Menu Planning Monday November 29, 2010: How making pizza every Saturday has helped our budget

I’m sure this must seem like a strange topic but I assure you it has relevance no matter what time of year it is. I briefly touched on the subject in my post on making pizza dough but there is more to making this an affordable meal than simply making homemade dough. The real savings comes from planning flavors that take advantage of left overs from the week. If I make chicken gyros then I save ½ cup of the chicken and make a Greek pizza or if we are having burgers then I save one patty, break it up and put it on a cheeseburger pizza.

When I am trying to think of inventive ways to create new pizza recipes I look at ingredients I have on hand that I may have purchased for a meal I never got around to making. I also look at the condiments and sauces I have, especially the ones that are already open. I make my own pizza sauce and keep it in individual quantities in the freezer so that I am able to thaw and use only the amount I need. The freezer is a great place to keep odds and ends like extra chunks of pineapple, olives, green pepper, and red onion, just store them in individual bags and add them frozen to your pizza. Many pizza flavors I make have the equivalent of two slices of bacon, diced up and sprinkled over the top so I cook up an entire package of bacon at once then cut the slices into small pieces and keep that in the freezer as well. This really helps with portion control but the biggest plus is that I never have to buy an entire pile of pizza toppings which can be both expensive and over whelming.

One of the ways to keep pizza night affordable and healthier is to use less meat and cheese than most recipes call for. You can make a basic pizza with about 15 pepperoni and 1 ½ cups of mozzarella cheese. For the most part no matter what kind of pizza you make or what ingredients you use it will always be cheaper than ordering out, which was why I started doing this in the first place, but my current goal is for it to taste better, be healthier, and be cheaper than frozen pizza. A good place to start would be to look at your weekly menu and think about what of those meals will there be leftover and what type of pizza could you make with that and random ingredients you already have.

This week we are having…

For more menu planning Monday ideas check out organizing junkie

Much Love, Aislinn and Emily

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