How to Make Pizza Loaf

About 12 years ago, I found a recipe in a Taste of Home magazine that has become quite a favorite of mine over the years. It’s one for making a Pizza Loaf. I remember making one and bringing it in to work to share and everyone needed a photo copy of the recipe before the day was over.

I’m happy to see that they’ve posted the Pizza Loaf Recipe on their site. You can go there to get all the ingredients and tips for it. I made one recently and I took some pictures so you could have a step-by-step visual for it. You can make your own dough, but the nice part of this recipe is that you can just buy frozen dough at your store and let it thaw to save you some time. It goes fairly quickly after the dough is ready.

Spray your cookie sheet and roll out your dough.

Mix up the ingredients from the recipe and spread it across the dough.

Add on any toppings that you want. We used pepperoni, fresh mushrooms, olives, green peppers and yellow pepper rings for this one. The pepperoni is straight from the butcher and so good!

Next, top it with cheese. I used mozzarella in this one.

Here comes the tricky part. You need to start at one end and begin to carefully roll it up into a loaf, tucking in the sides as you go. But be careful not to stretch the top too thin and create a hole or your toppings will ooze out. You are going to lay it seam side down in the middle of the cookie sheet when you are done rolling it. And then brush with egg whites.

This is the finished cooked product. It didn’t brown up quite as much as some have in the past. But still delicious!

Next you cut it into slices and then dip them into some pizza sauce.

I made a second one that was just veggies and shredded taco cheese. This was an extra for freezing for later. It didn’t take up much extra time to make a second.

I cut it up and put the slices in a stacking Lock n Lock Freezer Container. (There are actually two containers here, one stacked on top of the other.) I should be able to take one out when I need one for a spare lunch. I haven’t tried this before so we’ll see if it works! I’ve never had issues with freezing bread products so it should be fine. I’ll probably thaw in the fridge first, as that seems to work best with other bread products.

You can go to Taste of Home for the complete printable Pizza Loaf Recipe. I really do love the Taste of Home Magazine and have found several great recipes, such as this one, in there. I hope you end up liking it if you try it.

Cooking a Whole Chicken in a Crockpot and Its Many Uses


I’ve come to learn that you can pretty much cook anything in a crockpot. One of my favorite simple recipes is cooking a whole chicken in one. Who would have thought that you could wash a chicken, throw it in a crockpot with some spices and be good to go. But it really is that simple.

And then when the chicken is all done, it literally falls off the bone to the point that you can barely scoop it out of the crockpot. As if that wasn’t enough, you can throw the bones back in, add a little water (and some spices/veggies if you want) and make your own homemade chicken broth.

When it comes to cooking the chicken, I keep mine very basic with just adding a little salt and pepper and maybe some garlic and here’s why. I often cook up a whole chicken, save some for a few meals that week and then freeze up pieces for later use. I don’t want the chicken to take on any one particular flavor since I like to use it in several dishes. Here are some of the ways that I use the chicken that I’ve cooked in the crockpot:

You should end up with a container of super moist chicken like this one which you can pull apart for…

Chicken Salad Toppers

Throw it in with pasta for extra protein

Homemade BBQ Chicken Pizza – (I recommend the pizza crusts and Organicville BBQ Sauce they have on Vitacost. They still have the $10 credit if you haven’t signed-up yet. They also have a Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Pizza Mix. All great ways to make quick pizza at home.)

And of course, you can make the chicken broth afterwards.

Other uses:
~Chicken Tacos
~Chicken Burritos/Wraps
~Chicken Sandwiches with Cheese Melted on Top
~Added to Stir-Fry Recipes

Here are the basic instructions:
1) Wash the chicken and remove any giblets inside.
2) Put chicken in crockpot. Spice it like you would one you cook in the oven. I simple sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Maybe adding some garlic.
3) Turn the crockpot on High for 4 hours. (Probably 8 hours on low, but I’ve never tried it.)
4) Either way, make sure it meets the proper temperature for chicken before you remove it.
5) When it’s done, you are going to have to be super careful getting it out of there. The thing will crumble fast! I use Oxo Good Grips Tongs and a fork to get it out and take off the meat. (after it’s cooled some!)
6) As I’m taking off the meat, I’m throwing any bones back into the crockpot, including the carcass.
7) Add water (and any spices/veggies–typically things like onion, celery, carrot, bay leaf, etc.) like you would making any broth. Mine takes about 5 cups of water Yours may vary.
8 ) Heat overnight on low or for several hours on high until you get a consistency you want.
9) Cool and freeze/refrigerate broth appropriately after it’s cooled.
10) Freeze any chicken meat you might not use that week.

If you want a recipe with more spices/details, just Google “Whole Chicken Crockpot” and you’ll get several recipes, enough reading for days, probably!

Hoping that you’ll be able to use this as a way to avoid convenience foods and get some quick meals on the table (and broth stored for homemade soup!) Just be sure that you use proper cooking and handling procedures when making this!

How do you make your chicken in a crockpot? What kinds of spices do you add? In what ways have you found to use in it meals? I’d love to hear all your tips!

