Battle Pizza Crust: Beer Crust Part 2

Straight from the freezer–to my piehole!

When I originally made the Beer Crust Pizza, I froze half of the dough since one pizza is really plenty for us.

After a week or so of waiting in there, I pulled it out in the morning and let it thaw in the fridge for dinner that day. It thawed easily and was, as most pizza crusts are after being frozen and thawed, a little wetter/stickier than it was when it was fresh. It was a little more difficult to shape given the stickiness. I ended up stretching it on the sheet pan rather than my usual in the air using my knuckles method.

You’d never know there was any difference in the feel of the dough after it baked up–crispy on the bottom and super flavorful with the beer and Parmesan cheese in the dough. It is the kind of crust that has enough going on that I–a naked crust hater–ate them up!

Next time I make a batch of this, I may try a double batch so I have three portions in the freezer. It seriously is faster than making a frozen pizza and much more delicious!

Zucchini Boats

zucchini boats

We love zucchini in this house–zoodles, zoodlasagna, zucchini muffins…  If I had a sunnier yard, I would have a garden full of zucchini every year.  I’m pretty sure I discovered zucchini boats during a very brief low-carb diet stint I had.  Why on earth I ever thought that was a good idea for someone that loves bread as much as I do, I will never know.  Despite my quick abandonment of a bread-free life, this recipe stuck around.  These days, this is another of my stand-by, easy to assemble dishes that often ends up on the table at the end of a busy day.  Scooping out the zucchini is the only fussy bit but it isn’t a horrible task.

scooped out

This is a great method to remake leftovers that linger in the fridge.  I’ve made these with leftover taco meat, bulk sausage, as well as chili that I have strained a little to remove some liquid.  Any type of flavored meat will be delicious in zucchini boats and the zucchini soaks up the flavor of whatever seasonings the meat bring.  For this version of the boats, I had some leftover cooked up bulk hot italian pork sausage in the fridge.

assemble!

Zucchini Boats

Zucchini.  In this case, choose larger zucchini so they will be big enough to fill.  Plan on 1-2 zucchini per adult.

Meat filling.  Bulk sausage, taco meat, ground beef, chili are all great choices.  You will need about 1/2 of a cup for each pair of zucchini boats.

Some type of sauce.  Unless you are using chili which has some liquid component to it already, you will need some sauce.  I opt for a basic marinara or a jarred pizza sauce if I have it in the fridge.

Cheese!  I use mozzarella or shredded cheddar/jack mix.  Whatever seems like it will pair with the meat best.

Assemble!  Slice the zucchini in half length-wise and scoop out some of the middles.  You can use a spoon or a melon scoop.  This is the trickiest part of assembling and I have found holding the zucchini in my hand rather than keeping it on the board minimizes breakage.  Season the zucchini with some salt and pepper after you’ve scooped them out.

Fill with the meat mix of your choice and spoon some sauce over it.  Top with the cheese of your choice.

Bake at 400 until golden and delicious.  About 20 minutes.

goldenanddelicious

Pizza Pasta Bake

baked pasta

I love making meals from scratch but, lets be honest, sometimes….it just isn’t going to happen. We’ve had a really busy few weeks here in Chez Piehole and we needed some comfort food, stat.

I originally had this dish at a restaurant in the mall I used to frequent with a friend of mine in my angsty-mall-shopping teenage years. Between the trips to Bath and Bodyworks and the bookstore, my friend Katy and I always stopped at the American Cafe (creatively named, no?) and had this pasta dish. The restaurant is long gone but I still make this at home occasionally when we need something easy that will give us some leftovers.

pasta

Undercook a little bit of pasta (by 45 seconds or so), mix with a jar of pasta sauce of your choice in a 9×13 baking dish. If you are feeling FANCEE, you can add some herbs to the mix. I used oregano, thyme, and basil from the garden.

pepperoni

Cover that with a layer of pepperoni. Try to make a pretty solid sheet so your cheese doesn’t melt into your sauce. You want a nice melty cheesey layer like you have on lasagna.

cheese

Cover with some mozzarella cheese. Ok, a lot of mozzarella cheese. This isn’t even healthy to start with, so you might as well make even more enjoyable.

Now, you can get creative. What do you like on pizza? Olives? Peppers? Put it here. I usually do artichoke hearts and green peppers but I was going for ease and speed last night.

Bake! 400ish for….20 minutes? Until it looks like this:

finished

Oh yes. Baked pasta. Let it cool for about five minutes and serve it up like you would lasagna. Cut into squares and then serve up as nicely as you can. Bonus points for adding some additional fresh basil on top.