Recipe: Italian Garden Enchiladas

Before we leave on vacation we’re trying to clear out the fridge and freezer, not to mention I have all the goodies from the garden to use up. So, for dinner tonight I had the girls go with me and harvest some of the veggies from the garden. We filled up a small bowl with beans, peas and some cherry tomatoes.

Looking through the fridge, we’ve got a ton of tortillas and I had an open bag of pasta sauce. I also found a few cans of beans in the back of the closet, so I had my little one pick one out to eat – she chose garbanzo beans.

In the end, I made Italian Garden Enchiladas.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Garden veggies, such as beans, peas, carrots, onions, garlic, cherry tomatoes, etc.
  • Fresh basil
  • Pasta Sauce (16 oz or so.)
  • Tortillas
  • Chicken
  • Garbanzo Beans (1 can.)
  • Cheese (about 8-16 oz – depending on how much cheese you like!) – I used Italian Blend and Sharp Cheddar.

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cook chicken on stove until done. (I used a bit of olive oil.) Optional: Sprinkle with Italian seasoning.
  2. Chop up the garden veggies and sautee on the stove in a little bit of olive oil. Set aside.
  3. Rinse garbanzo beans and heat in same pan on stove. (I added enough water to the pan to cover the beans, then boiled the water out.)
  4. Place a layer of sauce in a baking dish.
  5. Lay out tortilla. Place a layer of sauce, then add the veggies, chicken, beans and a few slices of the tomato and basil. Add cheese and more sauce.
  6. Roll up and place, seam side down, in the baking dish. Repeat 5 times.
  7. Spoon the remaining sauce on top, add basil, sprinkle on cheese.
  8. Cover with foil and bake for about 15-20 minutes at 375 degrees.
  9. Remove foil and bake for a few additional minutes until cheese is browned to your liking.
  10. Cool and enjoy.

BONUS: You can EASILY freeze this meal! Use a disposable foil baking pan, and prep the meal as stated above. Then, thaw and continue with baking ingredients.

Garden veggies. Basil, onions, carrots, peas, beans and tomatoes.

Grilled some chicken on the stove. Sprinkled with Italian Seasoning.

In the same pan, tossed the veggies – chopped up – in some olive oil and sauteed.

A can of garbanzo beans. Threw in the same pan with enough water to cover them, then boiled until the water was gone.

Whole wheat tortilla with a layer of my pasta sauce, a couple spoonfuls of the cooked veggies, plus the garbanzo beans, sliced up chicken and sliced tomato. Before rolling up, top with cheese.

Add a layer of sauce on the bottom of the baking dish, add the rolled up tortillas and top with more sauce and basil.

Add cheese, cover with foil and bake at about 375 for about 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional few minutes until cheese is browned to your liking.

Fruit Kabobs & Strawberry S’Mores

Steak, Veggie and Fruit Kabobs

Steak, Veggie and Fruit Kabobs

Last night I decided to finally use the Kabob set I bought at Goodwill for $3.99, a steal in my opinion!

I made steak kabobs. Even though I’m trying to cut back on my sugar consumption, I decided to officially start that NEXT week, so I just used a basic marinade I found on the Internet which was basically lemon juice, soy sauce, garlic, cinnamon and a few other random ingredients. To me, the marinade is basically there just to tenderize the meat. Then, as the kabobs were cooking, I brushed some BBQ sauce over the steak every few minutes. The end result was absolutely delish.

Of course when you make kabobs you need to grill some veggies. We kept it simple with red and yellow bell peppers and white onions. Sweet onions would have been much better, but The Husband couldn’t find any at the store. :\

The real “experiment” was fruit kabobs though. I had an orange, some bananas and a package of strawberries in my kitchen and I thought to myself, “I wonder how these would taste on the grill?”

Well, the oranges were pretty blah. But the orange I had was old and not that great to begin with. Regardless, I will not attempt grilling oranges again! The banana was pretty good – The Husband enjoyed it the most. He likes very ripe bananas though and I prefer my bananas to still be a bit green. Grilling the banana simply made the banana sweeter. The real winner though was the strawberry. Heating the strawberry really brought out the natural sweetness. I went back for more.

