When you’ve worked all day and have to get kids fed and out the door for evening sports practices, music lessons or rehearsals, there’s not a lot of time to get a home-cooked meal on the table. I’m here to tell you that there’s absolutely no shame in serving a cheese pizza and a bagged salad on days like this. There’s also no need to call for pizza delivery if you have the chance to plan ahead a little. Choose your favorite base, sauce and meatless toppings and you’ve got a super and inexpensive Friday-night meal!
Start your pizza with your favorite base. Some super-quick solutions: French bread or sandwich rolls sliced lengthwise and lightly toasted, English muffins, and flatbread all make great pizza bases.
If you prefer a traditional pizza crust, make your own dough and par-bake it in the oven. Then keep these “pizza blanks” in the freezer until you’re ready to use them. Here’s how:
1 cup water
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 tbl olive oil
1 tbl sugar
2 tsp active dry yeast
Add all ingredients to breadmaker in order listed by your manufacturer. Set breadmaker on dough setting. When complete, form two crusts on pizza pans, cover and let rise again. Preheat oven to 450°F and bake 5 to 10 minutes until light brown. Cool. Wrap tightly in foil and freeze.
Makes 2 16-inch thin-crust pizzas.
You can use sauce from a can or a jar, or you can make your own. Again, this takes a little time, but you can make a nice batch of sauce when you have time, then freeze it in meal-size portions. This is my favorite sauce recipe: the longer you cook it, the thicker and more delicious it gets.
2 tbl extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbl butter
4 garlic cloves, shredded on a microplane
1 tbl dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1 can (28 ounces) tomato puree
1 small onion, peeled (leave the onion whole)
1 tbl sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
In a heavy saucepan (6-cup or larger), heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat until butter melts. Add garlic, oregano, basil and red pepper and cook 2 minutes until fragrant. Add remaining ingredients. Simmer uncovered, stirring frequently, for at least an hour until the sauce cooks down. Longer is better! When the sauce is finished cooking, remove onion and divide sauce into containers for freezing.
Makes about 3 cups sauce, enough for 4 pizzas. Go ahead and double this recipe so you’ll have plenty of sauce in the freezer!
- Tomato pie (a dusting of Parmesan cheese on a just-baked thick-crust pizza)
- Fresh tomatoes, basil and mozzarella
- Green peppers and onions
- Broccoli and mushrooms (try this without the tomato sauce!)
- Spinach and tomatoes with ricotta cheese
- Roasted red peppers
- Eggplant, tomato and garlic
- Black olives
- Artichokes and sun-dried tomatoes
- Clams and shrimp with chopped tomatoes
- Pesto (instead of tomato sauce) with olives and mozzarella
- Broccoli rabe and garlic
You won’t even miss the pepperoni!
Let’s brainstorm: what are your favorite meatless pizza toppings?
Nutrition information for pizza crust and pizza sauce as below. Depending on the toppings you use, your carbs per serving will vary.
Recipe and photos copyright 2015 Barb Szyszkiewicz for Cook and Count. All rights reserved.