Saturday, January 22, 2011

It's a pizza party

Hi friends! This week I'm still trekking along with the Pantry/Freezer Challenge. I've  significantly whittled down my supply of assorted muffins and baked goods from the freezer (served along with some frozen fruit for breakfast), and I've given serious thought as to how to creatively use up the rest of my ingredients.

Even just a few days into this challenge, it's reminded me to be thoughtful and intentional about shopping and eating - something that was a big part of my life during my year in Americorps. It's so easy now to take for granted that I can run to the store for whatever I need, rather than make use of what I already have on hand.

So, in the spirit of resourcefulness and creativity, PIZZA seemed like a great way to use up random foodstuffs. Anything tastes good on a pizza, right? I made the dough Thursday night, then invited some girlfriends over to make and eat the pizza Friday night...proving that even when cooking straight from the pantry, you can still have a party! (I think three of us still counts as a party - don't you?) :)

Kathleen forming her crust
Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
(makes 2 small crusts)

1 T active dry yeast
1 t sugar
1 1/2 c warm water (110 degrees - use a thermometer if, like me, you cannot approximate this exact temperature of water and don't want your yeast to die or not activate)
1 T olive oil
1 t salt
2 c whole wheat flour
2 T ground flaxseed (optional) (F)
2 T fresh chopped oregano and rosemary (optional)
1 1/2 c all-purpose flour

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the sugar in the water. Sprinkle on the yeast, and let it stand and foam for 10 minutes. Stir in the oil and the salt. Add the whole wheat flour, flaxseed and herbs (if using) and 1 cup of the all-purpose flour and mix with a fork or spoon until the dough comes together. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour over a clean, dry surface and turn out the dough. Knead it, incorporating the rest of the flour, for about 5-10 minutes. Spray the mixing bowl with some nonstick spray, and place the dough back in the bowl, covered with sprayed plastic wrap. Let it double in size, which will take about an hour (you could totally go to the gym while it's rising, like me). Remove the plastic wrap, cut the dough in half, form each half into a ball, place each in their own sprayed bowl, and cover with sprayed plastic wrap. This time, let it rise for another 30-45 minutes. At this point, you can refrigerate and use the next day or use right away. I don't like soggy pizza, so I always pre-bake my crust before adding the toppings (350 degrees for about 6-7 minutes).

Amazing* From-Scratch Pizza Sauce
(makes enough for your 2 small pizzas)

1 28-oz can whole peeled tomatoes, drained well (over strainer) and juice reserved (P)
2 T tomato paste (F)
1 t olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 heaping t fresh chopped oregano and rosemary
1/2 t dried basil
1/2 t salt
1/4 t sugar
black pepper

Add the whole peeled tomatoes (which have been drained well over a strainer) to a food processor/blender along with 1/2 cup of the reserved tomato juice and buzz until pureed. (You'll have 1 1/2 cups of tomato juice left over.) In a medium saucepan, add the pureed tomatoes, tomato paste, olive oil, minced garlic clove, fresh and dried herbs, salt, sugar and pepper. Stir well to combine everything, and simmer on low heat at least 20 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before adding to pizza.

*Not to toot my own horn here, but this sauce did taste pretty amazing. I've always used store-bought pizza sauce, but I didn't have any, and challenge rules are challenge rules! The key to using canned whole tomatoes is draining them well and adding only some liquid back - which makes for the perfect consistency!

We topped our pizzas with artichoke hearts (P), roasted red peppers (P), spicy olive bruschetta topping (P), pesto (F), spinach, tomatoes and mozzarella cheese. Yum!

Pizza glamour shot
What do you like on your pizza? Any ideas how I can use that extra tomato juice? 


  1. I'm doing this sauce recipe. It sounds simple and delicious. Also, kudos to you for your "thoughtful and intentional" food planning and shopping. This is a great reminder and the philosophy is transferrable to much of what we do in our frantically paced lives! :-)

  2. Annie - I love homemade crusts and can't wait to try the wheat. TFS. Thanks so much for linking to the Sunday Showcase - I greatly appreciate it. I'll be featuring this today - stop by and grab a afeatured button if you like. Hope you have a wonderful week ~ Stephanie Lynn