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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Friday, September 19, 2008

Homemade Pizza and Bosco Sticks

Have I ever mentioned how much we love cheese? If you follow this blog it quickly becomes apparent that we eat a lot of cheese. Cheese is the ultimate comfort food! A little cheese can go a long way in adding flavour to otherwise bland dishes. We made pizza and our homemade version of Bosco sticks for dinner last night. This was a frugal yet fun dinner!

I have often mentioned making homemade bacon bits yet have only described how to do it without pictures. This time I remembered the pictures. Real bacon bits adds a lot of flavour without adding a lot of meat so they are a good budget stretcher. Buy bacon when it is on sale. Remove the bacon from the package. Place on a cutting board with the long side facing you (1). Using a sharp knife, cut across the strips at about ½ inch intervals. Place the bacon into a fry pan and fry until crisp. Remove from fry pan and drain (3). Divide the bacon into smaller quantities of about ¾ c. Put the bacon bits into small vacuum seal bags. Vacuum seal and freeze. You now have convenient to use bacon bits. Use them on salads and pizza or toss them into bread dough or soups. The ways to use the bacon bits are endless.

Part of the fun of eating out is discovering new foods and ways to present foods. A couple of weeks ago I wrote about Bosco sticks we had enjoyed at a bar & grill we stopped at while boating. I did a google for a recipe for Bosco sticks only to find out these cheesy bread sticks are made and distributed by Bosco's Pizza Co. in Warren, Michigan. They can be found in the freezer section of some stores but I've never seen them here. Failing to find a copycat recipe I decided to try and duplicate Bosco sticks myself.

To my way of thinking since these cheese sticks were made by a pizzaria there was a good chance the breading was pizza dough. So for this attempt my husband and I used pizza dough, 4 mozzarella and 2 cheddar cheese strings (1). Our homemade version of Bosco sticks were very close to what we had in the bar & grill. The dough was formed into oblong pieces about an inch longer than each cheese string and wide enough to go around the cheese string with some overlap. To form the breaded cheese stick we put the cheese string in the middle of the dough and folded each narrow end over the ends of the cheese stick then wrapped the long sides around and sealed. We baked the cheese sticks at 400ºF until golden brown (2) and served with homemade pasta sauce. [I'm completely out of pizza sauce so that will be one of the first tomato products I make this weekend.] When cut the cheese filled the cavity just the way it should (3).

Did you know you can make a gourmet style pizza at home for a fraction of the price of delivery pizza? Seriously if we order a large pizza with 3 toppings and extra cheese along with 2 lb of wings the total cost with delivery is $38. A homemade pizza with as many toppings as we want costs under $5 even when factoring in the cost of electricity. If we add 2 lb of wings the cost increases to about $8 total or when compared to delivery $30 cheaper!

Two tried and true pizza dough recipes are my best pizza dough and cornmeal pizza dough. Both can be made fresh or in advance and frozen until you want to use them. Making the dough only takes a few minutes with a KitchenAid® stand mixer or breadmachine. You will have to plan for the thawing time if frozen as well as the rise time whether fresh or frozen.

My husband and I like making pizza together something we started just after our first child was born. Even then we realized how much of a savings it could be to make our own pizza. As the kids grew we had weekly pizza nights and allowed them to choose their own toppings. It was a lot of fun as the tradition continues even though they are now adults and we pass it down to the grandbabies. This pizza was a thick crust topped with thickened pasta sauce, mozzarella cheese, Spanish onion, bell pepper, sautéed mushrooms, chopped ham and bacon bits (7). If you notice the toppings are sandwiched between two layers of shredded mozzarella cheese. The pizza was baked at 400ºF until the crust was golden brown and the cheese was bubbly. Once baked the pizza we removed the pizza from the oven to a cutting board. Cutting is best achieved using a pizza wheel (8). As you can see from the sliced pizza (9) this homemade pizza was delightfully yummy!

8 food lovers commented:

I am Jamie Sue! said...

That looks YUMMY!

BTW: It never occurred to me to make my own bacon bits... I feel silly.

Garden Gnome said...

Thanks Jamie Sue :)

jayedee said...

i love love love pizza nights at our pizza beats any take-out hands down! i usually make my own garlic bread sticks too....but never thought of stuffing them with cheese! THAT will surely be on my menu this week too! high five GG! you rocked it again!

Garden Gnome said...

Hi Jayedee! Pizza nights are always fun and you are right homemade beats take-out every time. I hope you enjoy the bosco sticks. They are a Michigan thing that I tried duplicating at home. They are good!

Raeann said...

I tried this Bosco recipe with melted butter and Parmesan cheese dusted on top. Delicious!

Garden Gnome said...

That would be good, Raeann! I will have to try them that way.

Joe said...

these look amazing, and I cant wait to get to the store to buy some string cheese. We make pizza on a regular, and also almost always keep a stock of frozen calazones around. We tried to make pizza rolls once, but the Tostino's kind, not like a log roll. Any ideas? Ours were very time consuming to stuff so many small ones. I might try making a strip of them and cutting them with one of those crimper things. Thanks though, cant wait for these!

Joe said...

oh also I have had these in a bar in Michigan, and they must have fried them and then dusted them as Raeann stated with butter and parm. I don't know if you would bake first them fry or just fry. Any tips on how to make an unhealthy dish even more unhealthy? :)