Pizza Night!

Being a kid in the nineties, Friday meant ordering pizza, and eating it on a paper plate, layed out on a blanket. As if that wasn’t enough, you enjoyed all of this in front of a small tv, playing your favorite shows from the TGIF lineup.

If you don’t get my TGIF reference, just google it. I just can’t with you young people.

Living far out from any pizza delivering area, we have found a way to ranch-ify Friday pizza night in a delicious and very inexpensive way. Instead of delivery, we keep bread flour, mozzarella and assorted pizza toppings on hand. Instead of TGIF, (which can never be reproduced, thank you very much) we choose a movie from our movie collection. The rest is about the same. We lay out a blanket, eat our pizza and watch our movie. It’s pretty much my favorite.

We make our crust using this King Arthur Bread Flour, and it’s recipe for, “Perfect Pizza Crust” which can be found on the back of the bag. Their website has several pizza crust recipes using their flours, including a gluten free option. We have found the recipe we use to be delicious week after week.

Here are all the ingredients for the crust:

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I use the dough hook attachment on my mixer. First, mix the 2 tsp of yeast, and 1 1/2 cups of warm water. 

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Next, add 4 cups of bread flour and 3 tsp of salt. Be sure to mix well, otherwise you could end up with some very salty bites. 

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Mix until your dough is what the recipe describes as, a “shaggy dough”. 

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On a floured surface, knead your dough, working in more flour as needed and until your dough is smooth, and not sticky.

Drizzle some olive oil in your bowl and place your dough back into your oiled bowl. Cover with a towel and let rise for at least one hour. Dough should be about double in size after rising. Go put on your cozy clothes, and pour a glass of wine while you wait. It’s FRIDAY!

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After rising, I split my dough into two balls. We usually make two pizzas, one for the grown ups and one for the kids. You could certainly half this recipe and have enough for one pizza. We like to have leftovers for lunch one day on the weekend.

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Roll out each ball onto a cookie sheet. We always use a rectangular sized cookie sheet but if you want that classic looking pizza from your childhood, go round. After rolling out, you can pick up the dough and with your hands, smooth out the edges for a uniform crust.

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Already in my cozies and ready for movie night.

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It’s never perfectly shaped!

Next add your sauce, cheese and toppings. We almost always make one cheese, and/or pepperoni and one that changes weekly based on what leftovers we have, or what’s growing in the garden.

This summer, we grew tomatoes and basil, so Margherita pizza was often our pizza. This week we had leftover pork so we made a bbq pork pizza.

Bake at 500 deg. for 8-10 minutes.

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 For the bbq pork pizza, (you could also use chicken!) I added some bbq sauce to the tomato sauce and topped with the leftover shredded pork, purple onions and cheese.

Some other pizzas we’ve made are:

  • Veggie Pizza -Use pesto instead of tomato sauce and top with spinach, bell peppers, onions and other veggies.
  • Meat Lovers– Sausage, pepperoni, bacon, hamburger meat annnnnddddd cheese.
  • Greek – Sub pesto for sauce and top with shredded chicken, artichoke hearts and olives. Add some feta chunks to the mozzarella.
  • Taco– Add some salsa to your sauce, and top with ground beef, jalapenos and cheese.

Those are just a few ideas, but once you start thinking about it, I think you’ll be surprised how many ways you can use this dough recipe to make lots of yummy, interesting pizzas. Hopefully, you can enjoy it with your people, at a living room picnic, in your cozies. Try it out this week and let me know how it goes!

Do y’all have pizza night? Or any other night you repeat week after week? I would love to hear what your family’s weekly tradition is!

Thanks SO much for reading! Please consider following along! Just click the blue “follow” button where it says, “Follow our Adventures via email”

XO, Steph

Pesto is the Best-o!

How, oh how can it already be July? We have been having a fun, and busy summer so far! I overcame a fear of mine, and took the kids to Schlitterbahn, the so called, “hottest coolest time in Texas.” Although Brian and I had both been many times, I wasn’t looking forward to taking the kids. Lots of people, lots of water rushing around….Anyway, we had a really great time and it wasn’t at all what my overactive mom brain said it would be (drowning, kidnapping, loss of limbs, other assorted unthinkable tragedies)! We visitied my grandparents, spent a week at the lake, and got a new puppy!

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I always have some conflicting feelings about July. It’s summer, so I can’t be mad at it. It’s also my birthday month BUT, this is also the month where the ads on TV start telling you it’s time to shop for back to school. Why so soon? Let me enjoy my summer TV ad people. So rude.

One of the summer herbs we’re enjoying, and I’ve still got growing like crazy right now is basil, (We also have tomatoes and zucchinis and okra! Read about our garden in this post) and I really want to share with you a pesto recipe I’ve been making with all that basil. Want to feel like a real life farmer? Grow basil.

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See? You will be ready to quit your day job, put on some overalls and milk your own cows. Too much?? Well, at the very least, your gardening self esteem will be boosted,  big time. Anyone can grow this stuff and it’s so yummy on, and with, so many things. (Caprese ensalada anyone? Margherita pizza? YUMMM)

A great way to use basil, especially when you have lots, is to make pesto. Pesto goes great on chicken, in pastas, spread on warm slices of french bread, and my favorite way–on pizza. Forgo the sauce, spread the pesto on your crust and top with shredded chicken, or just veggies and cheese. This is my new favorite pizza for our Friday family night tradition: homemade pizza and movie nights. (A post on family pizza night coming soon!)

To make pesto, pick 2 packed cups of basil.

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Add 1/3 c pine nuts to basil and pulse. Then add 1/2 c parmesean cheese, and 2 tsp garlic (more or less, according to your taste).

(How do you like my “vintage” food processor?)

I get this bag of pine nuts from Costco:

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And yes, it is $19. Nine. Teen. American dollars. So, if you would rather not buy all this, I’ve seen recipes that substitute cashews or walnuts for the pine nuts. I haven’t tried it, so let me know if you do, I’de love to know how it turns out! It could save me hundreds.

Once you’ve combined your basil, garlic and nuts, put the lid on and slowly add 1/2 c of olive oil as your processor runs. Stop a few times to wipe down the sides with a spatula. Once it’s combined, taste and add seasoning as desired. I always add salt and pepper of course, but we also like to add jalapeno slices, pickled jalapeno juice, and/or red pepper flakes to make it spicy. Give it a few pulses if you add anything at the end.

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The pesto will keep well in the fridge for a week. Make sure to place a piece of plastic wrap on the top of the pesto before putting the lid on your jar or container. This will keep the air out and maintain freshness.

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I am a huge proponent of freezing things, so of course I also have some frozen. You can use ice cube trays to freeze smaller portions, or use a freezer safe jar or container.

We’ve had it on pizza, on pork chops, with veggies, on pasta, with chicken and as the sauce on a zucchini lasagna with sausage.

Here are a few other ideas I’de like to try, and for you to try at home:

Pesto hummus 

Pesto Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Pesto Egg-in-a-hole with Bacon

As always, I love to hear from you, so let me know if you try the pesto recipe! Thanks so much for stopping by!

_Steph