My budget, is still the same. So I have been forced to compromise with some of my most favorite recipes. Finding cheaper alternatives, substitute recipes and at one time I had to come up with alternative cooking methods (brownies from scratch in the microwave? Absolutely!).
Stromboli, unlike pizza and calzone, is a sauce less roll filled with mozzarella and vegetables or meat (or both).
This makes a perfect side or appetizer to the romantic dinner you're planning for your girl/boy friend (perhaps go for higher quality ingredients). Plus, you can giggle while saying stromboli because it's just so much fun to say :)
Step 1: Ingredients and Cost
Shredded Mozzarella Cheese: $1.50
Sliced Pepperoni: $2.36
Pizza Sauce: $0.88
We will have leftover
5/8 a package of cheese
3/4 a package of pepperoni
5/8 a jar of sauce
So my net cost is: $2.92 and we are feeding two people, or one person for two meals. It doesn't compete with twelve cent ramen, but it's more healthy (through variety etc.), more flavorful and contains no MSG (unless you really wanted to add some).
Step 2: Preparation (Set Oven to 400F)
Unroll your dough and stretch for a thin crust type of pizza (but we're not making pizza).
Place pepperoni slices over the entire side leaving a half inch gap from the side. Keep in mind, you're not limited to a single filling. Sliced salami, thin sliced onions/tomatoes/peppers etc. Or go crazy with baked eggplant, leftover chicken Parmesan etc.
Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella.
If you have a favorite seasoning, now is the time to add. I recommend fresh crushed basil (lemon basil from the hydroponic garden), roasted garlic, cumin or fennel and/or red pepper flakes. Pretty much, if you like it on pizza, try it in your stromboli.
Pinch the edges of the roll and place in the center of your baking pan.
Coat the top of the roll with cooking spray (or light cooking oil or egg white). Now sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and salt/pepper to taste...
With a sharp knife, make diagonal slashes on the surface of your roll. This will keep large bubbles from forming and in general, keep a nice shape to the end product.
Step 3: Bake and Serve
Set your timer for 12 minutes.
Clean up your workspace and pour a small amount of sauce into a microwave safe bowl.
I season my sauce with dried basil, garlic powder and salt.
When the timer goes off - place your sauce in the microwave for a minute or so.
Check the stromboli, it should be golden brown. If it is, remove it from the oven and place on a serving dish.
Serve my cutting on a diagonal. Eat with hands and dip into the sauce.
Step 4: Serving Suggestions
This can also make a great alternative to junk food super bowl party food. Keep the bean dip away from your flatulence manufacturing friends ;)