Freezing Pizza Sauce In Muffin Tins

Filed under: Food/Drink — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:52 am on Wednesday, September 25, 2013

In the post about DIY pizza dough, I explained that I make a big batch of pizza dough, divide it up, and freeze it in balls. When I want pizza, I pull out one of the doughs, let it defrost, and then make a pizza.

I do a similar thing with the pizza sauce. I make a big batch and then I freeze it in a muffin tins. This makes a “puck” of pizza sauce of about 1/4 cup each, just about the perfect amount for a 13″ pizza. Then I put the sauce pucks in a plastic bag and freeze.

When it’s time to make the pizza, I pull out one of the pucks and defrost it in the microwave before spreading on the pizza. This allows me to have pizza sauce ready for whenever I want to make a pizza.

I use fresh tomatoes for my sauce, but canned tomatoes work just as well. Just substitute one large 28-oz can instead of fresh. The other trick to pizza sauce is to make sure you blend it so that it is a smooth texture. You don’t want pizza sauce to be chunky.

Here’s the recipe:

Pizza Sauce

(Makes 6-8 cups of sauce)

Ingredients:

    3-4 c chopped tomatoes, about 10-12 tomatoes, and their juices
    2 c shredded zucchini
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    1 small onion, chopped
    1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
    2-3 Tbs olive oil
    Salt to taste

Directions:

Chop the tomatoes, being sure to reserve the juices.

In a large pot, heat the olive oil and the garlic together. When the garlic begins to sizzle, add the onions and cook until soft. Add the pepper flakes and let sizzle in the oil for about 30 seconds. Mix into the onions.

Pour the tomatoes and their juices into the pot. Add the zucchini. Stir.

Bring the sauce to a boil, then lower the heat to medium high. Let cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce reduces to about half. You want most of the water to have evaporated and the sauce to have a similar consistency to canned marinara.

Working in batches, transfer the sauce into a blender and blend until there are no chunks in the sauce. Transfer back to the pot and taste. Salt until the sauce tastes the way you want.

To freeze, ladle the sauce into a muffin tin. Freeze until hard. Remove the pucks from the muffin tin by gently running warm water along the back of the muffin tin and transfer to a freezer-safe container.

To use, remove a puck and defrost. Spread on a pizza. Enjoy!

Chevron Baby Blanket

Filed under: DIY — Savvy Housekeeper at 3:20 am on Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Check out this free pattern to knit a Chevron Baby Blanket. The chevron gives the blanket an extra bit of class, don’t you think?

10 Make-Up Deals For Under $4 Shipped

Filed under: Money — Savvy Housekeeper at 12:42 pm on Tuesday, September 24, 2013

10 Make-up Deals For Under $4 Shipped. Some are as low as $1.80.

7 Clever Kitchen Storage Ideas

Filed under: Cleaning/Decorating — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:18 am on Tuesday, September 24, 2013

I’m in the early phases of planning for the remodel of my kitchen, which is going to be the big house project for 2014. It’s the last room of my house that still looks like the 1960s!

There are so many cool storage solutions for kitchens these days. Here’s a few I’ve stumbled upon:

1. Swing-Down Spice Rack. The spice rack looks like a drawer, and swings down when you need it for easy access.

2. Store pot lids on the inside of the door. In this case, they are held on with towel racks. I saw someone else do it with a metal magazine rack.

3. Put a narrow cabinet in to store cleaning supplies. I almost have space for this, but not quite.

4. Store cutlery in a shallow drawer above the dishes. This would make setting the table much easier.

5. Built in paper towel holder. Enough said.

6. Use a metal peg board and a narrow drawer to store utensils. You can hang from the pegs and use magnets on the metal.

7. A cabinet that allows you to sweep dirt down under the house. Imagine that, no more dustpans.

My Meal Plan

Filed under: Money — Savvy Housekeeper at 8:37 am on Monday, September 23, 2013

Someone asked me what I feed my family, so here is my meal plan for the week.

In general, I eat about 60% from the garden and freezer, 40% from bulk foods and grocery store items.

Usually I make a big meal toward the beginning of the week and re-fashion it into leftovers throughout the week.

For example, last Tuesday I made meatloaf. The leftovers were lunch for the baby the next day, and on Friday I made a meatloaf pizza. (Ever tried meatloaf on a pizza? It may qualify as an unusual pizza topping, but it tastes great.)

This week I’m doing something similar with a ham that has been languishing in the freezer.

In terms of cost, it’s hard to calculate exactly how much I’m spending this week since so much of it is coming from the freezer. How much money to attribute to the rib meat leftover from a barbeque we had last month that I used in pasta sauce last night? It’s hard to say.

But a lot of what we eat is free from the garden, or very frugal. For example, in the tomato sauce, I used mushrooms I bought from the mark-down shelf at the grocery. There were something like $.50 a package because the mushrooms were past their prime. So I dehydrated them and put them in a jar in the cupboard. Then when it came time to use them, I simply pulled them out, soaked them in water, and added both the mushrooms and the mushroom water to the sauce.

It’s a matter of getting food when it is cheap, preserving it, and then using it when I’m ready.

