Easy Peasy Pizza

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Sometimes at the end of a long day, there’s nothing like calling your favorite pizza delivery place and having dinner show up at the door hot and ready to eat.  However, there is another option that is easy, doesn’t take much time, is fun, and puts you in control.  Make your own pizza!

Pizza starts with the dough, and making pizza dough is a snap.  I’ll make a single or double batch, divide it into portions and freeze each portion.  When I’m ready to make pizza, I’ll pull one from the freezer and put it on the counter to thaw.  It is ready to go in under 30 minutes.  And, if you have little ones, they can help make the dough!  Nothing like getting the kids involved in the kitchen.  Chef Kathleen has a great recipe from her Cooking Thin cookbook that I love.  I’ve included it below.

Another reason to make your own is that everyone can make their pizza the way they want – thick crust, thin crust, and add any ingredients.  All it takes is some tomato sauce with some herbs and spices mixed in, or some pesto, and what ever toppings you have around.  If you like pepperoni, try some turkey pepperoni for a savings of about 75 calories and about 8 grams of fat per serving.  You can put just about anything on your pizza – veggies, ham, even pineapple.  Your imagination is the only limit when making pizza.  Again, you can involve the kids by letting them pick the toppings for their own pizza.

And, did you know you can grill pizza?  Grilling gives the crust a smoky flavor and makes it extra crispy.  To grill a pizza, roll out the dough and put it on the grill until one side is set.  Flip it over and add the toppings.  It is done with the other side (the side now facing the flames) is set and crispy.

The pizza alternatives are endless and pizza is easy peasy!  Now, here’s Chef Kathleen’s Easy Pizza Dough recipe.

Yield: Two 12-inch thick-crusted pizzas or four 10-inch thin-crusted pizzas; 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 ½ cups unbleached flour
  • 2 packages active dry yeast1 tsp coarse-grained salt
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 1 ½ cups lukewarm water
  • ½ tsp olive oil
  • Cornmeal for dusting pizza peel or cookie sheet

Preparation

  1. Place flour, yeast, salt and sugar in a mixer fitted with a dough hook.  While mixer is running, gradually add water; knead on low speed until dough is firm and smooth, about 10 minutes.  Turn mixer off.  Pour oil down the side of bowl.  Turn mixer on low once more for 15 seconds to coat inside of bowl and all surfaces of dough with the oil.
  2. Alternative using food processor fitted with metal blade: Place flour, yeast, salt and sugar in bowl of a food processor and pulse to blend.  Pour water through feed tube with machine running.  Process until dough forms a ball.  Place in oiled bowl.
  3. Alternative by hand: In a large bowl, whisk together flour, yeast, salt and sugar.  Stir in water until dough begins to form.  Knead dough on a floured surface until smooth, about 10 minutes.  Place in oiled bowl.
  4. Cover bowl with plastic wrap.  Let dough rise in a warm spot until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours.
  5. Preheat oven to highest setting (500o or 550o F).  If using a pizza stone, place stone in oven on bottom rack and heat oven 1 hour.
  6. Punch dough down and cut in half or fourths.  On a generously floured work surface, place one piece of dough.
  7. By hand, stretch dough into a circle.  For think pizza, roll dough into a large circle with a floured rolling pin until very thin.  Don’t worry if your circle isn’t perfect, and if you get a hole, just pinch edges back together.  To prevent dough from sticking to counter, turn dough over; add flour to dough, counter and rolling pin as needed.
  8. Sprinkle a pizza peel or rimless cookie sheet generously with cornmeal.  Transfer dough to pizza peel or cookie sheet.  Add toppings.  Slide dough onto pizza stone or place cookie sheet with pizza on bottom rack.
  9. Bake 10 – 12 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove pizza from oven, using pizza peel if you used a pizza stone and serve immediately.

Nutrition Information for ¼ of the recipe: Calories 445; Carbohydrates 89 g, Protein 16 g, Fat 2 g

Note:

Dough can be placed in freezer bag, or wrapped tightly in saran wrap and frozen.  When ready to use, place on counter to thaw.

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