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If it’s Friday Night – It Must be Pizza Night

When I was growing up, Friday night was Pizza Night in our house.  We would usually order 2 pies from the local pizza joint, pick them up and head on home. As my kids have gotten older, my wife and I have carried on this tradition in a different form.

After realizing, 1) We both really enjoy cooking and 2) Pizzas for a family of 4 can be really expensive, we decided to experiment and try to make our own pizzas.  You’ll see that with a small investment in equipment you can have a fun family night that saves you money and tastes good.

Materials list:

  • Pizza Stone – we bought our Pizza Stone Kit from amazon.com for $25, the Kit comes with a Stone, a Peel, a Holder, and a Cutter – if you aren’t interested in buying a kit you can use baking sheet (like the kind you make cookies on).
  • Dough – When we first started, we bought the dough from either the pizza place (yes some will sell it to you), or from Costco, or the local Supermarket. Now we make our own – Tyler Florence from Food Network has a great Pizza dough recipe.
  • Red Sauce – You can use any store bought sauce or if you have a family recipe feel free, or if you would like don’t use any red sauce at all (more on that later)
  • Toppings – This is where you can get creative, use any of your favorites, or whatever you have in the house.

Preparation:

  • If you bought the Dough from a store – make sure you take it out of the refrigerator and let it come up to room temperature (about 1 hour, longer if it was in the freezer).
  • Pre-heat the oven with the Pizza Stone (or baking sheet) in the oven – I put the oven to 475 degrees
  • Pick your Toppings
  • Get the dough into a quasi circle – the thing that made me nervous when I started making pizza was “throwing” the dough like they do in the pizza shop, and in fact after a year I still can’t, but in the end we have found that it doesn’t matter. The pizzas you will be making will be smaller than the traditional ones you get from a pizza shop, so throwing the dough isn’t as important as getting the dough flat and in a quasi-circle. Important Tip – you are making this at home and while presentation is always important you are making a rustic pizza – so you will more than likely not get a perfect circle – no worries. I have had the dough break, not stretch, stretch too much, heck I have even had to use a rolling pin to get the dough flat – it is all good – you know why…

Pizza is easy to make and will taste good even if you can’t “throw the dough”.

We make 2 pizza’s on Friday’s one for the kids (usually a plain Mozzarella Cheese with Red Sauce) and one for my wife and I, our toppings will vary depending on what we have in the house and what we feel like. The whole process is a family affair, my wife or I take care of the oven, and then we work with our kids in getting the toppings, cheese, and sauce ready. Once the dough is flat and on the board, we let the kids build their pizza – putting the sauce on, then the cheese and whatever topping they would want. Then my wife or I will put the pizza in the over for about 12-14 minutes (make sure the bottom of the pizza is brown and the cheese is melted).

Once our kid’s pizzas are in the over, my wife and I make ours, we have made a bunch of regular pizzas as well as some with our favorite toppings including:

  • Caramelized Onions, Sweet Italian Sausage, Gorgonzola Cheese, and Mozzarella Cheese (No Red Sauce)
  • Sautéed Spinach, Sautéed Mushrooms, Kalamata Olives, and Mozzarella Cheese (No Red Sauce)

We enjoy making our pizzas, it allows us to enjoy good family time where we can catch-up on what has happened during the week, it keeps our children engaged and introduces them to the joy of cooking that my wife and I share, we control what goes into our food, it saves us money (once you buy the stone the cost of a pizza will drop from $16 to about $4-6 if you buy the dough in the store and depending on the toppings.

I highly suggest giving it a try, see how it tastes and if you like it make Friday Night – Pizza Night.

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