It is “Super Bowl Sunday.” And this one-in-a year football game calls for pizza. I have always enjoyed making homemade pizza and this recipe may be my favorite pizza creations. It is incredibly easy to make and our taste testers decided that it tastes better than any “pizza in a box.” The flavors and ingredients are balanced — you can taste the toppings and not just the pizza crust. Best of all, you can customize the ingredients to each person’s preferences. The recipe is quick–taking about 5 minutes to make the pizza and 10 minutes to bake. Compare that to the time to get a pizza delivered from a pizza restaurant on “Super Bowl Sunday.” To make this “efficient” pizza, I used several convenience products. “Simple” was my objective. Here’s my “way too much” pepperoni pizza.
I have been making pizzas for as long as I can remember. Years ago, pizza mixes came in a boxed “kit.” You added water to the dough, let this rise for about 15 minutes and then rolled it out for the crust. The pizza sauce and Parmesan cheese were included in the kit. After awhile, we got adventurous and added ground meat, sausage, onions, mushrooms, bell peppers and other vegetable toppings to the pizzas. Pretty simple.Plus, we lived in the country and there were no pizza stores nearby. (A good reason to make your own pizza!) I also remember making these pizzas in the college dorm on weekends and nights as the kits were “all inclusive” and there was a stove in the common room. I think we can safely call these box kits as “vintage” pizzas in our modern day and age.
When my kids were young, we had pizza birthday parties (using these pizza kits) where every child added toppings to make their own pizza. It was lots of fun until you got the pizzas mixed up. But really, no one cared.
These pizza box kits are still available. But we can do much better now. There are several improved options for crusts, pizza sauces and cheese. The toppings continue to be as inventive as what you can come up with.
For the crust, I’m using a ready-made crust. These crusts are actually quite tasty and you simply have to pile on the sauce and toppings. In grocery stores, these crusts are often located on shelf isle displays at the end of isles. These crusts do not need to be refrigerated; although I refrigerate or freeze the second crust in the package for using later. This option is quick and the crusts taste great.
Frozen bread dough is a second option for a pizza crust. It takes a couple of hours to defrost the bread dough (I set it in a slightly warm oven); but plan ahead and this is type of crust makes a great tasting pizza.
To assemble and make the pizza
To assemble the pizza, I douse olive oil and oregano onto the top of the crust to add flavor. Then I spread on about one cup of prepared pizza sauce — I used Classico Traditional Pizza Sauce brand for these pizzas. My favorite variety of cheese for pizzas is Provolone cheese. It is mellow and “melts in your mouth.” Or use shredded mozzarella cheese. Add on meat (if you are using this ingredient) and vegetable toppings (onions and bell pepper).
Bake this pizza at in a hot oven — at 500 degree temperature — for about 8 to 10 minutes. (If using bread dough, I bake the pizza in a 450 degree oven.)
The recipe for “Best Ever Homemade Pizza” is an adaptable one. Skip the cured meat if you are watching fat, sodium and pile on more vegetables. Make a homemade sauce –using salt free tomato paste — to lower the salt content. Creativity is the key, plus using up leftovers hiding in the refrigerator.
It is also very easy to make a homemade pizza sauce. I use a 6-oz can of tomato paste seasoned with oregano, garlic powder, sugar, salt. This makes enough for one pizza.
German “Flammkuchen” Pizza
I was surprised to find a type of rectangular, thin crust pizza on the menus of up-scale restaurants when we visited Northern Germany several years ago, These pizzas are called “Flammkuchen.” They originated in the South region of Germany and are traditionally loaded with caramelized onion and bacon. You won’t find pizza sauce or mozzarella cheese on these pizzas. The pizza being served here was at a restaurant in Hamburg, Germany. The pizza included tomatoes, olives, onion and soft cheese. It was very tasty and was quickly devoured. So, German’s like pizza, too.
With all the convenience products found in our grocery stores today, making a homemade pizza is easy and speedy. (Keep the ingredients on hand.) We agreed that our pizza was just as satisfying as any purchased one, either commercially frozen or from a restaurant. Plus, it is rewarding to use our imagination for additions to the pizza. Enjoy the game today!
East Cook: Best Ever Homemade Pizza
- 1 shelf-ready pizza crust
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp dried oregano leaves
- 1 cup (8 oz) commercial pizza sauce, such as Classico Traditional Pizza Sauce brand*
- 6 oz thin sliced Provolone cheese
- 1/2 large white onion, thinly sliced to make rings
- 1/4 large bell pepper thinly sliced into strips
- 6 oz thinly sliced Canadian bacon or pepperoni slices
Instructions and Steps:
- Pre-heat oven to 500 degrees.
- Place pizza crust on pizza stone or large baking sheet. Evenly spread olive oil over crust and sprinkle on oregano.
- Spread commercial pizza sauce evenly onto dough, completely to edges.
- Arrange thin Provolone cheese slices on pizza sauce in a circular pattern.
- Next, arrange on onion rings and green bell pepper strips onto pizza or other desired toppings..
- Last arrange Canadian bacon or pepperoni on in a circular pattern.
- Place pizza stone with pizza into oven. Bake 10 to 15 minutes until crust is slightly brown and topping bubbles.
*NOTE: Frozen bread dough (1 lb frozen loaf) can be substituted for shelf-ready crust. Defrost frozen loaf, placed in a large oiled bowl, for several hours in a warm (180 degree) oven. The stretch dough into a large circle on pizza stone. A 6-oz can of tomato paste with 1 tsp oregano, sugar, salt (optional) and 1/2 tsp garlic powder mixed in can be substituted for the pizza sauce. Bake this pizza in a 450 degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes.