My cheap dinner choice? Pizza! Aside from the price tag, I also think it would be a sin to have a food blog without a pizza recipe. I have a fridge packed full of tomatoes and green peppers that needed a purpose, so this worked out well.
To begin, follow the standard pizza dough recipe that comes with your bread machine. I have a Cook's Essentials bread machine and here is the slightly modified recipe that I follow...
|I love my bread machine!|
|Add the ingredients in the suggested order for your machine|
Pizza Dough Recipe
- 3/4 cup of warm water
- 1 tablespoon of oil (Extra Virgin Olive Oil will work)
- 1/2 tablespoon of sugar (update: I changed the original 1 tablespoon to 1/2 tablespoon and it's much better)
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 2 1/4 cups of bread flour
- 3/4 teaspoon of active dry yeast
Place the ingredients into the machine. When it's done, pat it out (do not push or stretch it, just pat it) onto a greased 18-inch pizza pan (or, for a rectangular pizza, a metal cookie sheet) and let it rest for about 15 minutes. If you pat it out and then put it directly into the oven, then the crust might shrink.
Put the crust into the oven until it's no longer doughy. I didn't time it, so I'm guessing 10 minutes or so. Don't over cook it. I know most people do not pre-cook their pizza crust, but I always do. I hate.hate.hate eating pizza that has dough in the middle, or a slimy layer of dough along the top. Uck! Remember the calzone I made? As much as I love my calzone recipe, it did have a hint of dough. When the crust is pre-cooked, the dough is no longer an issue. Take the crust out and assemble the pizza.
|Slowly pat the dough out|
|See the brown spots?|
Take the crust out of the oven before the browning starts
Last night, my husband came home late, so I pre-cooked the crust and set it aside. When he came home, I assembled the pizza. Another option is to make several pizza crusts, pre-cook them, let them cool completely, and then freeze them. Whenever you want a pizza, pull a crust from the fridge and grab any ingredients that you need to use up in your fridge.
If you don't have a bread machine, start by adding warm water to a bowl, oil, sugar, and yeast. I would just skip the salt. Let the yeast activate-- it will turn foamy. Add the flour and mix until an elastic ball forms. Let it rise until it doubles in size. Pat out onto an 18-inch pan or cookie sheet, let rest and bake.
Ok, pizza crust DONE! Now it's time to move on to the pizza sauce. If you are in a hurry, just open a can of tomato sauce and pour it into a bowl. Add some sugar (as sweet as you want it), oregano (about 1 tablespoon), and garlic powder (about 1/2 tablespoon or so). Mix and pour onto the pizza crust. I am going to make the sauce with fresh tomatoes though.
|Select the ugly tomatoes. Leave the pretty ones for a salad :)|
|Lots of garlic!|
|The finished result|
Pizza Sauce Recipe:
- 7 small or medium size tomatoes (I added a couple more after the pic!)
- 1 - 2 tablespoons oregano
- 1/2 - 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar
- 4 small cloves of garlic
Add the tomatoes to boiling water for a couple of minutes. The skins will start to split. Remove them, place them under cold water and remove the skins and stems. Put them into a blender, drain off any extra liquid. Add the garlic cloves and blend until just combined. If you over blend you will end up with foam. Empty the water from the pot you boiled the tomatoes in, pour in the tomato puree and cook on medium until the sauce thickens. At the end, add the oregano and sugar to taste. Some people like super-sweet sauce, others like sour, so add slowly and check often.
Done! Easy, huh?
Now, assemble the pizza. I used black olives, green peppers and about 2-3 cups of mozzarella cheese.
Bake at 400F. If you want a crunchy crust, bake it until the cheese starts to melt (about 10-15 minutes) and then place a second 18-inch pan underneath it. If you want the crust soft, place the pan underneath it right when you put it into the oven.