Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Homemade Pizza Margarita! Now that's Italian and Cheap!

One of the cheap chic dinners that we made when I was visiting my parents in Arizona was a homemade pizza margarita and fresh chopped green salad. We bought a bag of pre-made pizza dough from Trader Joe's for $1.19. You can use any pre-made pizza dough from the grocery store.
Dad rolled the dough out on a floured cutting board. Then he transferred the dough to a pizza stone (or cookie sheet) that had been sprinkled with corn meal. Actually we made the mistake of spreading the sauce on before transferring the dough to the pizza stone... oops!
This made it more difficult to transfer the dough to the stone but we managed to carefully do it. So, be sure to place the dough on the stone (or sheet) before spreading the sauce on it. We used my sister's homemade sauce (recipe below) but you could use a bottled sauce like "Ragu", etc...
Mom grated about a cup of mozzarella. It's cheaper to grate it yourself than buy the pre-grated stuff and it's good exercise, ha!
Mom chopped some fresh basil (about $.79) to sprinkle on top along with the cheese. You've got to have fresh basil for pizza margarita. Well okay, if you really can't get fresh then you can use the dried kind, but it's not as good.

Then place the pizza in a pre-heated 425 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes. Double check the temp/time on the pizza dough directions just incase I'm wrong. While the pizza is baking, chop up a nice green salad. You may slice up some fresh tomatoes on top of the pizza before putting it in the oven or put them on after it comes out of the oven which is my preference, or leave them off all together. Once you've finished chopping the salad, it should be almost time for the pizza to come out of the oven, oh boy, oh boy!
Now doesn't that look marvelous?!!! And the smell! This was so exciting! It's ready to cut!
And there you have it, an awesome, healthy cheap chic Italian meal!
Two gorgeous pieces of homemade pizza, a beautiful crisp salad with your favorite dressing and a lovely glass of vino! Yummy! You could make a few pizza's and have a party! Everyone would love it and it would be cheap! This pizza probably cost around $3.00. You can't beat it!
Note: I found some awesome pizza pans at Wal-Mart! Look for the ones with the holes in the bottom. This allows the crust to get crispy. They run about 7.99 for a package of two and are well worth the investment!
Toni's sauce recipe coming soon!

Monday, May 14, 2007

My Parents the King and Queen of Cheap but always Chic Decor!

My parents are so crafty and talented. Many times when I was growing up my parents would buy "fixer upper" homes and with mom's imagination and dad's muscle they would transform these homes into something one could have never imaged at first sight. They should have had their own HGTV show back in the 60's and 70's. Anyway now they have transformed their current home in Sun Lakes Arizona into a cozy little "shabby chic" cottage with the use of a little paint, garage sale and fleamarket finds and lots of imagination! I only wish they had taken some "before" pictures because there is quite a difference in the way their home looks today compared to a year ago when they first moved in. Mom and dad you rule!
This is looking towards the front door from the far side of the living room. Look at the beautiful parkay floor that my dad had just laid down before I arrived!
A view of the sectional sofa in their living room.
The dining room with a built in hutch. Mom and dad painted it a creamy yellow and green. This dining set was left behind when they bought the house. It was an ugly brown with pink crushed velvet cushions. They painted it white and recovered the seats with double stuffing and a cottage motif.
Looking from another angle at the living room. My Mom painted this cabinet green and hand painted roses on it. The chair on the right came from an estate sale and so did the tables which were painted white.
Newly painted and remodeled kitchen. My dad took out the 70's double oven and replaced the space with shelves for a microwave and baskets creating more storage space.

Next they will be re-doing the bedrooms and bathrooms. Then next fall it will be time for a yard makeover. Can't wait to see it guys! xxoo!

Adventures in Arizona

I had such a fun time in Arizona staying with my parent's at their cute little "cottage" in Sun Lake's retirement community. It was like going back to my second childhood. I got lots of love and attention. During the day my mom and I would shop around at the antique malls, Susie's Deals (clothes for $5.99 and under, wow) and the craft stores. Then we would go to Trader Joe's or the grocery store and pick up stuff for dinner. We prepared many cheap chic healthy meals in the evening. I even lost 5 pounds following my mom's type 2 diabetes diet, of course I have now gained them back, damn it! We would watch T.V. shows at night like American Idol and Dancing with the Stars. This was unusual for me because I don't have T.V. at my house. We haven't had it for over 4 years now. It was one of the things we cut back on to save money when my husband was layed off in 2002. We can't get reception unless we have cable or Direct T.V. so we haven't had anything except the occasional movie rentals. It was a real treat to watch all of these shows. We also watched a lot of HGTV. It was awesome. It's probably a good thing I don't have television because I could easily spend all my time in front of the tube and never get anything done. The Internet is hard enough to tear myself away from. Anyway I had a great time out there in cactus land, the land of the huge pre-historic cockroaches. Thank God I only saw one while I was there and that sucker had to have been at least 4 inches long. Mom and I had to scream for dad to come to our rescue and kill it and get rid the carcus. That's one thing I do NOT miss about Arizona. The weather was beautiful while I was there. Only a couple of days where the temps were in the 90's. The rest of the time it was 70's and 80's! Amazing for this time of year. I thought it would be much hotter. I spent some quality time with my sister Toni and her wonderful family. I was treated like royalty and practically waited on hand and foot. They took me out to lunches and dinners at cool little restaurants. I definitely got a taste of the "NON cheap chic" lifestyle for a few days. Thanks so much to all of them for making me feel so special and loved! Well anyway I mentioned the cheap chic healthy dinners that mom, dad and I prepared so I'll be sharing some of those recipes with you all. My parents thought it was funny that I wanted to take pictures of each step of our dinner preparations so that I could post them on my blog. They started getting used to posing their hands with spoons and knifes, etc... while making our dinners, lol! Stay tuned for some good and always cheap menus and recipes. It's good to be home but I do miss my mummy and dada.