A few months ago, my sister and I made several batches of homemade whole wheat pizza dough. I cried with the first bite I took because it was so good. Yesterday was such a busy day that I didn't have a chance to run to the store for groceries. However, thanks to a ball of dough in my freezer and some staples in my pantry, Hubby and I had a delicious dinner of made-from-scratch pizza.
I put the dough out to thaw that morning, adjusting the twisty tie towards the top of the bag to allow for expansion as the dough came back to life. After working outside all afternoon, I came in to heat up the pizza stone and prepare the toppings. We usually have a more gourmet pizza, with John's half being a Supreme with green peppers, onions, mushrooms, olives, pepperoni, sausage, and lots of cheese. My side is a little more simple but perfectly delicious...pepperoni and olives with caramelized onions. Holy smokes, the taste defies description. How have I not been using caramelized onions all my life?! But last night, since I was working with what was on hand, we simply had pepperoni and cheese. I tried a new brand of pepperoni, and it slightly defeated the health factor for which we were striving. Look at all that grease! Don't get me wrong...it tasted delicious...but we've been trying (and succeeding) at eating healthier around here. Lots of fruits and veggies with healthy entrees. It was an amazing realization the other night when I recognized that we eat what I buy. So I need to get my act together! It's been a wonderful, tasty success so far. All three days of it.
Did you know that an ice cream craving can disappear with a handful of red grapes? Who says you can't learn something new every day?
Anyway, back to the topic at hand. Heavenly Pizza. After an agonizing half hour of heating up the pizza stone, the crust was ready to be cooked for six minutes. This gave the dough a head start without overcooking the toppings later. I stood guard with a sharp knife during this initial baking, since bubbles popped up and needed to be destroyed! Once the pizza cooked for this short time, it was ready to be dressed up on top.
First, a layer of sauce went on top. I usually use a pizza sauce, but I was out. Luckily, my pantry had some Prego with Parmesan and roasted garlic flavors. As soon as I started spooning it onto the hot dough, the smell of Italian cooking filled the kitchen. For the next topping, freshly-grated mozzarella really does taste much better than the pre-shredded varieties found in the stores. I don't even buy the packaged stuff any more, and what a difference it has made in our lives! Finally, a layer of pepperoni before topping everything with some shredded aged Parmesan cheese. Yum!
It all went back into the oven for another thirteen minutes. I got busy making our salads while the last baking took place. The salads had mixed greens, Feta cheese, pecans, and Craisins with our choice of dressing. John likes Ranch dressing, and I do, too, if it's homemade. So I opted for the delicious vinaigrette from Kraft instead. The timer beeped for the pizza, and we dished it up onto plates.
Making something from scratch puts a whole new meaning on self-reliance. It has been so much fun making all of these goodies. And I know exactly what is in each thing that goes into our mouths! It's been very satisfying, to say the least. And if it happens to taste really good, too? Double Bonus.