Monday, October 6, 2008

Dinner Is All Rolled Up


I'm not a fan of horror movies. The heart pounding tension of not knowing what the next horrific disaster will be - it's too much like the hour before dinner time at my house. If I haven't menu planned and prepped my ingredients for the day, 4:00 is a terrifying time. What's for dinner? What to cook? I pace the floor muttering the meager contents of the refrigerator as a mantra. "Cheese, mayonnaise, leftover rice, cheese, mayonnaise, leftover rice," as if the incantation would somehow produce a palatable meal for my family.

I try to be good and menu plan for the week, but inevitably I forget to pull meat out of the freezer to thaw or forget to run to the grocery store for a crucial ingredient and then my wonderful and infinitely patient husband says, "Sure, honey, I'd love pancakes for dinner."

There is a secret weapon in my arsenal, though, to help me avoid this kind of scenario. It's the freezer. And just a little bit of forethought.

One of the books that really influenced how I cook for my family is Once-A-Month Cooking. I was floored by the concept behind the book - if you're already spending the time and energy to make dinner, why not double the ingredients and put half the dinner in the freezer for another dinner later. The book outlines how to do a huge day of cooking once a month and then have meals to pull out of the freezer all month long. I tried that a couple of times, but figured out my family was happiest and it worked best for us if I just applied the principles on a smaller scale. My family loves variety and having to eat the same casserole 4 times in a month made for some dinner time crankiness, especially if they didn't like it that much the first time around. But if I had had a busy day and wasn't even home till 4:00, what a blessing to have a dinner ready to go in the freezer.

This is one of the recipes that I adapted from the book and my family never got tired of it. It's a versatile recipe that you can tailor to your family's tastes and what is on hand or on sale. It takes barely any more time to make a huge batch of these rather than a single dinner, and you'll feel so proud that you're serving your family homemade, tasty food on those hectic days, rather than resorting to the drive-through at McGrease.



Pizza Roll-Ups
adapted from Once-A-Month Cooking
by Mimi Wilson & Mary Beth Lagerborg

1 recipe of pizza dough
or 2 loafs frozen bread dough
1 lb ground turkey (I use 1.25 because that's how it's packaged here)
1 lb. bulk Italian sausage
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
4 cups grated mozzarella cheese
2 tsp Italian seasoning
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
Your favorite spaghetti or marinara sauce
Olives (optional)

1-Make or thaw the dough.

2- While the dough is rising or thawing, cook the turkey and sausage together. Drain the grease.

3- Place the cooked meat in a large bowl with the rest of the ingredients except the spaghetti sauce and olives. Mix well.

4- Preheat oven to 400 deg. F.

5- Divide the dough in half. Roll one half out into a large rectangle about 1/4" thick. Spread 1/2 of the the meat mixture on the rectangle. Roll up the dough lengthwise like a jelly roll, and cut into 2" slices. You can cut them thicker or thinner depending on your preference and how many roll-ups you'd like to have. I cut mine into 14 slices.

6- Place the rolls, evenly spaced, on a baking sheet treated with baking spray. Let the rolls sit for 10 minutes.

7 - Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or till golden brown. While the first batch is baking prepare the second half of the dough into rolls.

8 - Remove the rolls to a cooling rack to cool. Bake the second batch.

9- Once the rolls are cooled, place enough for a meal into a gallon zip-lock bag, smooshing as much air out as you can and sealing it. Stack the bags in the freezer. You can label the bag at the top with a sharpie to tell the contents or the cooking instructions, if your sweetie will need to be the one pulling it out of the freezer and getting dinner on the table.

To serve the rolls, thaw and warm in a pre-heated oven for 10 minutes and top each roll with a dollop of warmed spaghetti sauce and sprinkle olives on, if you'd like. Or you can top with the sauce and microwave on high for 1 to 2 minutes (check to see if it's warm - microwaves vary). Ta da! Dinner on the table in under 15 minutes! Throw a green salad on the side and your family will adore you. Well, they probably already do, but this might prompt them to mention it.

