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Homemade Pizza

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Turkey Boboli PizzaIn posting our Valentine’s Day dinner of Homemade Provençal Rack of Lamb, I learned that quite a few of us are quite capable chefs! Sheila of GoVisitHawaii shared her scrumptious meal of lobster tails, chicken, and asparagus. Jon made something similar – “lobster tails, mushroom risotto, asparagus with brie and artichokes as appetizers.” Even Tim made some “romantic ramen.” :)

So, to celebrate our mutual enjoyment of cooking our own food, I thought I’d throw out another frugal favorite in our household – homemade pizza. To be perfectly honest, we buy Boboli pizza crusts from the store because we don’t have a pizza stone (it’ll cook dough better than a pan, but I’ve heard a pan works well too) and because it’s cooks much faster. However, pizza dough is remarkably easy to make and recipes widely available if you do a little searching.

We grab a package of mozzarella, a can of Don Pepino pizza sauce (look at that guy, how could you not buy that stuff? and each can is enough for two pizzas!), and whichever toppings we’re in the mood for. That will typically include cooked onions, green or red peppers, and either grilled chicken or sauteed hot italian sausage. We throw in some other toppings in there from time to time but those are are staples. It’s about ten minutes of preparation, depending on how quickly you can chop, and another seven to ten minutes of baking time.

I think the next steps for us will be to make the dough ourselves, rather than pay Boboli to make it, and start getting more adventurous with the toppings. Do you have any tips for making your own pizza or any suggestions for crazy toppings to try?

(Photo: kodamakitty, the next time we make pizza, I promise to replace the pic with a “real” one!)

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31 Responses to “Homemade Pizza”

  1. Jeremy says:

    Oh, NOTHING beats fresh pizza dough. Although I will admit that we’re spoiled and have both a bread machine and a KitchenAid stand mixer, so making dough requires almost no effort.

    And if you don’t have a pizza stone and want still amazing crust, head to your local bed bath and beyond, or even better, restaurant supply store and pick up some pizza grates. Very cheap thin metal grates that restaurants use for cooking pizza.

    For real, once you try making your own dough, I doubt you’ll ever buy Boboli again ;)

    I don’t have any tricks, but we make homemade pizza quite often around here. Of course, we also live so far out in the sticks that nobody will even deliver to our house, so we don’t have much of a choice.

  2. JohnnyC says:

    I got bitten by the bread-making bug last year (coinciding with a stand-mixer purchase, of course) and making pizza (and most any other type of bread) is ridiculously easy — much more so than I believed.

    Something big I didn’t know until starting the learning process (AND THIS IS REALLY USEFUL): Dough (bread/pizza/whatever) does well in the freezer and fridge. It really cuts down on time when you prepare a batch of 8 pizzas, split the dough into quart baggies, and through them in the freezer.

    I’d recommend two books on the subject: Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day and The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. The first book details the fridge/freeze method mentioned earlier, while the second book just contains some AWESOME recipes and advice (how to handle, prepare, etc).

  3. Brad says:

    We always grill our pizzas on a gas grill. Use a mixer to make fresh dough and place on a grill pan with holes in it. Coat liberally with olive oil first. Turn the two inside burners off after the grill is heated and leave the two outer burners on low-med. Rotate the pizza after 10 minutes.

    The grill can make even frozen pizzas taste twice as good. But friends all come over for my homemade grilled pizzas and say that they’re the best they’ve ever had.

  4. Eric N. says:

    Romantic ramen…that’s going in my book! And homemade pizza sounds good right now…mmm.

  5. Deby says:

    I’ve found the Pillsbury pizza dough in a can (like their biscuits, in the refrigerated section) does quite well for a cheap dough. I like to top it with a creamy garlic sauce and some buffalo chicken bits and red onions. Tasty!

  6. Sheila says:

    mmmm, that pizza looks delish!

    We’ve used Boboli pre-made pizza crusts as well. They really save a lot of time.

    If you wanted to get fancy with the toppings, duck breast with hosin sauce and green onions is a tasty combination.

    Mahalo for the shout out!

  7. mapgirl says:

    I love Pepino’s! We eat it cold out of the can! It’s only good for 2 small pizzas. Boyfriend and I make our own dough and make a really large single pie. One can is more than enough for that, which is why we eat a few spoonfuls cold once it goes into the oven.

    You really need to try your own dough. I recommend Alton Brown’s recipe with a little whole wheat substituted in. Hand kneading pizza dough is a pain in the arms and wrists, so I’m going to be getting a stand mixer soon. But you really have to try homemade dough at least once. It’s far superior to Boboli, esp if you like NY Style thin crust.

  8. mapgirl says:

    Also, cheese… Sargento has a mozzarella log that is divine. But usually we go for the low-fat/skim mozzarella instead. Pre-sliced pepperoni from Litteri’s is the way to go unless you are really good with a knife and making even slices. (Or have a processor/slicer/mandolin.)

