Friday, February 17, 2017

Pizza Pockets

Packing lunch is hard.
Why!?!  Why is it so hard to make a sandwich and put it in a bag?!?!?

Sub title this post: Time or Money

The easiest way to pack a lunch is to grab three ready-to-eat things and throw them in a bag.
Two problems with that plan:
1. Ready-to-eat is as expensive as school lunch. (I have six school aged kids.  I can't afford almost $20 a day in school lunches.)
2. Ready-to-eat is not usually the most healthy.  (I am not overly concerned about eating healthy, this recipe includes the word "pizza," after all, but I think it's a good idea to aim in that direction whenever possible.)

But- making food from scratch is time consuming.  No doubt about that.

So- if you are way to busy for this, It is ok to do lunch some other way.  Your kids will be fine.

This is one thing that works for my family.  Feel free to try it, adapt it, share your awesome improvements with us.

Pizza Pockets

Bread dough (See below for my favorite.  It is ok to use bake-and-serve, just remember to let it thaw completely first.)
Pizza or Spaghetti sauce
Shredded cheese, whatever variety you like on your pizza (We use mozzarella, unless we run out, then we use cheddar.)
Pizza toppings- pepperoni, sausage, olives, mushrooms, etc.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Roll the dough thin in a big rectangle.  In this picture the dough is about 18 inches by 24 inches.
Use a pizza cutter or sharp knife to trim the edges.  (If you are using a plastic rolling mat, use a plastic knife.) Cut the dough into rectangles about 4x6 inches.  (This size seams to be a good compromise between the first grader and the tenth grader.) 

Put about a teaspoon of sauce on one side of each rectangle. Add cheese and toppings of your choice.  It doesn't take much, 5 pepperoni slices or 2 tablespoons of sausage, for example.  ( I always put the cheese on before the toppings because it stays put better that way.)

Lift the empty side of the rectangle up over the side with the toppings.  Fold the lower dough edge up over the top edge and smash it together real good so all the yummy doesn't leak out in the oven.

Stab the top with a fork to allow the steam to vent.  (If I do more than one variety at a time I use one fork poke for pepperoni and two fork pokes for sausage.  If you are 7, this matters, a lot.)

Place on cookie sheet and bake for about 20 minutes, until the pockets start to turn a golden brown on the edges.

Allow the pockets to cool, then put them in a freezer proof container and freeze them.

In the morning the kids get a pizza pocket from the freezer, put it in a baggie.  It is defrosted by lunch time.  

Anything you like in a sandwich will work here.
1. chopped up meat, shredded cheese, mayonnaise
2. veggie pizza
3. just cheese

Here's the Bread dough recipe I use:

Basic Bread Dough
3 1/2 cups warm water
1 Tbsp yeast
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup shortening (or butter)
1 Tbsp salt
9 1/2-10 cups flour (I like to use half whole wheat and half white.)

Water should be about as hot as it comes from the tap, a little too warm to comfortably put your hand in, but not so hot that it's going to burn you.
Put the water in a large mixing bowl.  Add yeast and sugar.  Stir just a little and let it set for about 10 minutes until the yeast is foamy. 
Add the salt, shortening and about half the flour.  Mix for a couple of minutes.
Add more flour, until you have about 9 cups.  (If you are using an electric mixer, follow the directions for basic bread dough for your machine.)  Mix until the dough is stiff.  Sprinkle flour on a board, or mat or just on the table.  Dump the dough out on the floured surface and knead it until it's soft and elastic. (Or until you just can't stand it any longer.)  It should take about 5-6 minutes.
Put the dough in a covered bowl and let it stand for about an hour or until about double in size.  Give it a big punch right in the middle and watch the whole thing deflate.  (For some reason I find this fascinating.)  
If you are making Pizza Pockets it is now time to roll out the dough.
To make bread, grease 3 medium sized bread pans.  Divide the dough into three equal parts.  Shape the dough into a large oval.  Place the dough in the pans, cover it with a clean cloth and let it rise for about another hour until doubled in size.  
Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Bake the bread for about 40 minutes, until it is golden brown.
Take the bread out of the pans right away and let it cool a bit before you try to cut it.

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