Pizza

I just read that 93% of Americans eat Pizza at least once a month.  And each man, woman, and child eats an average of 46 slices of pizza per year.  That’s 23 pounds of pizza… average!

I don’t know about you, but I go into shock when I call the pizza place to find out that a large pizza with all of the toppings costs ~$25.  Even with coupons, that’s a lot of money.  If you have teenagers or husband with a big appetite, pizza is its own budget line item. 

“CnC, I love pizza, but it’s expensive.  What should I do?”  Fear not, dear reader, I am here to help.

I’m not sure who told us that we can’t make things at home, but I know many people believe it.  You can make your own marinades, salad dressings, desserts, and PIZZA.  I have a really good pizza crust recipe that I am willing to share!  A good crust is essential for a good pizza.  It is pretty easy and has many purposes.

Homemade Pizza

¾ cup lukewarm water

1 tablespoon active dry yeast

1 teaspoon sugar

2 ¼ cups flour

3 tablespoons olive oil

 Directions

1. In a small bowl, stir together the lukewarm water, yeast and sugar. Let stand until foamy, 3 to 5 minutes.  The “foam” will look like the froth on a good pour of beer but darker in color. 

2. Using a standing mixer, mix the flour and salt at low speed. Mix in the yeast mixture and olive oil until no dry four is left at the bottom of the bowl.  Change to the dough hook attachment and mix at medium speed until smooth, about 6 minutes.

3. Transfer the dough to a greased, large mixing bowl, turning to coat; cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Punch down the dough before using.

4.  Preheat oven to 400F.

5.  Split the dough in half (or quarters or eighths).  And roll out into the desired shape. Roll thicker for thick crust or thinner for thin crust.

6.  Top the dough with desired toppings except the cheese.

7.  Bake until golden and bubbly, about 25 minutes (watch closely if you have a thin crust).    Top with cheese and a little bit of oregano and crushed pepper flakes. 

8.  Bake for an additional 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.  Place the pizza under your oven’s broiler to brown the cheese topping – watch closely.

NOTE: For whole wheat dough, use 3/4 cup whole wheat flour and 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour. (I’ve never tried this, so don’t blame me if it tastes healthy.)

 

If you don’t have a stand mixer, ask for one for your birthday, anniversary, or Christmas… or go get it yourself and tell him thank you for your belated Mother’s Day present.  My husband gave me mine for our 3rd anniversary, and I use it probably every other day.  The only small appliance that gets more use is my burr coffee grinder.  Coffee is a food group at our house. 

If you have more patience than I do, you can wait until Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) to buy your stand mixer.  Many stores sell them at unbelievable prices 30%-50% off of their retail price. 

Let not your heart be troubled – you can still make pizza dough even if you don’t have a stand mixer.  It’s just a little more hands-on work.  You can use a hand mixer to get all of the ingredients together.  Then you’ll have to turn it out onto a floured surface and knead it by hand 8 – 10 times.  Then pick up the directions again at step 3. 

We’ve had fun at our house experimenting with the endless possibilities of pizza dough.  Here’s what we’ve come up with so far…

 

Toppings:

  • Pre-cooked Meats – pepperoni, Italian sausage, Canadian bacon, chicken, bacon, etc…
  • Vegetables – onion, red and green peppers, tomatoes, garlic, mushrooms, etc…
  • Cheese – mozzarella, parmesan, ricotta, cheddar, monterrey, etc…
  • Sauce – marinara (I use spaghetti sauce – $0.69/can at Fred Meyer), alfredo, oil and garlic, etc…

Other uses for pizza dough:

  • Dessert Pizza – brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon
  • Calzones – when you roll out the dough, put filling only on half and fold the dough over.  Pinch the dough closed.
  • Breadsticks – butter/olive oil, garlic, and parmesan cheese

 Fun Suggestions:

  • Hawaiian – ham and pineapple tidbits (or chunks cut in half) over red sauce.  Top with mozzarella, oregano, and red pepper flakes.
  • Mexican – refried beans, taco meat, and salsa.  Top with monterrey cheese.  Then sprinkle shredded lettuce and serve with a dollop of sour cream. 
  • Barbeque – I made BBQ Turkey Calzones with monterrey jack cheese last night.  YUMMY!  I’m glad there’s one leftover for lunch.

Have you ever noticed that you wake up in the middle of the night incredibly thirsty after eating pizza that you ordered out?  It’s all of the extra stuff they put in their sauce and meats and stuff.  When you make it at home, you don’t have to get up in the night (unless the baby needs you). 

 

The Numbers:  

If you eat pizza once a month for $25, you can save $22 or more each time you make your own pizza.  Over the course of a year, that’s $264… the cost of a stand mixer.  If you eat pizza out once a week for $25 and you save about $22 each time, over the course of a year, that’s $1144… a vacation (close to home).

We all have different situations.  Some of us want to save money.  Some of us have to save money.  Either way, the goal is to stretch the dollars we do have into more. 

