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?

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!

15 Days of Dairy & Egg Free Dinners: Part 2

Y’all, I skipped two weeks in my menu planning. I had it all planned out and then we had two separate visits from both of our parents and I threw my menu plan out the window.

But once again, I’m back on track.

You might notice I serve zucchini for the veggie a lot lately. Here’s why: It’s in season. It’s dirt cheap at Aldi. SG loves it.

And this is the THIRD time I’ve included the “Crockpot Italian Chicken Soup” in a menu plan and I’ve yet to make it! Something always seems to come up… (Or I’m just lazy sometimes, which is oh so true!)

Here is our menu for the first half of September.

1. Grill Chicken, Chips, Carrots & Homemade Safe Ranch Dip (Use Just Mayo and Non-Dairy Milk for the Ranch)

2. Simple Black Bean Soup & Homemade Bread

3. Shake & Bake Pork Chops, Baked Potatoes & Sautéed Zucchini

4. Crockpot Italian Chicken Soup & Homemade Biscuits

5. Clean Eating Chicken Kabobs & Baked Sweet Potatoes

6. Mojo Pork Tenderloin, Rice, & Beans

7. Mojo Quesadillas & Sautéed Zucchini (Use leftover pork from Day 6)

8. BBQ Chicken Pizza

9. Clean Eating Refried Bean Soup & Tortilla Chips

10. Crockpot Rotisserie Chicken & Roasted Carrots & Potatoes

11. Chicken Nachos & BBQ Chicken Nachos (Use leftover chicken from day 10)

12.  Flex Meal

13. Honey Mustard Pork Chops, Tater Tots & Steamed Cauliflower

14. “Cheesy” Taco Crescents & Steamed Broccoli (Use Chicken or Black Beans for Protein for Taco Crescents)

15. Crockpot Shredded BBQ Chicken Sandwiches, Ore-Ida French Fries & Sautéed Zucchini

Here’s what our Homemade Shake & Bake Pork Chops look like. The recipe only tells you how to make the shake & bake mixture. I cooked ours at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Flip chops after the first 15 minutes. Ours were perfect and juicy! SG kept asking for “More chicken please!” We told her it was pork chops, but hey, whatever! She loved it. I also play with the spices a bit on the recipe. Use the shake and bake as a guide. I add extra of the spices we love like oregano.

Shake & Bake Pork Chops

Homemade BBQ Chicken Pizza: Dairy and Egg Free

Homemade BBQ Chicken Pizza

Homemade BBQ Chicken Pizza

I used to mourn the loss of $5 hot and ready pizzas. Not anymore! This bbq chicken pizza is SO good- it has made me forget about what’s their name’s pizza.

My inspiration came from Once A Month Meals. Their recipe uses real mozzarella, which we can’t use. Daiya mozzarella shreds sub perfectly. For the bbq sauce, we use Weber’s brand. It’s so yummy! And I use my pre-cooked and pre-portioned chicken I keep stocked in my freezer. Click here for the chicken recipe and to see how to freeze it.

I also make my own pizza dough. Click here for the dough recipe. I don’t follow their directions, though. I throw it all in my bread machine and use my “Dough” setting. It takes an hour and a half on my bread machine. I also only use HALF of the pizza dough recipe. It yields two pizzas for us, which is the perfect amount. This dough is DELISH.

BBQ Chicken Pizza:
(Adapted from this recipe at Once A Month Meals)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 of this recipe for homemade pizza dough
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup of BBQ sauce per pizza
  • 1/2 cup of BBQ sauce for coating the chicken per cup of chicken
  • 2 cups of pre-cooked chicken, separated into one cup each
  • 1 bag of Daiya mozzarella shreds
  • Small handful of chopped onion
  • 2-3 Tbs of chopped cilantro per pizza

Directions:

  1. Make pizza dough.  (Take a break for an hour and a half and then proceed to step 2.)
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Flour large surface. Separate pizza dough into 2 equal parts. Flour your rolling pin. Roll each 1/2 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 the second pizza dough. (I always have a few pizza dough bubbles and prick them again with the fork.)
  3. Lower oven temp to 400 degrees. Spread 1/3 to 1/2 cup of bbq sauce on each pizza. Use less if you want a less saucy pizza and the 1/2 cup if you like more “sauce.”
  4. Sprinkle half of the bag of Daiya mozzarella shreds per pizza.
  5. Toss each cup of chicken with 1/2 cup of bbq sauce. (Or toss two cups of chicken with one cup of bbq sauce and split the chicken between the pizzas.) Spread the bbq chicken on top of the mozzarella “cheese.” Remember, 1 cup of chicken per pizza. 🙂
  6. Sprinkle the onions on top of the chicken. Top with the cilantro.
  7. Bake at 400 degrees for 16 minutes, or until the vegan cheese is melted and the pizza crust is browned.
Pure Yumminess!

Pure Yumminess!

