ISO Cheap and Easy Pizza Alternative

The friendliest place on the web for anyone that enjoys cooking.
If you have answers, please help by responding to the unanswered posts.

KateH21

Assistant Cook
Joined
Oct 29, 2020
Messages
27
Location
Delmar
Every Sunday from September to February, my family has cheap frozen pizzas for supper. Due to inflation, I'm looking for alternatives and was hoping to get some help because I'm having trouble finding anything.

I'm looking for a recipe that can be prepared maybe early Sunday morning or Saturday night. Maybe I can throw all the ingredients in a pot or casserole dish and then pop it in the oven Sunday afternoon. I'm also willing to use a Crockpot.

It needs to be/feed the equivalent of two regular or thick crust frozen pizzas. It needs to cost no more than $6 total to make.

It does not need meat. It should have cheese and tomato sauce. It needs a carb of some sort like bread, biscuit, pasta. Something with flour or Bisquick would be ok.

It could contain green and/or red peppers, black olives, apples, corn or even broccoli or brussel sprouts. It could be a mexican type dish.

I just want it to have that comforting feeling that pizza has. That yummy comfort of tomato and cheese, and carbs. And I don't want to have to spend a long time making it. No pesky peeling stuff or messing around with yeast.

Any ideas? Is there a website where I could input the ingredients I want to use and those I don't and it'll provide a list of recipes?
 

Chief Longwind Of The North

Certified/Certifiable
Joined
Aug 26, 2004
Messages
12,439
Location
USA,Michigan
The two above offerings would work great, as would my American goulash recipe. My recipe features a rich tomato sauce, seasoned with basil, oregano, thyme, and rosemary. It contains a lb. of ground beef, with ftesh, sliced onion, mi ced garlic, and sweet, ripe bell peppers. You make the sauce, season to your liking, and add a cup of eater. Add elbow macaroni, rotini, or cavatapi to the dauce, and cover. Let it all simmer for 4o minutes, or until the pasta has absorbe the excess water, and is fully cooked
Top with grated cheese and serve.

Nachos are quich, and easy
Simply brown ground beef, season with salt and pepper, chili powder, cumin, and red pepper. Add a small can of crushed tomato, and open a can of sliced black olivrd. Heat a can of refried beans. Lightly fry corn tortillas until crispy. This doesn't take long. Slice green onion. Drain tortillas on paper towels. Serve by placing meat mixture, refried beans, olives, and shredded cheese on top of tortillas, garnish with green onion.

Both of these can be made ahead, and heated when needed.

Doctored, canned beans:
1 can of your favorite baked beans, 1 tbs. mollades. A little soft cooked, thick bacon, 2 tbs brown sugar, and 3 tbs. chopped onion. Slice bacon into 1 inch pieves. Cook bacon in sauce pan. Drian seay most of the fat. Add the onion and cook until translucent. Add remaining ingredients. Cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. Serve with kielbassa, ring bologna, or your favorite hot dogs.

Chili: just do a quick search. You will find lots of recipes.

Seeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
 

Cooking Goddess

Chef Extraordinaire
Joined
Jul 21, 2009
Messages
15,811
Location
Body in MA ~ Heart in OH
Back in the days of large social gatherings, a ladies' organization I belonged to always made sure a couple of us would collaborate on a dish we called "Pound Of". It was a pound each of three types of pasta (macaroni, wagon wheels, bowties, rigatoni, etc), a pound each of lean ground meat (cooked and drained), Italian sausage (cooked and drained), and pizza pepperoni. Then enough jarred sauce to get everything generously coated and dripping. If you want, mix in grated Parmesan. You then pile it all into several large foil baking pans and top with the mozz. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30-40 minutes, until hot all the way through.

I haven't made this for just the two of us for years. When I made it "back home" with kids home, I would use a pound of pasta, about a half pound each of beef and sausage, and less than 1/4 pound of pepperoni. Still used a lot of sauce and, sometimes, I'd even mix in some mozz in addition to piling it on top.

