February 22, 2011

Homemade Pizzas

Last weekend I made two very large pizzas and froze them so that on a busy night we could take one out and just pop it into the oven for dinner. I used large disposable aluminum cookie sheets (they didn’t have pizza ones) for baking and storage and wrapped the tops with one layer of plastic wrap and one layer of tin foil.

While this is by no means a healthy meals, I do consider this to be healthier than the alternatives (ordering it in or eating store bough frozen ones with their mysterious chemical additive ingredients). I know that the whole “eat this – not that” (also known as “eat sh*t – not cr*p”) philosophy is flawed but is you want to maintain a healthy diet you do need to eat some of your guilty favourites every once in awhile. I like a homemade pizza and the whole wheat crust used here add a bit of fibre and I personally couldn’t taste the ”whole-wheatyness” of it, so it doesn’t affect the flavour.

I don’t really have a true recipe for pizza, I just make the crust, throw on some homemade sauce and toppings. My sauce is made form 1 can of tomato paste (per pizza), mixed with garlic, pepper, basil, oregano and crushed chillies, use a lot of spices and garlic so that you can taste the sauce despite the toppings. I like to put half of my veggies and meat under the cheese and half on top. I use about 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese per pizza, but you can use more or less depending on how much cheese you like, and I often crumble some feta on the very top if I have it.

Whole Wheat Crust
Ingredients
1 ¼ cup all purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour (possibly a bit more for kneeding)
1 package of active dry yeast
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup of warm water (120F approx.)
2 tbsp olive oil

Steps
1.
Mix 1/ 1/4 cups of flour, yeast and salt, then add warm water and oil. Beat with an electric mixer on low until combined, then on high for about 3 min.
2. Stir in as much of the remaining flour as possible (I used my mixer with a dough hook, but the recipe originally suggested a wooden spoon).
3. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until dough is smooth and elasticy (to knead dough fold it in half then push the dough down and out with the palm of your hand, then repeat over and over).
4. Divide the dough in half and cover with a clean dish towel, let it rest for about 10 minutes.
5. For a thin crust pizza, roll the dough out and transfer to a greased pizza pan; prick the dough with a fork and bake at 350F for about 10 minutes, then add toppings and pop back into the oven.
6. For a thick/regular crust pizza, roll out dough and place on greased pans. Cover and let rise in a warm space until the dough has dobled in size (about 40 minutes). Again, prick the dough with a fork then bake for 10 minutes, then top the pizza and bake until cheese is golden.

DSC00881

If you want to freeze your pizzas don't bake them the second time, freeze them just after you put on the toppings.

Making large batch meals like this seems like a lot of work, but it actually saves time in the long run. It took about an hour (including rise time) to make these two large pizzas since I chopped and shredded and mixed everything at once. I don’t have time to make something like this during the week (and often by the time Friday rolls around I don’t have the energy to make something like this), but once a month or so I can usually find an hour on the weekend to do a large batch of something. Right now I have these two pizzas in my freezer as well as two homemade lasagnes. This weekend I’m hoping to add a couple of pot pies to that stash.



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