8 Easy Shortcuts to Making Homemade Pizza
In her gorgeous memoir Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, Barbara Kingsolver describes the year her family lived on a self-sufficient farm in Virginia. To simplify their lives in one small way, they declared Friday night Pizza Night, therefore eliminating the question of “What’s for dinner?” at least one night a week. It’s a brilliant idea, yes. But if your dough skills are anything like mine, you’ll want a few shortcuts to make something like this happen at your house. Here are a few of my favorite tricks for enjoying homemade pizza without the hassle.
Buy dough from a pizzeria.
This one is a no-brainer. Who has time to deal with the yeast, the kneading and the rolling on an average weeknight? Look to your local mom-and-pop pizzerias for help, as many will sell you a ball of their fresh dough. Call ahead to find out, and if they do, stock up, because it often freezes well.
Make the sauce ahead of time.
Prep a big batch of Ree Drummond’s homemade pizza sauce then freeze it in 1/2 cup containers.
Skip the pizza sauce.
No time to simmer pizza sauce on the stove? Rachael Ray cooks tomato paste right into her toppings — ground sirloin, garlic and onions — and for an easy alternative (pictured above) to the usual prep.
Start with pre-made dough, either in a can or box.
If you're in a pinch, pick up the ready-made stuff from the grocery store. Seriously, even Giada De Laurentiis uses it once in a while, like in this recipe for sausage-stuffed Pizza Pockets (pictured above). And if you’re trying to get more good stuff into your kids, start with these Easy Veggie Calzones; my crew loves them.
Cook your dough in a skillet on the stove.
I learned this trick from Jamie Oliver years ago, and what a difference it makes for crispy crust — no fancy pizza stone required.
Waffle iron your dough.
Think beyond breakfast, and break out the waffle iron for dinner. It's faster than most oven recipes, and the kids will get a kick out of the novelty of the meal.
Use naan bread as your base.
Soft and flavorful, naan turns out to be the perfect vehicle for a thick layer of pesto and mozzarella.
Save time with mini pitas.
Pita pockets work as the “crust,” especially when slathered with cheese and spinach, bound for lunch boxes everywhere.
Want more ideas for tasty toppings? Try one of these 50 Easy Pizzas this week!
Charity Curley Mathews is a contributor to InStyle, The Huffington Post and eHow Food and the founder of Foodlets.com, a food and parenting blog where every recipe is full of fresh ingredients, simple to make and kid-tested x4. She lives in North Carolina with her husband, four small kids, two puppies and 20,000 bees. You can follow her on Facebook.