The Pantry Challenge ends this week and I believe it was quite a success!
The most important two things I learned are planning and time are the keys to saving money in the kitchen. If I don't plan, I forget to get out things to defrost and end up flying by the seat of my pants. Once I get out things I must take the time required to cook it!
I did a little bit of experimenting this week and came up with a really easy way to make homemade pizza dough! I take my no-knead bread recipe and when it comes time to put it on the stone, I carefully spread out about half of the dough to the edges of the stone. Make sure your hands are pretty wet so that they don't stick to the dough. Put the spread out bread in the oven until it gets just a tiny bit brown, take it out and put on your sauce, cheese, and toppings, then continue baking it until it's done to your satisfaction. The leftover half of the bread can go in the refrigerator and be baked in the next two weeks - just preheat the stone (and don't forget the water for steam). No thawing, rising, or anything else is required.
I bought two bunches of organic bananas and of course they didn't all get eaten before they started getting overripe. Banana bread to the rescue! Everyone has their favorite recipe, here's mine:
After creaming together the butter and sugar, I just dump all the ingredients one at a time while the mixer runs (even the whole bananas!).
1-1/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter
3-4 ripe bananas
1/2 c. buttermilk or milk
1 tsp. vanilla
2-1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 c. chopped nuts (optional)
Bake at 350-degrees for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Makes 2 loaves.
My own personal Pantry Challenge will continue into the spring so that I can clean out, use up what I have before the new spring and summer vegetables come in and in the fall when the new batch of chickens, pork, and venison get put in the freezer.
"Being frugal does not mean being cheap! It means being economical and avoiding waste."