For this cheap eats challenge, I expanded on a cheap and easy meal I make on the regular: stove-top tortilla pizza. To push my cooking limitations, I chose to create my own whole wheat tortillas from scratch. Meanwhile, the sauce used was my favorite go-to for mixed media.
Canned San Marzanos are somewhat expensive comparatively, at $4.69 per 28 oz. can, but they are worth the brightness of flavor. It’s possible to cut costs here.
Tortillas require an simple mix of flour, lard and a touch of salt. Coconut oil works as an easy lard substitution. Water is added to the mixer to pull the dough together.
Two kitchen tools are helpful in tortilla making: a tortilla press and a mixer. Either can be replaced with a bit of extra manual labor but it comes heavily recommended by many sources that these machines are preferred for quality and consistency.
As the dough is being divided and pressed, it is best to store the unused pieces under a damp paper towel to keep from drying out.
While the tortillas can be rolled out with a pin, a press is capable of achieving an extremely thin crust for cooking. A metal crepe plan is best to not only crisp up the uncooked tortillas, but also to fulfill their destiny as a quickie pizza.
After cooking one side for one or two minutes without oil, the freshly flipped side was topped immediately with sauce and cheese until the bottom was crisped up. The cheese was melted in a pre-heated toaster oven and chopped up for immediate enjoyment.
Breaking down the cost of all the ingredients, including spice, oils and vinegar used in small quantities, the general cost of a basic tortilla pizza is $0.77. For the hand-held sets, I calculated about half the price for a super budget pizza fix.
Wine is its own category of budget as its quite a two-fold luxury item. Not only is alcohol arguably superfluous in the age of untainted water supplies, but (good) wine in particular requires some costly attention and resources, all of which can drive prices into ridiculous realms when you consider we’re talking about the exact same amount of liquid per bottle.
Sicilian wines draw my attention more and more with offerings of cheap and indigenous varietals that can thrill the palate with fruit and complexity. Nero d’Avola is not a favorite style, as notes of rubber can overwhelm the flavor profile, but it is admittedly cheap overall. For $16 a bottle, an Italian red is worth stocking for any unforeseen pizza party.