Friday, 18 April 2014

Pizza night with Panebello


Does every family turn TV events into mini parties? We do. Whether it's the final of the few reality TV programmes, a special sports event or a royal wedding, we're there with food.

Usually, I've planned it. But sometimes, treat nights mean a night off for me too. And for that reason, frozen pizza sometimes just has to be done. Yes, I make my own. No, it's not that hard. But sometimes, I just don't want to! Frozen pizzas are great to have around for emergencies and keep forever. And as pizza is one of the children's favourite things to eat, it is perfect treat food.

If anyone offers us to try pizza, I know in my heart of hearts that I would get into trouble if I said no and they found out. Strangely, we don't get offered it very often, but Dr Oetker asked if we'd like to try their new Panebello pizzas. So I had to say yes. To be honest, I wasn't all that keen as they were deep pan ones and I got over that phase a good 15 years ago. I prefer the tomato, the cheese and toppings. But duty calls and all that. Panebello means "beautiful bread" - I wondered just how beautiful it could be!

We tried both varieties in the new range - Pepperoni Speciale (Special Pepperoni) & Pomodoro Mozzarella (Tomato Cheese). This was good as neither Monkey nor I are huge pepperoni fans but Missy Woo and her dad are. And two pizzas are just about enough for four people, especially pizza lovers.

The only problem with the pepperoni pizza for Missy Woo is that they had red onion and peppers on it and she doesn't really like either but would just pick them off. Usually, I would like some extra topping with my cheese and tomato, but decided we would try the product as sold. Usually, I would add at least ham and possibly mushrooms or sweetcorn for any pizza Monkey is eating.

Here are the pizzas before they went in the oven. The cheese and tomato one was generously topped. I hate buying pizzas that have so little cheese on them that you want more. This was definitely NOT the case. There was less cheese on the pepperoni pizza but the other toppings were generous and cut to a chunky size. Because they are thicker pizzas, they take a bit longer to cook than most frozen pizzas - 20 minutes from frozen. That is quicker than waiting for a pizza delivery. And cheaper.

My oven is small so had to cram in both pizzas on the same shelf. The cheese pizza ended up at the back, hence looks a little overdone but that didn't affect the flavour. I also know that my oven cooks cool so I turned it up 10 degrees higher than the instructions. And I didn't realise I moved when I took the shot of the pepperoni pizza cooked. I am not an expert photographer anyway, sorry!

What was the verdict on eating? Very nice. The pizzas were both demolished in minutes, and the children were disappointed there wasn't more. The pepperoni fans declared their pizza "tasty" and the cheesy tomato pizza was just as flavoursome with flavour from basil as well as the tomato and the cheese. What did surprise me was the base. Yes, it was thick. But the crust was crispy on the outside and soft in the middle. It was surprisingly light, not doughy and heavy at all as I had expected. I still prefer thin based pizzas but these really are a great alternative if you like a light, crispy texture to your pizza base.


I am not going to pretend these are the healthiest of options. But pizza night once in a while isn't going to hurt, nor is keeping a couple in the freezer for emergency meals. They cost about £3 but special offers mean they are often much less, meaning they are also a budget treat. Beautiful bread indeed.

(Dr Oetker kindly sent us vouchers to try Panebello pizzas for free. I received no further compensation for this post). 

Monday, 14 April 2014

Meal Planning Monday - the real Easter holidays edition!

Meal Planning MondayI know, I know.  I didn't post last week. No idea why - just insanely busy. I did a meal plan though and we ate well. Nothing special - toad in the hole was the children's highlight of the week.

I have cobbled something together for this second week of the holidays. And we are all off. Husband is off work, I'm off work and the children off school. They spent 4 days of last week back at school at a holiday club, whilst I got through a week of year end. They had a ball but it did make them very tired as they played about 4 different sports every day. It was like a week full of PE lessons! This week is going to be quiet, home time and down time.

The plan is writ and the food is all bought, courtesy of a trip to the supermarket with Missy Woo on Sunday afternoon.

Monday - Boerenkool Stamppot
Tuesday - Chicken pasta bake
Wednesday - Beef enchiladas
Thursday - Sweet potato and ginger soup
Friday - Slow cooker bacon joint, probably with egg and chips
Saturday - Keeping free (also known as making it up)
Sunday - Roast dinner

Don't forget there are more meal plans over at Mrs M's which you can discover by clicking on the badge top right.

Monday, 31 March 2014

Meal Planning Monday - the last week of Spring term edition!

Meal Planning MondayYes, really. If you're not up on how this year is panning out schoolwise, a lot of areas finish this week and go back straight after Easter, due to it being so late this year. In fact, I can only think of one time when it was later as husband's 40th fell on Easter Sunday and his birthday is 24th April.

