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TGIF: Make Pizza Yourself

Posted By Jessica Fisher On September 3, 2010 @ 12:12 pm In Family Fun,Good Eats,Memory Making,TGIF | 71 Comments

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One of our family’s favorite weekend activities is Pizza Night. We often pick up a couple of pies from Costco’s food court; but usually, making our own at home is the standard mode of operation.

For years I struggled to make a pizza that was even halfway decent. Ewww, some have been really awful. But, I was persistent and eventually came across a system that works for me. I still have pizza night flops, but more often than not, we’re doing okay. And at a minimum of $10 a pizza, we’re eating some good cheap eats, too.

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Pizza Dough

Ingredients – I have been making this pizza dough recipe [5] for about 10 years or more. I vary the sweetener depending on what we have, sometimes honey, sometimes sugar. I usually mix about 1/3 whole wheat flour into the dough, but if we’re feeling particularly decadent, I use all white. {gasp} I’ve attempted all wheat but it didn’t go over well. I stock up on flour when it’s on sale [6]and buy yeast in bulk from Costco which makes this a very inexpensive recipe.

Preparation – Preparing the dough takes about 2 hours from the time I get the bread machine mixing and then formed into crusts. For bulk cooking [7], I usually get the bread machine going [8] on one batch and then get my KitchenAid going on another batch. In the beginning I mixed it by hand and hated it. My kitchen always seemed to be a mess. Buying a bread machine [8] made pizza much more doable for me. But, if you love to knead dough, this works great as a hand-kneaded dough.

Freezing Dough – Thanks to Aimee’s advice [9], I freeze dough after it has risen for only 30 minutes. I wrap each dough ball in a plastic sandwich bag and then store them in a larger freezer bag. When we want pizza, I pull as many dough balls as I want to prepare and thaw in a greased dish in the refrigerator overnight or on the counter for 4-6 hours.

I love to put together pizza kits to freeze [10] for easier pizza nights.

Last Minute Pizza Inspiration – If I’m really in a pinch and haven’t planned ahead, I’ve tried Amy’s recipe for No-Rise Pizza Crust [11] with great results. It’s amazing how well it works in a short amount of time. I also love Tammy’s Matza Pizza [12]. It is a little more work, but tastes great.

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Sauce

Great Sauce – If I want a great sauce, then I use my easy crockpot red sauce [14]. It’s versatile for pasta, lasagnas, and pizza. Making a huge batch and freezing in 2-cup portions [7] makes it easy to have on hand.

Exceptional Sauce – If I want out of this world sauce on my pizza, then I make prepare this homemade pizza sauce recipe [15]. It’s a little thicker than I would use on pasta and has amazing  flavor.

Quick Fix Sauce – Sometimes I just don’t have anything in the freezer or don’t want to spend the time thawing or making it from fresh. I just use plain canned tomato sauce. I spread it on the dough round and sprinkle dried basil, dried oregano, and garlic powder. Works in a pinch!

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Toppings

Most of my kids prefer Easy Cheese Pizza [15] or cheese and pepperoni to top their pizza. I’ve substituted shredded chicken as well as cooked and thinly sliced Italian Sausage as well.

For the adults and adventurous children, we like all of these:

Thai Chicken Pizza [17]

Burrito Pizza [4]

Goat Cheese Pesto Pizza with Fresh Vegetables [18]

Jalapeno Burn [19]

Pesto Pizza with Feta and Tomatoes [20]

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Baking Tips

  • Make sure the oven is hot! Usually I preheat for at least 30 minutes to insure a great cooking pizza.
  • I don’t use a special stone, though I’m sure pizza purists would say I need it. We’ve been able to cook beautiful pizzas on regular cookie sheets, greased and sometimes sprinkled with cornmeal. I do have a couple perforated round pans which I love. However, only one fits into the Holly Hobby oven that came with this particular house, so I don’t use them often.
  • If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. If you are persistent, do some troubleshooting, and keep trying, you will find success.

Do you make pizza at home?

Share your story with us!


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[4] Image: http://goodcheapeats.com/2010/07/burrito-pizza/

[5] Image: http://goodcheapeats.com/2009/07/basic-homemade-pizza/

[6] stock up on flour when it’s on sale : http://goodcheapeats.com/2010/03/build-frugal-pantry-with-flour/

[7] bulk cooking: http://lifeasmom.com/2010/03/preparing-for-freezer-cooking.html

[8] get the bread machine going: http://goodcheapeats.com/2010/02/why-you-need-bread-machine/

[9] Aimee’s advice: http://www.simplebites.net/warmer-weather-batch-cooking/

[10] pizza kits to freeze: http://lifeasmom.com/2010/07/freezer-cooking-dinners-and-pizza-kits.html

[11] No-Rise Pizza Crust: http://amysfinerthings.com/no-rise-pizza-crust

[12] Tammy’s Matza Pizza: http://www.tammysrecipes.com/node/3809

[13] Image: http://lifeasmom.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/Cheese-Pizza.jpg

[14] my easy crockpot red sauce: http://lifeasmom.com/2010/04/homemade-croutons-shredded-chicken-and-red-sauce.html

[15] homemade pizza sauce recipe: http://goodcheapeats.com/2010/07/easy-cheese-pizza-with-homemade-pizza/

[16] Image: http://lifeasmom.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/Pesto-Pizza-with-Feta-2.jpg

[17] Thai Chicken Pizza: http://goodcheapeats.com/2010/07/thai-chicken-pizza/

[18] Goat Cheese Pesto Pizza with Fresh Vegetables: http://goodcheapeats.com/2010/07/goat-cheese-pesto-pizza-with-fresh-vegetables/

[19] Jalapeno Burn: http://goodcheapeats.com/2009/07/good-cheap-eat-jalapeno-burn-pizza/

[20] Pesto Pizza with Feta and Tomatoes: http://lifeasmom.com/2010/06/ultimate-recipe-swap-anything-goes-2.html

[21] Image: http://lifeasmom.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/Pizza-5.jpg

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