Come New Years, everyone swears they want to save money. I’m doing my best to hold to that, but with two teenage boys in the house, it’s not easy.
Being teenage boys, they love pizza. I mean, who doesn’t? It’s a special treat to order out. I used to be able to thrill my youngest if I said, “How about pizza ordered?” “Pizza ordered” could be Domino’s or Papa John’s; he didn’t care. He just loved that someone brought him his second favorite food on the planet. Double the love if there was cheesy bread involved.
Problem being, “pizza ordered” is getting kind of expensive. Between the three of us, if I find the right specials, I can keep the cost to about $24, but that’s still a lot more than the average fast food night out. Something had to give.
That’s when I went looking through my bread machine’s recipe book and found the Best Pizza Dough Ever.It was Saturday morning and I’d just had some coffee so I thought, why not? I gathered the ingredients and set everything up:
I was going to put my half marathon magnet on the car, but I like it here instead, where I can see it every day. The post-it is my family recipe for meringue cookies, which I still haven’t quite gotten right yet. Blech. Anyway, the machine made the dough:
Stretching the dough across a 3-foot pan is a trick I’m just learning to master. See also: how to fill gaps when it does split. (It’s not impossible and the dough comes out none the worse for wear.)
Once stretched, load it up with your favorite toppings. I started with tomato sauce, followed by crushed oregano, onion powder, garlic salt, and parmesan. On top of that I added copious amounts of shredded cheese. Here I give a shout-out to WalMart low fat shredded mozzarella. A 2 pound bag lasts 5 days in this house. I put it on almost everything, and it tastes so good, I’ll nip a little straight from the bag when I’m in the mood.
One son loves black olives, the other loves pepperoni; they both love bacon. We didn’t have any pepperoni, and I’m a vegetarian so if I put meat on this thing, I wouldn’t get any. (Which is so wrong after all the work I put into it.) This night, they settled for half cheese, half black olives.
It went in the oven at 425 for 20 minutes or until the cheese bubbles and is just a tiny bit golden. Once the smell wafted through the house, I had a kitchen full of teenagers, eagerly sniffing the air, so I took the pizza out, sliced it up, started dividing the spoils…and then realized I’d forgotten to take a picture. Gah. Anyway, when I came to my senses, this is the end result:
For the cost of about a pound of cheese, some leftover tomato sauce, leftover black olives, and the bread ingredients, I’d say this pizza cost about $8 and it fed the three of us. That’s $16 I can put in the bucket for vacation.
As it turns out, the homemade pizza was such a success that I made it again this weekend, and this time I did take a picture of the finished product. No extra toppings lying around this time, and Ryan pleaded with me to NOT add mushrooms, so this one was an all-cheese creation. So far no one’s cried, saying they miss the Domino’s guy. 🙂
I think next time I’ll let the boys top it as they wish, which likely means meat, which means I’ll have to plan an alternative for myself. Oh well. Maybe I’ll save some dough on the side and make myself a veggie feast!
If you’re looking for the dough recipe, it helps to have a bread machine; I’m not sure how to do this without one. Otherwise, here goes:
1 1/2 cups water
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tsp salt
4 1/4 cups bread flour
2 tsp bread machine yeast
Set machine to DOUGH setting. When ready, place dough on lightly floured surface and cover with a mixing bowl for 10 minutes to rest. I have a 3-foot square pizza pan but you can split the dough to use on multiple pans or pizza stones. Stretch to suit your size pan, then cover with toppings, bake at 425 for 20 minutes, and enjoy!
For our gluten-free friends, can someone suggest an alternative to bread flour (which, as I understand it, has a little more gluten than regular flour)?