Thursday, August 19, 2010

Pizza...any way you like!

We made pizza's last night & it was FUN! Gotta love the Trader Joe's fresh pizza dough, which makes the thought of homemade pizza's much more fun. I know homemade pizza dough is not difficult and I was actually planning on making some, but when you're short on time and energy...any store bought kind works just fine! I've also gone to my favorite pizza places before and bought some of their dough to make fresh pizza or rolls.
So, we all like different things on our pizzas, which is why I separated the dough for everyone to make their own. That way the kids are happy and I'm happy not having their grubby paws on my pizza!! Go ahead and make your own variety...these are just a few of the ideas that we tried!

So many choices...

INGREDIENTS: (Makes 4-5 personal size pizza's)
  • 2 pkgs. store-bought pizza dough (16 oz. each)
  • 1 jar marinara or pizza sauce
  • Mozarella & Parmesan cheeses, shredded (Sterling & I also added fresh goat cheese)
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • pepperoni (kids used this)
  • small can black olives, sliced
  • 1 pkg mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 plum tomatoes, sliced
  • artichoke hearts in water, drained & quartered
  • fresh basil
  • other options: sundried tomatoes (sliced), kalamata olives, pesto
Sterling "stuffed" his crust with cheese (on the left)

Unwrap pizza dough and place on floured surface. Let rest for 20 minutes. Divide 1 of the dough balls into 3 even balls. Divide the other into 2. This made 3 smaller pizzas for my kids and 2 very satisfying pizza's for Sterling and I. If you want to just make 1 large pizza, use 1 bag of pizza dough. let balls of dough sit on floured surface while you are preparing toppings.

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Slice mushrooms and tomatoes. Place on a foil lined baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Roast in oven for 5-10 minutes or until cooked. **This will take out the moisture from the mushrooms and tomatoes, so when you bake them on your pizza, they won't get it soggy. They also give it more flavor when they are roasted! Arrange the remaining toppings in bowls for convenience.
Increase Oven temp. to 450 degrees and get your baking sheets or pizza stones ready. If using a baking sheet, be sure to use cooking spray!
Stretch dough sure that it's thin because it will spring back and cook up thick if you don't stretch it thin enough. Now at this point, if you like a "crispier" crust, I would bake the dough for about 5 minutes prior to adding anything on the shell. If you like a softer crust, go ahead and add your sauce & toppings.
I made mine like this: thin layer of sauce, thin layer of mozzarella, roasted mushrooms and tomatoes, fresh garlic, artichoke hearts, basil, a light sprinkle of fresh parmesan, then lastly the crumbled goat cheese. Before popping into the oven, give the entire pizza a nice drizzle of extra virgin olive oil (making sure to get some on the crust too!)
Bake 10-12 minutes, or until golden and toppings are bubbly.
***Next time I will wait and add the basil after my pizza has come out of the oven.

So, I just HAD to brag about my son! His new hobby...surfing!

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