It freezes OK, but I would add extra sauce to the portions you put into the freezer to allow for the pasta soaking some up.
 

taxlady

Chef Extraordinaire
Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Sep 13, 2010
Messages
28,360
Location
near Montreal, Quebec
Have you tried making pizza with pita bread as the crust? It could have whatever sauce and toppings you want. I have to admit, it's on my list of foods to try. I think people have also mentioned doing it with chapati or naan.
 

medtran49

Executive Chef
Joined
Feb 20, 2011
Messages
4,853
Location
Florida
I realize this is using the "pesky" yeast, but since they can be made ahead and refrigerated, it makes it not so pesky. Make a plain flat bread, which can take less than an hour (non-active for nearly all of the hour), have everybody stretch out their own "pizza" and then top with whatever they want.

You can make dough balls, sauce (or buy some), and toppings night before or early in the day, spray the dough balls with something like Pam and cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate them, then bring the dough balls out to warm up about 30-45 minutes before you are ready to start dinner. Let everybody roll out/stretch their own dough ball and customize their pizza to their taste.

https://www.discusscooking.com/forums/f153/flat-bread-recipe-multi-use-96105.html

I'd bake them in a 375 to 400 oven until the crusts are done and the cheese is melted. I would guess it would take 15-20 minutes. Just do 2 or 3 on a big sheet pan and if you use both racks (or 3 if you have them) and rotate once or twice, they would all get done at the same time.
 
Last edited:

dcSaute

Sous Chef
Joined
Apr 24, 2011
Messages
869
since no one read the OP, for those interested in suggestions....
"It needs to be/feed the equivalent of two regular or thick crust frozen pizzas. It needs to cost no more than $6 total to make."


number of persons not specified. total cost of dish < $6.
two pizza feed . . . . three, perhaps four people...?
so a dish costing less than $1.50 per person.


dry beans and/or pasta is something less than $0.40 per serving.
dressing it up with ground beef, four ounces aka four people at $4.50/lb - pick a number - doable.
 

Kaneohegirlinaz

Wannabe TV Chef
Joined
Aug 2, 2014
Messages
7,663
Location
Central/Northern AZ, gateway to The Grand Canyon
Here's the only thing else that came to my mind for $6 with Tomato Sauce, Cheese and a carb:

Cheesy Pasta Casserole

1/2 lb. Pasta 46¢
24oz. Jarred Spaghetti Sauce $1.48

8 oz. Shredded Mozzarella $2.22

Total cost $4.16 (pricing based on my local Walmart, using their brand, Great Value for all ingredients.

Preheat your oven to 425° F

Cook the pasta noodles al dente per the instructions on the box. Drain the noodles of excess water and set them aside

Pour spaghetti sauce over the noodles. Make to stir everything together, coating all the pasta in the sauce.

Transfer the pasta bake to a large, oven-safe skillet or 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and bake for 20 minutes or until the cheese and sauce begin to bubble.

Remove the pan from the oven and let the cheesy pasta bake cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

I know times are tough, I hope this will help. For our house, pasta and cheese is usually our Sunday Suppers.
 

IC 2.0

Cook
Joined
Aug 17, 2022
Messages
57
Location
Honolulu, HI
Like others have mentioned, pastas and/or rice dishes are probably the most cost effective, and easy to make relatively nutritious by adding veggies, proteins, etc.

One tip I would recommend is to buy lots of cheaper cuts of protein when on sale (i.e. chuck roast, bone-in chicken thighs or leg quarters, pork butt, etc.). Cook until tender either by stewing, slow roasting, or using an instant pot, then shred, portion, and freeze in Ziploc bags when cool. Pull whatever you'll need to thaw in the fridge 48 hours before you're going to prepare the meal, and you're good to go.
 
Last edited:

blissful

Executive Chef
Joined
Mar 25, 2008
Messages
4,752
One of the things I adore is bread, then dipping it in hot soup or stew.


