Customizing Dinner

On Sunday we had my husband’s brother and sister-in-law and nephew over for dinner. It was really fun to see them, and that is one of the great perks of this side of the state; We are so much closer to them! I wanted to have us eat something that universally everyone likes, and that is pizza. There is just something amazing about dough and sauce and cheese and other deliciousness that you can add. I figured it was a safe bet, especially since my poor sister-in-law is having a really rough time with morning sickness right now! Hopefully it will soon pass so that she can feel back to normal, or as normal as you feel when you are pregnant! We are so excited for them! We are also excited because about 2 weeks ago, all of my husbands brothers, had pregnant wives (one just recently delivered and both mother and baby are doing well: it’s kinda scary to think that I’m next). And I was worried, when we eventually had children, that they wouldn’t have any cousins their age! :) But back to the pizza! This is a great recipe from Kelsey Nixon, from the show Kelsey’s Essentials on Cooking Channel Tv, an excellent show to learn about the ins and outs of cooking, and not just how, but why you should do things a particular way! You can also check out the other things that she made in that episode on cookingchanneltv.com. Also a note, my husband made this dough while I was getting ready for church, with me coaching from the bathroom, if he had any questions and he did an excellent job! You can do it too!

Basic Pizza Dough

Enough dough for 2 pizzas or 8 individual servings

1-3/4 c warm water

2-1/4 tsp Active Dry Yeast

4 c Bread Flour (I only had 2 c Bread Flour, so we substituted 2 c All-Purpose Flour, it still worked out great)

2 tsp Sugar

2 tsp Salt

3 tbsp Olive Oil, plus more

1 tsp Italian Seasoning*

Non-Stick Cooking Spray

*Italian Seasoning is not required, nor is it in the original recipe, but I like how it flavors the dough

1. Mix together the warm water, sugar, and the Active Dry Yeast in a bowl, or large measuring cup. Allow the yeast to “bloom” or grow for 5 minutes. Meanwhile mix together the Bread Flour, Salt, and Italian Seasoning, in a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. It is important that the salt is fully incorporated into the flour. Sugar feeds yeast and helps it grow, while salt, especially in larger clumps kills yeast, basically meaning that your dough will not expand as it should.

2. After 5 minutes add the Olive Oil to the yeast mixture. This makes sure that all the liquid is added at the same, and is therefore incorporated equally. Add the Yeast-Olive Oil mixture to the Flour mixture and mix just until combined. When combined remove the paddle attachment and switch to the dough hook attachment.  Allow to knead for 1-3 minutes. Remove dough from standing mixer to a floured surface. Be sure that your hands are well floured when handling this wet dough, and hand knead it for about 2 minutes.

3. Put dough in a covered bowl sprayed with Non-Stick Cooking Spray, and allow to rest until the dough is double in size, around 2 to 3 hours.

4. To bake, preheat oven to 500 degrees, and apply sauce and toppings, and bake for 14 minutes each, whether individual or large pizza. To achieve a really crispy crust you can apply Olive Oil beneath the pan that you are baking your pizza on and it will crisp it up. Otherwise spray with Non-Stick Cooking Spray or apply a thin layer of cornmeal beneath the dough.

5. If you have any left over dough, like we did you can refrigerate it up to 48 hours and make more pizza or any other delicious creation that Kelsey made.

What we did was individual pizzas that everyone could put their own toppings on. We had a smorgasbord of items to choose from to create their own combinations. They included:

Tomato Sauce

Mozzarella cheese, the best and most generic cheese to use with pizzas, though any melty cheese would be delicious

Pepperoni Slices

Ham/Canadian Bacon

Pineapple

Fresh Tomatoes

Diced Peppers

Sliced Red Onions

Chicken, cooked in boiling water to help it be super moist to survive the hot oven temp

Bacon, not cooked too crispy, it will be cooked again in the oven

Ranch, this turns very creamy in the oven and is delicious, don’t be too stingy or you won’t have enough sauce

BBQ Sauce

All of the combinations created sounded, looked, and tasted delicious, but my favorite was the Chicken, Bacon, Cheese, and Ranch, with Red Onion that I made.

I hope that you are able to enjoy this easy, fun meal as much as we did! From my family to yours…