Have you noticed how inexpensive pizza is? It is insane. You can get a Little Caesers Hot N’ Ready large pizza for $5.99 and all of the other major players have had to follow suit to compete. I know these prices because I am a step-mom to teen boys and pizza is a food group. The thing is, as the price gets lower, I’m guessing the quality of ingredients has to plummet in correlation because in-the-end the franchises have to make a profit. I also checked the nutritional info for a slice of Little Caesar’s Hot n Ready (because I’m a food label nerd) and it’s 390 calories, 18 grams of fat and 41 carbs a slice! Yikes…
When the boys visit i try to give them a homemade alternative to Little Caesers, Domino’s and even Papa John’s that they rave over. It is SO EASY, quite inexpensive and you can control the ingredients that go into the pie. Actually, pizza night is a great way to get rid of some veggies you many not use otherwise AND to sneak in veggies that the guys wouldn’t eat if they were served as a side item (I know this because I tried to serve steamed spinach a few times and there were no takers).
I recently posted a photo of my homemade pizza on my Instagram and had some people asking or the recipe. So here it is and feel free to modify according to your family’s favorite toppings:
Pizza dough (I use Trader Joe’s or Harris Teeter’s) Trader Joe’s dough is $1.99 and HT’s is $2.49 (but larger)
Pasta Sauce. I made the mistake of asking the owner of a well known Italian Restaurant who was selling his sauces at the Atherton Farmers Market in Charlotte if he had any “pizza sauce.” He was like, “there is no such thing.” I believe him. There really isn’t…it’s marketing. Look for an organic, low sugar pasta sauce to make the pizza healthier. Again, Trader Joe’s comes out ahead with a marinara that has 4 grams of sugar.
Cheese. The possibilities are endless. I’ve used mozzarella (pictured), goat cheese (pictured), havarti, feta, and even cheddar.
Veggie Toppings: Again, endless. I’ve used spinach, mushrooms, red onions, videlia onions, black olives, green olives, red, yellow and orange sweet peppers, hot and mild banana peppers avocado, fresh basil leaves. Let the imagination run wild.
Protein toppings: Canadian bacon, nitrate free bacon, pepperoni, chicken breast. I’ve even halved turkey meatballs I had left over and it was delicious.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Pre-heat oven to 420 degrees
Using an olive oil spray, coat your round sheet or rectangle cookie sheet and then dust with flour
Take a little flour in your hands and use it to separate your pizza dough from it’s packaging. Work the dough to form it into a circle the circumference of the pizza sheet (same holds true for your rectangular cookie sheets). Bring the dough to the edges.
Take some olive oil in your palm and spread it evenly over the top of your dough in it’s entirety (don’t forget the edges).
Once lightly coated with olive oil, let the dough sit for 20 minutes.
Next, using a large spoon, spread the sauce over the dough.
Then place the cheese over the sauce evenly. Don’t cover every inch of the pizza with cheese. Just strategically place. The veggies will fill in the areas not covered with cheese.
Now it’s time for the toppings. Place them around the cheese. For this pizza, I used spinach, baby portobello mushrooms and black olives. Then, using a olive oil spritzer, top your veggies with a light coat of olive oil.
Finish with crumbled goat cheese. Goat cheese is great because it has rich flavor so you don’t need a large amount.
Place the pizza in the oven for 20-25 minutes at 420 degrees.
Enjoy! – XX CC
Quick Note: If you are baking the pizza on a cookie sheet, cook slightly longer (5-7 minutes) than if it’s on a metal pizza round.