And then comes dessert. Remember how I mentioned that I want to cut back on sugar? Well…. S’mores don’t count, right? They’re like, a summer right of passage.

Add a grilled strawberry and take your S’more to a whole new level. It tastes to me like chocolate covered strawberries. I only tried the one, but I may try it again with no marshmallows to see how it differs.

Strawberry S'mores

Strawberry S’mores

DIY – Grow Light

When we purchased our house in the fall of 2009 I had high hopes for a garden when spring/summer came. Well…. nothing I planted ever grew which I attributed to my “black thumb.”

Turns out, I just didn’t know what I was doing. Lazy gardening is poor gardening.

Summer of 2012 rolls around and a very pregnant woman with a little boy and a little girl stop by my garage sale. Turns out, they live down the street and her daughter is the same age as my older daughter. Bonus: Her husband is an avid gardener. Not only did I make new friends that day, but I got a garden mentor!

So, last summer I started my first official garden. It didn’t work so well, the leaves in the tree near the garden grew too thick and I didn’t have a ladder tall enough to thin it enough. Needless to say, my garden suffered. We did get a handful of tomatoes and a bell pepper or two, but nothing remarkable.

Last year I also started my own seeds in the house to get a jump start on the growing season. I have a south facing bay window that I used to start them. It worked alright, but they certainly didn’t thrive in those less than ideal conditions!

So this year I asked for a grow light for Christmas.

And I did not get a grow light for Christmas. :(

So I did what any cheapskate would do, I took to Google and YouTube to find out how to make my own!

I found this amazing YouTube video and thought, I can do that!

However, I sure wished the directions were written out.

I can’t take credit for the video, but I wanted to share his good tutorial and show you how I did it.

What you  need:

  • Metal furnace duct work – $3.96
  • Threaded rod x 2 (mine are 1/4″ – the larger they are, the stronger, however the whole fixture is super light.) – $1.70 (99c each)
  • Nuts (I like wing nuts) – 77 cents for a pack
  • Dual  light fixture – $3.69
  • Extension cord – $1.17
  • 100-200W CFL Bulbs (mine are 100 wat replacement Full Spectrum lights, “Evolution” brand.) x 2 – $8.58 ($4.99/each)
  • Chain (to hang from rack) – $6.70 ($3.90/each)
  • Key rings (to attach chain to rods) – $1.98
  • TOTAL COST = $25.75
  • I purchased all of my materials from Menard’s during their 14% off bag sale so these are the discounted prices.

Step 2: Drill the hole and insert the light fixture.

Putting it together was pretty simple. You’ll need a drill and a safe surface to drill into, as well as wire cutters.

Step 1. Gently flatten out the duct work so it’s not a circle.

Step 2. Lay it on a flat surface and find the center (it doesn’t need to be perfect) and drill a hole. This is where you’ll insert the light fixture so it has to be large enough to fit through.

Step 3. Next you’re going to drill the holes for the rod. Try to make them roughly the same. I didn’t measure and just eyeballed it and it’s fine.

Step 4. Thread one of the rods through the first hole. I put wingnuts on each side of the duct work – so one on the outside, one one the inside. A total of 8 wingnuts for the whole fixture.

Step 5. Once the rods are in place it’s on to the electrical work. Take your extension cord and cut off the end of it (the part that you plug something into, obviously, you’ll need the outlet part to plug in your grow light!) Strip the casing off the wires and twist the wires together. Secure with a wire caps.

Thread the wires through the top of the fixture. You’ll also want a nut to hold this in place. I could not find one large enough so I added washers to keep it sturdy in place.

Step 6. Attach your chain to the rods and hang from your desired location. I hung mine from the curtain rod in my office closet. NOTE: The rods were far too long and stuck out a LOT so I had my husband take a saw to them and cut them down. If you do this, don’t cut it too far, in case you want to open the duct work more.

Step 7. Plug in and start growing your seedlings!

It may not be the prettiest grow light, but it gets the job done!


Step 3: Drill the holes for the rods.

