One of the biggest challenges to cooking and eating frugally is the time it takes to prepare so much of your menu from scratch. We are in a tight season right now so our dining out budget has all but gone away, except for about one trip to Chick-Fil-A or something similar every couple weeks. This causes a need for me to cook every.single.night. To make that task easier I'm working at creating some shortcuts for that ongoing need to cook.
Last weekend I made up a big batch of this pizza crust. I quadrupled the recipe using my Bosch mixer and ended up with 8 fairly thick crusts. I also rolled them on cornmeal so I could roll the dough directly onto the baking pan. I also used whole wheat flour for part of the flour the recipe called for and asiago for part of the parmesan. I sized the dough circles so they would fit into my Tupperware cake taker (a Goodwill find) and could be frozen until we need them. I used waxed paper in between the crusts, but I'm not sure that was especially necessary. If you have rectangular freezer storge containers, maybe you'll want to make rectangular crusts. I was just using the storage option we had on hand. This is our all-time favorite homemade pizza crust, and believe me, I've tried several. I think it's the cheese and garlic that makes it so good. The total cost for 8 crusts was probably around $3, though much of that cost is the cheese. If you went for a cheese-less recipe I'm sure you could make them more cheaply. We will use 2 crusts for a meal and some leftovers, but that's still economical in my books. These are a breeze to take out of the freezer and top with whatever meats, vegetables, sauces and cheeses you have on hand which may also give new life to your leftovers.
What are your favorite time-saving make-ahead meals?