Make Your Own “Take and Bake” Frozen Pizzas – Spicy Italian Venison, Caramelized Onions, and Balsamic Reduction
Making pizzas in bulk might sound like a lot of work, but it saves time in the end because you can bake them for 10-15 minutes on a night when you don’t have time. If you’re doubting the quality of frozen pizza, know that we did too. We’ve made these quite a few times now and sometimes we swear that this pizza is even better after being frozen.
On “pizza night”, we like to make a couple pizzas to eat that night and then assemble and freeze an additional 4, 5, or more. We usually buy frozen pizza dough from the store to make it really easy, but this can be done with home made dough as well.
The only trick for making good frozen pizzas is partially baking the crust before adding the toppings. Then you just assemble as you normally would, wrap the pizza in plastic wrap (or vaccuum seal smaller pizzas if you want), and pop it in the freezer.
In this instance, we made several types of pizzas in a portable propane pizza oven (including a salmon pizza with a ground mustard sauce that we all thought was a delicious way to use leftover salmon). Those portable pizza ovens make REALLY good pizza.
Below are the ingredients for two pizzas…double, triple, quadruple as desired.
Ingredients for 2 Pizzas
For the spicy Italian ground venison
This Italian venison recipe is one that we usually make on the day we are processing an animal. We make 10 pounds or more of spicy Italian ground meat and freeze it in 1 pound “logs” to be used later for pizza and pasta. This recipe will make enough venison for 2 pizzas or more depending on how topping-heavy you like your pizza.
- 1/2 pound ground venison
- 1 Tbs red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp basil
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/4 tsp oregano
- 1/4 tsp thyme
- 2 Tbs oil or butter
- 1 red onion, sliced
- 1 tsp sugar/honey
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup caramelized onions per pizza
- 2/3 cup mozzarella
- 1/2 cup parmesan
- 2/3 cup pizza sauce
- Roasted garlic
- 2/3 cup mushrooms – morels or any other wild mushrooms are an excellent choice. If using dried mushrooms, pour boiling water over mushrooms and reconstitute for 30 minutes, then drain thoroughly.
- 2 pizza doughs
If using frozen dough, thaw the dough according to the instructions.
As you read these instructions, keep reading ahead because you can make the whole process faster by getting started on the next topping while the previous one is cooking. All of the pizza toppings can be made ahead of time and set aside until it’s time to top the pizzas, but the balsamic reduction needs to be kept warm after it is reduced or it will thicken too much.
- Preheat the oven to 400.
- Take an entire bulb of garlic and peel the very outer layer off, keeping the bulb intact. Slice the tops off to expose the tops of raw garlic. Drizzle or brush some olive oil onto the top, wrap it loosely in foil, and put it in the oven to bake for half an hour or until the cloves are soft to the touch.
- If you are using dried mushrooms, reconstitute them now by pouring boiling water over them and allow them to soak for 30 minutes before draining in a colander.
- While the garlic is roasting, heat 1 tablespoon oil or butter in a large pan over medium heat and add the onions. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add a dash of salt and a teaspoon of sugar or honey and turn the heat down to medium-low. From here, stir occasionally and cook for a half an hour or more. Keep tasting them every once and a while and once you like them, set them aside in a bowl.
- In the same pan (or a new pan if you want to speed things up), heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Mix the ground venison with 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar and the Italian spices and cook until cooked through, about 10-15 minutes. Make sure the spices are mixed in thoroughly.
- While the meat is cooking, make the balsamic reduction by putting 1 cup balsamic vinegar in a saucepan and simmering it until it is about half the volume. When it’s done it will be thicker, like syrup. Once it’s reduced, leave it covered on the stove on the lowest setting.
- While the vingar is reducing and the meat is cooking, prepare your other toppings: grate the mozzarella and Parmesan if needed, and slice the mushrooms.
To prepare a pizza immediately:
To top a pizza, we like to start by spreading 1/3 cup pizza sauce on the entire pizza including a thin layer on the crust. For each pizza you’ll use a total of 1/3 cup mozzarella and 1/4 cup Parmesan, but we like to split that into half and put half the cheese on the pizza, then all of the toppings, and then the other half of the cheese on top.
Turn oven up to 450 and bake the pizza for 5 minutes before checking. If it is cooking unevenly, rotate it at 5 minutes. Pizzas will be done in 8-15 minutes depending on thickness.
To prepare a frozen pizza:
Preheat oven to 450 and coat a baking sheet in cornmeal and flour. Brush a pizza dough with a light coat of olive oil on top. and place on the baking sheet in the oven for about 5 minutes or until the dough is just holding its shape. It should still be light in color but no longer doughy.
Remove from the oven, allow to cool, then top with the ingredients as directed above and wrap with plastic wrap before freezing.
To reheat a frozen pizza: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place frozen pizza directly on oven rack and bake for approximately 10-15 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is starting to bubble. We start checking at 10 minutes, but cooking time really depends on your oven and how thick the crust is.