Step 4: Insert rods, don’t forget to put both wingnuts in the middle of the rod before you put the rod through the second hole!

All that’s missing is the chain to hang the light up!

I am a Minivan Mom

I don’t really have much to post today, however it’s been over a week since my last post and darnit! I’m going to keep this New Years Resolution!!!

I suppose I can update everyone on how some of my resolutions have been going.

Here’s a brief overview.

1. Well… I blogged twice last week! That’s more than once a week! Go me! And today I’m staying on track as well.

2. Meal planning: I planned every day last week, but didn’t follow through 100%. Things came up or I’d run out of cheese and couldn’t get to the store because I didn’t have a vehicle, so that meal would be postponed until the next day.

3. No yelling: We’ve been better about this. We are by no means perfect and some days it’s really, really hard. Especially when you have children who cry over spilled water (that’s right, not even milk – water!) But we’re working on it.

4. Early to Bed/Early to Rise: Well…. some nights have been better than others. The first few days I was good about being in bed by 12:30. Now it’s back to an average of about 1:30, but usually before 2 am. I need to keep working at it.!

In other news, our ear infection free household no longer has that status. The Little One was screaming in agony this past week. I thought she was just fighting sleep, she was tired and had a drippy nose. I kept asking her if each part of her body hurt and she kept telling me “No!”

Sick Baby

The Little One the day before I took her to the doctor and was diagnosed with a double ear infection. :(

By the third day, when suddenly her fever spiked and she was able to communicate what hurt, I said enough is enough. As stated above, I didn’t have my own vehicle. My car was totaled in November when the CV Joint broke while turning onto the highway. (Real fun spot to have your car die!)  (Not So Fun Fact! That was also the day I got into my first ever car accident! Hitting black ice and rear ending an SUV with The Husband’s car! Needless to say, I was afraid of driving for a good 4 days!)

Anyway, I have the best neighbors and my good friend/neighbor down the road said I could borrow her van. I had the fun task of pushing the stroller through a foot of snow to get to her house a few doors down, but we made it and I got to practice driving a minivan. Got The Little One to the doctor and sure enough, double ear infection. The right ear had ruptured and had puss inside, the left was just read. Ten days of antibiotics orally three times per day and ear drops in the right ear twice per day. By day 2 she was already feeling much better!

Not So Sick Baby

After about 4 days of meds she was feeling MUCH better! (She was actually feeling much better when she woke up on day 2 after only 2 doses of meds!)

So, the conclusion of the above, I suppose, is that I need my own vehicle. The Husband and I agreed to start looking about a month ago, looking for a good deal, and a good deal I found! Got a great blue Dodge Grand Caravan SXT for under 3K from a very nice man. We found it using CarSoup.com, though he was also listed on CraigsList.

Blue Steel

Blue Steel

Here she is! “Blue Steel” is what I’m naming her. Or “Buh-KAWWW!” (like the sound a chicken makes! – Because The Husband and I like to name our cars based on the letters on the license plate. I previously owned Jibble and Pixed. The Husband currently owns Vixy.)

So… I’m actually super excited to own this minivan. I know that it was super well taken care of for the first 5 years of it’s life – thanks CarFax! – and the guy who sold i to me (second owner) seems like  a very honest guy and seems to have taken pretty good care of it.

My only issue with minivans is the lack of ability to check the blind spot! I’m a shoulder checker! I can’t do that in this van! I’m considering getting a blind spot mirror to attach to my drivers side mirror. Hopefully very, very soon!

So there you have it. An update on me and mine. It’s not food, but it will do. Hopefully next week I’ll food blog again!

Black Bean Tortilla Bake

Black Bean Tortilla Bake

Black Bean Tortilla Bake

I’m not big on Mexican food but a while back I was looking for recipes that were somewhat healthy and contained protein that was not meat. The perfect answer? Beans! Apparently beans are super good to eat. Check this out.

I found this recipe on Food.com and was pleasantly surprised by how good it was!

Bonus? It’s super easy to make! Essentially you’re making your own salsa, then adding beans to it. To assemble you’re basically making a lasagna, except you’re layering tortillas, cheese, bean salsa, more cheese, repeat.

