Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Pizza Pizza!

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Over the last few years, I have become a master (mistress?) in the art of pizza making at-home on the cheap. Forget the pizza stones and dough from scratch. While those would be fun if I had more money and/or time, homemade pizza can be as easy as naming an Italian movie (Goodfellas!). And even better? It can be 100% indulgent, or 100% healthy -- whichever your pleasure for your evening in Napoli.

Looking for an unique date night idea? Build-your-own pizzas are creative and inexpensive, and allow for some much-desired quality time in the kitchen with your significant other. It's also great for those early date nights, because it's a relaxing and fun way to get to know each other.You can also make mini pizzas, or one big one with two sides of different toppings to keep it entertaining.

Here, a few of our favorite combinations to get you started. Think beyond basic cheese or pepperoni. Pizza is a blank slate, and is meant to be experimental!

If you don't have time to run past your local pizza shop (recommended! Try Fellini's here in town) for some, stop by Publix and grab theirs by the bakery counter. Dough only costs a few dollars when fresh.

Another great and cheap option -- Pillsbury's thin crust pizza crust. We used this over the weekend and were pleasantly surprised by how great it turned out, and for how few WW points, too. 1/5 of the pizza crust is only 5 points! It requires a 5-minute pre-bake, which works well if you have toppings to prep.

For whichever dough you use, spray a large baking sheet with Pam and stretch the dough out on it to meet the edges. Roll up the sides a tad to make the "crust."

Sure you can go the jarred or canned route. But I prefer doing sauces more a la natural. Try a simple can of bottom-shelf crushed tomatoes, and drain out some of the liquid before spreading all over the top of your crust. This type of "sauce" is simple but gives a fantastically fresh flavor. Even better, skip the sauce and make your pizza white.

This is where it gets fun. Here are some of my favorites.
  • White pizza with mushrooms and spinach: Pick up the best mushrooms you can find. 
  • Mexican breakfast pizza: Smash up drained black beans with a teaspoon of cumin, and spread on crust. Top with salsa verde (the green one) and shredded Mexican cheese. Bake about halfway (timing depends on which crust you use), then add 4-5 cracked eggs on top -- make a divet for each one so that they stay in place. Cook until eggs are over-easy and not wiggly. If desired, serve with shredded lettuce, tomatoes and sour cream.
  • Mexican breakfast pizza, take two: We added a cup of chopped leeks to the bean mixture, and used taco sauce instead of salsa. Ah-maz-ing just as is!
  • Meat lover's pizza: This one was for the man, since you can tell I don't mind going meatless with my pizzas :) Brown up reduced-fat sausage, adding Italian seasonings as you go. Layer crushed tomatoes, cooked sausage and pepperoni slices on top of crust, finishing with shredded Mozzarella cheese. Cook until cheese is melted and browning.
  • Peppers and onions pizza: Saute sliced multi-colored peppers and onions until softened. Combine with cooked, sliced Italian sausage. Spread crushed tomato "sauce" and cover with sausage and peppers mixture. Top with shredded Mozzarella and finish up in the oven. 



Buckhead Belle said...

What a great idea! I am going to have to try this!

Unknown said...

BB - enjoy!! Let me know your creations :)

cailen ascher said...

small world! i just did a post about homemade pizza. it's what my fiance and i enjoyed on <3 day.

great blog! glad i found you. i'm your newest follower : )

til next time,

Unknown said...

Thanks Cailen! Pizza is so great for dates, that sounds like so much fun :) Great to meet you!