August 28, 2018

Pizza Boxes for Homemade Pizza? YES! And it seemed like a great idea at the time. Now, where do I put 50 boxes?

For the past 20+ years I've made homemade pizza once a week (on average).  It started out when the children were small as a special Friday night 'family night' when Daddy was working so we would all gather with pizza and treats while we watched children friendly movies and then as they got a little older; the TGIF line up sitcoms that included Boy Meets World and Sabrina the Teenage Witch. 

As the kids all grew, they all still counted on Friday Movie Night so it continued... even into high school.  The number of kids multiplied and we might have 5 or we might have 9 (or more) depending on the weekend.  The only change we made was moving movie night to Saturday after our oldest daughter made varsity cheerleader as a Freshman in high school and had to cheer on Friday nights.  Word spread among all the kids friends that anyone who wanted to join us for pizza/movie night on Saturday nights was welcome; just simply made 2-3 large pizzas every Saturday at 6:pm for whomever wanted to join us. 

Although I still use the same crust recipe, I've since perfected a few things, including our favorite pizza sauce and how to bake them to keep the crust crisp instead of soggy in the center when it's heaped with heavily loaded ingredient list... but it took until last week to realize one more 'ah ha!' moment.


Often, due to schedules, I will make the pizzas on Friday/Saturday night (either one now that our kids are all older and we aren't held down to sports and part time work schedules for our kids) and the pizzas will be available for 'whenever' anyone wants to eat.  It might be right away, fresh from the oven or it might be an hour or more later.  

Typically I'd take the pizza out of the oven and set them out either in the pizza pan they were cooked in, or if they were made on a pizza stone, I'd either put the stone out or slide the pizza onto parchment or foil.

The problem with that is that the crust would change in taste and texture as it cooled, and in the instance of parchment or foil, it gathered the condensation from the hot pizza and produced moisture between the crust and the parchment paper, resulting in a soggy or moist crust.

I just never made it a priority to care...  until last week.

If you saw the post last week about the Creamy Garlic Alfredo and Spinach Pizza and the Pepperoni Pizza I made that particular night, you can see that I did something different that night... look closely at what the pizza is sitting on in the photo....

As I was taking the pizzas out of the oven (which had been cooked on pizza stones and direct on the rack) I was getting ready to put them on the counter when I suddenly had the thought of putting them on cardboard.  I mean, pizza restaurants use cardboard circles and boxes...  other than the ability to box them up and transport them, there must be a reason (or so I figured).  

I keep random cardboard boxes around the house - slit open and folded flat for easy storage in tiny little slots like between the fridge and cupboard, or behind the shelving unit in the pantry/laundry room so I simply grabbed a flattened cardboard box and laid the two pizzas on it.

I let them cool a couple minutes, sliced them, grabbed a couple to eat and left the rest for my husband when he finished his workout.

What I discovered was when I went back for seconds perhaps a half our later, I loved the texture and taste the crusts still had.  They hadn't turned into the bready crust or gotten moisture from the heat condensation.  Yay!  I loved them!  Great flavor and great texture - I determined that from now on I planned to put my homemade pizzas on cardboard.

That's when I got the idea of ordering pizza circles online.  And in searching, I found that boxes in most cases were actually more affordable.  That also allowed me to brainstorm that making 'freezer' pizzas ahead of time would be a lot easier!  I often make up 2-3 pizzas when we only need one or two; and freeze the extra.  But the only way I had to freeze it was in the pizza pan so I had to 'use up' my pizza pans in the freezer. This way I realized I could make extra crusts or pizzas and freeze them in the box!  Great for stacking, it keeps them organized as well as protected from getting squished like my foil covered pizza pans are.

So I ordered the 14" inch size boxes and got a package of 50.

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

And yesterday, when they were delivered, the UPS man said, "Hey Pizza Lady!  So, what in the world are you going to do with 50 pizza boxes anyway?"

Ummm... indeed.  I know what I'm going to do with them but I didn't really think about how big they were going to be and where I would store them!

I don't know what I was thinking... but they are TALL!

... and wide!!!

I'm THRILLED to have my pizza boxes - you have no idea how something this little just makes me so happy!  But... where in the heck do I store 50 flattened pizza boxes?  Ha ha. 

