My husband and I try to eat locally produced, unprocessed food as often as possible. In the middle of a hectic week, it can be really tempting to swing into a drive-thru (blech!) or order takeout, but we try to avoid the expense and nutritional void of each of these options. So, in addition to freezing portions of home cooked meals for later use, I have a collection of meal options that are fast, easy and flexible with whatever local ingredients I might have on hand.
Obviously, pizza is one of the easiest and most flexible dinner creations to make. Every so often, I make a big batch of pizza dough so I can bake and freeze the crusts. If I don’t have a crust on hand, I look around for what I can use. I have used everything from leftover mashed potatoes to risotto to tortillas to focaccia bread as a pizza crust. Tonight, I went a fairly standard route—bagel pizzas—and it was perfect for a simple Wednesday meal. Someone at work had sent some 2-day-old spinach herb bagels from Johnny’s Bagels home with me (I know! I have a propensity for acquiring old baked goods! It’s fantastic.). I rummaged through the fridge looking for toppings. The only sauce we had was in the freezer, but our CSA share included a mega tomato this week. The basil plant in our garden went into overdrive this year, and we had some fresh mozzarella from Klein Farms. Slice the bagels & tomatoes, layer with basil, top with cheese, toss in the oven for 10 minutes and dinner is served!
Bagel (or english muffin) pizzas were a staple for many people growing up, but the simplest meals can be forgotten sometimes. When we first started on our “locavore” diet, I thought the nostalgic meals of our childhood would have to be skipped over for more sophisticated food with local ingredients, but I’ve found that there is really a local alternative for everything (except for the canned meat products my husband used to enjoy :X ). So, next time you need dinner in a rush, just pilfer the refrigerator and cupboards—There’s got to be ingredients for some sort of pizza in there!