Recipes: How to Make Tuna Lettuce Wraps

I was blog-hopping one day and somehow I stumbled onto this Tuna Salad Lettuce Wraps Recipe that has added a new, quick lunch to my weekly menu plans.

While, I’m not a big fan of mayo or mustard, I did take the idea of making a mix with Tuna and putting them down the middle of Romaine Lettuce Leaves. The mix is easy and the kids often help me make it. All you’ll need is salsa and a good quality tuna (My favorite is Wild Planet Tuna. It’s a bit pricier but oh so good!) I typically buy the salsa in the deli area. It seems to be fresher and has less additives.

All you do is put your tuna in a bowl and add a spoonful or two of salsa and mix together. You can also add a scoop of pickle relish, but it can tend to make it taste saltier. After it’s mixed, just add some of the mix down the middle of a Romaine lettuce leaf. You just fold in the sides and eat like any other lettuce wrap. It might be a little juicy so you might want to let it drip a second before you take a bite. The kids love these but they prefer theirs unwrapped and they call them “tuna boats.” (to which I say, whatever gets them to eat them, right?!) You could top with some cut-up olives for more color.

They are super quick to make and if you buy the right salsa, they can be fairly healthy. We usually just add a side of fruit and we are good to go for lunch.

You can take any leftover Romaine lettuce leaves and chop them up and store them in a Produce Saver so you’ll have salad ready to go for another meal.

I’m hoping that you end up liking them if you try them!  You can also check out my older posting on How to Make Asian Lettuce Wraps.

What types of foods have you made with Romaine Lettuce? Do you have a good homemade salsa recipe that you like to make?

UPDATE: My reader friend, Kim, shared that she has tried this with mashed up avocado and slivered almonds with the tuna and salsa and it was good. Can’t wait to try it! :)

Cooking With….Hard Boiled Eggs

Finding ways to use foods in various dishes throughout the week is another way to help you save money. So off and on, I’ll be highlighting in a “Cooking With…” posting on some foods I buy and how I use them and find time to squeeze them into my weekly routine.

I’ve found that for their cost, eggs can be a great way to stretch your budget a little farther. A dozen eggs can range in price from $1.50 – $4, depending on the brand and type you choose, with Organic eggs costing on the high-end. Ever since the first time I bought a dozen eggs at a farmer’s market, I’ve been completely hooked. While getting eggs directly from a farmer may increase the cost, to me, the taste is well worth the extra fee. I’m actually getting anxious for our farmer’s markets to open here in the next month or so for that very reason.

You can find all sorts of information on nutrition and recipes on the “Incredible Edible Egg” site. A great thing about eggs is that they are high in protein. One of my favorite ways to use them is as hard-boiled eggs. Here are a few ways I squeeze them in throughout the week:

Egg Smiley Snacks – Once I started making these, the kids ask for them all the time now. You simply cut a peeled hard-boiled egg in half for the eyes and then pick other items for the nose and mouth. In this example, I used a strawberry and blueberries. My daughter will actually choose this over chips several times. It’s OK to make food look cute if it gets them to eat it! :)

Salad Toppers – Sliced up hard-boiled eggs are a great addition to a blah salad.

Egg Salad Sandwiches – I was so happy when I found this Healthier Egg Salad Sandwich Recipe as a big reason I wouldn’t make this before was due to all the mayo. That recipe uses Greek yogurt instead, with just a touch of mayo for flavoring. I skip the food processor step and just use an OXO Good Grips Masher. My kids love helping to make the sandwiches. We now refer to the dill as “pickle powder” and somehow, that makes the sandwiches more edible. (kids!)

Here’s a great way to sneak these into your week as far as cooking time:

Before you go to wash your dishes, put a pot of eggs on to boil. (If you aren’t sure how to make them, I love this Hard-Boiled Egg Recipe. Works perfect for me.) By the time you are done with your regular dishes, the eggs should be done. You can then drain the pan, cool them and then store the eggs in a container in the fridge and then wash up the pan once it’s cooled. You are now set with some hard-boiled eggs for the week. I usually boil 6-7 at a time and then break it up like this: 2-3 eggs for smiley snacks, 1 egg for salad toppers and 3 eggs for sandwiches.

I’ve found this to be a great way to sneak in some snacks and a lunch and it really doesn’t take up any extra time. I often have dishes that don’t fit in our dishwasher and I just boil the eggs during the time that I’m washing those.

There are other ways to use hard-boiled eggs, such as deviled eggs, etc. With Easter coming up, I thought it would be a great time for everyone to share some ideas on how they use their hard-boiled eggs! Remember that you can keep your egg shells for gardening, too.

3/30/12 – Don’t forget that there’s that $.55 Off 2 dozen Eggs Coupon still available!

