Monday, March 2, 2009

My favorite money-saving recipe

There is one recipe I use over and over again: a recipe for pizza dough. It's saved us money simply because it keeps us out of the pizza parlors; the result is always just as good as what we'd get in a restaurant, if not better. I make it at least once a week, sometimes more. What I like about it is that it requires only a few ingredients, and you can mix it up in a matter of minutes (unlike a lot of other pizza dough recipes, you don't have to let the dough rise, though I like to give it an opportunity to work its magic before I start pressing it onto the pizza stone).

Here's the recipe:

Pizza Dough I

Main ingredients: yeast, flour, a little sugar, a little salt, a couple tablespoons of olive oil. That's it. Mix it all together, spread it on a pizza stone or baking pan, add sauce, cheese, and toppings, and you're all set. Twenty minutes later, you've got a delicious pie that rivals anything Dominoes or Papa John's could create.

A few variations:

-You can add fresh or dried herbs, like basil or oregano, to the dough for an extra punch of flavor.

-You can use the dough for calzones. I split the dough into four parts, smoosh each one into a disk, add the filling, fold it over, seal it, and then bake it at 375 degrees F until the tops are golden brown. My fillings usually consist of chopped onion, chopped garlic, chopped mushrooms, a little spinach, some diced tomatoes, and cheese. They're very good.

-Our local grocery store has started selling store-brand organic flour at $3.50 a bag, so we've been buying that. It's definitely more expensive than regular flour, but when you work out the cost of each meal or goodie it makes, it seems worth it to us.

-You can substitute in honey instead of sugar. I like the flavor of honey in pizza crust.

Try it! Not only is it delicious and easy to make, but you know exactly what's in that pizza. Plus, if you have kids, they can help mix the dough and decide on toppings.

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