Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Pizza : My new go-to meal

I tend to do a bunch of cooking on the weekend so that I can eat leftovers all week on the nights that I don't have time to cook (or am too hungry to wait for something to cook).  The problem with making a big vat of stew or something is that it gets boring to eat the same thing every night.  I tend to eat the exact same thing for breakfast and lunch every day, because it easier for my schedule to keep them consistent, so I like to have variety for dinner.

I don't make pizza very often because the dough is time consuming.  It only very recently occurred to me that I could make a batch of pizza dough, keep it in the fridge, and break off chunks each time I want to make a pizza!  It is now my favorite thing to do for dinner.  I can change up the toppings each night, so it doesn't quite seem like I am eating the same thing.  And I don't quite eat pizza every  night, some nights I have done pasta instead.

The pizza dough recipe I used to use always came out very bread-y.  It wasn't bad, but it wasn't quite what I imagine when I think of pizza.  A few weeks ago, I decided to try a new recipe to see if I could find one I liked better.  I loved the first one I tried, and now I am sticking with it.  It comes out much thinner than my previous crust, and has just the right balance of chewiness and crunch.

Pizza Dough
3 tsp yeast
garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 1/2 c water (110 degrees)
2 tbsp olive oil
3-4 c flour

spread very thin, add toppings, bake at 450 for 15 minutes

I use my stand mixer to mix the dough, it is so much simpler and cleaner than mixing in a bowl.  The dough hook brings the dough together so nicely and it is easy to tell when to stop adding flour.  Once the dough has lost most of its stickiness, I transfer it to a silpat mat and knead it with a bit more flour, for just a few minutes.  Then I grease a bowl, put in the dough, cover it with plastic wrap, and let it rise for an hour or two.  When I punch it down, I remove a chunk for my dinner, and put the rest in an airtight container in the fridge.  I can get 4-5 pizzas out of each batch of dough.  Each pizza comes out a bit smaller than my pizza pan.  

I often bake some chicken breasts and cook some ground beef early in the week, both are great pizza toppings and can be combined with any vegetable toppings.

Here are some of the pizzas I have eaten in the past week:
These all happen to have chicken and mushroom...but I have also made pizzas with ground beef!

chicken, mushroom, carrot, basil

chicken, mushroom, bok choy

chicken, mushroom, broccoli

In addition to changing up the toppings, I also change up the sauce.  Sometimes I don't even add a sauce.  Sometimes I use sun-dried tomato alfredo, sometimes red sauce, sometimes pesto.

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