiPen and Benadryl, which thankfully, she didn’t need. She didn’t have a reaction further than the first 2-3 hives, but as a food allergy mom, I know reactions can be delayed.  And can get worse.

Knowing that, I slept fitfully.  I checked on her several times through the night, listening to her steady breathing.  The Huzz held me in his arms and told me it was gonna be alright.  “Beef isn’t that good for you, anyway,” he said.  But as he held me close, a few tears slipped from my eyes.  “Here we go again with food allergies,” I thought.

After the Huzz drifted to sleep, I laid in bed, took deep breaths, and prayed. I prayed for answers, for safety for SG, for wisdom in learning to live with yet another food allergy, if that is the diagnosis. And I didn’t know this exact verse, but I knew most of this verse. I prayed this several times. I looked it up the next morning. Matthew 11:28.

Matthew 11:28

SG tested negative to fish and shellfish in the past but I’ve yet to give her any. When they tested her last week for beef, she was retested for several fish and shellfish. All of the tests were negative. So that’s positive! I will learn to like and cook fish and shellfish. We’ve decided to slowly introduce these foods into SG’s diet.

But back to the beef…

After a week with three different tests, the results are in- kind of. According to the RAST test and the skin test using the beef serum from the allergist, SG is allergic to beef. However, she has been eating well cooked beef since she was small. We skin tested her again with a raw and cooked piece of beef. She had no skin reaction to either!

We have two other blood test results that aren’t in yet. One is checking for the tick thing (I’m not getting into that explanation. Just writing this all out is enough for today.) The other test is to see if she is a high histamine releasing person. There are medical names for these but I just can’t remember them.

Anyway, the allergist recommended we continue to feed her well cooked ground beef, as she is TOLERATING it. That’s the important word.

It’s scary to knowingly feed your child a food you know she is allergic to. But I’ve unknowingly fed it to her for several years. And the downside to complete elimination is she MIGHT possibly lose her tolerance.

The Huzz and I had a convo about giving her a small amount of ground beef with hashbrowns on Saturday mornings. That way she has it first thing in the morning and we are both with her all day.

Let me just tell y’all something. Today, I felt peace that surpasses all understanding. I was prayed up. I prayed no matter what we learned today, I would joyfully say, “Lord, Your will and Your way.”

When SG had her RAST test for beef, we decided to go ahead and check her milk and egg levels.

I prayed her milk level would have gone down, or at least stayed the same. Instead, it rocketed off of the charts. And her egg whites went WAY up. Egg yolk went up, too, but was the least dramatic.

The last time I received her RAST numbers, I BURST into tears. I felt as if my world had come crashing down, for the second time. The initial diagnosis was a HARD day. Reading the hard facts about her RAST test a few weeks later devastated me yet again.

But not this time. I am disappointed. I would be lying if I said it’s all hunky dory. It’s not. But I serve a God who is bigger than food allergies. A friend reminded me that this is a “momentary affliction” in light of eternity. Those words played in my head driving home from the test.

God filled me with His grace and I was able to stand up straight and talk about what needed to be done and get through the appointment without falling apart.

And ya know what? As I’m typing this, a little tear is in my eye. I don’t know if it’s because I’m retelling this beef story, if it’s because I’m overwhelmed by God’s grace or both.

Probably both.

I’m a little 5’1 ball of emotion today.

I know that through it all, God is good. And as much as food allergies STINK and have changed our lives, it’s a part of us. We will continue to be vigilant parents and provide her with a normal childhood.

The Lord has gone before us and is the Alpha and Omega and that comforts me greatly.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:6-7   (NIV)

(Emphasis added by me.)

1 Package of Chicken Breasts, 5 Ideas for Lunch!

Our “big grocery” day is every Monday. Every Monday, SG and I go to Aldi’s and HyVee and any other place I decide we need to go for groceries.

For some reason, I cannot get us ready and out of the house before 10 am. I don’t know why. Seriously, I’m so slow at getting us out of the house unless we have a doctor’s appointment. Does anyone else have this problem or is it just me?