  9. Julie says:

    Hey Jim,
    I am obsessed with making pizza at home because you can control everything about it. Making dough is much easier with a stand mixer but I have these recipes that you can do by hand:

    http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Jays-Signature-Pizza-Crust/Detail.aspx
    –this ends up being at least two pizzas

    http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Whole-Wheat-and-Honey-Pizza-Dough/Detail.aspx
    –a nice twist on a regular dough

    If making your own dough is challenging, you can always get it at a supermarket usually among the cheeses or you can buy dough at a Bertucci’s.
    I like BBQ chicken pizza where you mix pre-cooked chicken with BBQ sauce and throw in some thinly sliced red onions. Another favorite is pre-cooked chicken tossed with hot sauce and then instead of pizza sauce, coat the dough with blue cheese dressing.
    Also, it’s easier to roll out dough if you let it warm up to room temperature first. I also brush the crust with a mix of olive oil and minced garlic to help it brown. I’ve always cooked it on a regular baking sheet and it works fine.
    Good luck!

    ~Julie

  10. Jacqui says:

    When I’m home, I make a lot of pizza :) My favorites:

    Teriyaki shrimp pizza

    Buy refrigerated (or make) whole wheat pizza dough (it lives near the cheese at my grocery store – the deli dept makes it). Bake (preferably on a pizza stone sprinkled with corn meal at 450) until the crust is about 80% ready. Saute shrimp in a little peanut oil (or use pre-cooked). When shrimp is fully cooked, add some teriyaki sauce and set aside. Dice some bok choi. Set aside. Take out crust, sprinkle with mozzarella (or slices of fresh). Sprinkle with the shrimp (but any NOT extra sauce). Bake until crust is done and cheese is bubbly and happy looking. Sprinkle with lots of bok choi, then drizzle with teriyaki sauce! Mix in a bit of thai chili paste if you want some heat.

    Chicken, garlic, and peppers

    Buy a french baguette or loaf of italian bread (I use the whole grain kind). Turn on over to 425. Slice the long way, and to as many smaller pieces as you’d like. Spread on tomato paste. Sprinkle on a little garlic powder and italian seasoning. Sprinkle on shredded mozzarella (or use slices of fresh). Cut a clove of garlic into tiny pieces. Sprinkle over pizzas. Add some small dollops of ricotta. Cut red pepper into strips (or dice). Add those to the pizza (freeze any leftover pepper strips for another meal). Add some pre-cooked (or left-over) chicken (less than 1 cm thick). Bake until it’s all bubbly and happy looking (<10 min). It’s even better with some sun-dried tomato!

  11. Jon says:

    I make my dough in my bread machine, but it never comes out as good as pizzeria dough. If you want to check out some hard core pizza theory, check this link out:

    http://www.varasanos.com/PizzaRecipe.htm

  12. Karen says:

    Jim, I love it when you do posts about cooking at home! I make pizza all the time and my kids prefer it. I think the more you make it, the more you perfect your dough technique.

    I’ve also recently discovered the art of frying my own tortilla chips. I get the 5 lb. package of corn tortillas, cut them in quarters with a pizza cutter and fry them, only about 30 sec. on each side. (If I had a fry-daddy it would be even easier.) My kids beg me for them and after I make them, they cant stop thanking me. They are really that much better than storebought.

    I pay about the same for 5 lbs. as I do for 16 oz. of Doritoes.

    • Becky says:

      My friend used to make homemade tortilla chips for me and they really were FANTASTIC! She also used to use flour tortillas and coat them with cinnamon sugar after frying them. Yum!!! I’ll bet your kids would love those!

  13. Lord says:

    Artichoke hearts and red onions.

  14. Looks delicious! I enjoy cooking as well; in another life I might have been a chef instead of a software engineer.

  15. nickel says:

    Man, that looks good. I’m hungry.

  16. andrea says:

    That is so funny. I just happened to write about how to make homemade pizza dough for today’s newspaper:
    http://www.newsobserver.com/105/story/1428005.html

    Love your blog!

  17. Linus says:

    I’ve been using the Jiffy box pizza crust mix for the last couple of years and have been completely satisfied. You don’t need a bread machine or measure anything.

    One box + half cup of warm water + olive oil. Cover it and let it sit for 45 mins. and its good to go.

  18. Garrett says:

    That’s not homemade, it’s home-assembled.

  19. Rap Music says:

    Homemade Pizza rocks :) It’s 7 am here and you’ve got me thinking about wanting pizza today already. My mother used to make killer homemade pizza though… with green and red peppers.. loved it!

  20. Start-Up says:

    I love making pizza on boboli. I really enjoy it with BBQ sauce, mozz cheese and chicken. Fantastico.

  21. Phil says:

    I’ve been making Buffalo chicken pizza, and it couldn’t be simpler. Just use whatever pizza crust you want, smother it with bleu cheese dressing, add (cooked) pieces of chicken that has been mixed with Buffalo sauce, top all that with shredded mozzarella/provolone cheese, and pop it in the oven. Easy and good! I prefer it with a thin crust.

  22. I frequently make my own pizza and I do make my own dough. Last night’s pizza was roasted red peppers, sauted onions, garlic, broccoli, goat cheese and basil. I seldom use a sauce and frequently leave off cheese. It was delicious. Tonight’s was ground venison, onions, garlic, basil and the rest of the roasted peppers. No, I don’t do it every day but homemade pizza is a great way to stretch your leftovers!

  23. Jon says:

    We use Sclafani crushed tomatoes, from the same company that makes Don Pepino, for everything, including pizza sauce. Just sautee some garlic in olive oil and add the Sclafani for a base pizza and pasta sauce, then add whatever you want. I’m a tomato-sauce snob, and I’ll never start with anything other than Sclafani crushed tomatoes. Plus the can is beautiful. If, like me, you can’t get them locally, you can order them by the case at donpepino.com. I usually order three cases at a time.


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