We have this pizza probably twice a month. We absolutely love it! We think you will, too. 😉

15 Days of Dairy & Egg Free Dinners: Part 1

Homemade Dairy & Egg Free Bread for the Steak Sandwiches

Homemade Dairy & Egg Free Bread for the Steak Sandwiches

I have to admit… I’ve fallen off of the menu planning wagon. I was tired and lazy for a few days. I completely relied on my “Flex Meals” to get us through. I’m back at it, though. I’ve realized I need *truly* easy recipes for me to stay on track. I love easy throw in the crockpot recipes. I also love it when the Huzz grills. I don’t mind a little work, but honestly, the easier, the better.

I also changed the format. I think having it numbered is a little more user friendly. Also, to differentiate the menus, starting now I’m just going to label them Part 1, Part 2, etc. Unless you can think of a better name??? I’m kind of stumped for cutesy names right now. What do you think? The 16 Day Menus will start their own Part 1, Part 2, etc. Got it?

Okay, let’s get to it. There are some repeats. There are also a few new recipes thrown in for the sake of variety. We also absolutely LOVE BBQ chicken pizza, so you will see that in probably almost every menu.

1. BBQ Chicken Pizza (Use 1/2 of this homemade pizza dough recipe and use breadmaker. Use Daiya mozzarella cheese shreds.)

2. Mojo Pork Tenderloin, Rice & Black Beans

3. Mojo Pork Quesadillas (Use leftover mojo pork.)

4. Oven Roasted Teriyaki Chicken Thighs, Rice, and Asparagus

5. Flex Meal

6. BBQ Chicken Sandwiches, OreIda Crispers, & Sautéed Yellow Squash

7. Steak Sandwiches (season steak lightly with olive oil, adobo, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, salt & pepper.) Make homemade bread. Steam in a bag Broccoli Florets.

8. Rotisserie-Style Chicken. Grilled Red Potatoes, Zucchini, & Asparagus.

9. Chicken Stir Fry (Use leftover chicken from day 8. Use any leftover grilled veggies or veggies from week. Add fresh veggies if needed.)

10. Grilled Lemon-Rosemary Pork Chops (Lemon-Rosemary Marinade: olive oil, a tablespoon or two of lemon juice, a small palmful of dried rosemary & a small palmful of dried/fresh lemon peel, 1-2 teaspoons of minced garlic, & less than a small palmful of sea salt. There are really no measurements. Eyeball it.) 🙂 Baked Sweet Potatoes & Steamed Cauliflower

11. Arroz con Pollo y Habichuelas (Chicken & Rice & Beans, Puerto Rican Style) I will share a recipe if I can perfect it. My rice isn’t quite right yet but the flavor is spot on!

12. Arroz con Pollo Leftovers

13. BBQ Chicken Pizza (see number 1 for links)

14. Pizza Leftovers

15. Grilled T-Bone Steaks & Grilled Zucchini, Onions, Peppers & Red Potatoes

I’ve been revisiting an older series from Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss about Proverbs 31. I’m listening to it now as I type up this menu plan. Nancy said this and I had to share it, as it’s so timely and so true:

“As we look at these verses and continue through this passage, I want you to see that in everyday, practical ways, the excellent wife—the virtuous wife, the excellent mother—is giving her family a picture of Christ and of spiritual realities. You say, “Food preparation is showing my family something about Christ and about spiritual realities?” You bet it is.

You’re living out parables. You’re demonstrating parables of spiritual life to your children as you work with your hands, as you serve in your home. When you prepare food for your family, you’re demonstrating to them that God is a faithful provider. When you’re being quality conscious in the things that you purchase, you’re showing your children the excellence of the character of God.”

I love this reminder!

The Closest We Get To Take Out: “Flex” Meals

I like to call the nights when I skip the menu plan and whip up something easy and quick “Flex Meals.” Really, it’s my way of almost not cooking- it’s as close as we can get to the convenience of take out.

Because y’all know…we don’t eat out anymore as a family! If it weren’t for our date nights or girl’s night out, I’d never eat out. SG doesn’t.

So, here’s how I’m able to throw together a flex meal, without doing much work.

1.  I keep a stocked freezer that includes cooked and cubed chicken portioned in one cup portions and pre-cooked and seasoned ground chuck, portioned in about 1/4 pound bags. I also keep Hormel cubed ham in the freezer.

Bags of pre-cooked and seasoned chicken & ground chuck

Bags of pre-cooked and seasoned chicken & ground chuck

2.  I always keep Mission flour fajita sized tortillas and Mission tortilla chips in the pantry.

Tortillas

3. I keep frozen Daiya cheddar style shreds and Daiya mozzarella shreds in my freezer.

4. I keep frozen broccoli florets in the freezer- the steam in the bag kind.

5.  I keep Dole fruit in the little individual plastic containers stocked in the pantry.

These are the basics for my flex meals. With these, I can create:

  • Chicken & cheese nachos
  • Beef & cheese nachos
  • Ham & cheese nachos
  • Chicken & cheese quesadillas
  • Beef & cheese quesadillas
  • Ham & cheese quesadillas
  • Cheese quesadillas
  • Ham & cheese pizza tortillas

I can quickly and easily steam some broccoli in the bag and serve alongside any of the above. If I’m out of fresh fruit, then some drained Dole fruit will work.