DOUBLE BONUS: You can make a couple of these at a time and freeze one for later. The photos in this post were taken while I was making a bunch for my meal swap group.

Here’s what you need to make this the way I make it:

INGREDIENTS

  •  1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped tomato (or 1 8 oz can)
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin powder
  • 8 oz tomato sauce
  • 16 oz can black beans (rinsed & drained)
  • 1 TBSP chopped cilantro
  • salt & pepper
  • soft corn tortillas (number will vary based on size of baking pan, I used maybe 8 per pan, you can use more or less)
  • 8 oz Mexican blend cheese

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 350* F
2. Spray large skillet with cooking spray
3. Add onion, garlic, tomato, green onion, cumin & chili powder
4. Cook on medium heat until onion is tender.
5. Add tomato sauce and cook for 5 minutes more.
6. Stir in beans, cilantro, salt & pepper (to taste)

As you can see, I’m a little OCD about the tortillas covering every visible square inch of the pan. I ripped/cut the tortillas but that’s optional.

7. Spray a 9 inch square baking dish with cooking spray.
8. Layer bottom with tortillas, cheese, bean salsa, more cheese
9. Repeat.
10. End with cheese on top of salsa mixture.
11. Bake for 20 minutes, covered, then 10 minutes uncovered or until cheese is bubbly.

 

The above directions are for a smaller tray than my photos. To make a larger pan like I did in the photos, simply double the recipe. Honestly, I just eyeball it.

Enjoy!

New Years Resolutions

Resolutions

© gubgib at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In the past I’ve made New Years Resolutions but I’ve never stuck with them. For one reason or another they became good intentions that never came to pass.

Last year I resolved to start working out. It was awesome, I was going to the gym about 3 times per week… and then our insurance changed with my husbands new job and the gym membership was no longer something they reimbursed me for. Without the extra $20 laying around, the gym became a thing of the past. I still miss my Body Pump class.

Technically I could work out at home. My resolution for 2012 was to use my Wii Fit every day. That occurred for maybe a week? I just don’t feel motivated to work out at home.

So this year, out with the old resolutions and in with the new. New resolutions for a new and improved me. They’re more like goals.

1. Go to Bed Earlier at Night / Get Up Earlier in the Morning.
I’m a night owl and don’t feel fully awake until noon. I also work from home which means during the school year I have a two year old around the house and in the summer a six year old as well. Starting soon I will probably be taking on part-time babysitting a friends four month old during the week. Finding time to work between taking care of the kids can be tricky so I rely on the evenings/late night to get my work done.

2. Set Work Goals.
This goes along with what I sad above. I only have limited time to get my work done so I need to be better about staying away from Facebook and Pinterest and the rest of the Internet Demons and prioritizing my work and rewarding myself with quick Facebook breaks.

In addition to my horrible time management skills, much of my work doesn’t have a definite time table. There’s a general time frame that it needs to be done, but I need to take the time to just do it without waiting until the last minute. My work is also varied. For those who don’t know, I manage multiple websites which involves listing books, new book covers, authors, etc. I need to get that info up as soon as I receive it so I’m not scrambling at the last minute. I also design book covers, I need to get those done ASAP as well, preferably working a couple months ahead of where I should be. As part of my job I also format books for Kindle. I’ve already made a change with that and now I make sure Kindle files (as well as epubs) are ready for release the same day as the print book and the PDF file on our website. The problem is that I still have a big backlog of books to get done in addition to the new ones.

3. Finish the First Draft of my Novel.
I’m not sure if I mentioned it on this blog or not (I know I mentioned on my book review blog) but I participated in National Novel Writing Month (aka NaNoWriMo) in 2013 and won! This means that I wrote 50,000 words in 30 days. Pretty amazing since I’ve never written past 14,000 words on one story.  However, despite having written 50,000 words to one story, it still doesn’t have an ending. Before the year is through I will have an ending to my story and be starting the process of the second draft.  This is another goal that ties into #2 – set goals. I’ve got to set aside time to sit down and write.

