I am a newlywed on a budget, just trying to make healthy and inexpensive meals for my husband and I to enjoy. He eats a lot, so cost is a big factor. Though I work 3 jobs, I manage to find time 6 nights a week to cook a full dinner for us both. I am constantly looking for new recipes that are moderately healthy, taste great, and won't break the bank.

On the side, I also own a brownie business called Gersheybars. My passion and love for cooking started when I was just a small child, baking with my mom and grandmother. The brownie recipe has been passed down through 5 generations and I am thrilled to finally have an outlet to share them with everybody else. Friends and family have helped spread the word and made my business as successful as it is today.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Homemade Pizza

Friday night = pizza night in the Bickford household. I don't cook on Fridays. Ever. But with baby on the way, and only 1 income now, eating out is becoming a luxury, and we're trying really hard not to spend too much. So since I have an insane amount of time on my hands lately, I've decided to find the perfect pizza dough recipe. And I think I found it. The first few recipes I tried were dry, crusty and flavorless. But this one from Annie's Eats, is delicious! It's crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside, and the overall perfect consistency. We used to get 1 large takeout pizza on Fridays, and it would give us dinner and lunch on Saturday, for about $14 after taxes. The same size pizza, with the same toppings, now costs us about $4, and we still get a dinner and lunch from 1 pizza. It's super easy to make, and the recipe below makes enough dough for 2 pizzas. Just freeze 1/2 of the dough and wrap tightly in plastic wrap until you're ready to use it!

  • ½ cup warm water
  • 2¼ tsp. instant yeast
  • 4 cups (22 oz.) bread flour, plus more for dusting (I used about 4.5 cups, plus more to dust)
  • 1½ tsp. salt
  • 1¼ cup water, at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Toppings, cheese and sauce - We used regular Barilla pasta sauce, Sargento Italian 6 cheese blend (asiago, parmesan, mozzarella, fontina, provolone, romano), and topped with spinach, red onion and banana peppers from the garden

  1. Measure the warm water into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Sprinkle the yeast over the top. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the bread flour and salt, mixing briefly to blend. Measure the room temperature water into the measuring cup with the yeast-water mixture. With the mixer on low speed, pour in the yeast-water mixture as well as the olive oil. Knead on low speed until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, 1½-2 hours.
  2. Press down the dough to deflate it. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into two equal pieces. Form each piece of dough into a smooth, round ball. (If freezing the dough, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze at this point.) Cover with a damp cloth. Let the dough relax for at least 10 minutes but no longer than 30 minutes.
  3. To bake, preheat the oven and pizza stone to 450˚ F for at least 30 minutes. Transfer the dough to your shaping surface, lightly sprinkled with cornmeal. Shape the dough with lightly floured hands. Brush the outer edge lightly with olive oil. Top as desired. Bake until the crust is golden brown, and cheese is bubbling, 8-12 minutes.

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