Thursday, January 15, 2009

Keeping Creative Kitchens #12

I'm not quite on the ball today. :) I did plan a post a couple of days ago but didn't get it actually written which while helpful didn't help me with getting this up last night. :) Anyway...

One of our favorite things is having homemade pizza! It's not only creative but it can be on the table from scratch in 30 min. So, it's super quick and I usually have all the ingredients on hand. I told you last week about letting the kids help top it or doing individual ones with their own "signature" toppings. You can also use the same dough recipe and make calzones.

My personal favorite toppings are ground beef, onion, tomato and mushroom or Hawaiian - neither are Andrew's favorite so I don't make them too often. :) He prefers ham, bacon, pepperoni (we rarely have this), or sausage as the meat. We all like just plain cheese or vegetarian. I try to use up the vegetables and leftover ingredients. I've made meatball pizza, greek pizza (actually on pitas w/olive oil, mozzarella, feta, and gyros meat), used pasta sauce, and just generally tried to be open minded when approaching pizza night. :)

Here is the basic crust recipe which I adapted slightly from moneysavingmom. I'm also including few alternative ideas that make it great!
1 Tbsp. active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees F.)
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 1/2 cups flour

Dissolve the yeast in the water. Add the rest of the ingredients in and mix (I use a stand mixer). Knead the dough by hand (about 5 min.) or in the mixer (about 3 min.). Let dough rest for 3-5 min. (I make my sauce at this point). Roll out and press onto a pizza stone or greased pizza pan. Add toppings. Bake at 450 degrees F. for 12-15 minutes until the crust looks crispy and lightly browned.

Alternatives (use any or all): Add 1/4 c. parmesan cheese to the crust. Add 2 tsp. Italian seasoning. Add part or all whole wheat flour (this makes it healthier!). Brush crust with extra virgin olive oil when it some out of the oven which softens the crust and adds a nice shine.

1 - 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 - 8 oz. can tomato paste
1 clove fresh garlic, minced
2-3 tsp. Italian or Pizza Seasoning
1/2 tsp. salt

Combine all ingredients and spread on the crust. Top with desired toppings. Refrigerate any leftover sauce and use within 1 week.

Alternatives (use any or all): Use fresh basil (2-3 Tb.) - I do this in the summer! Add other fresh herbs- oregano is especially good. Add 1/4 c. parmesan cheese. Omit tomato paste (for a thinner sauce). Add 1 tsp. sugar for slight sweetness.

You can also use prepared BBQ sauce, a white sauce, or no sauce at all.

Pizza night is easy, fun, and almost never the same way twice. It's always hot and very fresh - not always the case with delivery. It saves us money and allows us to enjoy one of our favorite foods more often - we probably have it 2 or 3 times a month. We do order pizza delivery occasionally or pick up a take-and-bake pizza but we genuinely like homemade as well or better than most take out. Give it a try!
I do have pictures but can't get them uploaded at the moment - I'll try to get to them later. Otherwise you'll just have to take my word for it!
Here are just a few guidelines for participating in Keeping Creative Kitchens:
1) Leave a link to your post with Mr. Linky (I am fully aware that there will probably not be many - or any :) - participants but I think this will make participation easier!).
2) Your entry can include a new recipe (either your own creation or a new-to-you-recipe), favorite recipe, success, tablescape/centerpiece, short-cut, ingredient, tradition, book, magazine, tool or gadget, food photos, recipe website or any thing else that keeps you inspired in your kitchen.
3) Please link back here in your participating post.

Hope you have fun, meet new people, learn a few things, feel encouraged, and find inspiration as you prepare meals, care for your family, and entertain!


Jenna said...

Alaina, do you bake the crust for 12 to 15 minutes alone and then put on the toppings? Or do you put on the toppings and then bake? Or do you bake it for a few minutes and then put on the toppings?

I totally should know this but I don't....

Alaina said...

I don't pre-bake it. I just bake it 12-15 min. after it's topped. The key is the high temp. You could partially bake it, though - just poke it with a fork, I think.

Jen said...

Did I hear right?? Are you guys really coming to Dallas for Jason and Courtney's wedding? :)

Alaina said...

It's true, Jen!!! :) I can't wait! Andrew and I are coming by ourselves - we will be flying in Thursday night or Friday morning and flying out Sunday night (at least that's the current plan). We are working to book flights!

Jack-a-roo's Mom said...

I was so excited to find your blog and to find a pizza crust recipe. I've been trying to be better with finding ways to save here and there. I loved reading your wonderful topping and crust addition ideas. Thanks a bunch and I can't wait to try it out with my own family pizza night!

Micah said...

This pizza crust and your pizza sauce recipe have officially made the top 5. Pizza night is our favorite night, and we too now prefer homemade to take-out!

I'm sorry you guys have been sick lately, but even as much as the boys love preschool, it's still nice to be "snowed in" every once in a while =). Hope you're all on the mend soon!

Micah said...

Oh, and I'm so jealous that you guys are going to the wedding!!! That will be such a nice time, and a much needed break for the two of you! That's something Brad and I have yet to do since kiddos, but we're saving for it this year for my birthday - if I get Maggie weaned in time =)!

Shelley said...

Thanks for the crust recipe, Alaina -- I'm doing south beach and will be able to use the whole wheat flour version of the crust to have pizza again. Now I don't have to look for a recipe! :-)

Thad and Ann said...

I'll have to try your crust sauce recipe, sounds yummy.:) We love homemade pizza too.