Thursday, February 19, 2015

Friday Night, Pizza Night

We recently started a new tradition around here that Klair enthusiastically calls "Friday night, PIZZA night!" It began when I found this recipe for homemade pizza dough on Pinterest. Pizza is one of the few foods that Klair will eat without hesitation (right up there with oatmeal, smoothies, and pasta) so I was trying to find ways to make it a little healthier... and it certainly didn't hurt that the homemade option was also cheaper. AND, as it turns out, so much tastier! Sam and I both agree now that pizza of the homemade variety is much better than anything we can buy. Plus, it's both easy and fun to make. Klair loves to help us press the dough into the pan and sprinkle the toppings on. I think the process might be more exciting for her than eating it.

With my beautiful new Kitchen Aid that I got for Christmas it's almost too easy to make. I'll include some directions in case you don't have a stand mixer though ...Or in the event that you want to take make it by hand and take a little frustration out on the dough in the form of punching... it's actually quite therapeutic :)

Once we made this pizza a few times we decided it would be a wonderful weekly tradition. Sam and I both have fond memories of movie nights with our families growing up, so we decided to incorporate this idea into our pizza night to max out the fun family time. There have been a few Fridays that we have had other plans. But, rather than skip our tradition, we've moved it to another night of the week instead. We are so converted to homemade pizza and devoted to the family night that we can't go one week without it :) 


Pizza Dough Ingredients 

15 oz (3 cups) Flour
1 tbsp Yeast
1 tbsp Sugar
2 tsp Salt
1 tbsp Olive Oil
9 fl oz Warm Water

Dough Directions  
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

By Hand:
Place flour into a large mixing bowl and make a well in the center.
Add yeast, sugar, salt, olive oil and water and stir until combined.
Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5-10 minutes or until a smooth ball forms.

In a Stand Mixer:
Place flour into a stand mixer bowl and make a well in the center.

Add yeast, sugar, salt, olive oil and water into the well and turn on low combined (about 3 minutes) using the dough hook attachment.

Turn the speed to medium and knead for 5-10 minutes or until a smooth ball forms (for me this happens fairly quickly).

Then for both methods... 
Place dough ball into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap or clean cloth. Set in a warm place for 30 minutes or until dough has doubled. (I usually place mine beside the preheating oven and it rises in about 20 min...)

Turn dough out your lightly greased pan(s) and punch the dough to remove excess air, knead lightly (we like to spray the pan with olive oil spray and then sprinkle it with cornmeal... this adds an authentic pizzeria texture to the pizza and helps to keep the pizza from sticking). 

This pizza is great for one large pizza with a nice thick crust (like we prefer), or you can divide the dough into 4 to make 4 thin crust personal pizzas (or you could even divide the dough in half and do one large thin crust and freeze the other half of the dough for another time). 


Sauce, Toppings, and Crust

Spread desired pizza sauce and toppings and bake in 450 degree preheated oven for 10 minutes, or until golden brown. I bake our one large pizza for 10 minutes and it comes out exactly to our liking--just barely golden without being crispy. You can adjust the time a little depending on your preference. Also, keep in mind if you decide to make a thin crust pizza you'll want to reduce the time because it will cook quicker and could burn. Let baked pizza cool for 5 minutes before serving.

When it comes to sauce, I love the idea of making my own... but it's not always feasible. When we buy it we prefer the "Classico" pizza sauce (it doesn't have high fructose corn syrup, yay!)... one jar is enough to last three pizzas for us because we like use the sauce sparingly. You can also take either a homemade or store bought sauce and healthify things a bit by blending in some veggies. If you have a good blender there will be no chunks and your kids won't be the wiser. 

As for toppings, we prefer a pizza with mozzarella cheese only. You can get as creative with cheeses as you want though. The pizza pictured above was last week's creation and it had mozzarella, crushed olives, italian sausage, and fresh parsley. It was awesome.

On our thick crust pizza we like to melt a little butter, add some garlic salt seasoning, and brush it on. It's like having garlic bread sticks attached to your pizza.


And there you have it! Pair this baby with a yummy side salad and you have an awesome meal.

Do you have any fun family traditions?  

1 comment:

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