4. Consistently Make Weekly Meal Plans.
I think weekly meal planning is awesome and more people should do it. Myself included. I do well one week, then utterly fail the next week. It’s the sitting down and forcing myself to figure out what to make that kills me. Then sticking to it throughout the week. I’m going to try to plan a couple weeks out so that I have some leeway. Then, after work on the weekends I’ll buy what I need for the week and if I realize I don’t have an ingredient, I’ll have The Husband bring it home after work. (I bet I haven’t mentioned the fact that my car died so we are now a one vehicle family! We’re trying to hold out until tax time to purchase a mini-van. I’ve got my eye on the Honda Odyssey! But we’ll see.)

5. Blog Once a Week.
I am the first to admit that I’m a terrible blogger. Believe me, I take photos of every meal I make with the intention of blogging them later. Alas… later rarely comes. I get caught up in other things and later continues to be later. So, in 2014 I vow to blog once per week. Either on this blog or my book review blog.

6. Be More Consistent with the Kids.
Everyone says consistency is the key with kids but for me it’s hard. I am going to try to make a daily schedule that says at this time we do this, at this time we do that. Hopefully, with a little bit of time, the routine will be second nature for all parties involved. Right now the only thing I’m pretty consistent with is that as soon as The Big One gets home from school she has to do her homework.

7. Keep a Log of The Big One’s Puking.
OK, this is a weird one, I know, but hear me out. My daughter will be 7 this spring and for most of her life she’s been a puker. Long car ride? Puke. Upset that Mommy is going to the doctor? Puke. Excited to sleepover at a friends house? You guessed it. Puke.

My goal with this is to keep a detailed log of all of these incidents including how the weather was, what she had eaten, how she was feeling before she puked, etc. Try to find a way to get a handle on this. Already we’ve had two incidents – New Years Eve and today. I think today is probably a real case of the flu, but my guess was that New Years Eve was emotionally triggered, she was going to spend the night at Grandma’s house.

8. Yell Less, Talk it Out More.
I hate to admit it, but The Husband and I are both yellers. When we get to that point, it’s just easier for us to let it all out and yell at the kids. I’m hoping that #1 will help me with this, getting more sleep and all, but it breaks my heart to know what this is doing to my children and being unable to stop myself.

I told The Big One that if Mommy or Daddy yell at her, she needs to tell us, “Please don’t yell” to remind us that this is not the right way. I also had her make a resolution to cry less and instead to take a deep breath and tell us why she’s upset instead of going right to tears. Her crying at the drop of a hat is probably our number one yell trigger, it usually begins with, “STOP CRYING OVER EVERY LITTLE THING!” But it’s a two way street. We’ve all got to make the effort to get this in check and I think we’ll all be happier for it.

So there you have it. My New Years Resolutions/Goals.

Have you made any resolutions for 2014? Have you stuck to your resolutions in the past? If so, what have you found to help you keep your resolutions?

Missing Images

So….. apparently my bandwidth with Photobucket has been exceeded.
You can still click on the image and it will bring you to Photobucket though!

First I thought “awww I feel loved!”

Then I thought “Crap! That sucks!”

So I guess in the next few days I’ll try to get my images moved over to my design company website hosting and link them here. Or maybe I’ll just give in and buy a domain name for this blog and host it where my company website is.

(If you’re wondering, my design website is www.candrus-designs.com)

Freezer Meal: Chicken Broccoli Alfredo

Chicken Broccoli Alfredo Freezer Meal

For my meal swap meal this month I opted to make Chicken Broccoli Alfredo.

Easy and delicious!

Here’s what you need per freezer meal:

SHOPPING LIST

- 8 oz broccoli
– 15-16 oz Alfredo Sauce x 2
– 1-2 lbs chicken (I tried for about 1 lb 5 oz)
– 1 med-large onion
– Noodles

Since I was shopping to make 8 meals I ended up buying a 5 lb bag of broccoli from Costco (~$6), a 20 lb bag of chicken from Costco (~$22), 16 jars of alfredo sauce from Aldi ($1.69 each = $27.04), 8 boxes of bow tie noodles (77 cents each = $6.16), 10 lb bag of onions from Costco (~$6)

So, in all I spent roughly $69 (not including sales tax) and got just shy of 8 meals (I didn’t have quite enough chicken for that last bag, which was fine, because that’s the bag for my own freezer and I can add more later.)

