Monday, March 1, 2010

Make it Cheap Monday - Pizza!

A great way to cut back on your grocery/dining bill is to make your own pizza. I know, I know, most homemade pizza isn't nearly as good as the restaurant or delivery. Homemade pizza is usually dense, floppy and the toppings just so-so. Well, my friends, countrymen and international readers - this pizza will change all that for you. After eating it last night my husband declared it the best pizza I've ever made and second only to one other pizza he's ever had in his life.

I love it when he says stuff like that. And when he texts me the next day to say that he wants the same exact pizza again for dinner, ASAP.

It makes me want to marry him all over again. Tomorrow. In Ireland - next to a castle, preferrably. :)

The way to a man's heart might be food but the way to a woman's heart is huge compliments.

First grab some olive oil and grease a round cookie sheet with it.

Or if you have a pizza stone - use that. I need to remember to get one.

Lightly dust said cookie sheet with cornmeal.

The olive oil and cornmeal combination are your BFF when it comes to pizza. They turn the crust from floppy the gross to golden brown, crisp and delicious.

Press your pizza dough into the pan. You want to get it about 1/8-1/4" high because it will rise and you don't want a little pizza with your bread. Prick it with a fork (kids love doing this part).

FYI, I used this pizza crust recipe. This time around I made it with all white flour but then when it came time to knead it, I used whole wheat flour to dust the countertop and added a bit more on the surface to keep it from sticking. This gave it the nutty flavor of whole wheat that I love so much without making it super dense.

Chop up 1-2 roma tomatoes but please remove the top part containing the stem before you chop away. Quite a bit of the time you'll see the chefs on Food Network leaving the tops on so it's probably fine but the idea of having a stem-like substance in my food doesn't appeal to my tastebuds.

Continue the chopping action with cooked chicken, a purple onion and marinated artichokes.

Oh, and garlic. Mustn't forget the garlic.

That would be ridiculous.

In a small oven-proof bowl, combine the minced garlic with three-four tbsp. olive oil, a dash of salt and a few cranks of freshly ground black pepper.

Place it in the oven, pre-heated to 400, and allow it to cook for 5-10 minutes.

Meanwhile shmear some pesto on top of the pizza crust.

You'll want freshly grated mozzarella too.

This is the one part that I'll be a stickler about (well, maybe the olive oil and cornmeal part too). If you buy your mozzarella cheese pre-grated, it comes with this powdery coating on it to keep the cheese from clumping together. However, while that is all good and fine, the coating prevents the cheese from melting properly.

Now layer on the toppings. I like to do half the cheese, add the chicken, add then the remaining cheese and toppings. But this is one of the parts that really doesn't matter. Feel free to put the tomatoes smack dab on top of the pesto.

Pop that pizza into the lower half of your oven, set to 400, for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the crust is golden brown.

By now the garlic is golden brown and ready to come out of the oven. Strain it, saving the oil and discarding the garlic.

When the pizza is finished cooking, lightly drizzle that garlic oil over the top of the pizza.


Pesto, Chicken, and Artichoke Pizza (Printable Recipe)
Serves 4

1 recipe of the perfect Pizza Crust This actually makes enough for two large pizza crusts so you can cook them both up and double the ingredients listed below or pop the second one into your freezer - 1.00
1/3 c. pesto You can easily make your own or you can buy it in the pasta aisle - 1.00
1 c. cooked chicken, chopped - 0.67
1/4 purple onion, finely chopped - 0.20
3 oz. canned and marinated artichoke hearts - 0.89
1 roma tomato, chopped - 0.23
8 oz. mozzarella cheese, grated - 1.00
3 cloves garlic, minced - 0.05
3 tbsp olive oil - 0.10

Total: 5.19 $10 less than what you could pay for delivery but even more delicious!

Preheat your oven to 400.

Combine the minced garlic and olive oil with a bit of salt and pepper in a small baking dish. Cook in the oven for 5-10 minutes or until the garlic just begins to brown. Drain the oil from the garlic and set the oil aside.

Lightly grease a round cookie sheet or pizza stone with olive oil. Sprinkle a dusting of cornmeal on top. Using about half of the pizza dough, press out a pizza crust onto the cookie sheet/pizza stone. Prick the top with a fork to keep it from getting air bubbles.

Spread a thin layer of pesto on top of the crust. Top with the remaining ingredients. Place in the lower half of your oven and allow it to cook for 15-20 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is melted. Drizzle the reserved olive oil over the top of the pizza immediately after removing it from the oven.

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  1. Mmmm, sounds delicious. I love to make whole wheat pizza crust and it's not at all dense. Add 1 tsp of gluten per cup of flour and it's perfect. Soft crust inside with a little crunch on the outside. I must try your version of the toppings though. Yummy!

  2. Thanks for the tip - I usually just end up using 1/2 white flour and 1/2 whole wheat but I do have some gluten on my hands so I'll give it a try sometime soon!

  3. With what I've seen on your blog as far as your experience with cooking, you probably already know this. However, I just wanted to make sure I mentioned that when you use all whole wheat flour, you'll have to adjust the liquid a bit. It seems like you pretty much can count on an additional 1/4 cup of water if you use 100% WW. Just another little tidbit! ;)

  4. We'll try this one. Do you think this would freeze?

  5. Reagan:

    I think it would freeze great if you cooked the crust beforehand. Let me know if you try it!

  6. Sisterbear, when I come visit you this Spring I am going to teach you the finer art of dough tossing. And then I'll get you a job down yonder at Dominos where you can start your life as a full-fledged career woman.

  7. That looks so yummy! I am definitely putting it on my list of recipes I want to try!!


I love feedback from y'all and try my best to respond to as many questions as possible.