If you made an italian type bean dish or ragu (zucchini/pasta), with tomato sauce, fennel, thyme, basil, oregano. Let it be 'soupy' for dipping.
Then a bread slice, or biscuit, or french bread, with garlic and cheese, baked until bubbling. Our grocery store sells a special garlic cheese bread that we used to love....just garlic and cheese.


We do this (except the cheese), and there's something homey and comforting about dipping the bread into the sauce/soup.


We've switched to non-dairy, but I make slices of bun shaped whole wheat bread, dip them in a silken tofu/lemon/garlic, sprinkle with nutritional yeast and bake them. They are like a cheesy bread w/o the cheese.



foodgardendogwood-001.jpg



There's so many good ideas here. Let us know how it goes for you and good luck too!
 

Aunt Bea

Master Chef
Joined
Mar 14, 2011
Messages
7,700
Location
near Mount Pilot
I would stick with the pizza.

Buy a couple of balls of fresh dough or frozen bread dough for the crust and top it with double coupon/loss leader cheese, sauce, and whatever odds and ends you happen to have on hand.

The OP mentioned Bisquick and that would be another option for a quick easy start.

https://flavorite.net/4-ingredient-pizza-bake/

Another low-cost option would be to break out a package of hamburger rolls from the dead bread store and make a budget-friendly version of the classic school lunch ladies' pizzaburgers.

https://www.recipetips.com/recipe-cards/u--3686/pizza-burgers.asp


If you plan ahead it's not difficult or expensive to freeze some one-cup portions of sauce and save a few tasty odds and ends from the week's salad fixin's, leftovers, etc...

Don't worry about a recipe just use what you have, it will always be good, and every now and then it will be great!
 
Last edited:

Chef Kenny

Senior Cook
Joined
Aug 4, 2015
Messages
126
Location
Central, VA
$6 is tough ask...for doing next to no work to get there.

Box of pasta, jar of pasta sauce, bag of shredded cheese. All store brand, generic, cheapest available. if you have any money leftover, pick whatever other ingredient you can afford.

Walmart rotini $0.92, pasta sauce $1.48 (was $0.98 just a year ago). 8oz shredded mozzarella $2.22

You have about $1.25 left. You could go to the Walmart deli and buy only $1.25 worth of pepperoni and cut it in to pieces.

Cook the pasta to just shy of al dente, rinse to stop cooking, allow to drain. Mix everything, into a greased casserole dish, and bake at 350° for probably 20-30 mins until it's bubbling and you like what it looks like.

Carbs and pizza flavors to feed probbaly at least 4.
 

Chief Longwind Of The North

Certified/Certifiable
Joined
Aug 26, 2004
Messages
12,439
Location
USA,Michigan
Soups are inexpensive, tasty, and nourishing. Legume soups such as dried split peas, French-Canadian pea, Bean soup, chicken noodle, chicken with rice, tomato basil, tomato bisque, New England boiled dinner, Italian Wedding soup, they're all cheap, make large portions, and can be portioned and frozen. Inexpensive cuts such as chicken, and pork can be used in all of them. If you make chicken soup using the inexpensive rotisserie chickens from the market, you can make easy drop biscuit dough for chicken and dumplings.

Seeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
 
Joined
Aug 10, 2021
Messages
72
Location
Chicago
Soups are inexpensive, tasty, and nourishing. Legume soups such as dried split peas, French-Canadian pea, Bean soup, chicken noodle, chicken with rice, tomato basil, tomato bisque, New England boiled dinner, Italian Wedding soup, they're all cheap, make large portions, and can be portioned and frozen. Inexpensive cuts such as chicken, and pork can be used in all of them. If you make chicken soup using the inexpensive rotisserie chickens from the market, you can make easy drop biscuit dough for chicken and dumplings.

Seeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
I cut the meat off the rotisserie except for the back (and any other parts that nobody eats) and use it for soup making. Just pick the flavor of rotisserie you like. The bbq loves carrots and sometimes cabbage. I use the herb one mostly.
 

