Friday, May 21, 2010

Recipe: Homemade Pizza

Making pizza isn't really a recipe, it's a creation! I admit we were intimidated at first, but there's no reason to be! I encourage you to try this in a way that you're comfortable -- and I promise you'll be pleased with the results. Use the freshest ingredients and you are on your way! Here's how we build our pizzas. Make it fit your family and tastes!




Part 1. - The crust. We like a wheat crust, so I use this recipe. If it comes out too "wet", knead in some flour and let it rest a few minutes before rolling out. If you prefer a white flour crust, try this one by Rachel at http://www.titus2homemaker.com. It looks tasty, though I haven't tried it yet!

If you have a pizza pan or stone, roll the crust to fit. I don't have either, so I use jelly roll pans. I split my dough in half and roll each to fit the pans. I spray the pans with nonstick spray then dust with corn meal before putting dough in the pans.

Want to buy your dough? Trader Joe's makes great white and wheat pizza dough, for a great price. I stay away from the big name brands in your grocery store - they are very expensive!

Part 2. Sauce. We make our own because it is SOOO easy. Look here for my recipe. Spread on your dough as thick as you like it. I prefer less sauce, though my kids like a little more "saucy". Want something different? How about using barbecue sauce, pesto, or alfredo sauce? It's a great way to use up some sauce you have left over from another meal. If you've got a sauce that's a bit too thin, cook it on simmer/low heat while you're preparing your dough.

Part 3. Cheese. We put cheese on next -- usually one cup of shredded mozzarella. Adjust for your own tastes (different amounts and vary the cheese, including combinations).

Part 4. Now comes the fun part -- the TOPPINGS! Here are some of our favorites:
  1. Pepperoni (with our without mushrooms). We buy our pepperoni in bulk at Smart and Final, but you can buy just enough for one pizza for a pretty good price at the grocery store. Use this with regular pizza sauce.
  2. Ham, pineapple, and red onions. This is great with barbecue sauce! A great way to use up ham leftovers. If you use canned pineapple, give it time to drain well.
  3. Chicken, mushrooms, and red onions. I rarely cook chicken just for pizza, instead using leftovers that I've saved. Use this combination with different sauces for different tastes!
  4. Spinach or chard (2 cups chopped leaves), red onion slices, and feta cheese (about half a cup of feta, this goes on last). I like this with regular pizza sauce, but would be yummy with no sauce too. My whole family loves this one -- who knew?
Part 5. Bake. I recommend a 425 F preheated oven. The baking time will depend on your crust and toppings. Thin crust and just cheese? It should only take 10 minutes. Thicker crust and lots of toppings? Bake it for about 15 minutes. Ours usually bake about 12 minutes, as we have a medium/thin crust and a good amount of toppings. Having an oven with a big window helps me keep an eye on them.

Pizza is fun food - don't be afraid to be creative! I like experimenting and it's fun putting together something different. We always have one "tried and true" pizza and a second where I'm trying something new. Truthfully, it's hard to go wrong, so go ahead and give it a try!

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