Products related to this post are available to purchase through Amazon;

Arvco Corrugated Pizza Boxes, 14w X 14d X 1 3/4h, Kraft
PIZZA Box Takeout Containers, 14in Pizza, White, 14w x 14d x 2 1/2h, 50 per Bundle
Kraft White Pizza Box 9inch Pizza Boxes Kraft Pizza Paperboard Take Out Containers Packing Boxes 1 3/4h 10 Pieces

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August 24, 2018

Rice Krispie Treats - Microwave Version! (Sugar Free Version)

There is something about Autumn that makes me want to make Rice Krispie Treats.  Because we are mostly sugar-free in our house, I don't use regular marshmallows, but I use La Nouba, Sugar Free, Fat Free Gluten Free marshmallows that I order online.  Obviously this is the recipe most people use regular store bought marshmallows in, so feel free to use whatever version you wish.

I also like to add some vanilla to mine, and top with sprinkles.  Clearly those two things are optional.

Rice Krispie Bars

3-5 T butter  (I don't measure, I just scoop 'about that much')
10 oz. package of regular sized marshmallows (about 40 if you count them) or 4 cups of mini sized
6 c Rice Krispies
Optional:  1 t vanilla, and sprinkles for top

In a very large plastic bowl sprayed with Pam or similar, place the marshmallows and butter.
Microwave this until the marshmallows are melted which means they puff up and are are about 3 times their normal size. They will be puffed up over the top of the bowl, very tall, reaching for the top of the microwave. This is about 2 minutes depending on your microwave. If you cook them longer they will get tough and make your bars rock hard! Remove them from the microwave and quickly pour in the cereal.
Stir with a rubber spatula/scraper that you have sprayed with Pam or other cooking spray.
Place in your prepared (sprayed) pan.  Press.  Sprinkle with sprinkles, mini chocolate chips, mini m&M's etc. if you wish.

These are the sugarfree marshmallows I've been buying and using in my recipes for about 7 (?) years now.

La Nouba Sugar-Free Marshmallows 2.7 Oz (6 bags)

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August 21, 2018

#WHATSFORDINNER? Tonight was homemade pizzas

Homemade Pizza Dough divided into 4 parts.
2 were froze for future meals, two were made into dinner tonight!

Creamy Garlic Alfredo Pizza with spinach, bacon, ricotta and mozzarella  (I planned to use artichoke hearts and chicken as well but I didn't have leftover grilled chicken ready and waiting and I am apparently out of artichoke hearts.) 

Aww, of course I made classic pepperoni!  Mr. Husband's 'go to' favorite.

Other pizza's on An American Housewife (there are a tons since I've been blogging since 2006, but here are a couple to get you started!)

Greek Feta and Spinach Pizza
Homemade Taco Pizza
Creamy Garlic Alfredo Chicken Pizza

If you enjoy visiting An American Housewife, please consider using this affiliate link if you are planning to shop for anything (seriously, anything!) at Amazon. - An American Housewife at Amazon

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August 19, 2018

Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Remember when I posted this yummy recipe about a week or so ago????

It was here if you don't remember -

I mentioned in that post that I though I had taken chicken breasts out to thaw but when I went to make dinner, I realized they were chicken tenders!  (The long, skinny cuts!)  So I improvised and coiled them into muffin tins and made them that way.  These are so good that we wanted them again tonight but this time I really DID take out chicken breasts to thaw... so I was able to make them how I intended too and I even managed to remember to take a couple photos.

They are done, out of the oven and I'm just waiting on my husband to finish working out before we eat but eh, I don't want to go to the kitchen and take another photo!  I do have an "ALMOST DONE" picture and they look pretty much the same so there's that. 

Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Fresh Garlic - about a tablespoon
Olive Oil
Garlic Salt - about 1teaspoon or more (taste test)
Onion Powder - 1/2 teaspoon maybe
Spinach - about 10 oz. (1 package)
Ricotta Cheese - about 1 cup
Salt and Pepper
Chicken Breasts (2-3-4 for this recipe's amount of spinach/cheese mixture - depends on how big the breasts are)
OPTIONAL:  Parmesan Cheese and a slice or two of bacon - cooked and crumbled

Pour some olive oil in your pan, heat to medium high and add garlic.  Cook for just a minute or so and add the spinach (partially frozen is fine or thawed or even fresh chopped) and add your seasonings.  Cook just a couple minutes until heated through and wilted.  Add the ricotta cheese, turn off the heat and stir until smooth and melted.  Taste test to see if you want to add more salt or garlic salt to your own preferences.

