Written and developed by Cathy Collins
Once, not too very long ago I mentioned that I would like to make pizza bread with the great big fat sub buns I got from one of the local food pantries. I also have several cans of unsalted tomato sauce (also courtesy of the local food pantries). The sauce and the bread part covered, I asked my 22 year old daughter what kind of pizza bread she wanted. (Yes, I still cook for her once in a while, even though she has moved out of the house and is living on her own). Her reply? “Pepperoni!” I should have known.
As current circumstances always seem to dictate, I was at the mercy of the utility company’s mercenary tactics and ransom demands. If I wanted electricity and gas for the gas stove, pepperoni and mozzarella cheese would have to wait. The utility company would have their way and there was no extra in my meager paycheck for luxuries like pepperoni and mozzarella cheese.
In the meantime, my poor sub buns turned into a science experiment or a cure for something, I’m not sure which and wasn’t about to do any further testing. That happens sometimes with fresh items. Although I am eternally grateful for the food I receive, I have learned that anything fresh, produce, bread, baked goods, etc., once received, needs to be used immediately or frozen. These items do not last long as they are typically donated because they are at or past their “sell by” date.
Ok no pizza bread, at least not that week. But, I did mention out-loud that it would be nice to have some pepperoni to be able to make pizza bread. Someone or something, somewhere in the Universe heard the request for pepperoni!
Not long after I had to get rid of my sub buns, I was at The Salvation Army Food Pantry and noticed they had pepperoni listed as one of their meat selections. I asked about it. The kind lady helping me sheepishly went to the freezer and pulled out a very large bag of diced pepperoni. “It’s kind of a lot and no one seems to want it” she offered. “Perfect,” I said, “I’ll take it!” There it was, nearly 4 pounds of diced pepperoni, plopped in my environmentally friendly, reusable grocery sack. Tada… ok now what? That’s A LOT of pepperoni! And I had no bread as of yet.
I have learned that there is never a shortage of baguettes, French breads, sour dough breads and all kinds of delicious multi-grain, artisan and fresh baked breads from the local food pantries. So I wasn’t too worried, and the pepperoni would keep quite nicely in the freezer for a little bit. I also knew if I could manage to get to First Baptist Church of Lafayette before 11:00 a.m. and had the time to wait in line, there would be plenty of bread (and baked goods) if I wanted them. Unfortunately, I usually work on Friday mornings, so this isn’t always an option for me.
That’s ok; I had another opportunity for bread at a Mobile Pantry, on a Saturday. I could make it. I managed to get 2 loaves of French bread, a loaf of ciabatta bread and a lovely loaf of artisan multi-grain bread. Pepperoni Pizza Bread! Hooray! I now have the Leaning Tower of Pizza Bread in my freezer. My daughter has her Pepperoni Pizza Bread, wrapped all neatly in individual servings so all she has to do is take them out of the freezer, open the foil and put them in the oven at 400 degrees for about 10 min. Easy, no standing and fooling with fixing, no dishes to do, not even a paper plate used. Use the foil as a plate.
That took care of about a pound of pepperoni… what to do with the rest of it?!?!?!?… I had LOTS of extra sauce and some mozzarella cheese left…
I know. I’ll make muffins! I am a huge fan of muffins. They are a quick easy snack or meal-on-the-go anytime. Yes, they take a little time to make but they freeze well and will keep for a few days in the refrigerator.
Pounds of Pepperoni Pizza Muffins or read the recipe below:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Combine in microwave safe container and warm for 20-30 sec in microwave. (Doing this brings out the flavor of the herbs a little more, especially when using dried herbs)
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
¼ c olive oil
Pour into a medium Size bowl. Add
1 C milk
1 egg (or ¼ c. reconstituted powdered egg mix)
Whisk until thoroughly blended.
In a separate bowl add
2 C baking mix (or 2 C. unbleached flour and 3 t. baking powder)
Create a well in the center of the baking mix or flour mixture.
Add oil/milk/egg mixture to the well in the flour mixture. Fold together until just moist. There will be lumps. Do not over stir.
Pizza/spaghetti sauce of your choice –about a tablespoon per muffin
Diced pepperoni—about a tablespoon or so per muffin
Shredded Mozzarella/Pizza Cheese—about a tablespoon or so per muffin.
Spoon batter into greased muffin tins. Fill tins about ½ full.
Place approximately 1 tablespoon of sauce on each muffin, using the spoon to help create a well in the center of the muffin.
Top sauce with approximately 1 to 1 ½ tsp. chopped/diced pepperoni and approximately 1 tablespoon of mozzarella cheese.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 min. until cheese is lightly browned and bubbly.
Remove from muffin tins and cool on a wire rack.
Store in sealed container in refrigerator for up to 1 week or freeze in Ziploc bags for several months.