There is one problem that all families face. What's for dinner? This is an endless request from our family of 3 adults and seven kiddos with one more on the way at the time of writing. Our cooking needs are slightly unique because of the amount of food that we prepare, but "something different for dinner" is a constant issue that everyone faces. Man, we love pizza at our house, but one cannot live without variety. Well, maybe pizza is a bad example. Anyway, here's some of the many types of pizza I made for the family.
I won't bother you with recipes, because you can look those up all over the internet, and no one follows directions anyways. Just look at any internet recipe comment section and you'll see people giving their own tweaks to the page's recipe. Feel free to put your favorite recipe and where you found it in the comments. Everyone has a favorite recipe for the things you love, which is as it should be.
What follows is a compilation of meals that our family shared. Hopefully you will be able to use these ideas so that you never hear the words, "Aw, pizza again?"
Pizza dough is great. It's like a new morning. You could do just about anything with one of these. I'm not sure what my recipe is anymore. I proof a bowl of sugar and yeast in warm water. I pour an appropriate amount of oil into it, I don't know, that much, maybe more later if it doesn't feel right. I put a bunch of flour and a palm full of salt into a big sauce pot and add the liquids to it. Mostly, making dough for me is a textural thing. I knead and add flour or even more oil until it feels right. Boy, you sure have to make a lot of dough before you get what "feels right" even means, but once you understand, it becomes like this glorious breakthrough and your friends and family start clamoring for you to make fresh bread all the time. There are few things in life better than to make a bunch of bread to share and see all the smiles and happiness it brings.
Pepperoni double cheese pizza with tangy tomato sauce on hand tossed fresh pizza dough. This a regular favorite of the family. Ring of pepperoni around the edge acts as a guide for us in cutting out slices for the kiddos.
Pepperoni and tapenade pizza on hand-stretched dough is a complete mind-melt. This pizza was kicked up a couple steps with the addition of a zesty tapenade of kalamate olives, non pareil capers, lemon juice, basil and garlic. If you already like, or ever want to try anchovies, this is the pizza to do that with. If you family is a little hesitant about it, just grind up the anchovies like I did here so that they're part of the tomato sauce rather than big pieces. Anchovies, it's what makes Caeser salad so nom.
Spiral cut ham and mozzarella on a thick crust with a ranch-style white sauce. Yes, I said ranch. Use Hidden Valley if you don't want to put a sauce together, because holy cow this one was good!
Hand stretched pizza dough topped with Alfredo sauce and loads of mozzarella make for non-stop eating. I remember my head reeling while eating this. It was like dipping a cheese bread stick into the extra sauce in a bowl of fettucini Alfredo.
Allie: "Dad, can you make a hot dog pizza?" Me: "Well, of course I can." First I died a little inside, but then I whipped up this tater tot, cheddar cheese, and hot dog pizza topped with good old ketchup and mustard. Technically, not a pizza. Didn't matter, because the kiddos devoured this tray of food.
Thick crust pepperoni and white mushroom pizza with tangy tomato sauce. Crisp pepperoni is one of those things I simply adore. Did you know that you can pan fry pepperoni, crumble it up, and use it to top your spaghetti for pasta?
Smoked turkey barbecue pizza with haricot vert green beans, fresh red onions, and hickory barbecue sauce with mozzarella cheese. This just felt good to eat.
Double pepperoni pizza with mozzarella and tangy tomato sauce on hand tossed dough. This is what pizza means to our family and is cooked repeatedly.
Barbecue ham and portabella mushrooms with mozzarella cheese and a spicy Texas-style barbecue sauce. This one smelled amazing.
Rough cut red bell peppers, non pareil capers, piles of mozzarella cheese, on hand formed garlic foccacia bread with a smattering of tangy tomato sauce. We're not vegetarian, but these pizzas were a legit meat-free pizza option that the kiddos adored.
Totino's Pizza Rolls served with ranch and parmesan cheese on Royal Albert "Blossom Time" porcelain served. Yes, I bought the bag and poured it out on a cookie sheet. No, I don't have a problem with that. Everyone gets busy and it's okay to buy prepared food. If it's really that important to you, serve it on fine porcelain. Grandma gets tickled every time we pull out the china to serve her something as simple as a peanut butter sandwich. Just enjoy eating.
This is one of the calzones we made for a pizza party. You can see the dots from the cookie sheet still on the crust. I love the way the dough toasted down into the X marks.
Fresh calzone stuffed with pepperoni, sweet Italian sausage, a touch of marinara that I made for a different pasta meal the previous day, and mozzarella cheese.
Pizza party left overs of hand tossed cheese pizza, thin crust pepperoni pizza, deep dish cheese pizza, and calzone. When it's not the summer in the Southern California desert, I'll cook off up to 10 pizzas at a time and put them in the freezer for the kiddos. It's a family friendly activity that the whole family loves. Plus it helps when Mom and Dad have to go run errands and Grandma is watching the kiddos. Just pop them back in the oven at 350 degrees Farenheit or 175 degrees Celsius, and let them warm until the cheese is bubbling again. The microwave works, but ugh! Microwaves can destroy food quickly, leaving a floppy crust and petrified cheese. You might as well be taking your family to Chiliapplecheddabee's if microwaved and deep fried food is what you're after. Stay home. Cook something. Be a family.