The Complete Package was traveling last week, and when he travels I usually eat things like Honey Nut Cheerios for dinner. Hey, don’t knock it until you try it. They’re delicious. But after a while, even cold cereal can’t hold my attention. So what do you make when it’s 103F outside and you don’t want to spend hours in a hot kitchen? How about easy homemade pizza? Works for me!
I started with a ball of frozen pizza dough in its whole wheat version.
Just spray a mixing bowl with Pam, drop in the frozen pizza dough, give the dough ball a quick spray to keep it from sticking, and cover the bowl in plastic wrap. I like to secure the plastic wrap with a large rubber band. Better safe than sorry, I always say. For a rapid thaw at summer temps, place it on your back porch (out of the reach of kids and pets) for approximately 30 minutes. If you’re making this for dinner, you can let it rise on your kitchen counter all day.
While the dough is thawing, I like to prep the rest of my toppings. For this pizza, I browned one package of my favorite breakfast sausage in a skillet. I like to break it up with a wooden spoon and stir it frequently until done. If it’s too greasy, drain the cooked sausage on paper towels, pour most of the grease off and return the skillet to the stove.
Next, I make my own pizza sauce. It’s easier than you think. Really. In the same skillet, brown half a small onion (chopped) and 3 cloves of garlic (minced) in about 1 tablespoon of the sausage grease. Once the onion starts to become translucent, add one 15-ounce can of pureed tomatoes. Toss in 1/8 teaspoon of ground oregano and 1/4 teaspoon of dried basil. Allow the mixture to simmer for 5 to 10 minutes to thicken, then add salt and pepper to taste. If you like a little spice, throw in a pinch of red pepper flakes. That’s how I roll.
Once your dough is thawed and risen, spray a cookie sheet or 13″ x 9″ baking pan, then gently press the dough into the pan. You can roll it; I use my fingers.
Using a spatula, spread as much or as little pizza sauce as you like then top with the sausage, some grated parmesan cheese, and a nice layer of sliced provolone.
Bake at 425F for 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese begins to brown on top. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before cutting & serving.
Feel free to change up the toppings to your preference. The options are literally endless – pepperoni & sauteed mushrooms, leftover grilled chicken & spinach, summer veggies, leftover steak, Canadian bacon & thinly sliced onions, meatballs (sliced or cut in half). Heck, you could even substitute alfredo sauce, buffalo sauce, or BBQ sauce and get really creative! The point is that a good frozen pizza dough and a quick homemade sauce can turn any homemade pizza pie into a treat in mere minutes. So what are you waiting for?
And if you like to multitask meals like I do, save that leftover pizza sauce.
Grab a bag of frozen fully cooked meatballs from your local grocery store and a package of frozen French baguettes. They make another great meal in minutes.
Throw the meatballs in a baking dish and cover with foil. Place the baguettes on a baking sheet. Heat your oven to 400F, then put the meatballs and bread in to bake. The baguettes are ready when they’re toasty on the outside and soft and warm on the inside. Both should be ready in about 20 minutes. To assemble, microwave the sauce until hot and smear a generous amount into the baguettes. Toss in enough meatballs to fill them and top with a slice of provolone cheese. Presto – a second quick & easy dinner in about 30 minutes.
Do you plan meals that multitask? If so, what is your double-duty favorite?