Remember that lovely tomato sauce we made last time? The one that was so good, and so convenient, and so easy, that the only reason why I didn’t title the post “Bootie-Call Sauce” was because I could just envision poor Marcella Hazan having a small stroke? Well, here’s where we get to use it. That, and some fabulous pizza dough.
If you haven’t noticed, I like to batch my lunch-making so that all my entrees have either similar ingredients, or similar prep techniques – it makes assembling hundreds of servings just that much easier. And this batch is all about hand pies.
Because if there’s one thing that I’ve learned from 14 years of medical school, pediatric residency, fellowship, and practice (not to mention 33 cumulative people-years of being a mother), it’s this: kids will eat anything if you call it a “pizza pocket.”
(For that matter, so will many adults.)
Gluten allergy? None of the ingredients in any of my fillings will be a problem, so you can go one of several routes to make these work for you anyway: You can buy a premade gluten-free pizza dough, or a gluten-free dough mix (hell, gluten-free biscuit mix would be fine, too, it doesn’t have to be pizza dough); you can buy the actual rice flour and other components and make your own mix from scratch; or (my personal favorite) you can make yourself a corn masa dough and use that instead. The dough is nothing but a vehicle, a pocket in which to hold the yumminess.
Gluten aside, and regardless of whether you use store-bought dough or follow my pizza dough recipe (which is the total bomb and cheap as dirt, but I’m not judging … even though buying pre-made when you have such an awesome recipe at your disposal probably also makes you the kind of person who hates kittens and rainbows …), there are two secrets that will make your life a million times easier:
1.- Make sure to chill your pizza dough, even if just an hour, before using it. I mean it. Resist the temptation to work with room temp dough, because it will sloooooooooooow you the hell down. And if you happen to live in an ICU like I do, and are anything like me, it may make you want to *cut anyone within your reach* *be a little miffed* if anything EVER sloooooooooooooows you down.
2.- Consider getting one of these gadgets, made for quick and easy hand-pie-crimping. Whether it’s a single piece, or a set of different sizes, it makes an enormous difference during assembly time (particularly because you’re filling pizza dough, not won ton skins, for example, which hold their shape more easily). I did it by hand with a fork for years, and only started using these contraptions about a year ago – I now consider my fork and rapidly-stickied-up fingers to be elements that slow me down (see point 1 for subsequent behavior).
Alright! With that heads up, here we go!
Here’s our menu for the week …
- Spinach-Cream Cheese turnovers
- “Pizza” pockets (sausage-spinach-cheese, or cheese and veggie)
- Savory Lunch Empanadas (sweet potato and black beans, or ground beef)
- PLUS, SNACK: Strawberry Leather (Fruit “Roll Ups”)
- And BONUS SNACK: Portable Smoothie “Push-Ups” (or freeze-ahead smoothies)
As far as equipment goes
You will definitely need:
- Parchment paper
- Jelly roll pans
- Medium and large bowls
- Spoons and standard spatula/cooking utensils
- Freezer space (here’s a link to my original discussion of freezer space, if you’re wondering – it’s toward the bottom of the post).
You don’t necessarily need this, but I almost named one of my children after it because I love mine so much:
If making your own dough, I would *strongly* recommend:
- Standing Mixer (4-5 QT mixers are fine for one batch, my 7 QT mixer is great for the double batch)
- Very large bowls with lids
- Dough press / dumpling molds (either the one piece, or a set so you can play with different sizes)
And for this week’s snacks:
- Dehydrator (for fruit leather)
- One of the following: silicone Push-Up molds, popsicle molds, silicone ice cube trays (don’t use regular plastic/metal trays, it’s hell getting the cubes out!), or silicone muffin liners (for smoothie pops/make-ahead smoothies)