Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Favorite Quick Meal & Traditions

One of my absolute favorite meals is homemade pizza! I grew up enjoying made-by-mom pizza and while I loved it, it seemed like a huge deal to make it. I'm sure it wasn't - just my perception. :) Anyway, after I realized how easy it could be, I've never looked back. We pretty much never order out pizza these days. It takes me less than 30 minutes to have a homemade pizza on the table and it's one of our favorite menu items for family nights!

Here are some keys to great pizza:
1) Let your dough rest for a few minutes after kneading (I let my mixer knead it).
2) Oven Temperature! This is probably the biggest thing - turn that baby up! I bake my pizzas at 450 degrees F.
3) Bake it on a stone.
4) Be creative with toppings.

Some of our favorite topping combos are:
bacon, onion & green pepper
chicken, smoked cheddar, sharp cheddar & BBQ sauce (instead of marinara)
plain cheese (mozzarella & cheddar)
Greek - olive oil (instead of marinara), mozzarella, feta, & gyros meat (this is excellent on pita!)
broccoli, onion, pepper, tomato

Most of the time we top pizza with marinara, cheese and then other toppings. I make my own pizza sauce with tomato sauce, fresh herbs (or dried, depending on season), garlic, a pinch of sugar and a little salt. Sometimes I add a can of tomato paste and sometimes not - I prefer it with. The dough recipe I use is the one I frequently post on my menu plans. :) It's easy and delicious - for an extra great finish, I occasionally brush the edge of the finished crust with olive oil.

Our kiddos associate pizza with movie night (not that it always means that :)) and they LOVE it! It makes a great family tradition - we put a tablecloth on the floor upstairs and enjoy our finger food while watching a kid movie. I think Andrew and I look forward to it just as much as the boys. Pizza makes us all happy and family times makes us even happier. Establishing family traditions is important to us - we both have great memories from childhood and we long for our children to have fantastic memories, too. This is an easy way (and inexpensive!) to create a fun family evening. And for other days, it's a go-to recipe for a quick meal. What does your family enjoy for fun nights?


Alicia said...

We love pizza too. Your toppings sound good! We grilled pizza recently and also tried pizza with an egg on top! (http://tinyurl.com/5s7yyo)

Catherine said...

Pizza is definitely a go to meal for us too. I make the crust taste very close to Papa Johns, which saves us from having to order papa johns. :) I like doing a variety of toppings depending on what I have on hand, and if I only have cheese, I like using herbs on top to make it more interesting.

Andrew said...

I love the herb crusts. And I think "brush[ing] the edge of the finished crust with olive oil" is one of the best tips of all - it really does wonders for an already delicious crust!