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    Favorite Recipes, Featured

    Easy(ish) Homemade Pizza Night

    Some nights I just get a hankering for a slice and a pint of icy cold craft beer. By now you all know that I am what you might call… discerning… when it comes to food, and that, of course, includes pizza. It can’t be too salty, nor too greasy, and if it’s too bread-y, I’m out. My absolute favorite is a Neapolitan-style Pizza Margherita… yuuuuummmm, but that’s hard to make at home without an genuine brick pizza oven…which is definitely on my wish list for when we settle on a home. 🙂 So to save money (and my poor husband’s ears from my ranting on inferior foods), Hubby and I started making our own pizza at home back when we were newly-weds.

    I love the freedom of being able to work in the kitchen while keeping eyes on my littles. Note my iPad baby monitor in the background!

    Knead, knead, knead that dough until it’s as smooth as a baby’s bum.

    When looking for a good recipe, we turned to our favorite chef online, Chef John from Food Wishes. With his combination of humor, simple but meticulous approach to fresh and different ingredients, and delicious recipes, and it wasn’t long before we were true blue fans! I have yet to try his own recipe for no-knead pizza dough which calls for 18 hours of proof time (I just haven’t had enough foresight to prepare that much time ahead yet), but we jumped at a recipe he shared of Wolfgang Puck’s California pizza dough several years ago which only takes about 2 hours to make, and is simply fantastic for same-day pizza inspirations!

    Everything but the fresh cilantro. Ready for the 450 degree oven.


    Layers of goodness: BBQ sauce, thin slices of (real) mozzarella cheese, quickly-fried bacon (no one like soggy bacon, so I crisp it up a little beforehand), leftover roast chicken (there’s another recipe I need to share with you) pan-fried with bbq sauce, and 2 cloves of garlic, and finally topped with grated real mozzarella cheese to give it that golden-around-the-edges look. Some red onion and hot pepper flakes would have been amazing on this but I omit them and put them on individual slices afterwards when we’re feeding our kids the same food…which is almost always.

    Most of the time we will go the easy route of buying pre-made pizza dough from Trader Joe’s (Sobey’s has it, for you Canadians) and making our own DIY sauce. This saves on work and lets us build a pizza to spec. (extra shaved garlic, yes please!), with only minor compromises to our budget and my high expectations. Win-win!

    Today, while the kids were napping, I decided to treat the family by making pizza dough from scratch. I don’t think I’ve made this recipe since Dominic was a baby! So with my super handy baby monitor set up, I was able to focus on following the recipe in peace while still keeping an eye on my precious napping angels, while stirring up a cloud of flour dust in the kitchen.

    Here’s the result! Yum!

    Chef John has a brilliant pizza sauce recipe, but that’s way more time consuming than what I had time for today (and way more dishes to clean), so I used the left over chicken from a roast, bbq sauce, fresh cilantro, bacon and some fresh garlic to make a version of BBQ chicken pizza! We were out of red onion, but thin crisp fresh rings really deepen the flavor of this pizza. Not bad for a week night, right?! For our small family right now, this recipe makes enough for 2 medium pizzas = 2 meals for us. I put one in a ziplock to freeze for another night. It’s ready to just thaw, rise, shape and bake for a dinner next week.

    Other pizza topping ideas: simple cheese pizza, pizza margherita with bacon (one of our favorites), meat (chop up any leftover meat from a roast) and veggies (peppers are awesome in pizza, as well as mushrooms). These are just a few ideas. Feel free to use pesto sauce (easier to buy than make), or white sauce as well! Last tip: save the fresh herbs for after the pizza is cooked, or shield them from direct heat by putting other ingredients on top, otherwise they will crisp up and shrivel to nothing by the time your pizza is ready to come out of the oven.

    I hope you give this a try one of these nights and let me know how it goes! I found I needed much more flour given we’re at a higher altitude and because I let it rise for longer because, as you know, life with kids gets busy, and sometimes I forget to set timers (ok, other times I just really need to take advantage of the rare kids naps, and grab a quick 15 minute doze). I think the recipe is pretty forgiving so give it a whirl and impress your family one of these nights! It’s fun to get the kids involved too!