Skip takeout and create your own pizza

By MELANIE SMITH
melanie@theitem.com
Posted 2/9/18

ushrooms. Bell peppers. Onions. Grilled chicken pieces and pineapple (OK, that last one's for my onion-hating husband).

When I have a pizza craving, I want it now - and I want to feel a little healthier with my choices than always getting …

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Skip takeout and create your own pizza

Posted

Mushrooms. Bell peppers. Onions. Grilled chicken pieces and pineapple (OK, that last one's for my onion-hating husband).

When I have a pizza craving, I want it now - and I want to feel a little healthier with my choices than always getting takeout.

Why wait for delivery on a busy Friday night when you probably have the ingredients you need to make your own pizza at home? And sure you could order a pizza with half your favorite toppings and half with your significant other's favorites, but oh my there might be an onion accidentally tossed on his side somehow, and the whole thing's ruined. He can keep his warm, soggy pineapple though.

Skip all that. Save yourself the time and the topping arguments. It's easy to make your own individual pizzas from scratch, quicker than you probably think, and you'll probably have fun with it, too. A few years ago, we made a big batch of dough, gathered all the toppings we could think of and invited my parents over for a create-your-own-pizza party, and we enjoyed talking together while choosing exactly what we wanted. This would be a great activity for a child's birthday party or other get-together.

Just a few tips for your own homemade creations:

- Set your oven at 500 degrees F before you make the dough. I know this is high, but it works. Pizza should cook quickly. If you have a pizza stone, put it in the oven when you turn it on. We usually just use cookie sheets with parchment paper over them.

- If you like your cheese quite browned, you can turn on your broiler for a minute or two right at the end. I really mean one to two minutes. Don't walk away, or Sumter Fire Department will show up for your party.

- Cut your toppings quite small or thin so they cook quickly enough. Blotting moisture from ingredients such as bell peppers and especially raw tomatoes before putting them on the pizza is also a good idea.

- This dough can rest really as long as you'd like. Usually with yeast doughs you'd leave them to rise, then knead again, then rise. No need for all that here - I always let the dough rest for 10 or 15 minutes, and it's good to go. I've always heard pizza dough has the most flavor after being refrigerated for three days, but that's three days, and by then I'm craving pad Thai or something. In other words, I've never tried it, but if you're interested, go for it.

- This dough makes two medium-sized pizzas. This is enough for me and my husband for dinner, and we have some left for lunch the next day.

THIN CRUST PIZZA

cup lukewarm water

1 tsp instant yeast

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp salt

Mix all ingredients in a bowl, and lightly flour a clean work surface. Knead for a few minutes until the dough is a smooth ball, then cover with a towel for 10 to 15 minutes while you prep your toppings. After the rest time, divide the dough in two with a knife, and use a rolling pin to create two circles. Carefully transfer each circle to a cookie sheet, then fold the edges in slightly all the way around each circle. Top with pizza sauce and your favorite toppings, then bake each pizza about 15 minutes or until the dough and cheese start to brown.

PIZZA SAUCE

1 8-ounce can tomato sauce

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp sugar

salt, pepper

Mix all ingredients and spread a thin layer on your rolled-out dough.