23 comments:

Melinda said...

They look very good and not 'rushed' food at all!
The trouble with my family they always think the extra that was made is for now. Left-overs rarely happen.
I'd have to hide the extra made!

microcap stocks said...

thats amazing story.

Sean said...

Oh man, they're finally in the blog! The pizza roll-ups! Nobel reader, she does not lie - we NEVER got tired of these things! I can recall the elation felt when she allowed us to pull a few out of the freezer and *gasp* have them for lunch! I will have to make an effort to whip up a batch for me and my roommate. I think he might appreciate it.

Deborah said...

I have seen things about the once-a-month cooking, but felt the same way as you - I thrive on variety! But I do think we'd be happy to eat this once or twice a month!

VeggieGirl said...

Oh I loooove horror movies, haha ;0)

Looks like a fun, versatile recipe, for sure!

Maria said...

I have never rolled up my pizza but I can't wait to try! Looks fun and delicious!

Lisa said...

I can just imagine my kids gobbling these up faster than I could make them.

Lien said...

What a wonderful and o so familiar story! I agree it's no fun knowing after the first week of the month what you'll be having for the remaining 3 weeks. But when there are leftovers... the freezer is my friend! What always goes down well is the pasta sauce I make once in a while in huge pans, but I'm sure they would not grow tired of these rolled up pizza buns too. Looks delicious.

Rose&Thorn said...

My family love these too, we call them savoury buns or pizza buns.

Grace said...

i love the flavors of pizza, and this is a terrific alternative to the boring ol' pizza pie. very nice. :)

alexandra's kitchen said...

I hate scary movies. refuse to watch them.

What a great idea this is. sounds like the perfect meal to have on hand!

The Pinnt's said...

I've stalked your blog for a bit, I love it! It is a great idea to make a bigger portion of dinner and freeze some! I'm a new mom still figuring out the dinner thing =) your recent adventure into posting family fav's is great! thanks =)

The Pinnt's said...

I've stalked your blog for a bit, I love it! It is a great idea to make a bigger portion of dinner and freeze some! I'm a new mom still figuring out the dinner thing =) your recent adventure into posting family fav's is great! thanks =)

Patricia Scarpin said...

Oh, I would love these, Lynn. And so would my 15-year-old sister, who is crazy for all things pizza. :)

Prudy said...

Oh, perfect! My family would mention their everlasting affection if I had these on the menu.

Heather said...

yum! this looks wonderful! what a great idea :)

abigail @ Piece of Cake said...

mmm...

can i do it with the pre-made dough in a bag from trader joe's? im a little nervous...

LyB said...

Pizza is one of my favorite foods, so with these on the table I will be one happy camper! I am loving your family recipes Lynn. :)

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

I might enjoy a horror movie but not the four o'clock horror of no dinner plan! I have one dish I always have to have one of in the freezer because it's always welcome on the table. In fact Gorn considers it a reward when I'll pull it out of the freezer. I'd love to have another meal like that. This looks excellent!

Brilynn said...

I've never been a menu planner... I don't have the patience. Every now and then I think it's a good idea but I never get around to actually doing it. These rolls look great. I'll take pizza in any form.

Mike of Mike's Table said...

I am just like you when it comes to the oh-no-I-have-no-plans panic. This seems like a great thing to have handy and it looks really tasty! Plus, it looks more fun than normal pizza, if that makes any sense...

RecipeGirl said...

You're such a good writer :) Really :)

I hate horror movies. I simply cannot stand to watch them because I get soooo scared. I'll have nightmares for weeks, and since my hubby travels often- I always think there's someone trying to break into the house.

The cookbook sounds like an interesting one. And these look like delicious little treats. They'd be great for football- watching Sunday!

WokandSpoon said...

Hmm, that's what I need, a freezer full of yummy quick meals that I can defrost! I just need to make the meals before i can defrost them! That's the hard part.