Saturday, February 23, 2013

It's family night!

It's Friday, which in our household means it's FAMILY NIGHT! Of course, every night is family night 'cuz these people are ALWAYS here!!!  but Friday is the night that we set aside to  spend time together playing games and unwinding after a busy week. It's also an excuse to eat pizza. Lot's of yummy pizza. We used to order it until I found
the BEST PIZZA DOUGH EVER recipe. Sorry, i'm excited. I love pizza. Hot gooey cheese loaded with everything but the kitchen sink. And sausage...yuck. Hate sausage. But put almost anything else on thin, chewy fresh baked bread and my mouth does a little happy dance.
Since this recipe makes my family so happy  and I know i'm not the only one who likes to hear " mom, you're the best cook EVER!" I thought i'd share. (also the best daughter when I whip out the fresh from the oven soft pretzel bites but you're going to have to wait 'til next Friday for those.) You're going to wish you had smell-o-vision, I promise.

Best Pizza Dough Ever
3 1/2-4 C flour plus 1/2 C for kneading
2 1/4 tsp yeast ( or 1 envelope)
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp salt
1 1/2 C warm water
2 tbsp olive oil plus 1/2 tbsp for oiling the bowl
( This recipe will yield 2 medium- large pizzas depending on how thick you like your crust. We made 2 cookie sheet pizzas from 1 recipe.)

Measure out your ingredients
place dry ingredients into your mixing bowl mix thoroughly on LOW

Add your liquid ingredients while mixer is running. To make things easier I add the olive oil to the water then add that to the flour.

Turn up the speed and beat until fully incorporated and dough starts to form a ball. It will be sticky!

Flour your kneading surface. 

I use about 1/4 C on the counter and put another 1/4 C on top of the dough after I scrape it out of the bowl and work it in with my fingers until it's less tacky.
Knead about 3-5 minutes. You're just activating those yummy gluten protiens to trap the bubbles produced by the yeast. Don't over work it or it'll be too dense.
I love kneading the dough ..... it's like play-doh for grown-ups except no one will yell at you for eating it. After you cook it of course.
Here's our kneaded dough...still soft and pliable.
Put it into a lightly oiled bowl and flip to coat.
I like this one because it's deep. This dough expands alot.
Cover and let it rest in a warm place until it doubles in size, approx. 1 hour. 

While it's rising assemble the fixin's. Just about anything goes on a pizza.  With 6 kids and various other hungry family members joining us we like to offer a variety. Plus, it's fun. And to be honest, hubby and I have fun engaging in a little " who makes the best pizza topping combo" competition. It's close......
We like to have everything chopped and ready. Usually everyone makes their own pizza but we were a little pressed for time so we just made 4 large pizzas
Yay for leftovers!
Anyway, by the time you're done the dough should be ready. It should be nice and puffy.
Now is a good time to preheat your oven. 450 works for my oven. Technically, if you're using a stone you should preheat it. Because we let the kids make their own and i'm afraid of them  getting burned I am not in the habit   of it.
Cut the dough in half and start stretching it. Gravity is your friend!
Place on your stone or pan and use your fingertips to  stretch into desired shape.
Add sauce of choice. Tonight we used Classico Spinach Florentine- it makes a great pizza sauce. I used herb infused olive oil and  garlic on mine. ( When shaking said herb-infused oil be certain that the cap is secure. Even italian husbands do not enjoy being splattered with it. Oops!)


Now get creative! 

We did: (above) pepperoni, bacon and olive
Left: Ham, bacon and pineapple...a family fave
Center: this was my creation. olive oil, garlic and parmesan cheese in lieu of sauce, sliced tomatoes, black olices and spinach topped with black pepper and mozzerella and then more spinach, tomatoes and olives. It was delicious!
Right: this was hubby's masterpiece. He used a red sauce. Topped it with sliced ham, cheese, bacon, pepperoni, green peppers, mushrooms and i'm pretty sure more cheese. Wow, it was amazing!

Pop those babies in the oven and sit back and enjoy the smells. The kids we're drooling all over my floor! Ours baked for roughly 12-15 minutes. Keep on eye on them until you know how fast your oven cooks.
Usually, there's a lot going on and it gets a bit hectic. Things were a little low key tonight. The kids watched a movie while we were cooking and the baby was content in her bouncer so hubby and I spent a really nice time together preparing this meal for our family. It's not an every night kinda food. I don't even want think about the number of calories I consumed! But we made more than pizza. We made memories and we had fun. Ordering a pizza just wouldn't have been the same.

I hope you are blessed to share a special moment with your family this weekend. 

Oh, I can't forget to thank my husband for the beautiful pictures. He has a knack for making life beautiful!


  1. My family loves pizza, too! I'm always looking for a good pizza dough recipe. I look forward to trying this one. Your pics really make the post come alive. I enjoyed reading this. (Visiting from Faith Filled Friday linkup)

  2. Can I tell you how impressed I am that you made your own pizza crust? Wow! My hero :). And I agree that ordering pizza would not have been the same.

    1. Laura, my husband was happy to hear that his photos were a hit:) Let me know how it turns out for you!
      Fawn, thank you! It's an easy recipe and I love to cook so that helps :) There is something to be said for the occasional delivery night though. Namely, no clean-up!
      Thank you ladies for stopping by!