INSTRUCTIONS:

To prep for freezer:
Throw broccoli, chicken, chopped up onion in bag. You can add the Alfredo sauce if you want, but it’s just more to thaw later. I leave mine in the jars and labeled the jar “Ck Alf” so I know it’s for the Chicken Alfredo meal and don’t use it for something else.

Don’t forget to label your freezer bag with what’s inside and cooking directions!

To cook:
Throw broccoli, onion, chicken and both jars Alfredo sauce in crock pot. Cook for 4-6 hours on LOW.
Towards the end of the crock pot cook time cook the noodles according to directions on box. Drain water and add noodles to crock pot. Eat and enjoy!

TIP: If you have leftovers you could easily turn this into a chicken alfredo pizza! Find my EASY pizza dough recipe here!

Chicken Broccoli Alfredo Freezer Meal

Check it out! When my eyes began to bleed from chopping up the onions (possibly an over-exaggeration) The Husband came to help me finish up! (And no, he was NOT happy about me taking his photo, which is why he is not looking at the camera! HA!)

Chicken Broccoli Alfredo Freezer Meal

Seven Freezer Meals ready to go! (The eight I didn’t have enough chicken for the bag, so it’s not included.) I also forgot to put the noodles on the table for the photo op. Oops?

Chicken Broccoli Alfredo Freezer Meal

Close up of freezer bag. Bottom layer = chopped onion. Middle layer = frozen broccoli. Top layer = Chicken breasts.

Gardening: New Veggie Garden for 2014

When deciding where to put my first ever garden, I took my neighbors advice and put it in the spot where the previous owners had had their garden. I’m told they had bountiful harvests of tomatoes and carrots and everything else. There was already a raspberry bush in the area! Well, it’s been at least 6 years since the previous owners did anything with that garden area and the trees have grown up since then, causing a lot of shade to hit it. My veggies are growing, but I don’t think they are growing as well as they should. Therefor, for 2014 I have decided to move my garden to the sunniest location in the yard. My only concern with this location is that, as you can see from the photo, the brush pile is just to the left and we have bunnies who like to live in there. I don’t want to put up a fence next year, assuming The Little One will stay out of the garden!, but I may have to just to keep out the bunnies.

Big sunny spot near the fence line by the neighbors garage.

This new garden spot is right next to the other neighbors garage. I’ll need to cut back the brush next to the fence and then I also plan to attempt to grow beans and peas and sweet pea flowers using the fence as a trellis. Eventually I’d like to grow my own grapes, but I don’t think 2014 will be the year for that. Getting started was probably the hardest part of this whole ordeal. Breaking through the tough grass roots. The first shovel I had wasn’t quite sharp/pointed enough, so I had to switch to the other one and once I switched it was MUCH easier.

Getting started!

Half hour of digging! One row done! LOTS more to go!

I spent about half an hour digging today in the hot, hot sun. We managed to dig one row of the grass out (and by we I do mean me, with the kids only slightly getting in my way!) We had to take a break at that point because it was about 1,000 degrees outside. OK, the weather app on my computer says it hit 81, but in the noon sun it sure felt a lot hotter!

Sitting in front of the fan with our ice water! Whew it was hot!!!

Once we’d cooled off enough I opted to go back out and dig some more. The Big One decided to stay inside where it’s cooler. I ended up getting POURED on while I was out digging. It started as a gentle sprinkling of refreshing rain water and soon turned into a downpour. It felt wonderful, but the downpour plus the thunder…. I went in at that point! Two rows of digging completed! And I’ve got to say, the wet soil sure makes it easier to dig up the grass!!! Oh, and because I won’t be planting anything until next spring (the exception being some Wild Lupine seeds I will be collecting on vacation and planting in the fall) I’m simply digging up the grass and flipping it over. The grass will compost nicely and feed the soil. I also plan to do some trench composting over the summer in this area to help feed the soil as well.

