We’re talking about cheap eatin’ in Cheap Thrills for the next few weeks.

First off, I’d like to apologize for the questionable process photos to follow: our kitchen is, like, the darkest kitchen in the whole of the universe, and my highest quality camera is Favorite’s iPhone 4, so there you have it.  You do the math.  That said, today’s Cheap Thrill is about pizza!  Yay for pizza!

Favorite and I are trying to focus on having less food waste in our lives, which can be difficult, especially with perishables like vegetables.  Having half an onion, two tomatoes, a third of a bell pepper, and half an avocado spoil at the end of every week is not a good use of our food, or our money, for that matter.  So I’m declaring war on food waste by claiming Friday or Saturday of every week as Catch-all Pizza Night: The night on which Karyn makes pizza out of whatever the heck is left in the fridge.  No more wasted food = money saved = happy campers, all.  Plus, pizza!  Winning!

I’m using Trader Joe’s Pizza Dough for this project.  It costs less than $2, and the whole wheat dough is both healthy and super duper tasty.

My friend Dan is an amazing baker.  He makes pizza dough, and turns it into beautiful pizzas that look like this:

If you’re like Dan, or if you are Dan, you can skip Step One of the instructions and make your own pizza dough.  If you’re like me, or like the rest of the notasuperbakerandpizzadoughisfiesty folks I know, proceed as follows.

Step One: Go to Trader Joe’s and buy this pizza dough.  It’s usually in the refridgerated section near the produce, and it looks like this.

 Buy nothing else!!! (Okay, if you’re clever, get the dough when you are getting other things so as not to make many pointless trips to the store like an idiot.  But don’t buy anything else for pizza.)

Step Two: Collect the random bits of leftover madness you have in the kitchen.  For us this week, that meant half an onion, half an orange bell pepper, half a yellow bell pepper, and some crumbled blue cheese.  No pizza sauce in the house, but we have ketchup and brown sugar, so that’s BBQ sauce… neato.  The key is to let the leftovers dictate the pizza.  Don’t be shy.  You can make some seriously wacky pizzas that still taste super awesome.

Step Three: Make pizza!  Follow instructions on the dough bag, but just in case you rip them (I’ve never done that, obviously. 🙂 ) take the dough out of the fridge and let it sit for 20 minutes.  Do not attempt to play with, commune with, or, God forbid, make pizza with the dough without letting it sit first.  You’ll be cursing the heavens.  Honest.  Using a liberal amount of flour, roll out your dough until it looks pizza-y, or toss it around while listening to Funiculi, Funicula or whatever floats your boat.  Concoct a sauce out of the aforementioned ingredients or whatever else is around (olive oil, tomato paste, mustard, alfredo sauce, go for it!) and paint yourself a pretty pretty pizza.

I also like to drizzle olive oil and sprinkle sea salt on the crust.  Let’s all take a moment and pretend I’m a super chef and ooo and ahh over the cleverness of me.  Thanks.  That felt good.  Now get the rest of your ingredients onto your pizza.  For me, that meant throwing a pile of veggies in a skillet until they softened up a bit and then dumping them on the pizza.  Complicated stuff.

A note about cheese: If you wait to add cheese as the very last thing, you’ll use a lot less.  Which is good, because cheese is expensive and not necessarily great for you.  A lot of veggies + a little cheese = guilt free pizza. 

Step Four: Bake your pizza.  450* oven, 10 minutes or so, try not to burn it.  Pizza stones are a worthwhile investment if you’re going to do this every week.  Ours also seems to do great things to cakes.  Just saying.

Step Five: Eat pizza and feel good about consuming the last of your food for the week!  You are saving the world!  You are being a good steward!  And it’s tasty!  Happy day!

I hope your pizza comes out in focus.  We’ll keep trying.


  • Aaron Coe May 24, 2011 at 9:05 am

    I love it. (This is how I cook most of the time)

  • aimee May 24, 2011 at 9:33 am

    We do the same thing except pasta. I call it farmer’s market pasta. I get a little crazy buying fresh veggies and then they don’t get eaten. I throw them in with pasta, garlic and olive oil (occasionally cut up string cheese since we always have that).

    • girlofcardigan May 24, 2011 at 11:01 am

      Brilliant! I’ve been known to make string cheese quesadillas in a pinch, as there have been many weeks of my life that end with only tortillas and string cheese remaining in the fridge. Go figure.

  • Emily May 26, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    Omg, I made this for dinner last night (sub new cascadia gluten free crust) and now I want to have this for dinner EVERY NIGHT.

    Also, in the absence of cheese, I suggest cracking an egg in the middle (or 2!) and letting it poach in the oven for the last 6 or 7 minutes of cooking. Extra protein and creaminess, none of the yucky dairy tummy!

    • girlofcardigan May 26, 2011 at 4:46 pm

      Oh, I love that idea! Favorite will flip with joy! You’re brilliant.