Here’s the meal plan:

Sunday:

Hunter-style Pasta

    * Leftover rib meat that was in the freezer.
    * Tomatoes from the garden.
    * Mushrooms I bought on sale super cheap and dehydrated, as mentioned above.
    * Bulk Parmesan cheese from Costco.
    * Linguine from the store, $.99/package.


Monday:

Ham Dinner

    * Ham from the freezer.
    * Twice-baked butternut squash. The squash and chives are from my garden, the breadcrumbs are in the freezer, and the sour cream is in the back of my fridge and needs to be used up.
    * Salad, all from the garden—lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and so on. The salad will be dressed in olive oil and homemade vinegar.


Tuesday:

Ham Panini and Butternut Squash Soup

    * Leftover ham.
    * Cheddar cheese I bought in bulk at Costco.
    * Sourdough bread.
    * Leftover butternut squash soup I made last week, using squash from the garden.


Wednesday:

Date Night! We’ll probably go out to dinner.

Thursday:

Burritos

    * Beans that I made from dried and then froze.
    * Tomatoes and peppers from the garden.
    * Avocado I bought on sale ($.50 each).
    * Cheddar cheese I bought in bulk at Costco
    * Tortillas (locally made.)


Friday:

Pizza Night!

    * Homemade pizza dough
    * Homemade sauce using (you guessed it) tomatoes, zucchini, and garlic from the garden.
    * Bulk mozzarella cheese we bought from Costco.
    * Bulk Parmesan cheese we bought from Costco.
    * Topping–probably ham, but maybe not.


Saturday:

Salmon Dinner

    * Salmon I will buy on sale from the grocery at $3.99/lbs.
    * Potatoes from the garden.
    * Green beans from the garden, sauteed in olive oil.

During the day, I eat leftovers, salads, and sandwiches. The baby will have ham, butternut soup, and whatever else is appropriate for a baby to eat.

What are you eating this week?

From Wine Glass To Bell Jar

Filed under: Recycling — Savvy Housekeeper at 8:09 am on Friday, September 20, 2013

Sarah broke a wine glass, so instead of throwing it out, she turned it into this cute little bell jar. I love projects like this, where people turn trash into something interesting or useful. Have a good weekend!

Twice Baked Butternut Squash

Filed under: Food/Drink — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:20 am on Thursday, September 19, 2013

I’ve got to try this one: Twice Baked Butternut Squash.

Hedgehog Cookies

Filed under: Food/Drink — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:36 am on Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Hedgehog Cookies!

From Light Bulb To Hot Air Balloon

Filed under: Recycling — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:14 am on Tuesday, September 17, 2013

I’m on a hot air balloon kick right now. If I were so inclined–and I kind of am–I might turn a light bulb into a hot air balloon to hang as a mobile or to put on the Christmas tree. They are the perfect shape for it, and it’s a cool thing to do with old light bulbs (when you aren’t turning them into vases, that is).

Looking around the Internet, it looks like there are several ways to make hot air balloons from light bulbs. One way is to draw on the balloon to get steampunk-like balloons, like so:

Or you can decoupage fabric on the balloon:

Or, if you want to get complicated, you can hollow the bulb out and cover it with wire, like this man does:

Lots of creative possibilities here. Hmmm…

Four Flowering Shrubs

Filed under: Gardening — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:23 am on Monday, September 16, 2013

This winter and next spring, I’m going to be landscaping my backyard. So far I have a Japanese privet and a fig tree back there. There’s room for at least two shrubs and another tree.

The backyard has a lot of shade, but enough sun for me to put in a large sun lover or two. Here are several flowering shrubs I’m considering.

Snowball Bush


[Courtesy]

Not to be confused with hydrangeas, these are large flowering plants that produce round clusters of white balls that look like snowballs. The plants can get quite big, 8-20 feet tall, depending on the variety.

Pros: They produce copious amounts of gorgeous flowers, they make great cutting plants, they grow well in my area, and seem to need minimal care once they are established.

Cons: They drop tons of flower petals on the ground (I don’t mind this), they may need more sun than the backyard can offer, you have to prune them to keep them from getting leggy, and they may need acid soil, which would mean I have to amend the soil to grow them.

Lilac

One of the most beautiful flowering plants, for some reason lilacs have a reputation of being difficult to grow. I’m not sure why. Like the snowball bush, they can eventually get up to 20 feet tall, so it’s important to give them space.

Pros: Gorgeous, great cutting flowers, and will attract butterflies and hummingbirds.

Cons: They apparently need a lot of sun, so may not like my backyard.

Hydrangea

A hydrangea is a natural choice for my backyard. There is a lot of partial shade back there, which they tend to like.

Pros: Showy blooms, grow great in this area, good for partial shade, and a pretty overall plant.

Cons: The plant will most likely be deciduous (i.e. lose its leaves) in winter, which can look ugly. I also don’t like how hydrangeas look as the blossom starts to age, which means I would have to prune the old blossoms fairly often to keep it looking nice. I think hydrangeas thrive better in cooler climates.

Camellia

With their dark green leaves, these plants look great all year long. They are related to the tea plant, which I’m also considering growing.

Pros: They produce a gorgeous gardenia-like flower, do great in the shade, bloom in winter for a change, and don’t need much watering once they are established.

Cons: It sounds like they are a little tricky to get established, mostly because they want a particular soil situation: acidic soil with good drainage. I can handle that.

What’s your favorite flowering bush?

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