Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Pizza Boats - Frugal and Fast!

Pizza boats are one of the easiest and most frugal meals you will ever put on the table.  They are also great to make with ingredients you can keep on hand, either in your freezer or in your pantry. 

Pizza boats are made with only four basic ingredients:  bread, sauce, cheese & toppings.  You can keep bread rounds, hamburger or hot dog buns, sections of French bread, or an assortment of any of these in your freezer.  I usually keep either pizza sauce or those small, 8 ounce, cans of tomato sauce in my pantry.  I also usually keep either grated or blocks of mozzarella in my freezer since there are so many things I can do with it.  Pepperoni, mushrooms, peppers, olives, all are optional.  Great if you have some but not required.

Last night I made pizza boats and garlic cheese rounds for supper along with a salad.  It was great, cheap, and better yet, fast!

This recipe is really not a recipe.  It's just using some stuff you may have on hand to make a great meal, snack, or lunch.  We loved it and I'm betting you and your family will also.

Here's how I made pizza boats AT HOME MY WAY:

Pizza Boats

  • French bread (I had about a half of a loaf.)  (I also had some thick slices of baked, homemade Grandmother Bread in my freezer which I used to make the garlic cheese rounds.)
  • Pizza sauce (I had homemade that I canned last summer, but I sometimes use canned pizza sauce-generic; sometimes I just spread on some canned TOMATO sauce and sprinkle with garlic powder and oregano.  We actually prefer that tangier sauce for homemade pizza)
  • Mozzarella  (I have found that grating a block of cheese works best.  None of that weird powder stuff on there that is on grated, bagged cheese)
  • Pepperoni (mushrooms, sliced peppers, olives, or any other toppings would also be great!)

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and get out a cookie sheet.

Slice French bread lengthwise or use hamburger/hotdog buns, thick slices of French bread, sliced bagels - whatever you have.

Place bread on cookie sheet and toast for about 5-10 minutes just until toasted but not browned.

Spread each section with sauce, add cheese, and toppings.

Place back in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until cheese is all melted and edges are browning.

Toast the bread before saucing it up.  For the garlic cheese bread (slices), I buttered and sprinkled with garlic powder before toasting.

Sauce them up after toasting, add cheese and toppings.  Then back in the oven they go!

That's it!  Call the family.  It's time to eat!

For future pizza boat eating pleasure I will:

  • Keep all leftover buns, bread, rolls, bagels for making pizza boats.
  • Make some loaves of homemade Grandmother Bread as French Bread and freeze for future pizza boats!  Recipe HERE!
  • Keep cans of tomato sauce in my pantry for using as sauce.
  • Put a few extra blocks of cheese and packages of pepperoni in the freezer.



Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Buttermilk Biscuits - Just like Cracker Barrel!

My daughter, Rebecca has been it again!  She has beat me at my own game!

I consider myself a biscuit connoisseur!  I grew up with only southern homemade biscuits (unless I stayed at my granny's house where we were TREATED with canned biscuits!).  We eat my homemade biscuits (recipe HERE) for breakfast with jelly or white gravy, with supper, for snacks, and my favorite way - for dessert (split, underneath some hot, homemade chocolate pudding -recipe HERE)!

My daughter's favorite biscuits, however, are not mine.  No way!  It can't be!  What's wrong with the kid?  

Rebecca's favorite biscuits are found in, get this... Cracker Barrel restaurant.  Being the adult and grownup that I am, I'm going to admit and put out there that Cracker Barrel has some pretty delicious biscuits!  I'll give her that!  But mine are the best homemade biscuits... that is, until we tried her new recipe!

Rebecca searched online and found a recipe for homemade Cracker Barrel Biscuits.  Are they as good as Cracker Barrel?  You betcha!  Her biscuits nail the texture, taste, and size.  She has outdone her mother in biscuit making.  What's the world coming to?

Rebecca's "Buttermilk Biscuits" are made with self rising flour.  You can find a substitution for self rising flour but I don't recommend it.  Buy a bag of self rising flour and after you taste these biscuits, you will be making them all the time.  (Self rising flour already has the baking powder, salt, and flour mixed together.  It saves lots of dishes and measuring to just keep some on hand.)  I think the self rising flour and the buttermilk give these biscuits their spot on, perfect flavor.  I normally by organic or unbleached flour.  But, I'll be buying myself a bag of self rising flour!

These biscuits also use buttermilk.  Rebecca uses buttermilk found in the dairy section of the store, in a carton.  I cannot be sure these will taste the same if you use a mixture of milk+vinegar or lemon juice (to make homemade buttermilk) or if you use powdered buttermilk.  I think you need to get actual real thing.

I am the first person to play around with recipes.  I will NOT be playing around with this recipe.  They are perfect!

Here's how Rebecca makes Buttermilk Biscuits AT HOME HER WAY:

Buttermilk Biscuits
(just like Cracker Barrel)

  • 2 cups SELF RISING flour
  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • 1 1/4 cup buttermilk (Rebecca sometimes uses 1 cup buttermilk + 1/4 cup regular milk)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Make sure your flour is "fluffed" (not straight from the bag; just dump it in a larger container and stir using up and down motion to fluff it up a little bit-THEN measure out 2 cups). 

Measure flour into a mixing bowl.  Add shortening and cut it until small and crumbly. A fork works fine for this purpose.  Stir in milk and stir with a spoon until all mixed.

Flour a small area on your counter/work surface. 

Work the biscuit dough into one big blob in your bowl (don't you like my official recipe terms?)

Place the dough on the floured surface and press until 1 to 1 1/2 inch thick.  You can roll it a little with a rolling pin but that's purely optional, to me.  Cut with an upside down cup/glass (Rebecca uses a wine glass) like this:

Place the biscuits, close to touching, in a sprayed or greased pie pan or cake pan.  (Makes about 8 biscuits.)

Bake in a PREHEATED oven at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until lightly golden brown.

I took some home with me from Rebecca's house the other night to have with my free soup (made from leftover dabbles  of veges that I keep in the freezer, adding in some canned tomatoes, a few cubed potatoes & carrots, some tomato sauce, and leftover beef.)

Let me know if you think they are as good as Cracker Barrel!



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