So, this past Friday we had the pleasure of some overnight guests! My three nephews came to spend the night so that their parents could get a much-needed night out and we could get in some awesome cousin time. I was fortunate enough to grow up with scads of cousins and I know that for me, the times I spent with my beloved cousins are some of the fondest memories of my childhood. We had the most wonderful times together and being very girl heavy in my family, the giggling went on for hours. I usually left a cousin sleepover exhausted and with cheeks that hurt from smiling so much! I think few things come close to the happiness I felt spending that precious time with the family that I love so dearly. Nowadays we keep in touch thanks to texting and social media, but don’t get to spend nearly enough time together. I feel as if they are more like my sisters than my cousins and I am so thankful for the great blessings they have been in my life! We certainly treasure the holidays and summer breaks when we do get to be together!
But what do I do when I get the chance to spend some time with my own kiddos and our fabulous extended family, I plan easy meals that we all make together. I want everything to be special and fun. I want them to look back on each get-together and remember them as fondly as I did. All of my nieces and nephews know that when they come to see Aunt Deb, they are going to eat well. I usually have requests to make my famous French toast or pancakes for breakfast and the dinner requests are vast. This past weekend I wanted something that they could help with and also something that they would eat because kids can be picky, right? So homemade pizza to the rescue. My homemade pizza recipe is absolutely awesome and it’s special because it came from my mom. It’s something that I loved to make with her as a girl. It is always a hit with whomever I share the recipe. My son and nephews had a fantastic time putting their pizzas together and loved hearing the stories about me and their mom making it with their great-grandmother. It also was a cinch to prep and clean up. I’m going to give you the homemade crust recipe, but if you want to make it super easy, then buy store bought crusts. Just use the sauce recipe and toppings and it will still be amazing!
Perfect Pizza Crust:
- 1 1/3 Cups Warm Water
- 1 Pkg Dry Yeast
- 2 Tbsp Oil
- 2 tsp Salt
- 4 1/3 Cups Flour
Dissolve yeast in the warm water. Add oil, salt, and enough flour to make a stiff dough. Knead the dough for 10 minutes. I used to do this all by hand, but if you have a dough hook on your stand mixer, it works perfectly! Put dough in an oiled bowl, cover loosely with a towel, place in a warm place, and let it rise until doubled in size, about an hour. Punch it down, divide it into two balls, and roll or press each one into a pizza shape. It will fit two 12-14-inch pans. (For a warm place to rise you can set your oven to 200 degrees for about 60 seconds, turn it off and place the bowl with the covered dough inside)
- 1 Minced clove garlic
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 6oz Can tomato juice (I use V-8)
- 1 8oz Can tomato sauce
- ½ tsp Sugar
- 1/8 tsp Pepper
- ½ tsp Oregano
- 1 Tbsp Oil
Combine all ingredients together and whisk until blended.
Now you’re ready to build your perfect pizzas. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. I always prebake my crusts for about 8-10 minutes or so because we like crispy crust, but it’s up to you. If you prebake the crusts, make sure you pierce them with a fork so that they don’t expand. For our pizzas here are the toppings we chose: pork sausage, pepperoni, Canadian bacon, fig jam, prosciutto, arugula, pineapple, fresh basil, caramelized onions, mozzarella cheese, and Parmesan cheese. Be creative and use whatever you love! I always layer sauce, then a little Parmesan, and a bit of mozzarella before the toppings. I also finish each pizza with a lot more of the cheese combo on top. One of the pizzas for the adults had fig jam instead of tomato sauce, as well as caramelized onions, prosciutto, cheese, and was finished with fresh arugula after it was baked. SO YUMMY!!!! Bake each pie for 20-25 minutes until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbling. I like to let the kids make individual pizzas in small foil pans which works perfectly!
The next time you have a crowd on your hands, give this a try. You will be glad that you did! There’s nothing like seeing those sweet smiling faces as they pile toppings on their homemade pizza and chow down. More great memories were made and my heart was full! Cheers to great pizza making and as always, let me know if you have any questions!!
That’s my dish!