Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Recipe: Pizza & it's Dough

It's freaky how Lani and I are on the same wavelength without talking about it, when we're a million miles apart...Ok. Maybe we're only 2,738 miles away... I know because I Googled it.


As usual, we're on a budget, trying to make delicious & nutritious meals for our families, but trying to use what we have on hand. The less trips we make to the grocery store, the less money we'll spend, and the less tempted we'll be to shop without coupons because we're in a hurry! Lani has made her own pizza dough for a while now, so I thought I'd give it a whirl. Yet another thing I wish I did a long time ago because it's so quick, easy, and cheap!

Let me break it down for you:
Homemade dough: 5 lb bag of flour ($2.29) + jar of dry yeast ($4.14 for 13 uses) = $0.80.
Or you can buy a premade dough for about $3.50.
Even if you have a coupon (which is usually $0.40 off of two), you're still talking around $3 each. I know it's a small savings of about $2.30, but saving that each week for a month, that's two desperately needed Starbucks Mochas... Priorities people!

I got my recipe from (where else?!) Rachael Ray, but most of the ones I've seen elsewhere are very similar. I like the picture instructions they have at the bottom of the recipe.

Pizza Dough
Prep Time: 20 minutes

  • One ¼-ounce packet active dry yeast (2¼ teaspoons)
  • 1½ teaspoons sugar
  • 4-1/4 cups flour
  • 1½ teaspoons salt

  1. Place 1½ cups warm water in a medium bowl. Stir in the yeast and sugar and let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, combine 3 cups flour and the salt. Make a well in the center, pour in the yeast mixture and stir with a wooden spoon; the dough will feel sticky and elastic. Transfer to a floured work surface and dust with some of the remaining flour. Knead for 7 to 8 minutes, adding flour a little at a time as necessary until the dough is smooth and springy. Wash and dry the bowl, then lightly grease with oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, 1 to 1½ hours.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and cut into thirds; wrap each piece tightly in plastic wrap.
The magic of yeast...Here's the beginning ball...

Rise ... Rise... Rise! It's almost there! This was after about 45 minutes of letting it sit.

And it's puff-tastic!
Lani lent me this little trick for making the yeast activate faster (or if you have old yeast, it helps perk it up quicker): Drizzle some honey in with the water, yeast, and sugar mixture. It gives it a little flavor and helps it get foamy a little faster. You can get crazy and add a dash of Italian seasoning or Herbs de Provence to the liquid portion of your dough, to give it a little extra flavor. Refrigerate the thirds for 3-5 days, or freeze it for a week or two.

Since you cut this dough into thirds, I used 1 ball of dough for some
Sauceless Sausage, Pepper, and Onion Pizza

1 lb Italian sausage, casings removed
1 onion, sliced
2 red bell peppers, sliced
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese
Extra Virgin Olive Oil for drizzling

1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Once the oven is heated, pre-bake just your stretched out dough for 10 minutes or until its very lightly golden brown. This will help prevent a doughy middle.
2. Add 1 Tbsp of olive oil to a skillet. Add the sausage and cook for about 5 minutes, breaking it up, season with salt and pepper. You want to the cook the sausage until its no longer pink, but not much more than that, since it will cook more in the oven.
3. Scatter the onions, peppers, and sausage on the pizza, leaving about a 1/2" border on the crust. Add a few dollops of ricotta cheese on top. The sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil on top.
4. Bake the pizza in the oven for another 15-20 minutes, or until the crust is nice and golden brown on the edges. Yum!

Pizza is such an easy go-to meal when you're short on time. You can throw anything on a pizza - spinach, any kind of veggies, meat from ground beef to lunch meat, even fruit is good. Hawaiian pizza is yummy with some pineapple, ham, and onions. Pizza is a once a week meal in our house, and one I look forward to because it makes my life E-Z!

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