Saturday, April 13, 2013

Pizza Night!

Made from scratch pizzas.  Easy to make.  Easy to freeze.  Easy to have on hand.

Who doesn't love pizza right?  Pizza night used to be a regular thing at our house.  We would order from Domino's or Papa John's or even pick it up at Papa Murphy's (which was my favorite.)  This could get really expensive over time.  To remedy this problem we also had frozen pizza.  Especially when I was short on time.  I always had those little Totinos pizza's in the freezer.  You know the ones: 10 for 10 dollars on sale at Price Chopper?  But with a tight budget and a desire to go less processed, I devised a way for us to continue pizza night without the cost and extra ingredients.

Pizza dough is actually really easy to make!  I'm not just saying that.  It really is.  There are lots of great recipes out there but I have found one that I really like here.  I have modified it a little bit as I do not have a pizza stone and I prefer to bake with bread flour when making pizza crusts.  The great thing about this crust is you can roll it out without making it rise first.  OR if you have the time you can let it go through an hour rise before rolling it out to make the crust even chewier and fluffy.

Great Pizza Crust (Valentino's Pizza Crust)


1 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
1 tbsp sugar
2 1/4 tsp dry active yeast
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups bread flour


1.  Preheat oven to 425.  Stir water, sugar and yeast together until dissolved.  Add the olive oil and the salt.  Mix in flour, kneading the dough on a lightly floured surface until dough is smooth and stretchy.  Let dough rest for 10 minutes.  If you have the time, here is

2.  Roll out dough or toss it if your brave!  Here's a video on how to do it just for fun.  I am no pro - I roll mine.  The recipe makes 1 14-16 inch pizza however, I like to make smaller sized pies to keep in my freezer.  I usually double the recipe and get about 6 10-12 inch pizzas.

3.  To Bake immediately:   Spray a pizza pan with non-stick cooking spray.  Sprinkle with corn meal.  Place rolled out dough on pan and use a fork to poke holes in it.  I like to bake mine for about 5 min first and then take it out and top it with my favorite toppings.  Bake for another 10 minutes.

4.  To make crusts for the freezer:   Spray a pizza pan with non-stick cooking spray.  Sprinkle with corn meal.  Place rolled out dough on pan and use a fork to poke holes in it.  Bake for 5 minutes.  Take out and let cool on a cooling rack.  When completely cooled, place in a large zip lock or other freezer safe bag, date it with a marker, and store in your freezer until the next pizza night.  It should keep for about 6 weeks.

Now you have crust that you can take out and top whenever your need a quick meal.  My kiddos like just plain old cheese so I usually have the other ingredients on hand.

Pizza Sauce

As far as sauce goes, I made an exceptionally well flavored pasta/pizza sauce the other day.  BUT, I did not write it down as I went.  I know, bummer.  Basically I sauteed yellow and orange peppers, onions, garlic, carrots, squash, and zucchini until the vegetables were very tender.  I added water so they would continue to soak up liquid.  Then I used my Magic Bullet to blend them together.  I don't think I could get away with chunks of anything in our pizza sauce.  I also blended up 2 cans of organic diced tomatoes.  Then I cooked this all together in a sauce pan and added Italian seasoning, garlic salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes until it got to the taste I was looking for.  It turned out fantastic and I had plenty to save.  I put them in smaller sized containers in my freezer with a label so I can easily take one out and use it next time we want pizza.

Spinach and Herb Pizza

My favorite pizza right now?  Spinach and herb with feta and fresh mozzarella.  It's a great way to use up my spinach when I get a little over board and buy too much for our family to eat before spoiling!  It was an experiment to try to use up my spinach so I didn't have to waste it.  I was so pleased with the outcome that I have now made it several times.  Unfortunately my picky eaters were not willing to give it a try but I LOVED it.

1 pizza crust
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp Italian dressing
garlic salt
generous amount of Italian Seasoning
onion powder or dried onions
2 oz fresh mozzarella
3 - 4 tbsp feta crumbles
2 large handfuls of fresh spinach

Brush pizza crust with olive oil making sure to get the outer edges as well.  Brush Italian dressing over that.  Sprinkle garlic salt and onion powder/dried onions all over.  Generously sprinkle Italian seasoning all over.  Add the feta, sprinkling all over.  Next up - spinach leaves.  Spread them out evenly over the crust.  Do not be shy with these - it will love like a gigantic salad at first but it turns out awesome.  Finally add your mozzarella on top.  Because I find it harder to shred fresh mozzarella  I usually cut it up in to small chunks and spread the chunks out as best I can.  They melt just fine.  Put it in the oven and bake to perfection!

Enjoy!  Happy Pizza Night!

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