I digress.

Leaving at 10 o’clock (ish) puts us at a dangerous spot— we end up shopping at lunchtime when we are hungry! And y’all know we just can’t go to any drive thru. I pack snacks for SG, but by the time we come home we are both hungry.

A few weeks ago, I started buying one package of Just Bare chicken breasts on grocery day. The minute we drag the groceries in, I preheat the oven. In less than 25 minutes, we have yummy and fresh baked chicken breasts.

Here’s the best part- we use them for lunches several days in a row!

Here’s how I use our chicken breasts for lunch. Look for how I bake the chicken at the end of the post.

1. Chicken Salad Sandwiches. This uses a lot of the chicken so I don’t do this as much. I usually get 2-3 breasts per pack. I use about 2 breasts for this recipe.

Chicken Salad Sandwich

2. BBQ Chicken Nachos. This is my current absolute favorite! I eat this for lunch several times a week. I even bribed SG into taking a bite for the cost of just one skittle… and she LOVED it! (The bbq chicken nachos and the skittle.) She had bbq chicken nachos today and declared she wanted bbq chicken nachos for lunch every day.

Ingredients:

  • Safe Tortilla Chips
  • BBQ Sauce
  • Daiya Mozzarella Shreds
  • Cooked and cubed chicken

Directions:

  • Spread out chips on microwave safe plate. Top with Daiya shreds.
  • Microwave until “cheese” is melted. I microwave mine for 20-30 seconds.
  • Chop chicken and put in a bowl. Pour in some bbq sauce and coat the chicken.
  • Spread the bbq chicken over the nachos. Serve with additional bbq sauce for dipping, if desired.
Preparing the nachos with LOTS of Daiya mozzarella shreds!

Preparing the nachos with LOTS of Daiya mozzarella shreds!

BBQ Chicken Nachos

BBQ Chicken Nachos

Alternatively, plain chicken and “cheese” nachos with Daiya cheddar shreds are yummy, too, and are served for lunch in our house quite a bit.

"Plain" Chicken and Daiya Cheddar Shreds Nachos.  And a jeweled three year old's hand.

“Plain” Chicken and Daiya Cheddar Shreds Nachos. And a jeweled three year old’s hand.

3. Chicken Quesadillas. Here’s a link that describes in more detail how I make these. You can be so creative with quesadillas. SG loves plain chicken and Daiya cheese quesadillas. Anything can be added to quesadillas: onions, peppers, ham, carrots, salsa, rice, beans…whatever you want! SG has quesadillas for lunch at least twice a week.

4. I use the chicken as I would at dinner. I buy these microwaveable tater tots and they are great for quick lunches. I can quickly serve her baked chicken, tater tots and some fruit for lunch. Easy peasy!

5. Chicken, Rice, & Beans. Occasionally, while the chicken is cooking, I’ll make a quick pot of black beans, Spanish style. (I promise I’ll share my recipe soon.) While the beans simmer away, the chicken bakes, and I throw some rice in my rice cooker. It sounds like a lot of work, but it’s really not. And I can eat leftovers for lunch for a few days. And that’s the best!

Here’s how I bake chicken.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of boneless chicken breasts
  • Olive Oil or Olive Oil Spray (I use the spray)
  • Sea Salt
  • Adobo Seasoning

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  • Use a 9×9 pyrex & spray the bottom with the olive oil spray.
  • Put the chicken in the pyrex. Spray the top of the chicken. Season with salt and adobo. Flip chicken over. Spray again. Repeat seasoning.
  • Bake for 11 minutes. Turn the chicken. Bake for another 10-13 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked completely.
Olive Oil Spray

Olive Oil Spray

Raw chicken seasoned and ready to bake!

Raw chicken seasoned and ready to bake!

Baked and lightly seasoned chicken.  The adobo gives it just the right flavor.

Baked and lightly seasoned chicken. The adobo gives it just the right flavor.

Do you have any yummy and easy ideas for lunches? Please share. We love new recipes!