Last night’s delicacy…

Last night we had something I will call pizza bites for dinner.

I would like to take 100% full credit for these, but alas I do have to give credit for inspiration at the very least.

I saw something similar being made by a friend of mine, Stephenie Black. She got it out of a cookbook that I actually want. Yes, I just admitted that I want a cookbook. My problem is that I have a lot of cookbooks already that I do not use so for me buying a cookbook is a hard thing to justify.

Kyle’s simple and insightful inquiry yesterday on whether or not I had “tinkered” with the recipe was not entirely unfounded nor without probable cause. It was totally justifiable on his part. He had probable cause to back up his suspicions. He’s had almost 12 years of experience in this department so he knew where to go when the cinnamon raisin bread was still absolutely yummy to his tummy but just ever so slightly more yummy to his tummy.

Now if someone wants to gift me the cookbook, I do not have to justify yet another cookbook. Just saying.

So thanks to Stephenie, I had this very short list of vague ingredients and I was good to go. Of course due to my dietary restrictions I was going to have to improvise. Even more so due to my sheer lack of desire to put forth certain stages of effort. Plus, I don’t have a nice tile top counter top that is nicely marked for the ease of use like hers. Not that I am saying I want a tile top counter like hers, but I am totally seeing the benefits of that for this.

I collected my ingredients a couple of weeks ago and stashed them in the fridge hoping that people would not consume them. Theoretically, nothing would go bad in the short amount of time. I would get to it when I had a bit more time.

Of course, while I was collecting the supplies to make these pizza bites for the family, I totally forgot about my own dietary restrictions. How could I? No worries, I typically try to keep the counter supplies for these things in the freezer anyway so I am covered. Worst case scenario I was going to have to make a quick run to the grocery store and buy a couple of bags of precooked chicken and a jar of Alfredo sauce. I vaguely remember buying a jar the last time I was out because I had gone looking for one and couldn’t find one so I wasn’t too worried. Upon investigation, I was covered.

I should mention the panic started to set in when I pulled out the bulk bag of cheese and realized that it had been opened. Oh no! No worries, I would simply make as many as I could and run the store to make the rest tomorrow. I’ve had to do that with the beef burritos and the beef pot pies, so why not with the pizza bites too? Three for three?

So what does one need to make pizza bites? Lots of stuff. Lots and lots of stuff. The ingredients are quite simple though.

The ingredients are pretty simple as you can see. You will notice that there are two different sauces and fillers/toppers. That is because I do not consume pork due to health reasons. It does not agree with my digestive track and therefore and the little piggy products no longer mix. The tomato products do not go well with me either, so I opt for a more gentle and kinder option. So the pepperoni and tomato is for the family and the chicken and alfredo is for me.

Yes, that is a can of Diet Coke. No, I will not confess to how many were consumed over the course of the last 24-48 hours. I do confess to cracking that one open and drinking it during the process of making this delicacy for dinner. I will not, however, confess to which part or how fast I drank it. Just remember liquid refreshment is good for you, pick your beverage of choice.

You will also notice a variety of pan selection. Take your own pick here. I do not care what you use. My intention here is to make enough to freeze for later. The glass pans for for making for dinner now and the foil pans are for freezing and consuming later. That is it, nothing complex about it. I am planning ahead and we will see just how much we get out of this for these purposes. If you hate doing dishes, by all means use the foil pans. If you hate throwing things away, please use the glass pans. If you have metal ones to wash, use those. I do not care. I have my reasons.

Now let us get started on this whole process. This is going to take some time and we are running a little behind schedule.

First we have to make the pizza dough. A triple batch of pizza dough.

Here we have the yeast starting to do what yeast does. I used rapid rise yeast. My recipe calls for active dry yeast, but when I am in a hurry I will sometimes call in my bigger guns and go for the rapid rise.

Here I will throw in another confession. I have a box (plastic box with a air tight lid) with yeast packets in it. They are in there by date of expiration. I use them in the order they come up. Mostly. So this was next up in the line up. It was older yeast, I should add. I was skeptical if it was really going to rise all that much to begin with especially with it being cold outside and the fact that I keep my house at or close to meat locker temperatures according to the general population. The thermostat says 69˚F, so the last time I checked that would get any meat processing plant shut down.

Nice fluffy deliciously working yeast. I cannot help it when my yeast looks this good! Sometimes I get some real duds and it is not so much fun. Since I was in a hurry and that’s usually when I get the duds, this was a real exciting time for me to get such turn around from the yeast. Thank you, yeast!

Adding the flour to the yeast and other moist ingredients. Sorry, I was not as detailed with these pictures as I was with the cinnamon raisin bread. Pizza dough is pizza dough, right. Make your dough and use it. I have a recipe I like and I just make it, I didn’t even though to show the ingredients. I will do better next time.

