Who remembers playing Duck, Duck, Goose? And did you ever use different terms, like Chapstick, Chapstick, Lipstick? Good, me neither. How incredibly lame that would’ve been. So far, my kids are too young for Duck, Duck, Goose. But when they get a little older, we might just have to play Pizza, Pizza, Calzone, ’cause that’s what we eat almost every week.
Since I am not a purist when it comes to cooking or eating, I’ve assembled recipes/methods for everything from easy individual pizzas on frozen dough to gourmet calzones from scratch. And for the sweet tooth, a great dessert pizza.
Whether you’ve got five minutes or fifty, and just a few ingredients in the pantry or lots of fancy fresh ingredients, you can impress your people tonight. Here it is, choose-your-own-adventure dinner, but first, a note for shopping.
At the store
For the crust, you’ll need frozen roll dough or flour, water, salt, yeast, sugar, and oil. Your sauce can be canned crushed tomatoes with Italian herbs or your favorite spaghetti sauce (I like Sandra Lee‘s, minus the mushrooms). Then, whatever toppings you normally like, including fresh basil and alfredo sauce if you want to try bruschetta pizza. Mozzarella, pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, olives, bell peppers, and for the calzones, also chicken, broccoli, and cheddar or meatballs and barbeque sauce. Whatever.
The only kitchen item that really makes a difference here is a pizza stone. You can get one at Pampered Chef, or do what I did: ask friends if they have any seldom-used bridal shower gifts lying around (thanks, Tracey!). Your pizza stone stays in the oven all the time, requires no cleaning (maybe the occasional rubber-spatula brush-off) and no greasing or cornmeal.
I lost my nice pizza cutter, but have found my butcher knife does a fine job. Oh, and a cutting board for getting the pizza from the oven to the table. Just pull the pizza off the stone with your fingers; or, if you still have feeling in your fingertips, (and really, if you cook a lot, why would you?) use a fork.
Oh, and check the last paragraph for dessert pizza ingredients.
This is great for busy-night dinner. Preheat oven (and stone) to 450. Defrost frozen roll dough (evenly spaced on a plate) for about 10 seconds in the microwave. Roll each ball out to about 5-inch diameter and top as desired. Use enough flour when rolling out so you can transfer the topped pizza from counter to oven with your hands. It’s best to keep these simple so you don’t end up with toppings all over the floor. Bake for about 5 minutes, watching for this look:
Pizza from scratch
Shalece’s Pizza Dough
(makes 2 thick-crust or 4 thin-crust 15-inch pizzas)
Preheat oven to 450. In a small bowl, mix and let sit for 5 minutes:
1 c warm water
1 TBSP or 1 packet instant yeast
2 tsp sugar
In a large bowl:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 TBSP oil
Mix in yeast solution and kneed until smooth. For thick crust, separate into two parts. For thin, four. Roll out to about 15-inch diameter. Use plenty of flour so it doesn’t stick. Poke with a fork all over and place on pizza stone (or on a greased cookie sheet, if you must).
Bake for a few minutes, then pull the oven rack out a ways and top while in the oven. (Uh, be careful to not have kiddies around at this point). Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and cheese is bubbly.
For bruschetta pizza (thanks to Shalece’s Argentinian friends!), mix and set aside chopped tomatoes, chopped fresh basil, drizzle of olive oil and pinch of salt before making dough. Top with alfredo sauce and mozzarella, then sprinkle bruschetta mixture on top. Dick says it’s “in the top 10”:
I got the idea for making calzones from i have to say. . . though I found a dough recipe I like better at allrecipes.com. But Randi(?) has great ideas for fillings and amazing pictures of the rolling, filling, and sealing process. Mine did not look like that. They turned out quite edible, however, and are also in Dick’s Top 10.
I brushed mine with butter and garlic bread sprinkle before baking. It is important to not put the sauce inside the calzone. Besides being more authentic, it prevents the filling from sliding out onto your pan/stone. Sauce is for dipping here.
Holy pepperoni this is a long post! I’ll summarize. Try this recipe for Best Rolled Sugar Cookies, rolling the dough (again on a lot of flour) into 8-inch diameters and baking as per blah blah.
Make Whipped Cream Cream Cheese Frosting, and prepare fruit toppings such as canned dark sweet cherries, sliced strawberries, kiwis, and bananas, and, my favorite, blackberries. Frozen blackberries are quite reasonable at Walmart. Let thaw and add sugar to taste. Heaven!
I wish I had a picture of this, but I think we ate it all before I could find the camera. Anyway, this is what works for me on Wednesday, and Thursday, and Friday.
And since I still have contest fever, I’m entering this is My Ice Cream Diary’s favorite food experience contest. Obviously I’ve never made all of these foods in one experience, but learning to bake with ‘my’ pizza stone has been, indeed, a revelation. Usually I’m skeptical that some new-fangled (or even old) device can make such a difference, but it can. I’d even spend money to actually buy one for myself, if I had to.