I wanted to share my favorite “oops it’s 5:00, what am I going to make for dinner??” recipe. If you can manage 5 minutes of free time, you can make this meal. It’s dye-free and my kids LOVE it. For those who aren’t familiar with stromboli it’s basically a pizza roll with sauce on the side.
One of these babies feeds my family (me, hubs, 5 year old, and 3 year old) and usually leaves me some leftovers to enjoy for lunch the next day. It can easily be doubled or tripled or quadrupled if you are trying to feed a larger crowd.
Also, it’s fairly cheap. I’ll spare you the math breakdown, but the way I make it (with organic veggies, uncured meat, and cheese; aka “the expensive way”) it costs about $6. That’s $1.50 per person in our home. You can definitely make this much cheaper by using different ingredients or produce from your garden. Way less money (and healthier) than ordering a pizza when you’re in a pinch at dinner time. 🙂
Here we go:
First, get out all your ingredients.
All you need to make a basic, bare bones stromboli are these four ingredients: Pillsbury Simply Rustic French Bread (you can usually find it near the cookie dough and crescent rolls at your grocery store), meat, cheese, and marinara sauce.
I love Hormel’s Natural Choice Uncured Hard Salami, because there are no nitrates. For information on why nitrates are bad for you read this: http://www.livestrong.com/article/283850-why-is-sodium-nitrate-bad-for-you.
I have also started only buying tomato products packaged in glass containers. This is a good article explaining why it’s best to avoid canned tomatoes: http://shine.yahoo.com/healthy-living/the-7-foods-experts-wont-eat-547963.html.
Finally, in order to keep this meal dye-free, make sure you only have white cheese. Mozzarella or an Italian blend works great. Any cheeses that are orange have been colored with annatto, which causes a lot of food allergies and has been linked to the same behavioral problems as other artificial colors. You need to keep a watchful eye for annatto, because technically it is a “natural” color since it is derived from plants. Things that claim to not have artificial colors or be all-natural may still contain annatto.
In addition to these basics you can add veggies and spices, really whatever you want. We’ve made a Hawaiian version with ham and pineapple – my husband’s favorite. You can even make it vegetarian if you take out the meat.
Alright, you get it, it’s a versatile recipe. Moving on.
Pop open your French bread and lay it on a greased cookie sheet.
Put your fingers in the middle of the roll and gently pull it apart. You want to flatten it out. Keep working it until it covers most of the tray. Try not to pull to hard and make holes in the dough. Tip: The dough is easier to work with if you let it warm up on the counter for 20 minutes or so before you start.
Now to start assembling. You can do this in any order you like. This is how I do it. Meats first.
Next some chopped veggies. I used bell peppers and cherry tomatoes this time.
Then the cheese. I only used about half the bag (roughly 1 cup).
Now the fancy part. Start rolling!
You want to roll long side to long side. Be gentle! You don’t want any holes in your dough. Keep rolling!
This can get tricky if you’ve overloaded your stromboli with toppings; just something to keep in mind.
Once you get it all rolled up, start pinching the edge to the rest of the roll to make a seam.
When it’s all sealed off carefully lift the whole thing and place it seam side down on the cookie sheet.
Then pinch together the ends and tuck them under the roll.
Your stromboli should look like this.
Throw it in your preheated oven at 350° for 20-25 minutes, until it is a light brown like this one.
This one leaked a little bit, which is fine, it just means I didn’t get the seam sealed as tightly as I should have in that spot. It’ll taste the same, so don’t worry.
Now slice it up, and serve it with the marinara on the side for dipping.
I try to add in a little more nutrition with some easy sides, like this cantaloupe I already had cut up and a handful of mixed nuts.
That’s it. A delicious 30 minute dye-free meal your kids (and you) will devour. And it only took you about 5 minutes to throw together. Win!
Super Fast Dye-Free Stromboli
1 can refrigerated Pillsbury Simple Rustic French Bread
8 oz mozzarella or Italian blend cheese
Toppings (meat, veggies, etc.)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Spread out refrigerated bread dough on a greased cookie sheet.
3. Pile on cheese and toppings.
4. Roll up the dough from long side to long side, being careful not to rip holes in the dough.
5. Pinch the edge to form a seam. Lay the stromboli seam side down on the sheet.
6. Tuck the ends under the roll to seal them.
7. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until light brown.
8. Cut up. Serve hot with marinara sauce on the side for dipping.