Pizza Night is a Highlight of Our Week
Usually I spend late Friday afternoons assembling the makings of homemade pizza which I bake in the oven. We enjoy it with Ranch dressing and veggies or a ChiChi’s Italian Salad. Then after kitchen clean-up (or not), we watch a movie and enter into the weekend.
When I first tried my hand at homemade pizza, it was a terrible failure. I gave it a few tries and then gave up. But, my friend Jessika always served great homemade pizza that it inspired me to try it again. Twelve years later, it’s a regular on our menu.
Most of the crew prefers simple pepperoni pizza while the more mature ones in our family opt for The Jalapeno Burn. Still others go for the cheese pizza.
At first glance, cheese pizza can seem kind of boring. But, with a mix of cheeses — we like mozzarella and monterey jack — and a homemade sauce, even the humble cheese pizza can be something special.
Make Your Own Sauce Ahead of Time
I usually have several pints or quarts of my crockpot red sauce ready to go in the freezer. It’s a multi-purpose sauce that works for pizza, lasagna, and pasta. But, when I want to make things a little extra special, I mix up a bulk batch of this pizza sauce. Freeze what you don’t use for next time.
Recipe: Pizza Sauce
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 28 ounce can diced tomatoes OR 7 roma tomatoes, cored and diced
- 1 Tablespoon basil
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 6 ounce can tomato paste
- In stock pot, heat olive oil until shimmering. Stir in garlic and cook until just lightly browned. Add tomatoes, basil, oregano, salt, and red pepper flakes. Simmer until juices have started to evaporate slightly, about 10 minutes.
- Blend in tomato paste and cook 3 minutes more. Cool slightly before using on pizza.
- Can be made ahead. Cool, cover, and refrigerate or freeze for longer storage.
Recipe: Easy Cheese Pizza
- one batch basic dough = makes four medium sized pizzas or three large
- 1/2 batch pizza sauce (above)
- 1/2 pound shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 pound shredded monterey jack cheese
- Preheat oven to 475°.
- Prepare dough according to recipe directions. Grease baking pans. Divide dough into three or four portions and stretch to fit into pan. (Yes, a video is coming.)
- Spread 1/2 to 2/3 cup of sauce onto each pizza round. Top with cheese.
- Bake 10 – 12 minutes or until crust is crisp and cheese is gooey and golden.