Cauliflower Salad Recipe

With Easter right around the corner and BBQ season coming up soon, I thought that I’d share a recipe that has become a favorite in our family. While the base of the recipe of the veggies is healthy, the condiments that are added make this recipe definitely not so healthy. You can opt for some fat-free versions of the items to make it a little better. I’ve been wanting to substitute Greek yogurt for some of them but I haven’t tried it yet to get the right blend. When I do, I’ll update the recipe.

If you are lucky, you might be able to find the purple and orange cauliflower to make it more festive for Easter but regular cauliflower works just as well.

What You’ll Need:

~Cauliflower – How much you use depends on its size. Overall, a little less than one average size cauliflower. I used parts of two colored ones. You might be better off starting with less and adding more if you need it.
~1 package of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing/Dip
~3 oz. of Cream Cheese, softened (a little less than half a box)
~1 cup (8 oz.) of Sour Cream
~1 cup (8 oz.) of Mayo
~Cucumber – cut into smaller cubes – I only used 1/2 for mine
~Radishes – cut into slices – I used about 4 – 6. Adds some color
~Green onions (optional) – chopped small- Adds a little flavor

The fun part begins–wash and cut up all your veggies! Now, if you are going to make your salad for much later in the day, I wouldn’t add your cucumbers and radishes to the dish just yet. Cut them up ahead of time and keep them separate. Add them maybe an hour before so they get mixed in. The reason for this is that their water content might make your salad a little watery if added too early.

You’ll need to mix the mayo, softened cream cheese, sour cream and ranch dip in a separate bowl to blend. Just add them to your veggies and you’ll get something like this:

This is one of those salads that should be chilled for awhile before serving so it blends well. If it’s a little thicker, you might be able to add some more sour cream/mayo to blend it out more. If it’s a little watery, add some extra cauliflower, if you have it. Sometimes I have to do that, other times it’s perfect. Don’t forget to add your cucumbers/radishes if you’ve left them out.

Now….what do you do with that leftover cauliflower, if you have it? I used two heads so I could get a mix of purple and orange cauliflower. I saved some for salad toppings for the week and the rest, I blanched in bowling water for about 3 minutes, cooled in cold water and then froze for a side dish for later:

This is one way to make sure that you don’t waste any food. If this isn’t something you are bringing to a party but for your own party, just put your extra cauliflower on a veggie platter, if you have one.

I hope that you end up enjoying this cauliflower salad recipe if you try it. My family makes this every year at Thanksgiving. One of our traditions!

How to Make Frog Pizza

Earlier in the week, I had my husband stop by Costco to pick up a few things. He came home with what was on the list and this gigantic cheese bread to which I said, “What’s that for?” He said, “I have no idea but it looked good.” LOL. OK, so this may or may not be the reason why I do the majority of our grocery shopping.

The next day after school my son excitedly said, “Mommy, we played this pizza game where you put frogs on top. But please don’t make that for supper because that would just be gross.” Of course, immediately I start thinking how I can make frog pizza. The only thing I had on hand that was green was spinach but I figured it could somehow be configured into a frog. I ripped some spinach leaves in half for the legs and used one bigger leaf for the body. And of course one of the main features of a frog is their eyes.

So I balled up some shredded mozzarella and topped each with a slice of black olive. And presto, we have frogs on a “pizza.” (which was really just cheese bread.) Here’s what it ended up looking like:

I just put them in the oven at 425 degrees just long enough to heat everything up. Midway through, I had to re-apply an eyeball as it slid off. So make sure that your “eyes” are rounded, yet still flat enough to stay on. For my husband’s, I hid some pepperoni under the sauce and added more cheese. It kind of created a hidden frog so it turned out OK. His looked like this:

The kids loved these and going forward, I might make them on English Muffins for a quick lunch or on some real homemade dough for a true pizza–one that’s a little healthier than the cheese bread! I’m thinking that I’ll have to cook the dough first and then put on the toppings and heat them up, as I fear that the spinach will wilt too much if subjected to too much heat.

Of course, once your stomach settles, you’ll have to hop around because you now have a frog stuck in your belly. :)

Just thought I’d share our silliness in case you were looking for a fun dinner/lunch with the kids. If you are looking for a book to pair with your dinner, you can try Frog in the Kitchen Sink. In the middle of the book are rolling eyes and my kids have always loved this one. You might be able to see if your library has it.

Chex Mix Muddy Buddies Coupon

There’s a $.75 Off a 10.5 oz or larger bag of Chex Mix Muddy Buddies Coupon available.

Thanks, Hip2Save!

You can make your own Homemade Muddy Buddies with this recipe: Note: I usually use Crispix Cereal, but you can also use Chex Cereal:

1) Melt together 1 cup peanut butter, 1 cup chocolate chips and 1 stick of butter in a medium saucepan. You’ll have to stir frequently or it will burn on you quick. I’d recommend keeping it on a low to medium heat.

2) Once melted, pour over Crispix cereal. (1-12oz. box) Stir the cereal mixture (gently or you’ll break them) until all the cereal is covered.

3) Immediately put it into a brown paper bag that’s been filled with 1/2 bag (1lb.) of powdered sugar. Close up the bag and shake it until the sugar covers the cereal.