Thursday, January 12, 2012

Frugal and Fancy Free: Stromboli-Woli

It snowed today. So our school looked kind of like this.

I have to admit it was a pretty sweet day. And much needed. I had the chance to read over my post from yesterday (Souper Wednesday)...Good Grief! All that blathering about potatoes and ham. Who knew that I would have so much to say on the subject. I really was tired. This weather makes me creaky and cranky. Marshmallows + Chocolate + Books = a Happy Beke.

While I have your attention I thought I would share with you a picture Josiah took today. This is our TV. It has looked like this since last February. Most of the time the stripe is white. Sometimes it is black. It started off kind of transparent. It's just plain weird. It makes it really hard to play Just Dance on the Wii.  And that my friends is a crying shame. I've sad this before, but sometimes I find myself trying to peer around the stripe...just to see what's behind it.

You ever have those days that the most energy you want to put into dinner is to call the Pizza Delivery Guy? Today was one of those days. We use Papa Murphy's quite a bit. Papa M is cheap. And I can pick it up at any time and just put it in the fridge until supper time. But Papa M wasn't in the budget this week. 

I love Pizza. My favorite pizza really has to be Shakespeare's Pizza in Columbia, MO. I haven't had it in almost 6 years. But can still recall how happy it made me. I really like pizza. Didn't I just say that?

Homemade pizza isn't hard to make. But when I looked through my fridge I found I had a bit of a problem. I had just a little bit of cheese. And pizza takes cheese. So I decided to make Stromboli. Stromboli still has cheese in it, but you can get away with less of it. And you can put a variety of ingredients. You can also make Calzones. But the Stromboli is a little less involved. It's just one big stuffed pizza...instead of a bunch of little hand held pizzas.

Here is an easy recipe for Stromboli from

It is a good basic Stromboli recipe. But I wanted to be able to dip my stromboli in the pizza sauce - instead of having it inside. I also wanted to make my own crust. I have nothing against packaged or refrigerated crusts (you can even use thawed frozen bread dough). There is just something wonderfully awesome about homemade pizza crust. It's so awesome even Josiah thinks it's awesome. That is pretty awesome. Except he really doesn't say "awesome."

I have talked before about making my own pizza crust here.  Tonight I did mix some unbleached wheat flour in with my white flour. My family needs a little more fiber. Hey. I need a little more fiber. It made me feel better about the sausage and cheese. But beware...if you decide to alternate wheat flour with your white flour recipe you may not have the best results without certain percautions. Until you get used to it look up some recipes using wheat flour. I personally prefer an all white flour crust. I know. Wheat is better for me. I did compromise by using 1/2 and 1/2.

You can do a lot with flour, water and yeast. And unless you bake everyday they can stretch quite a while. Just be sure to check the expiration date on your yeast before you use it. I'm speaking from experience.

Now my olive oil is a little different. I use it sparingly. I bought it at a Discount Grocery. I have bought it at the Dollar Store before. It comes mixed with some kind of soybean oil (which is not as good for you) and it's just a little bit...but sometimes all you have is a dollar.

Did you know you don't have to cook homemade pizza sauce? And don't let anybody make you feel guilty about using a jar of Ragu or even some leftover spaghetti sauce either. You use what you have. I personally have found it more economical (and yummier) to make my own sauce. All the extra ingredients in canned or jarred sauce mess with me. And I don't like to be messed with. I also don't like sauces that have sugar. And most sauces you purchase at the store have added sugar. I did cook up this sauce a bit. I wanted to use it has a dipping sauce.

I think the internet is a great place to find all sorts of recipes for almost anything. Just google homemade pizza sauce and you will find one to fit your needs. I prefer using whole or diced tomatoes instead of the tomato sauce, but I've used it successfully. I love making a white sauce (just olive oil and garlic) and have even used BBQ sauce.

You do realize by me suggesting you Google "homemade pizza sauce" that I am getting away with not posting this recipe. I do what I can.

Here are the insides of my Stromboli. Well. At least a picture of what I plan to put on the inside of my Stromboli. That package (with the Fancy Marked Down Sticker on it) is Jimmy Dean's Maple Sausage. I got it pretty cheap. I will say that out of all the pork sausages in the world Jimmy Dean's is pretty "ungreasy." I don't use pork sausage very often. Keep in mind that I use what I find marked down. That could be all number of things. If I am purchasing ground meat that isn't marked down I go for the ground turkey.

The beauty of the Stromboli is that you can use almost anything on the insides...even lunch meat. Now cheese is a precious commodity in our house. Sometimes I have it...sometimes I don't. It isn't as budget friendly, as say, a bag of beans. And the spinach? Well, of course I need to add a veggie! Josiah wasn't as thrilled with the spinach, but he's 10. I still have some bags of greens in my freezer from the garden. Nothing compares to those little bags of greens...They are meant to be cooked up in the pan with a little bacon and onion...then splattered with a little vinegar. Not hidden in a Stromboli. I brought out my grocery store brand for tonight.

I even toyed with the idea of making a Ham and Pineapple Stromboli or a Ham and Broccoli Stromboli. Anything you put on a pizza you can put in a Stromboli.

Back to the Stromboli making! After my dough had risen I stretched it out on my pan. And had to beat Josiah off with a stick. He couldn't keep picking pieces of it and sticking them in his mouth.

And after I fried up my sausage, garlic and greens I spread it over the crust.

I wrapped it all up, brushed some olive oil on it and sprinkled it with some Parm. cheese from the shaker. Then baked it in the oven at 400 for about 20 minutes. I know. It looks like a mummy. I assure you that nothing spooky jumped out when I cut into it.

Now that is good stuff.

It was just the thing for my Pizza craving...without actually making the pizza. I went back and forth with making a salad. Nah. This Stromboli covers all the bases. And it means less time in the kitchen for me.

Tomorrow night I am cooking up a delicious Pork Tenderloin I have been keeping in my freezer. I got it marked down for 2.99. I also think I am going to make something with the canned yams hiding in the box under my bed. Ciao!


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