For a fun group activity for children and adults, why not hold your own make-and-bake pizza party? It can be as simple as using a mix or refrigerated dough or buying a premade crust, French bread or English muffins, slathering them with pasta sauce and topping with veggies, meat and cheese. Whipping up a dough from scratch costs a little less, has a bit more fiber and flavor, and gives you the satisfaction of doing it yourself. Here’s a tried-and-true family favorite for a soft-crust pizza:
Honey Whole-Wheat Pizza Dough
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons rapid-rise yeast
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup olive oil
Pour about 1 cup very warm water (about 110 degrees) into bowl. Add honey and salt. Stir until dissolved. Stir in yeast and allow to proof (bubble up) for 5 minutes. Add 1 cup of all-purpose flour and oil and mix until smooth and lump free. Add remainder of flour and mix until you can form ball with dough. If too dry, add water, 1 tablespoon at a time until achieving right consistency. If too wet, add 1 tablespoon flour at a time. Place dough ball on floured board and knead for about a minute. Put dough in sealed plastic bag or covered bowl and allow to rise in warm spot until doubled, about 45 minutes. Punch down dough, then let rise until doubled again.
On well-floured board, form dough into flat ball (divide in two for smaller “personal”-size pies). Pressing from center of dough outward, form dough into flat disc, turning it as you go. When dough has been flattened to about half an inch in thickness, use a rolling pin to flatten it further. Puncture dough several times with fork and put it on baking stone or lightly greased pizza pan. Form a rim of dough around the edge. Cover with sauce and toppings of your choice. Bake at 400 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
Servings: 8. Serving size: 1 slice (dough only). Per serving: 277 calories, 7.3 g protein, 7.1 g fat, 46.2 g carbohydrates, 3.5 g fiber, 148 mg sodium
Cook’s Tip: You can make this dough ahead of time and freeze it after the second rise. Allow plenty of time for it to come to room temperature before shaping.
Sauces: To Top It All Off
You can easily find jarred or canned sauces or make your own.
Pizza sauce is easy to make: Simmer a 15-ounce can of tomato sauce with a clove of minced garlic, a half teaspoon each of dried oregano, dried basil and red pepper, a quarter cup of Parmesan and salt to taste.
Specialties of the House
Whether guests are building their own pizzas, or the chef is in control, consider going beyond pepperoni. Try one of these themed pizzas with fun combinations of ingredients, or use them as inspiration to create your personally perfect pizza.
Sauce: Half tomato, half barbecue
Layers: Thinly sliced red onion, smoked brisket, pickled jalapeños
Cheese: Colby Jack
Mexican Flag Margherita
Sauce: Pesto, light pasta or none
Layers: Thinly sliced plum tomatoes (overlap slices if not using sauce), fresh basil leaves (omit if using pesto)
Cheese: Queso Oaxaca (Mexican mozzarella)
Layers: Minced garlic, cooked shrimp, lump crabmeat
Cheese: Mozzarella and provolone
Over the Border
Sauce: Green enchilada
Layers: Sliced white onion, chopped green pepper, chopped cooked chicken
Cheese: Mexican-blend cheese
Hill Country Smokehaus
Layers: Sliced smoked sausage, ham, crumbled cooked bacon
Cheese: Smoked Cheddar or provolone