Added to that, I've got year end to contend with for the next month or so. So I'm busy at work and the end of term brings lots of things going on whilst gearing up for the holiday.

I'm late posting this but my plan came first and was all done and dusted in time for Mother's Day yesterday. This week, we're at a school event on Thursday night and I'm going to Manchester for The Cake and Bake Show on Saturday.

Without further ado, it's over to the plan.

Monday - Chicken, sweetcorn and mushroom tagliatelle
Tuesday - Slow cooker vegetable biryani
Wednesday - Pizza baked potatoes
Thursday - Sandwiches
Friday - Chicken and sweetcorn soup
Saturday - Fishfingers or pizza
Sunday - Salmon with new potatoes and green beans

More plans over at Mrs M's. (Badge above will take you there.)

Monday, 24 March 2014

Meal Planning Monday - the mad March edition!

Meal Planning MondayWhen do I ever post serene ones? Life is never simple when you have children at school, it seems. This week, we have a day off for the teacher's strike to deal with - I cannot complain as we have been largely untouched by strike days in the time they've been at school. On top of that, all their usual activities - cricket, dancing, swimming - and somewhere in all that, I have work to do.

Anyway, one thing stays constant - my meal plan is done and the shopping done yesterday, by virtue of the fact Missy Woo went to a party at Blackpool Zoo and I went food shopping whilst she was there, rather than me pay £10.50 to go round with her. As I had a spare 3 hours (yes, 3) I headed to the nearest supermarket with a cafe, wrote my shopping list and away I went. I love starting the week feeling organised!

So, here's what we are eating

Monday - Vegetable pie (no recipe link as I'm making it up based on a couple of recipes)
Tuesday - Slow cooker beef massaman curry
Wednesday - Pizza
Thursday - Sandwiches
Friday - Honey mustard pork
Saturday - Chicken and mushroom tagliatelle
Sunday - Mother's Day. I'm not planning to cook!

That is it. Oh yes it is. But you might want to mosey over to the home of the lovely Mrs M. Click badge above to find more coherent meal planning posts than this.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Meal Planning Monday - the very late March edition!

Meal Planning MondayYes, yes, I'm late. No excuse. Let's get on with it, shall we? We've already had a family favourite, lamb, coconut and mango pilau done slow cooker stylee today (and very nice it was too!)

Tuesday - Sausage meat plait
Wednesday - Honey mustard pork
Thursday - Sandwiches
Friday - Beef and bean hotpot
Saturday - Sweet potato and mushroom quesadillas
Sunday - Maybe a freezer dive due to a snowboarding lesson and a party at Blackpool Zoo!

More meal planners, hopefully not as late as this, over at Mrs M's. Click badge for details.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Meal Planning Monday - the spring is sprung edition!

Meal Planning MondayNow Monkey's birthday stuff is all over and done with, we're well into March and the weather is beginning to feel springlike. The nights are lighter (which the children love as they can play out after school with friends) and everything just feels better.

I don't know if my meal plan reflects this change in weather but the children have been involved in this week's plan as I asked them what they wanted to eat. "Chicken kievs" came the reply. Great! The one thing I don't make from scratch too.

They did come up with one or two other things which I've added. I've also been going back through my mealplans and picking out things we like so that I can quickly pick them out instead of having brain freeze when faced with a blank sheet of paper. I came up with 100 different things (and some of them have variations!) so I think I should be OK for a while.

This is our week then.

Monday - Mexican lasagne
Tuesday - Pizza baked potatoes
Wednesday - Kedgeree with poached egg
Thursday - Sandwiches
Friday - Chicken kievs
Saturday - Prawn and coconut curry
Sunday - Roast dinner

Mrs M has all the Meal Planning Monday posts. Click the badge top right to discover what everyone else is eating.


Monday, 3 March 2014

Meal Planning Monday - a birthday week edition!

Meal Planning MondayI'm shattered after my weekend away working but I've just cobbled my plan together. I'm not cooking much over the weekend as Monkey is 9 on Sunday. How'd that happen? He's having a party Saturday afternoon so Saturday is likely to be frozen pizza.

The rest of the week is planned, mostly from this month's Good Food which landed on my doorstep this weekend. If you want a recipe, wait a few weeks and it will appear on their site.

Monday - Spring chicken paella
Tuesday - Lamb and chickpea fritter wraps
Wednesday - Smoky bacon and tomato spaghetti
Thursday - Sandwiches
Friday - Boerenkool Stamppot
Saturday - Freezer stuff
Sunday - Out for birthday tea

That's my week. More meal plans will be at Mrs M's. (Badge above).
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