Friday, October 22, 2010

What's for Dinner? Semi-Homemade Pizza

When I was a teenager and still lived at my dad's house, my dad would make homemade pizza, invite our friends over, and we would have a pizza party.  This is one of my favorite memories from those years.

When I was 19 and renting my first house, a lot of those same friends either lived with me or hung around enough we may have been able to charge them rent.

One night, I decided to try to replicate my dad's pizza.  I knew exactly what to buy since I had shopped with him many times.  I have always been good at following a recipe or directions on a package so this should be cake.

It wasn't.  I still don't know what happened but my first pizza's tasted like tomato soup and crackers.  There was way to much sauce and not enough crust.

Ever since, I have been timid when it comes to homemade pizza and have leaned on either the delivery guy from one of my five favorite changes or kept my freezer well stocked with frozen varieties.

I have since made homemade pizza and with the exception of that first try, has been very good.  But, for some reason, it still fails to make it into the normal dinner rotation.

I hope my friends, who were lucky enough to try that first pie, are warmed by that little trip down memory lane.  Now, we will make some pie!

I am going to call this Semi-Homemade Pizza because I did not make the dough from scratch.  I instead used  Betty Crocker Pizza Dough in a pouch.

Here's what you need to make two Pizza's:
2 pouches Betty Crocker Pizza Crust (or any other, this just happens to be my favorite because I love Betty!)
1 jar Pizza Sauce (I like Ragu, pretend there is only one jar in this picture or you might end up with tomato soup and crackers...)
Toppings (anything you like)
Mozzarella Cheese or Pizza blend cheese

Prepare the crust per the directions on the package.  You will most likely add warm water to the mix and then let it sit for 5 minutes, super easy.

I like deep dish so let's do that first.  Press the dough in a greased pie plate and then pour on the sauce.  I think this was about three tablespoons and ended up a bit dry.

My favorite deep dish pizza is Sausage, Mushrooms, and Spinach at Davanni's.  I browned up a pound of sausage then sauteed some baby bells mushrooms and topped the pie.  I was out of spinach but you could throw that on now too.
Next, add the cheese.  Or do you like to have your toppings on top of the cheese?  Either way works!

Bake at 325 degrees for about 20 to 25 minutes.
I also made one thin crust pizza.  I find that one pack of dough does not cover the cookie sheet.  The pack says it will but I have never been able to do that so I just stretch it out the best I can and when holes start to appear, I stop stretching.
Cover the dough in sauce but make sure to leave an edge near the crust.  One time, I went all the way to the edge and there was no way to pick it up.  That made for a strange pizza that needed to be eaten with a fork.
Add the toppings.  This one is half sausage and half cheese because Heidi only eats cheese pizza.  You really could use anything - left over pulled pork, left over chicken, onions, peppers, olives...  Pizza can be a good way to use up the little bit of leftovers hanging around the fridge.

The thin crust will bake at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes.  I put them both in at the same time at 325 degrees and just kept an eye on the thin crust.  I think it came out at about 15 minutes.

Doesn't that look good?  So yummy!  And not at all greasy.  The crust is dryer than what you would get from a pizza shop but if you are like me and have five favorites, that's because you like many different types of crust and this might just become number six!

YUM!  I prepared these two pizza's, including browning the sausage and letting the crust rise, in under twenty minutes.  They took 15 to 25 minutes too cook.  It was a simple and fairly quick dinner and with our little family, there was even some left for breakfast.

What is your favorite kind of pizza and what is your favorite Pizza Place?  Or are you like me, and have five? (Scoreboard, Pizza Hut, Davanni's, Rocky Rococo's, and Little Caesars)

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