Got local pizza delivery on speed dial? No guilty confession needed. Takeout pizza makes a quick, hot meal that pleases just about anyone in your family. But the price of convenience starts to add up – especially in today’s economy. And as fat counts seep into the cardboard and our arteries – not to mentioned unmentioned preservatives – our guilt starts kicking in. Add in the fossil fuel for those delivery cars, and we know we should be cooking up some alternatives.
Take your pizza quality up a notch while keeping money in your wallet by starting to make pizza at home. While pizza may seem complicated, with a little planning and thought, you can whip up gourmet-quality creations faster than that delivery car can pull into your driveway.
Here are some easy, cheesy starter tips:
1. Plan Ahead
Coming home starving is not the time to decide to make pizza. That’s when the fingers start dialing delivery. Decide what day of the week you’ll have pizza for supper and add those ingredients to your shopping list. Better yet, designate a certain day of the week as “pizza night” and you can add those ingredients to the staples you always have in your pantry.
2. Prep Before You’re Hungry
Coming home starving is not the time to decide to make pizza. Repeat. Spare yourself the temptation to fall for delivery by pre-assembling your ingredients the night before. Shred the cheese, cut up and cook any vegetables, make the dough (The Quick Pizza Recipe below uses a super easy dough that doesn’t use yeast or need time to rise). This way, all you have to do is roll out the dough and add the toppings to get supper in the oven. Pizza will be on the table in a half hour or less.
3. Buy Quality Ingredients
Put some of the money you’re saving by trading out takeout into investing in decent ingredients. I’m fortunate where I live in Wisconsin, as I’m surrounded by high-quality cheese options. I’ve realized that, while I may pay more for a premium cheese, it is richer in flavor and therefore I don’t need to use as much.
Here’s a favorite recipe from our farm cookbook, Edible Earth: Savoring the Good Life with Vegetarian Recipes from Inn Serendipity.
2 c. all-purpose flour
½ c. whole wheat flour
1 ½ t. baking powder
½ t. salt
¼ c. butter (½ stick), chilled and cut into pieces
1 c. milk
2 c. tomato sauce
Pizza toppings of choice (cheese, veggies, etc.)
* Place the two flours, baking powder and salt into the container of a food processor and pulse until mixed. Drop in the butter pieces and pulse until large crumbs form.
* With the motor running, pour in the milk and process just until a clump of dough forms.
* Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Form 4 balls. Roll out each ball with a lightly floured rolling pin into an 8-inch circle.
* Place two circles on a greased baking sheet (if you have a baking stone, that works very well with these pizzas). Top with tomato sauce and the toppings of your choice and bake at 450 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden on top and bottom. Peek underneath the crust to make sure it’s golden brown.
Yield: 4 pizzas.
Photo credit: John Ivanko