Chef Kenny

Senior Cook
Joined
Aug 4, 2015
Messages
126
Location
Central, VA
I use everything but the bones usually. This is nowhere near the thread starters angle. The quest was to replace pizza night with something more affordable that still includes cheese and tomato sauce. I'm still scratching my head at 2 cheap frozen pizzas for $6 total that would feed a family, at least in the last 20 years. I totally missed that deal! Obviously that isn't possible today, but recently?

But, off topic, some of the best parts of the chicken are on the back. There are two delectable morsels called the "oysters" back there. There is a meal's worth of meat on what most people throw away. If we are really talking about saving money, and real cooking; throwing away that carcass is a health and budget crime...a crime I admit I commit, mostly in the summer when I'm not making hot soups, but I still hand pick every piece of meat I can off that carcass in summer for chicken salad...the mayo based kind.

In winter, the carcass ALWAYS get cooked in to chicken stock, then hand picked for every piece of meat possible and the broth and meat turned in to chicken soup.

I usually also roast the skin in to chicarrones and season them with my Cajun seasoning. That's my snack while cooking the rest! Chicken skin and fat (schmaltz) are a super-food. When I'm trimming raw chicken, I reserve the pure fat trimmings and roast/render that in to schmaltz...I even season and eat the slightly crunchy solids from that. My wife wont touch it, or the skins...more for me! An egg, cooked in chicken fat is pretty darn good.

I haven't found a use for the bones...I'm sure they are good for fertilizer or something...
 
Last edited:

taxlady

Chef Extraordinaire
Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Sep 13, 2010
Messages
28,360
Location
near Montreal, Quebec
I use everything but the bones usually.

<snip>

But, off topic, some of the best parts of the chicken are on the back. There are two delectable morsels called the "oysters" back there. There is a meal's worth of meat on what most people throw away. If we are really talking about saving money, and real cooking; throwing away that carcass is a health and budget crime...a crime I admit I commit, mostly in the summer when I'm not making hot soups, but I still hand pick every piece of meat I can off that carcass in summer for chicken salad...the mayo based kind.

In winter, the carcass ALWAYS get cooked in to chicken stock, then hand picked for every piece of meat possible and the broth and meat turned in to chicken soup.

I usually also roast the skin in to chicarrones and season them with my Cajun seasoning. That's my snack while cooking the rest! Chicken skin and fat (schmaltz) are a super-food. When I'm trimming raw chicken, I reserve the pure fat trimmings and roast/render that in to schmaltz...I even season and eat the slightly crunchy solids from that. My wife wont touch it, or the skins...more for me! An egg, cooked in chicken fat is pretty darn good.

I haven't found a use for the bones...I'm sure they are good for fertilizer or something...
I do make chicken stock when I have enough bones. We seldom get whole chickens nowadays. I pick every scrap of meat off and usually just munch it. I like to make stock, reduce it a bunch and then freeze it so it is handy any time I need some. I used to freeze it in 100 ml "pellets", using an old silicone muffin pan. Now, I freeze it in a freezer bag and lay it flat to freeze. I can break pieces off when I want some. I write on the bag how much it is reduced, so I know how much to dilute it. I use chicken stock and vegi stock for lots more than just for making soup.

When I lived in the country, we used to put the bones in the compost. I know that is frowned upon for two reasons: 1) critters will rummage for those bits of bone and meat. 2) backyard compost seldom gets hot enough to kill the microorganisms that grow on meat and bones. But, when we lived in the country, our compost got really hot. It got hot enough to melt off the snow when the weather was consistently at -20°C and below for weeks at a time. I suspect that adding animal source scraps helps the compost heat up more.
 

Badjak

Cook
Joined
Dec 24, 2010
Messages
51
How about an.open pie?
Store bought short crust pastry (or homemade. It's not difficult)
Line a bowl, can be individual bowls or bigger ones.
Blind bake is nice, but not necessary.
Filling: whatever veges fit the bill.
Fry onions & garlic, put a layer onions, then.maybe peppers, egg plant, onions again or something else.
Top with eggs, scrambled with cheese & italian herbs
Bake in oven.
They can be frozen.
If you want, add bacon, but that might bring it above budget
 

Latest posts

Top Bottom