Cooking when you have a police officer in the family can be difficult! Even if you are fortunate enough to have your officer on a day time schedule the chances that he will actually get to eat dinner with you and the family are rare. My officer, Officer Hottie, works day shift but still doesn't get home until about two hours after we've eaten dinner so the meals I make need to taste good cold (as he is usually starving the second he walks in the door) and reheated (since I try to make enough to send with him to work the next day).


I hope you can find some meals here that your family will enjoy as much as ours.
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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Pizza

Who doesn't love pizza? This is a staple in our house, an easy fix for a busy day and waaaay cheaper than ordering out. This is a great meal that our son is even willing take to school the next day.

My fabulous sister in law gave me the sauce recipe; she found it on Recipe Zaar. This is slightly modified from the version she uses but not by too much. It is, in my opinion, a near perfect sauce. It is hearty and savory and thick and delicious. There is enough sauce for about two 12-inch pizzas.

For the sauce you will need ...

1/2 c chopped onion
1/4 c chopped celery
1 garlic clove, minced
1 8oz can tomato sauce
1 6oz can tomato paste
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 small bay leaf
butter
olive oil


Melt about 1 T of butter and 1 T of olive in a pan over medium heat


Add your chopped veggies. Sauté them for about 3-5 minutes until they are soft and transparent. They will smell good and you will start to drool. That's about when it's time to add some other stuff.


Add the tomato sauce and paste and stir until it is all combined and smooth.


Add the spices and bay leaf. Then mix it all up, turn your heat down to low ...


Simmer over low  heat for about an hour. You don't have to simmer for an hour, but it gives the flavors time to get to know each other. Notice it is 3:37? I want my flavors to be BFF's by the time the dough is ready. So I started my sauce early.


While your sauce is getting comfortable, wash the dishes. Update your Facebook status. Make a cup of tea. About 40 minutes before you want to eat, get back to the kitchen to work on the dough. The dough takes minutes to make, and it rises while your oven preheats. You don't have to worry about making this stuff ahead  of time. It will take you 7 minutes to throw together, another 15 minutes to rise, then toss your stuff on top and bake it. Easy schmeasy.


For the dough you will need ...

1 1/4 oz pkg yeast (or 1 T if you buy it in bulk)
1 c. warm water
1 T olive oil
1 c whole wheat flour
1 1/2 c all purpose flour
1 tsp garlic powder


Mix the yeast with the warm water and let it sit for a few minutes until it is foamy.



Add the yeast mixture and the olive oil to the flour and garlic powder and mix with a spoon until the dough forms a ball.



This is as close as I can get it to a ball before I have to get my hands in there and finish the job.


This is how it should look when you finally get it to look like a ball. If you figure out how to do this with a spoon, you shall be elevated to the status of "Why are you even looking at this blog? You know way more than I do and are way better at it than I am."


Cover it with a dish towel and place it on your stove top while your oven preheats. Turn your oven on to 425°. My oven tends to cook low, so if your oven cooks hot you can probably get away with 400° or even 375°.



When the oven is done preheating, plop the dough onto your pizza pan and spread it out. I usually just smoosh it with my hands but if you want to be fancy you can use a rolling pin. Fancy pants.



(OK,  I admit to trying to use the rolling pin. It wasn't my night.)

Please remove the bay leaf from your sauce. Or the person who bites into it will most absolutely cry and dislike you and never eat your food again. So, if you hate someone, give them a bay leaf. Otherwise, remember to pull it out. 



(Aren't you glad I took a picture of the bay leaf, ready to come out of my sauce? I'll bet I just made your day.)

Spread your sauce and add your toppings. My kids love turkey pepperoni and pineapple. So that's what I get. No use in making anything special for Hottie and me when, let's face it, we like turkey pepperoni and pineapple too. But I like to pretend I made something with artichokes, sun dried tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella. You can pretend that too.


Put it in the oven for about 20 minutes, until the edges of the dough are brown and the cheese has started to brown on top. Delish. Yum.



And now ... eat. Enjoy. And yes ... the leftovers are good too. It's what Hottie is taking for lunch tomorrow. 

Click HERE for printable versions of these recipes

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