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Cooking for Cheapskates: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle Pizza

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Throw-The-Kitchen-Sink-In-It Pizza: with Vodka Sauce, Tomatoes, Mushrooms, Garlic, Mozzarella, Pepperoni, Basil, Parmesan, Caramelized Onions, and Olives

We've gotta admit, Mozza was great, but Lord knows we can't eat like red-headed Italian kings every day. In fact, even ordering pizza every night tends to add up: $20 per pizza per day for two people over one week? That's over $140, even if you eat the leftovers for breakfast! It's enough to make us want to...I don't know, cook at home more often. Even that can get sorta expensive, though: want to make a pizza from scratch with fresh tomatoes and homemade sauce and hand-grated cheese? It'll still cost you, although if you practice a few thrifty tips and make sure your pantry is always stocked with long-lasting basics like flour, sugar, butter, olive oil, canned fish, garlic, onions, and canned sauces and beans, you can throw together all manner of cheap and easy weeknight meals.

Keep in mind that most hard cheeses (like parmesan and cheddar) last for a week or more, and can be used on pretty much anything you cook, including fresh veggies, pasta, burgers, toast, whatever. Butter also keeps well, while milk , on the other hand, is one of those "if you drink it a lot" propositions. (Also, it starts to take on the smell of your fridge after a few days. Yuck.) Pasta, of course, always keep stocked. Meat and fish keep in the freezer; you can also freeze soups, sauces, chili, casseroles, anything like that, ready for the microwave, for when your culinarily-challenged significant other is contemplating eating his or her own arm rather than finding food for themselves.

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Bread is a tricky proposition to keep around - the natural, fresh stuff gets hard and moldy pretty quickly, while the hard-core processed additive-packed brands are just...scary. We know it doesn't have mold on it, but we just don't feel good eating a two-week-old loaf of bread. Fresh fruit and veggies do have to be purchased rather close to eating, and the problem with the produce section is that it's EXPENSIVE. Fuck American food & agriculture policy for making a pack of Doritos cheaper and more calorically dense than ripe apricots, avocados, asparagus, artichokes, and lots of other good foods that don't start with "A." But keeping some staples like spinach, peas, and edamame in frozen form isn't necessarily a bad idea.

Anyway. What you've got to do is buy up a lot of cheap, key ingredients (canned stuff, spices, oil, butter), and plan out some meals during the week where you can supplement what you've got sitting in the pantry with fresh stuff you buy that day (or on the weekend). Pizza is a great way to do this.