  • If you are using chicken breasts, you can either slice along one side, and carefully cut a 'pocket' into the breast, without cutting all the way through.  It will look like a pita pocket - only chicken.  If you happen to cut all the way through, don't sweat it.  Just pile the filling on the breast, top with the upper slice and no one will know or care.  
  • Another option is to lay the whole chicken breast flat, and carefully make slices down into the breast, about every 1/2 inch.  Do not cut all the way through though!  Spoon the spinach filling between each 'slice'.

Optional:  Sprinkle the tops with Parmesan if you wish.  Bake at 400 until your chicken is done (about 40 minutes for thick chicken breasts).

Tonight I used garlic (doubled), spinach, a dab of cream cheese, salt, pepper, onion powder and some bacon pieces.

Sliced - but not all the way through!  You are making little pockets.

Spoon a little filling in each.

Ready to go into the pre-heated oven!

Bake at 400 until your chicken is done; about 35-50 minutes depending on how thick your chicken breasts are.

Almost done!  I took this picture when I was checking on them; I gave them about 15 minutes more.

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Homemade Ice Cream - No machine, no ice! EASY

Ready to go into the freezer to chill!

Homemade Ice Cream
No machine or bags of ice needed!

16 oz. container heavy whipping cream  (2 cups liquid)
1 can sweetened condensed milk  (not evaporated milk)
*optional items for whatever you flavor you like

Whip the heavy cream just to stiff peaks.
Fold in 1 can sweetened condensed milk.
Any flavorings or additions you like.
Place in a freezer safe container.  Freeze til firm.  Serve!

Sometimes I don't whip the cream first; I just put everything into a bowl and beat it together at once. So far this way has always turned out just as great as whipping the cream separate and folding in the rest.

 I usually use my KitchenAid but sometimes I just grab my little hand mixer. Here you can see it starting to thicken.

Smooth and yum!  Ready to go into a freezer safe container to freeze firm before serving.  This also scoops very well and doesn't get hard like regular homemade ice cream does.  The sweetened condensed milk keeps it soft enough to scoop.

Vanilla:  Add 1-2 t vanilla extract
Chocolate:  1/2 c chocolate syrup, 1-2 squares melted Baker's chocolate
Caramel:  1/2 c Caramel syrup
Cherry Nut:  1 t almond extract, fresh chopped cherries, chopped walnuts or pecans
Chocolate Mocha Nut:  1/2 c chocolate syrup, 1 melted square Bakers unsweetened chocolate, 1/4 c strong coffee, 1/3 c toasted chopped almonds
Cookies and Cream:  1 c crushed or chopped Oreos, 1 t vanilla extract
Lemon:  1 t lemon extract
Try:  Marshmallow creme, mini chocolate chips, candies, crushed cookies, nuts, butterscotch, strawberries, raspberries, maple extract, mint extract with mini chocolate chips, 1/3 c dry cake mix with colored sprinkles, espresso, melted caramel with a sprinkle of sea salt, bits of chopped brownies or cake, spoonfuls of cheesecake, bits of apple pie filling and a sprinkle of cinnamon, chopped candy bars... the options are endless!!!!

This one was Chocolate Mocha Almond version....

Freeze overnight and you get perfectly creamy, delicious ice cream!

More posts about ICE CREAM on An American Housewife:

Coffee Almond Fudge Ice Cream - (sugar free, gluten free and low carb option)
Irish Cream Ice Cream - 4 recipes for 4 different versions and flavors!
Homemade Ice Cream - without an ice cream machine (made in a Ziploc Baggy)
Homemade Shamrock Shake like McDonalds

Some things you can use to make your homemade ice cream:

Borden Eagle Brand Low Fat Sweetened Condensed Milk (Pack of 3) 14 oz Cans
Borden Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk 4 pack of 14 oz. Cans
Rubbermaid 12-Piece New Premier Food Storage Container Set
Trader Joe's Dry Roasted & Unsalted Almonds, 16 Ounce
Wonderful Almonds, 7 Ounce
Lavazza Caffe Espresso Ground Coffee, Medium 8 oz
Ghirardelli Caramel Flavored Sauce
Caramel Extract, Natural Flavor Blend - 4 Ounce Bottle

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