since i do enjoy playing in my kitchen on the weekends, i’ve learned to have that pay off a bit during the week, when i don’t necessarily have the time (or, honestly, just the energy) to be there much during the week. i’ve recently started “investment cooking,” otherwise known as once a month cooking. what has become difficult for me, however, is that most freezer-friendly bulk recipes for things like this are filled with processed foods or they are casseroles and nasty faux mexican nonsense. (i told you i was a foodie, right?)
i have, however, figured out a few winners that combine quality, real food with bulk cooking-and once in a while i’ll share some new discoveries with you. the one that massi and i are particularly thrilled with these days is our homemade frozen pizzas. so easy! so good! so what i want when i’m tired and want junk food but don’t want to regret it later.
how it works:
i start with my version of jamie oliver’s pizza crust recipe, then do it again (to end up with 12 pizzas), then spread out all the toppings. each pizza dough is laid over saran wrap that can then be wrapped up and over the top. three of these saran’d and then labeled pizzas goes into one gallon size ziploc.
a couple hints before i get to the pizza dough recipe:
1)use sauce other than red: roasted tomatoes and pesto, both made and put up this summer, were both big winners.
2)don’t put too many toppings on one pizza. it won’t cook through well, and it will be more difficult to stack your pizzas before they’re frozen.
2)if you want a thin crust recipe, pull the pizza out before you preheat the oven and set it on the oven while it preheats. if you want a more risen crust, give it time to fully thaw out before preheating-thus giving some rise time to the dough.
3)don’t forget to thaw out On the Cookie Sheet you will be cooking it on! this dough is pretty limp and becomes unweildy once thawed.
so. to the dough. and let me know your favorite toppings!
again, this is a loose adaptation from one of my favorite cookbooks, Jamie Oliver’s Italy. Jamie got me interested in Italian cooking again when i thought i was burned out for life. check his cookbook for the original recipe, as this is also great for a build-your-own-pizza dinner party, which i’ll be repeating tonight in fact!
BASIC PIZZA CRUST
7 1/2 c high-gluten flour (you can sub in a cup and a half of semolina or wheat flour if you’d like here)
1 level T kosher salt
3 T yeast
1 T sugar
just over 2 c lukewarm water
in your standing mixer with the dough attachment,, add your yeast and sugar to the lukewarm water, mix with a fork and let set for a few minutes (proofing the yeast to make sure it’s working), add 3 cups of the flour. mix until well blended, then add 1 cup at a time until the dough comes together. let the mixer continue to knead the dough for 10 more minutes.
flour the top of your dough, cover it with plastic wrap, and let rest or at least 15 min at room temp. divide the dough into 6 portions.
take one of your pieces of the dough, (leave the rest covered) dust your surface and dough with flour, and roll into a rough circle about 1/3 in thick. a bit thicker is fine-be sure to not roll it out too large to be able to fit into your freezer bag. tear off a long sheet of saran wrap and place on a cookie sheet, then your pizza base on top. top with sauce and limited toppings, wrap with saran, label so you know what’s in it.
continue doing this with the other pieces, piling them into stacks of three. freeze for a lazy night.
if you’ve had the pizza out to thaw, preheat oven to 500 degrees and bake 7-10 minutes on an olive-oil greased cookie sheet.
if you couldn’t wait, preheat oven to 425 and bake 12-15 minutes-which will give you a thinner crust.