In preparing for the birth of our 4th child, and knowing my activity will be limited, I have been trying to stock my freezer with meals that can just be reheated. It has been fairly easy so far. When making supper for the family, I make a big enough batch so I can just freeze the leftovers. Little extra work, but huge benefit. This is also a great idea for having homemade meals on hand for an extra busy evening!
One of the most loved recipes I make for the family is homemade pizza! It is easy to do, and really easy to make ahead and freeze. The method I use is to bake the crust slightly, then freeze.
Today I made a triple batch, but my base recipe makes enough crust for 1 pizza baked on a jelly roll or average sized baking sheet.
Pizza Parlor Style Dough
2 1/4 tsp yeast
1 cup warm water
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp canola oil
2 1/2 cups flour (can substitute some whole wheat if desired!)
Mix together everything except flour, stir until dissolved. The oil will always float, it looks like this (so don’t panic!).
Gradually add flour, kneading until smooth and elastic. You may need more or less flour depending on the humidity of the day. (Today for example, I used extra!) The dough should not be too sticky.
Cover with a damp towel and let rise for 15 minutes
If you made a large batch, this is when you would want to divide the dough. Using a wet knife, cut into desired number of pieces. In my batch today, it is three
Lightly grease the pan. Using oiled or floured hands, stretch the dough to fit the pan. If it shrinks back after stretching it, let it rest for a couple of minutes, then try again.
Bake the dough in a 475° oven (450° for convection oven). It takes only about 5 minutes. The dough should look like it is just done, but not browning yet.
I have a convection oven, so I am not exactly sure how cooking multiple pans will work in a standard oven. From what I have read, my advice would be to rotate the pans about half way through to encourage even baking.
Allow to cool before packaging for the freezer.
Generally, 2 gallon freezer bags work great, but since I failed to check to see if I had any, I used press and seal wrap. Tip: Always make sure you have everything you need before starting. You know, do as I say, not as I do? 😉
Just a little bit more “why,” for what I did….
A year or so ago, I used to make my own freezer dough. But you know how easy it can be to fall out of a routine. Recently, though, I have been following the “Fill Up Your Freezer Series” by Christa over at Brown Sugar Toast. It was her post about freezable pizza dough that inspired me to regrow my stash. (I encourage you to check out the entire series if you are interested in even more freezer worthy recipes)
Who knows? Freezing extra meals have been going so good the last couple weeks, that I might actually try to continue to keep some on hand even after baby arrives!
Do you make freezer meals? What is your favorite?