These also make great lunches!

I put the ham and cheese in the tortilla frozen.  The skillet defrosts and heats it all.

I put the ham and cheese in the tortilla frozen. The skillet defrosts and heats it all.

I used leftover Mojo Pork Tenderloin & Daiya cheddar shreds in this quesadilla.

I used leftover Mojo Pork Tenderloin & Daiya cheddar shreds in this quesadilla.

Here’s how I pre-cook and stock my freezer with our favorite chicken recipe.  On the days I cook this chicken, the next day I always make a batch of this chicken and rice soup for the freezer.  I freeze it in portions big enough for me and SG to eat for lunch. Homemade frozen soup is another easy flex meal.

Here’s how I pre-cook and stock my freezer with ground chuck.

I know the days I’m knee deep in cooking, cubing, portioning, and freezing chicken or beef, I will appreciate it in the days to come.  And when I’m not feeling so hot or am just plain tired, I am so grateful for the meat I’ve cooked and frozen.

Do you have any easy “Flex Meals” to share?

Meat & “Cheesy Ranch” Rollup

Have y’all visited Once A Month Meals yet? Here’s their website:

onceamonthmeals.com

They have amazing recipes and they are all freezer friendly. Y’all know how much I love my freezer. It’s my best friend!

I saw a recipe on their site yesterday and I just had to try it right away. With modifications, of course!

Click here for the original recipe.

Here is how I made a dairy and egg free version of the Ham & Cheese Rollup.  Let’s call it Meat and “Cheesy Ranch” Rollup, though, because I think it will be just as yummy with shredded or cubed cooked chicken. I also omitted the broccoli, the healthiest part of the recipe. Feel free to add some broccoli or any other veggie you think will pare well with the ingredients.

This recipe calls for ranch dressing. And y’all! I made dairy and egg free ranch for the first time ever!!! And it was good! (This pic is not that great, but still, you get to see it. Doesn’t it look like ranch?)

Dairy & Egg Free Ranch!

Dairy & Egg Free Ranch!

So here is how we enjoyed a meat and “cheesy ranch” rollup kind of calzone looking thingamajig.

Meat & “Cheesy” Ranch Rollup

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 recipe of homemade pizza dough (I throw it in the bread maker and use the “dough” setting.)
  • 2 cups of protein (I used cubed ham the first time. Next time I will use cubed chicken. Here’s how I cook and freeze my chicken.)
  • 2 cups of dairy free cheese (We use Daiya cheese. I made one with their “cheddar” shreds and one with the “mozzarella” shreds. The mozzarella one was better and I will only use mozzarella from now on. However, the cheddar was good, too. You decide!)
  • 1/2 cup of homemade dairy and egg free ranch (Use this recipe from OAMM. I used Just Mayo, a vegan mayo, to make it egg free. Click here to read how to find Just Mayo for just a dollar! I also used SO Delicious Original Coconut Milk Creamer for the milk. You can use any unflavored non-dairy milk.)

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Split the homemade pizza dough into two equal parts. Flour your surface. Roll out two rectangles. I rolled until the dough seemed thin enough. I honestly don’t have a specific here.
  2. Spread out one cup of the meat and one cup of the cheese leaving a little space around the edges. Drizzle with 1/4 cup of ranch.  Repeat for second rectangular dough.
  3. Roll the pizza dough up like a jelly roll. OAMM has a nice photo showing how to do this. I didn’t take one. Sorry. 🙂
  4. Pinch the edges and squish them up tight. Flip your gigantic log seam side down. (Trust me on this. The first one I baked the seam was facing the side and a bunch of toppings spilled out!)
  5. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 20-30 minutes. Mine ended up perfect at 28 minutes.
  6. Slice pieces off as needed and enjoy! I didn’t slice it all at once, which was perfect because we reheated it today for lunch in the oven. It was easier to reheat as a partial giant log instead of leftover slices.

This recipe yielded two generous “logs.”

Here’s what my final product looked like:

Ham, Mozzarella & Ranch Rollup

Ham, Mozzarella & Ranch Rollup

This one was NOT baked seam side down.  Oops!

This one was NOT baked seam side down. Oops!

A little slice of cheesy ranch deliciousness!

A little slice of cheesy ranch deliciousness!

Not pretty, but yummy! And HOMEMADE! Can we just all cheer please? NEVER in my life did I think I would make so many things from scratch. I was domestically challenged. Not so much anymore. 🙂

Anyway, this has inspired me to maybe try this on a smaller scale like hot pockets size. I’d love to have these frozen and ready to go for quick lunches. Maybe I’ll try it soon and I’ll let you know how it works.

In the meantime, break out the bread maker and try this recipe. You won’t regret it!