A bread machines is a versatile and frugal kitchen appliance. Here are a few tips for creating simple meal-starters using your bread machine:

If you have a few hours at home, put your bread machine to work and mix up some pizza or bread dough. Then, place the dough in an oiled gallon-sized bag and save it in the freezer for a day when you don’t have time to make dough. Defrost the dough in the refrigerator (or on the counter briefly) and get a head start on your pizza dinner on a busy day.

Make mini-pizzas: here’s an alternative to buying processed frozen pizzas for your kids. Instead of freezing one whole bag of pizza dough, cut the dough into 4-6 small pieces and freeze them separately in oiled sandwich bags. Also put together sandwich bags of pizza or spaghetti sauce and bags containing a small amount of mozzarella cheese and other toppings. In the morning, place each bag in the fridge to thaw, and at dinner you can create a mini pizza for each child in less than 10 minutes!