Making homemade pizza can be intimidating to some
parents, but it really doesn't have to be. I know, some
of you may be saying, "Why bother? Just dial up Pizza
Hut and they have it here within the hour!" True, in our
family, we do have pizza delivered about once a month,
but I like to save money and recently I was pleased when
my daughter and I had the following conversation:
Daughter: "What's for dinner tonight?"
Daughter: "Homemade or delivered?"
Mom: (thinking that she was hoping for the delivered pizza)
Daughter: "YAY! COOL!"
Now that made me feel great! As I create our homemade
pizzas that night, I knew I was making something that
would not only save me a small fortune, but was something
my family would be impressed with.
The last time I made my homemade pizza, I didn't buy
much in extra toppings, but just used what I had in the
fridge. Our local grocery store had a 2 lb. block of Precious
Mozzarella Cheese on sale for $4.99. I shredded the whole
block up with the help of my son and used every bit! We
made four large pizzas and one small one (I bake my pizzas
on cookie sheets). At my best guess, I would assume that
these five pizzas cost me no more than $8-$10 to make --
which would include the cheese, sauce and dough makings,
You may be saying, "I don't need to make five pizzas for
my small family." Well, neither does our family (there is
only four of us), but I always make a large batch and I freeze
the leftovers. As a matter of fact, right now I have two large
whole pizzas in my freezer that are ready to be placed
on their cookie sheet and baked -- talk about saving time!
One of the best ways to save money when you are making
your own pizza is to make your own pizza dough. I don't
really follow a recipe for it, but I will share a pizza dough
recipe that I have used and it is very similiar to how I do mine,
except that I would at least triple this recipe.
Basic Pizza Dough
1 1/3 c. warm water
1 package active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
4 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
Grease two 14-in. pizza pans or equivalent.
In a cup or small bowl, mix the water and the yeast and
let stand for 5 minutes. Add sugar and let stand until
mixture is foamy on the top. Mix in flour and salt. When
mixture begins to form a ball, remove the dough to a
lightly floured work surface and knead lightly for 5 minutes
or until smooth. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover
and let stand for 2 hours or until doubled in bulk. Punch
down dough. Pat and stretch the dough onto your greased
pans. You may need to let your dough "rest", if it keeps
wanting to shrink back. Top with your pizza sauce, cheese,
and other toppings. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or
until golden brown.
Pizza cannot be complete without pizza sauce. I usually
prefer to make my own, but on occasion, I have used a
jarred pasta sauce. Here is an excellent recipe so that you
can make your own pizza sauce:
"Brandie's Pizza Sauce"
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups water
1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
Garlic powder, salt & pepper, sugar to taste
In a bowl, mix all of the above ingredients thoroughly,
excluding sugar. If you find the sauce to be too tangy,
add small amount of sugar. Makes about 3 cups of
sauce, which should be enough for two 12 - 14-inch
round pizza pans or 1 large size cookie sheet.
Now on to the fun part! I have made a variety of pizzas
for my family during the years. If Domino's or Pizza Hut
have it on their menu, I have probably made it. Here is
a list of the type pizzas I have made often and how to
~Plain cheese: Just sauce and shredded cheese!
~Pepperoni: Just sauce, shredded mozzarella, and
~Hawaiian Pizza: Spread sauce on dough, top with
shredded mozzarella, pineapple chucks (I used Dole's
Fun Shapes..there are very small and the kids like the
fun shapes), and sliced ham luncheon meat.
~Bar-B-Q Beef: I cook one pound of ground beef with
one small onion (chopped). When done, we stirred in
our favorite bottled bar-b-q sauce. I then spread this
mixture on top of the dough and topped with shredded
~Mexican Pizza: I spread the top of the pizza dough
with refried beans, and then topped it with shredded
cheddar cheese. After baking, I added some drained
(and patted dry) diced, canned tomatoes and shredded
lettuce and served immediately.
~Stuffed Cheese Crust: If you would like to make your
pizza with a cheesy crust, just put string cheese on the
edges of the pizza and fold and seal the dough over the
string cheese. Continue around the edges of your pizza.
~Veggie Pizza: Top your dough with sauce, shredded
mozzarella cheese, and an assortment of vegetables.
Anything will do, but some ideas are: sliced bell peppers,
sliced mushrooms, sliced black olives, and small broccoli
~Chicken Pizza: Do you have some leftover chicken breasts
from another meal? If so, dice up the chicken and use it as
~Meat Pizza: If you love meats, this is the one for you.
Just use any or all of the following: cooked ground beef,
cooked bacon pieces, cooked sausage, pepperoni, ham,
~Nacho Pizza: Spread your dough with a nacho cheese
sauce, top with shredded cheddar cheese and sliced
~Bacon Cheeseburger: Top your dough with sauce,
and then the following: cooked ground beef, cooked
bacon bits, and cheddar cheese.
~Dessert Pizza: Spread dough with your favorite pie
filling. Using apple? Top with a streusel topping. Using
cherry? Drizzle with icing.
~Alfredo Pizza: Get rid of that traditional tomatoe-based
sauce! Spread your pizza dough with some delicious
alfredo sauce, top with shredded mozzarella.
Of course, the above are just an example of the type
of pizzas you can make. Every person in your family
has their favorites, so just ask them what kind of pizza
toppings they would like...I am sure they will answer you!
Another idea is to invite the kids into the kitchen and have
them help you with the preparations. Children love to create
pizzas and this is the kind of meal that no one can mess up --
there is no "right" way to add the cheese and toppings!
So, if you have never made homemade pizza before, I hope
my tips have inspired you. If you have made it before, I hope
that you learned a new idea or two, but most of all, I hope that
you have learned that pizza making isn't for a gourmet cook,
and that any parent can learn to save money by making their
family's favorite meal, and not calling out to the local pizza parlor!
Reprinted with permission.
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