Family Night Tonight!

Friday nights are Family Night at our house.   Tonight we’re having homemade pizza.

We live in the country outside a small Southern town.  When I say small, no it’s not a one-light town, but it is small.  (The membership of the church I used to attend on the West Coast was about the same size as the population of our town.)  However, we still have a number of pizza places.  On the Food Network they talk about getting pizza dough from your local pizzeria.  I’m assuming that they mean in the big city where you may have a pizza place that isn’t a chain and that makes fresh dough every day.  I drove around our town and visited every pizza place.  Not one of them will sell pizza dough.

That night I went to the grocery store and bought Pillsbury pizza dough.  It was as I thought it would be… just OK.  (Sorry, Pillsbury.  It’s great in a pinch, but it doesn’t have the texture and flavor of a good pizzaria dough.)  I started looking for and trying recipes.  After many attempts (most of them also just OK) I finally found a recipe that my boys really, really like.

Check out Jamie Oliver’s Pizza Dough Recipe on the food Network! (This picture is from that site.) I found it in March and have been making it every time we have pizza ever since.  (In fact, each week my boys are now asking if we can have pizza for Family Night.)

Something to keep in mind:  I don’t suggest piling the flour on the counter, making a well, and pouring the liquid in the well the way the recipe suggests.  I tried that the first time around and had a leak in the flour dam… the liquid lake overflowed and started spreading all over the counter, to my youngest son’s delight.  (He was laughing and jumping around having a great time watching.)  I couldn’t swoosh it back to the flour fast enough, but finally got control by quickly spreading the flour over top of the rivers of liquid.  Ever since then when I make it I put everything in a bowl and mix it with a wooden spoon until it’s ready to be kneaded.  Then I dump it onto a floured surface and start kneading.  It’s not as much fun for a 6-year-old to watch, though.

In reality, the recipe makes a bunch of small personal pizzas or about 4 medium-sized regular crust (as opposed to about 6 thin crust) pizzas.  It’s great for parties.  If you are cooking just for family, you can take half the dough, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, put it in a freezer bag and freeze it for the next time.   Then all you need to do is pull it from the freezer, let it defrost, punch it down and make your pizzas.  When we do the personal pizzas, the boys can come and put whatever they want on their crust after I’ve shaped it.  They like that.

My boys and husband LOVE home made pizzas now.  (We don’t do “take-out” anymore.  Of course, we would if I didn’t have time to make the pizza dough.)  But, when you make it at home, you can make any kind of pizza you want!

I didn’t go grocery shopping so have to use what I have in the house.  Tonight I think it’s going to be sausage, green pepper, and onion.   Unless we want something unusual like red cabbage or sour kraut (!!?!!), I don’t have other pizza ingredients.

You all have a blessed evening.  We’re going to enjoy each other’s company, eat homemade pizza, and enjoy a family movie together.


Update:  05-01-2012

Here are some blogs with pizza ideas (all of them outside the norm when it comes to pizza):

My Fancy PantryCaramelized Onion, Purple Potato and Pistachio Pizza
Spices & Spackle:  Salad Pizza
A Brand New Season:  Pita Pizza
Cupcakes & Couscous:  Veggie Pizza on Portobello Mushroom Cap Crust


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