Turning the mixer on and starting the flour mixing in with everything else. Look at it go. Does not look like much yet, but it will.

The dough forming, but still a gooey, gloppy mess. Not a good thing. Since I had a LOT of flour to get in there, this is not entirely a bad thing as I did not have all the flour in the bowl at this point. I think I was about half way through the 11.5 cups the recipe called for doing the mathematical tripling of the recipe.

The dough starting to clean the mixer bowl. That is what I like to see! Almost done!

The dough is looking good!

A nice round dough ball! Perfect! I stopped with the flour at this point. It was not sticky and the bowl was pretty clean and I was not taking any more chances. I did not make it all the way to the full amount called for by the recipe mathematical adjustments. That is perfectly fine by me.

The finished dough, in a large bowl, ready to rise just a little bit. Remember we did a triple batch so we need a LARGE bowl.

Nothing fancy to this step. I just sprayed down a large metal mixing bowl (courtesy of my mother) with nonstick cooking spray. I did roll my ball of dough in flour and shape it a little smoother since I did a pretty good job mashing it getting the dough hook and the bowl off the mixer. That is my one complaint about this mixer. It clearly is not a big enough complaint for me to rush out and replace it with something else, but with things like bread dough you have to take the beater/hook off to get the bowl off and it is hard work to turn that beater/hook when it is stuck in a triple batch of dough.

Now that we’ve gotten our pizza dough ready to go, we need a few more ingredients because now is the more time consuming part of the process – construction.

We need…

A willing participant to help construct the bites. This here is my sister, Jennifer Mowrer. She looks pretty willing here, right?

I should add she looked more willing after I told her we were totally making this up as we went on 99% inspiration.

And this is how it all begins…

Here is our spread. Yes, that is homework going on in the same workspace. That is my 7 year old niece, Katlynn. My 7 year old son, Lance, is at the other end of the table out of the way. Would it have been easier without the homework in the way? Yep. Oh well, we worked around her homework paper.

Rolling out the little balls of dough. This is a nice little repurposed tool. It is a fondant roller. It works great for these tasks!

The dough disappearing one ball at a time. Let me say that we just pulled off a small ball and rolled it out. There was no exact science or measurement. My sister made her’s a little larger than mine. It does not really matter.

The only time I measured out roughly the same was when I had a single pan and a set amount of dough and I wanted to fill the entire pan with the remaining dough. I decided I wanted set number of rolls/bites in the pan and I split the dough into that many balls before I started rolling them out. This incidentally became the pan I prepared for freezing.

The Pepperoni Pizza Bites coming together nicely in a pan of tomato based sauce. This was a half jar of spaghetti sauce. Nothing fancy. Something I had in the cupboard. No gourmet chef skills required here people!

Oh no! We have some cross contamination here – cheese in the mini pepperoni dish! Call out the pepperoni police!

The Chicken Alfredo Pizza Bites coming along nicely. My mouth is watering just looking at these again today. Oh man oh man oh man!

A pan of Pepperoni Pizza Bites ready to go into the oven. Don’t they look scrumptious?

You need a teenage scavenger to clean up the left-overs. He was given the task of bagging the remaining miniature pepperoni slices. He consumed a few.

Yes, I make them work for their keep around here. He did make sure that most of the pepperonis made it into the bag into the fridge. I guess he was hoping he would be fed again – soon.

Frankly, I cannot believe I am letting anyone see this picture. I must be out of my mind. The inside of my oven. Nothing fancy or glorious in here. Nope. Standard issue builder grade, upgraded appliance. The first chance it gets for replacement it is out of here. That is the foil drip liner in the bottom from Thanksgiving from baking the pecan pies. Nothing fancy in here except those two 9×13 pans of absolute deliciousness!

A pan of Pepperoni Pizza Bites fresh out of the oven. Oh how delicious they look. Oh how I wish I could take a bite and sample them. I will trust that the five other mouths at my table last night were honest in their assessment.

One pan of Chicken Alfredo Pizza Bites! How good do those look?

Finished deliciousness! Pepperoni Pizza Bite – with tomato based sauce. I have to indicate that in this house since I do not touch the tomato based sauces very often these days. These were extra cheesy because Jennifer loaded them up.

A plate of Chicken Alfredo Pizza Bites that were absolutely delicious! They turned out better than I thought they would considering I did not have plane chicken in the freezer. These were made with southwestern chicken. Interesting tang, but delicious all the same.

And my pan of Chicken Alfredo Pizza Bites ready to go in the freeze. Well, it will be ready to go in the freezer once it is covered, labeled and the directions put on the top of it. I cannot wait to try these again in a few weeks after being in the freezer to see how well they hold up.

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