October 2012

It’s the first day of the Autumn Pantry Challenge! Today, I made trips to Aldi and my neighborhood supermarket and spent only $32 on groceries for the week (my weekly budget is $50 or less).

Week One Meal Plan

Sunday: Beef Barley Soup, Homemade Oatmeal Yogurt Rolls, Salads

Monday: Leftovers

Tuesday: Cod from freezer, Whole Wheat Egg Noodles, Roasted Broccoli

Wednesday: Halloween! Homemade Mac-n-Cheese or PBJs before trick-or-treating

Thursday: Baked Chicken, Butternut Squash Au Gratin, Salads

Friday: Lentil & Rice Casserole, Sauteed Carrots w/ Butter & Brown Sugar

Saturday: Homemade Pizza (plain cheese for kids, farmer’s market sausage for grown-ups), Salads

This week’s cliffhangers:

  • Will I have to spend the remaining $18 of my weekly budget?
  • Will Hurricane Sandy wreak havoc on our lives, wipe out my big freezer stash of food, and render the Pantry Challenge null and void?

Let me know how your shopping trip went–and tell me about your meal plan for the week!

{ 6 comments }

{Recipe} Homemade Pizza Dough

by Sally on October 26, 2012

This is a guest post and recipe by my friend Citizen MomOn a recent visit to her house, I tried her homemade pizza and knew it would be a hit with my kids. The crust was thin and soft — the kind you can slice into big, floppy triangles and fold in half. And I was right: After the first bite, Henry asked, “Mom, did you order this pizza?” Success!

Yeasted doughs, especially for pizza, had always been one of those mysteries of cookery to me — some kind of kitchen alchemy to which I wasn’t privy. A few early attempts at pizza dough turned out inedible and tough (certainly due to overzealous kneading) or unrisen because of old yeast or water at the wrong temperature.

Of course, going by the “even bad pizza is still pretty good” rule, we still ate it. I mean, duh.

It’s taken me months, but I finally have the recipe and techniques right where I want them. And as a bonus, Friday Night Pizza is now a “thing” in our house, something my son looks forward to helping with too.

Here’s my basic recipe (see printable version at bottom of post):

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle, place 1 cup bread flour, yeast, salt and sugar. Mix to combine. Add water in a slow, steady stream, and mix until you have a yeasty paste, about 2 minutes.

Replace paddle with dough hook, and scrape bottom and sides of bowl. With mixer on medium speed, add the rest of the flour. You may need to drizzle in more water here, a little bit at a time, until a nice dough ball forms. Then turn off the mixer and scrape down the bowl one more time. Add a bit more flour or water to get the right consistency — you want it to completely pull away from the sides of the bowl.

Knead with dough hook on medium-high speed about four minutes. The dough should be smooth, soft, and stretchy.

Remove dough to a bowl coated with a bit of olive oil, and turn the dough over a few times to cover with oil (this will keep it from sticking to the bowl as it rises and will help it not stick to your pan later on).

Cover with plastic, set in a warm place, and let the dough rise until doubled in size.

Gently punch dough down, then cut the dough ball in half, and let the two pieces sit another 10 minutes.

Preheat oven or gas grill to 475 degrees; the high temperature is crucial for a quick-baking, “boardwalk-style” crust. From here, the key is to handle the dough as little as possible and with a light touch.

Coat the dough ball with flour, then press it into the pan. Eschew the rolling pin — the best tools here are your two hands. Place one hand flat on the dough near the center, to keep the dough in place, then use the fingers on the other hand to stretch and move the dough in a fan shape, turning the pan as you go. (If you’re brave and want to try stretching it like they do in a pizzeria, use your knuckles and not your fingertips. Trust me.)

Top your pizza. We like sweet sausage or spinach and tomato. But my newest favorite is olive oil, arugula, red onion, pistachios, rosemary and Fontina cheese — swiped from Pizzeria Stella in Philadelphia.

Bake 8 minutes, rotating pan halfway through. Rest pizza for 2 minutes before cutting.

Citizen Mom's Pizza
Author: 
 
Yields two thin-crust,14-inch pies
Ingredients
  • 2 ¼ tsp (or 1 packet) active dry yeast
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose or whole-wheat flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • About 1 cup hot water (not boiling--about 115 degrees)
Instructions
  1. In bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle, put 1 cup bread flour, yeast, salt and sugar. Mix to combine. Add water in a slow, steady stream, and mix until you have a yeasty paste, about 2 minutes.
  2. Replace paddle with dough hook, and scrape bottom and sides of bowl. With mixer on medium speed, add the rest of the flour. You may need to drizzle in more water here, a little bit at a time, until a nice dough ball forms. Then turn off the mixer and scrape down the bowl one more time.
  3. Knead with dough hook on medium-high speed about four minutes. The dough should be smooth, soft and stretchy.
  4. Remove dough to a bowl coated with a bit of olive oil, and turn the dough over a few times to coat with the oil. Cover with plastic, set in a warm place, and let the dough rise until doubled in size.
  5. Gently punch dough down, then cut the dough ball in half, and let the two pieces sit another 10 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven or gas grill to 475 degrees.
  7. Coat dough ball with flour, then press into the pan. Add toppings.
  8. Bake 8 minutes, turning pan halfway through.
  9. Rest pizza for 2 minutes before cutting.

 

{ 3 comments }

Join My Pantry Challenge!

October 23, 2012

I have a tendency to stockpile food (read: Hello, My Name is Sally. And I Hoard Groceries.). I can’t pass up a good deal, and there’s something comforting about having three extra canisters of oats on hand just in case. But at some point, my basement shelves runneth over. And my wallet feels especially empty. I […]

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Aldi Haul: My Best Finds This Week

October 14, 2012

I’ve already waxed poetic about Aldi (read: Ode to Aldi). So I won’t go on and on about how much I love the discount grocery chain. But I couldn’t help but share these especially good deals (and a few new finds) from this week’s shopping trip: 16-ounce bag of frozen fruit for morning smoothies Aldi […]

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School Wellness in Action: Field Trips, Field Day & What You Can Do

October 11, 2012

As a member of the PTA’s Wellness Committee at my son’s school, I help plan programming and events that encourage kids to eat healthier and move more. This is the last in a series of posts highlighting the wellness activities at our school (read “Programs That Rock” Part 1 and Part 2). I hope you’ll get […]

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Halloween Snack Solutions for Classroom Parties

October 1, 2012

I like candy corn and pumpkin-shaped sugar cookies as much as the next person. But our little trick-or-treaters are about to be bombarded with sweets. So if your child’s class is celebrating Halloween with a party, why not go easy on the treats? Many schools are now requesting healthier party snacks anyway. Here are three ideas: […]

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