Friday, February 4, 2011

Simple Aldi Recipes: Pizza Bolognese (Cost $1.80) - 3-in-1 Meal

Pizza Bolognese
As a mother of three very active boys, I am always on the go and preparing dinner sometimes has to be done very fast. With a tight grocery budget for a family of five, I often have to strategize to make nutritious, easy and frugal meals. This is one of the reasons why I came up with the 3 in 1 meal, which is a great way to stretch your time, your budget and add nutritious home-cooked meals into a busy week.

Day 1 - Plenty of time (2 hour cook/prep time)
Pizza Bolognese

Day 2 - 15 minute cook time
Spaghetti and meat sauce with homemade bread 

Day 3 - 15 minute cook time
Vegetarian pizza with kitchen leftovers

DAY 1 - Pizza Bolognese

Pizza Dough
1 package of dry yeast
3 cups of warm water
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
7 - 8 cups of flour

Pizza Dough Directions
  1. Warm 3 cups of water briefly (needs to be barely warm), 
  2. Add the water to a large bowl with 1 package of dry yeast, stir.
  3. Stir in one egg, add salt.
  4. Stir in flour, one cup at a time. Start out with whisk, change to spoon as dough thickens.
  5. Knead dough into one round ball.
  6. Cover with kitchen towel/cloth and let sit 45 minutes- 1 1/2 hour

Meat Sauce Ingredients:
1 lb ground beef
1 chopped onion
2 chopped garlic gloves
1 1/2 cup of pureed scrap vegetables: Cauliflower, broccoli, squash, tomatoes) (healthy bonus - not necessary)*
1 cup of finished pasta sauce/canned tomatoes or chopped fresh tomatoes
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon of basil
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
salt/pepper to taste
1/2 - 1 tablespoon of ground paprika
1 teaspoon Goya Adobo (optional)
Ketchup (to taste)

Meat Sauce Directions:
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  2. Add chopped onion, cook over medium heat for 1-2 minutes
  3. Add meat, brown meat, and keep turning until everything has been browned.
  4. Skim the fat (Simply drain the juice in the pot and leave it in a small bowl. Don't pour it down the drain, let it set for  few hours and you can throw it in the garbage).
  5. Once the meat has browned and fat has been drained, add spices and stir.
  6. Cook meat and spices for 1 minute over medium heat, then add the pureed vegetable mix and/or tomato sauce.

    Pizza Preparation
    1. Heat up oven to 415 degrees F
    2. Divide the ball of dough into 3. (Roll the leftover dough into two balls, wrap it airtight in plastic foil and put it in your refrigerator (To be use for second and third meal).
    3. Roll out dough into a circle.
    4. Brush pizza pan with olive oil.
    5. Add pizza dough to pan, make sure to put it up the side a bit, and leave no holes. (or the bolognese sauce will spill out)
    6. Put in heated oven for 2 minutes on middle rack.
    7. Pull out pizza pan, add 1/2 of the meat sauce and cheese (Save the leftover sauce in an air tight container for tomorrow's dinner.
    8. Cook until cheese is melted and crust is slightly brown. (12 - 15 minutes)
    9. If your oven cooks a bit evenly, turn the pizza pan about half way through. (Make sure to check the button doesn't burn)

    A few frugal cooking tips:
    • Whenever you are cooking add leftover vegetable scraps (such as broccoli and cauliflower stems, ends of tomatoes, onions, squash etc.) to a zip loc bag in your freezer. When you make meat sauce, steam the scraps for a few minutes, puree them and add it for nutritional value. (No one (not even your picky husband) will know).

    • Use your Ketchup leftovers: When you have a ketchup bottle that is almost empty, save it for days when you are cooking meat sauce or stews. Add some water to the bottle, shake it and add to your sauce. This way you will never waste any ketchup.

    Pizza Bolognese is a very frugal meal, and because you are stretching it into three it becomes even more cost efficient. By shopping at Aldi, and using coupons at the grocery store I have been able to cut the cost even further. The kids love to help out making pizza, and you can even have them help make a small salad if you have the ingredients.

    Cost for 3 Meals:
    Spices and olive oil from the pantry/garden. ($1.09 for spices at Aldi)
    Used vegetable scraps for meat sauce and for veggie pizza.

    5 lb flour bought on sale a Target for $1.49. Aldi price $1.49 (Used 1/3) = $0.50
    1 dozen eggs at Aldi $0.99 (Used 1) = $0.10
    3 Pack yeasts $1.49 at Publix - $0.55 Coupon = $0.94 (Used 1 packet) = $0.31
    2 x Small Tomato Sauce at Aldi $0.50
    Ground beef at Target on sale at $1.99/lb - Aldi price: $1.99/lb
    3 lb onion at bought on sale at Aldi at $0.99 used 1 onion = $0.10
    1 box of whole wheat spaghetti at Aldi $0.89
    1 bag of shredded mozzarella cheese bought on sale with coupons at Publix $1

    Total cost for three meals: $5.39 ($1.80 per meal for a family of 5)
    (If you feel as if you need more meat or cheese, it will not add much more to the overall cost of the meal)


    1. Looks delicious. I'll have to tell my daughter about refrigerating the extra pizza dough. she has done this with rolls, but not pizza.

      Your ketchup hint reminds me of a recipe we found in my mother in law's recipe box written by my father in law--"look for anything red in the refrigerator that needs emptied out and rinse the bottle out and throw in the sauce."

    2. Cheryl that's so funny, I hope no one added strawberry preserves:)

    3. This looks wonderful. There isn't an Aldi nearby, but I do remember it from when we lived up north - Thanks for sharing your tips,