How many times has your family begged for a pizza on Friday night to go with their movie? If you’re like us, you love the hot, spicy taste of pizza, but you hate the sticker shock of take-out pizza.
The last time we ate pizza at a restaurant (about three years ago), it cost us $50.00 for two large supreme pizzas, with drinks. Our kids snarfed those pizzas down and wanted more. The cost was horrible, and the pizzas weren’t even very good. The crust resembled cardboard, the flavor was lackluster, and the sausage in the pizza made it drip with grease. If we wanted good pizza, we decided it was time to pull out our old standby pizza recipe.
This recipe makes a great-tasting, thin-crust pizza, without all the grease you find in most store bought or restaurant pizzas. The crust is a modified bread dough crust, which means all it takes is a quick knead, followed by rolling it out with a rolling pin. You don’t have to wait for the crust to rise, because it can do that while you put your other pizza ingredients on the crust. The olive oil coating the pizza pan makes the crust crispy.
Once you get the hang of making the dough, the rest of the pizza is easy to put together, and a lot cheaper than sending out for one. Three pizzas made with this recipe easily feeds the hungriest family, with leftovers for the next day.
We usually make pizza when we gather up enough ingredients on sale. Even with the cost of cheese and pepperoni, one homemade supreme pizza with pepperoni, green peppers, onions and mushrooms costs about $3.25 to make.
Even better, you control the quality and variety of pizza ingredients you use. If you don’t like black olives on your pizza, you don’t have to put them on. If you don’t like pre-packaged meats, make a pizza with nothing but fresh garden vegetables.
We like our pizza sauce pretty spicy, so we pour on the garlic powder and Italian seasoning (much more than the recipe below calls for). When it comes to homemade pizza, you are only limited in flavor by your own imagination.
What is even more surprising is how little time it takes to whip up three pizzas. Our son and pizza guru, Bill, can make three pizzas with crust and toppings in 45 minutes. Of course, he’s had a lot of experience, but you can make three pizzas within one hour (not including baking time), once you’ve had some practice. When finished, everyone will say, “What a pizza!”
So, here is our quick and easy pizza recipe:
1½ cups warm water
3 teaspoons yeast
2 tablespoons non-fat powdered milk
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
About 4 cups all-purpose flour
2 8-ounce cans tomato sauce
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 large onion, chopped
2 green peppers, seeded & sliced into thin strips
3 6.5-ounce cans mushroom pieces, drained
1 6-ounce package sliced pepperoni
1 pound mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 425° F. Coat three 13-inch pizza pans with 1 tablespoon of olive oil each. Mix ingredients for pizza sauce; set aside. Prepare vegetables for topping; set aside.
To Make the Crust:
Place warm water in a smaller bowl. Add yeast and stir. Add sugar, salt, milk and olive oil; stir. Stir in the flour, ½ cup at a time until the dough is workable. Turn dough out onto a flour-covered surface. Knead, adding flour until the dough is stiff, but elastic. Cut the dough into three equal pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece into about a 15-inch circle and place in pizza pans.
Smooth the dough out in the pan and tuck in the edges.
Building the Pizzas:
Spoon the pizza sauce equally onto each crust and spread it out until the sauce covers the crust to the edges.
Divide the pepperoni slices equally among the three pizzas, placing them one layer thick on top of the sauce. Next, distribute the green pepper slices evenly over the three pizzas. Divide the chopped onion three ways and sprinkle on top of the peppers and pepperoni.
Distribute one can of mushrooms onto each pizza. Top with thinly sliced or shredded mozzarella cheese.
Place a pizza in the preheated oven and bake for 19 minutes or until cheese and crust are browned. Cook each pizza in turn until all are baked. Each pizza makes 8 pieces.
If you have leftovers, place the slices on a pizza pan and reheat in a 350° F oven for about 15 minutes. The pizza comes out of the oven hot and crisp.
Hints to make homemade pizza easier and even more economical:
- If you have space in a freezer, you can make a number of pizza crusts in advance and store them in the freezer. Skip oiling the pizza pan. Roll out the dough, place it in the pizza pan. Roll the edges of the dough to make the edges of your crust. Place the pizza pan and dough in the freezer. When it has frozen solid, remove the crust from the pan and store in a food storage bag in the freezer. As you want a fresh pizza, pull a crust from the bag, place it on a greased pizza pan and add the other ingredients. Or make several crusts in advance and have a big fresh pizza party for your friends and relatives.
- Mozzarella cheese can be frozen, so if you see a good price for shredded or block mozzarella cheese, buy it and store it in the freezer until pizza making time. We buy two-pound blocks of mozzarella when they go on sale, cut them in half and freeze them in quart freezer bags. When making pizza, we thaw one bag of cheese, then thinly slice it. Mozzarella that has been frozen and thawed crumbles easily, making it good for scattering across the pizza. We also stock up on packages of shredded mozzarella. Just toss the mozzarella in the freezer in the package in which it came.
- Pepperoni can also be frozen until it is needed. Turkey pepperoni has less fat than regular pepperoni, and can be even spicier.
Here are some ideas for pizza recipe variations.
Remember, you are only limited by your imagination. Try different ingredients and make your own specialty pizzas.
- Canadian bacon, one can of drained pineapple, mozzarella cheese.
- Pepperoni, mozzarella & Asiago cheese.
- Chopped cooked turkey or chicken breast, onions, green peppers, broccoli, fresh sliced mushrooms, mozzarella.
- Fresh onions, peppers, broccoli, mushrooms & basil; mozzarella.
- Leftover grilled meat, fresh shredded basil, onion, fresh chopped tomatoes (put on after baking pizza), Asiago cheese.
If the amount of time to make a homemade pizza meal seems a bit much, consider how much time it takes to drive to your local pizza place, wait for your pizza order to finish cooking, and drive home again. Our nearest pizza restaurant is 20 miles away. If we ordered pizza from there (which we don’t), it would take us an hour to drive to the restaurant and back home again. By the time we got our pizza back home, we would probably be chipping it out of a block of ice on the back seat.
You might be surprised at how economical in both money and time making your own pizzas at home can be. And you can’t beat the flavor of this homemade pizza recipe.