I’m on a mission. Well, I’d like to be, anyway. My goal being to cook more meals that freeze well. So I can make a double batch and have dinner tonight and a month from now, too. As promised, first up: Lasagna and homemade garlic bread pizza.
My lasagna is super simple.
When I have my own sauce canned I use that…or even make it fresh from the garden as needed…but it’s too early for garden stuff yet and I didn’t get to can even a single tomato from my sad garden last year…so Barilla marinara sauce works.
Just remember to double everything. So instead of one pound of sausage (or hamburger), one jar of sauce, etc…use two. However you usually make it x 2. The only thing I would suggest that may be different is the noodles. I like oven ready anyway, but I especially like them for the freezer.
Start browning your meat (I grate in onion most of the time because one of my kids is convinced he doesn’t like them. What he can’t see won’t hurt him. Right?) Then start making the dough for your garlic bread pizza!!!!
I originally found this recipe at grandbaby-cakes.com, and although I followed the recipe to the letter the first few times, I sort of winged it after that. So here’s my round-about doubled batch, which will turn out two sheets of these delectable bread stick style pizza slices!
For the bread:
- 4 cups of flour
- a couple tsp. garlic salt
- a couple teaspoons sugar (I stay on the shy side)
- 2 small packets active dry yeast
- 1 3/4 cups warm water
Use a fork by hand or a dough hook to mix together the dry ingredients, then make a well in the center and pour in your warm water…I just use hot tap water. But if you’re waters too hot it will kill your yeast, too cold and it won’t work. We’re shooting for close to 120 degrees…but honestly…if you’re tap is scalding hot you should turn your heater down to just barely tolerably hot. You’re kids will thank you to not get burned and your bread will turn out.
Slowly stir your flour into the water, then flour your hands and work on it until it’s all consistently combined.
Turn the dough out on a floured surface (I like to dampen my counter a bit and lay down a sheet of parchment paper, then put down the flour on that…but I was out of paper). If your dough is sticky throw some flour over top the dough, too.
Press sort of down and away from you with the heel of your hands all over the dough, then fold it in half and do it again…and again…and again…for six or seven minutes.
I stop kneading when the dough looks like an old man’s butt. I know…that sounds crazy, but look at it. All wrinkled up. You’ll press in and as soon as you lift your hand you’ll see it start drawing up into these tiny little wrinkles. Once that starts I give it a few more cycles of folding and pressing then move on.
Form your dough into a ball by sort of pulling the sides so it will all look smooth except for the ugly meeting point that we’ll call the bottom.
Place your dough ball into a greased bowl, that ugly gathering spot down, then grease the ball. Olive oil is your best option since it’s healthier and we’re pretending to be Italian, but I’m also out of that…so I just sprayed this with some canola. I really am going to the store some day.
Cover you’re rising dough with a dish towel or something and place in a warm spot to rise (primarily just away from cold spots like your air conditioner).
Finish your sauce for your lasagna and start assembly. Remember to have enough to double! One tub of cottage cheese, and a large bag of mozzarella only ended up being enough for one 9 x 13 foil pan and another half that size. It was fine for us, the smaller pan size is what I actually usually make, and when I figured my ingredients I was going to use mini bread pans to make individual portions (my husband is crazy picky, so the plan started as a way to make what me and the kids like and have something else for him, but I like the idea of having a meal for everyone that I didn’t have to prepare…now I don’t know what he’s gonna do those nights).
Anyway…you’re lasagna is now ready to bake or freeze.
Pop tonight’s pan in the oven.
When your dough has had about an hour to rise check to see if an indentation remains if you poke it about a half-inch deep.
Punch it! It will deflate then divide it in half. Oh, and flour your hands as you need to throughout this!
Grease two cookie sheets with olive oil (or spray it with canola if you’re cool like me) then spread your dough. Just keep pressing it out from the center toward the sides.
For the topping you will need:
- 1 stick of butter
- 2 teaspoons garlic salt
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese
Melt the butter and add the garlic salt and Italian seasoning, then pour half on each pizza and spread. Sprinkle each pizza with about a cup of the cheese.
Now you are ready to bake or freeze your garlic bread pizza.
When you get your lasagna out increase the heat to 425 degrees. Bake tonight’s pizza for about 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and golden.
Freeze the other on the cookie sheet, then remove from sheet and wrap tightly in plastic. I put it plastic wrap over my lasagna (you can do the same thing with a partially eaten gallon of ice cream to keep ice crystals from taking over), then put my fully wrapped bread on top, then I wrapped the whole thing in foil.
Ha! Dinner tonight and some other time! This makes me happy!
If you have any ideas for meals that freeze well, please let me know!
‘Til next time!