Tell me in the comments what your goal is with the money you save!

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11 Comments

  1. Jamie said,

    May 13, 2009 at 10:55 am

    We are pizza fanatics around here.. and while homemade is good, it just never seems to be quite the same as going out!
    Some pizza deals we have found around here:
    Costco has a GIANT pizza for 9.99 and it’s sometimes more than we can eat, even after 2-3 consecutive meals! They only have 3 types to choose from, but you can do half and half to please everyone.
    Big G’s (across from the PlaMor Tavern) has 9.99 large specialties (lots of options!!) on Mon, Tues, Wed.
    Round Table in Kent has a Pizzapalooza deal all the time: 1 Large 2 topping, an order of 6 garlic parm twists, and 4 drinks for right around 20 bucks.
    And of course Papa Murphy’s always has coupons in the mail.

    I will definitely try your crust recipe though, because I have never found one that I’m crazy about.

    Thanks for all the info Clara!!

  2. kyleandclara said,

    May 13, 2009 at 11:20 am

    Great specials info, Jamie!

    I’m putting my money in savings with all of the money we’re saving! Makes sense, huh? I’m a firm believer that if you have it, you should spend it (it helps the economy). But it’s alright to have some set back for emergencies.

  3. Kim said,

    May 13, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    We probably have pizza at least twice a month, almost always homemade. Until very recently I made our dough by hand because, well, I had to. I recently got a bread maker and use the mixing cycle to make ours now. I also do 100% whole wheat crust, but I’m a little bit of a health nut. Our family has adjusted to it and we really like it. I love being able to put extra spices on my pizza (big basil and oregano fans here) and if Josiah is learning a new new letter or number or something we decorate the pizza with it….makes learning very yummy!
    Our goal is always to make our money stretch as far as we can so we can save what we need for emergencies and major purchases and give the rest away. We do save for the future, but we believe we’ll get a better return in heaven than down here!

  4. Seleta said,

    May 13, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    Clara’s pizza crust is easy to make and tastes great! We used it for our stromboli the last time I was in WA.

    • Jennifer Levy said,

      May 13, 2009 at 6:09 pm

      My problem is that the veggies often make the crust soggy. Is this why you add the cheese later in the process? My mouth is watering. Maybe I’ll use your recipe for dinner tomorrow!

      • kyleandclara said,

        May 14, 2009 at 6:54 am

        We’re such carnivores at our house that we don’t use veggies much. For tomatoes, cut them up and sprinkle salt on them and let them drain for a while. For the other stuff, sautee a little of the natural water out (like Rebekah’s caramelized onions). I don’t know if the cheese at the end helps that or not, but we have yet to have a soggy pizza at our house with this recipe.

  5. Rebekah said,

    May 13, 2009 at 10:40 pm

    We have homemade pizza at least twice a month. One of our favorites is topped with caramelized onions, roasted garlic, sweet potato, goat cheese and a splash of balsamic vinegar. What are we doing with the money we save? Many things: We eagerly give to a pastor in the Congo, we’re saving toward a down payment on our future house in Aberdeen, and I have a gift fund. (I love giving gifts!) Thanks for another money saving tip. I agree – with a good pizza dough recipe you can save a bundle.

    • kyleandclara said,

      May 14, 2009 at 6:56 am

      That’s the best part of saving… being able to give it away!!! My gift closet is stuffed with items I found at Goodwill or garage sales (and a few re-gifts of items that I know we won’t use so I left the tags on).

  6. Coralie said,

    May 14, 2009 at 8:12 am

    I cheat a bit and get my dough from Trader Joes, but it only costs like $1.50 and its whole wheat. I make the kids help choose their toppings and sprinkle the cheese. I not only get dinner made, but keep the kiddos busy while I am doing it:) My hubby’s diet will not let him eat take out pizza so this is the best way to control what goes into it. We use low fat meats and cheeses and plain tomato sauce with less sodium and sugar. Thanks for the recepie. I will deffinately be trying it as soon as we get settled in our new place!

  7. Jane said,

    May 15, 2009 at 7:18 am

    We love pizza at our house too. Lately we have been making either veggie style or BBQ Chicken. To keep it from being soggy, I either make a thin crust pizza or I bake the crust for a few minutes before I put the toppings on. My family loves pizza just about any way I decide to make it. On a recent trip out of town I packed home made veggie calzones for our dinner on the road. It was a huge hit and it saved us from stopping for fast food. This recipe looks good. I have a good recipe too that I got from a friend. It only takes a few minutes to whip up without using a stand up mixer and then it sits for 2 hours or more before rolling it out. I usually mix it up when I am cleaning up lunch and then it’s ready for dinner. I let it sit a bit longer this way, but it still works great!
    Thanks for all the great tips.
    Jane

  8. Madeleine said,

    June 1, 2009 at 4:18 pm

    I just noticed that the salt amount is missing. I’m planning on trying out the whole wheat version of your pizza dough recipe so I’ll let you know how it turns out.


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