This is how dinner went last night:
Chris: "This is good pizza.....WOW"
Me: "I think I have my next blog post"
Homemade pizza tastes great, is cheap, and easier that you think to make! It is also very filling, makes for great leftovers, and is healthier than any pizza you could buy. In the cold months you can bake it in the oven, and during the warm months you can GRILL it! If we could, I would grill our pizza every time, it truly makes a perfect pizza.
Let's start with the sauce, here's an easy recipe:
In a sauce pan, add 1T olive oil and 5 cloves of garlic. Over medium heat, cook the garlic until tender. Then add 1 28oz. can crushed tomatoes, and 1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes. Add whatever seasonings you want, until you get the taste you want. We usually add crushed red pepper flakes, some Cavendar's Greek seasoning, some fresh or dried basil and oregano (or an Italian blend of dried herbs), and sugar. Simmer on low heat, uncovered, for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Use whatever you need for your pizza, then freeze the leftover sauce in ice cube trays. Once frozen, pop the pizza sauce cubes out and store in a freezer safe bag. When it's time to make a pizza, take out 6-8 cubes and microwave them until they melt.
While the sauce is simmering, get out your breadmachine for the Very Best Pizza Dough. If you don't own a bread machine, you can use this recipe still, but will need to mix, knead, and let rise (for an hour) yourself.
The Very Best Pizza Dough:
1c water, more or less
2 1/2c whole wheat flour
1c bread flour
1T sugar OR 3T honey
3T olive oil
1 3/4t yeast
If you aren't going to grill it (you'll be missing out), then roll out the dough, bake it in the oven for about 5-8 minutes before putting toppings on. I usually bake my pizza at 375 or 400.
To grill, you need this pan. If you or your honey likes to grill, I HIGHLY recommend investing in this pan. This pan is perfect for grilling stir fry, fish, and pizza. However, my husband grills everything in this pan because it keeps the grill clean. When you're done, throw it in the dishwasher. We bought ours at a Cook's Emporium (Ames, Iowa), and it has a removable handle. Just make sure you spray it with oil before you use it.
After you roll out the dough, place it in the pan. Then, get your man and say, "Come on baby light my fire...."
You gotta love a man who knows how to grill! Chris loves to grill, and one of the great things about Summertime is that he gets to grill a LOT, which means I spend less time cooking (though I do love cooking) and more time relaxing. Also, grilling gets us both involved in the meal preparation and we have a lot of fun doing it! Anyways, when the grill is hot and ready, start to cook the dough without any toppings. At this point, you just want to be cooking the bottom of it.
Remove the dough from the grill when the bottom is brown and crispy on the bottom like this. Then bring it inside, and you need to flip it so the uncooked side now faces the bottom. Press the dough so that it forms the pan.
Spread your homemade sauce and add your toppings. I think adding the cheese last, while the meats and veggies are buried beneath, and then sprinkling fresh or dried herbs such as basil or oregano on top of the cheese makes it taste better.
After you put the toppings on, return the pizza to the grill. Grill until the cheese is gooey-melty, and the bottom is crispy again. This picture really doesn't do it justice, but what you get is probably the most fantastic pizza you'll ever have.
So, what kind of difference does grilling do to the pizza? The crust is crispy on the outside, but chewy on the inside. When cooked in an oven, the crust is more bread-like, without any dual texture. Also, the cheese is more gooey-melty than it would be if it were cooked in an oven. I think the cheese tastes more dried out when cooked in an oven. Lastly, you get a hint of charcoal and smoke flavor, which an oven can never do for you. Enjoy!