Next spring (or maybe in the fall?) I hope to get some pavers or cinderblocks and build a little border around the edges. I will also dump some compost in the spring and plant directly in piles of that.

Until next time!

Pizza Bread

I’m a terrible blogger. I know, I know…..

Pizza Bread

This is a recipe I recently made for my meal swap group. The above photo features meatballs, but for my meal swap group we did pepperoni.

SUPER easy and tasty!
You basically take my grandmother-in-laws pizza dough recipe, double it, slice the dough into 6 pieces, roll the dough out, pour on some sauce, put the pepperoni, add the cheese and roll it up (carefully!!!)
For the bread:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Package active dry years
  • 3/4 cup very warm water
  • 2 TBSP Olive oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups flour

DIRECTIONS:

1. Add the package of yeast to the water. let sit for 5 minutes as the yeast does its thing. The water should be hot, but not TOO hot – you don’t want to kill the yeast!

2. Add the sugar, salt and oil to the water.

3. Mix in flour. You can either use a mixer (I use my Kitchenaid Stand Mixer) or you can knead by hand, for about 5 minutes.

OPTIONAL: The dough is ESPECIALLY good if you add in some pizza herbs and seasoning! I like to add garlic powder, onion powder, Italian Seasoning, Basil, Oregano, etc. SO yum!
For the sauce I use the recipe here.

Cut the dough

Cut the dough

Putting together the pizza bread!

Putting together the pizza bread!

ASSEMBLING THE BREAD:

1. Divide the dough. Shape it into a nice round (or square) lump and cut in half, then cut each half into thirds. These are just guidelines, you can really make as many or as few as you want. What I like about making them small is that each person can have their own roll, plus when the bread is smaller it cooks quicker!

I have an actual dough cutter (I believe it’s Food Network brand? From Kohl’s?) and I LOVE it! It cuts through the dough SO well and scraps any dough left on the counter right off! You can also use a knife if you don’t have a dough cutter/scraper.

2. Spread out one of the little rolls of dough you cut in the previous step. Spread as THIN as you can without tearing any holes. If you do get a hole you can kind of fold the dough back over and try again. You want it thin though because it’s going to rise a LOT when you bake it!

3. Spread the sauce across the dough. Careful you don’t get too close to the edges or you’ll have a HUGE mess when you go to roll it up!!! If you’re like me and LOVE sauce, you’re going to have to hold yourself back. You can NOT put a lot of sauce in these! You can certainly DIP the bread in some sauce once it’s baked though!

4. Add your toppings. In this case, pepperoni. You can add whatever you want though. Meatballs, onion, peppers, olives, etc.

5. Add the cheese! You can probably even put more than I put on in the photo!

6. Now the messy part! ROLLING the bread! Start at one end and instead of actually ROLLING the bread over, it’s best to sort of FOLD it. I find what’s easiest is to fold it, pinch the edges, fold, pinch, etc. Then at the end you need to seal the edges. Pinch them shut and kind of smooth them over with your finger.

7. Finally you’re ready to bake and eat your creations!

Preheat the oven to 425* and bake for 10-15 minutes. The bake time is going to depend on the size you end up making your bread and your oven. My oven is ancient and terrible so I ALWAYS check the food at the halfway point. Since these times are based on MY oven, keep a close eye on your food!

8. Enjoy! Allow the bread to cool down a bit. When we make it for the kids we always cut it open first to let the inside cool off so they don’t burn their little mouths. I like to heat up some sauce as well to dip mine in because, as I said above, I’m a sauce lover!

FREEZING: I froze these for the meal swap group. I put 3 each in the gallon sized ziplocks. Each person got 6 bread rolls. Thaw completely prior to baking.

Roll the dough! This is a bad example... I had a bit too much sauce, did not pinch the edges as I rolled AND forgot the cheese!!! #FAIL

Roll the dough! This is a bad example… I had a bit too much sauce, did not pinch the edges as I rolled AND forgot the cheese!!! #FAIL

Seal and smooth those edges!

Seal and smooth those edges!

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