Homemade pizza saves dinner.
No, I don’t think that statement dramatic at all. Homemade pizza is quite literally one of the easiest and most satisfying dinners you can make on a busy weeknight.
Let me set the stage for you. You arrive at work just after 8am. Traffic was a nightmare which means you had to skip getting your Starbuck’s since the line would have made you late so the day has barely begun and you’re under-caffeinated. You manage to make it through the work day, through all the conference calls, the emails, the putting out fires left and right and now it’s time to get back in the car and fight the same traffic just going in the opposite direction. Oh and also, it’s raining. And not a drizzle, the sky just opened and it’s a downpour. You manage to make it home, not too behind schedule, you’re starving and it’s time to cook dinner. There’s no way you’re spending an hour or more preparing something….you’re beginning to think of ordering from your favorite spot. This is when pizza saves dinner. Homemade pizza can be ready in under 30 minutes, it’s fresh, it’s cheesey, it’s over the top savory, and is an all around crowd-pleaser.
That scene didn’t resonate with you? How about this one. You’ve been home with the kids all day. Nap time didn’t go as planned, it’s been one tantrum after another. There’s no way a Pinterest-inspired sensory box is going to happen, and it’s raining so no outdoor activities. You somehow managed to make it to 6pm, bedtime for the little ones is insight. But..it’s time for dinner. Time isn’t on your side though, the kids won’t hang in there for an hour or more as your prepare something complex. This is when homemade pizza saves the day. Quick, easy, little mess created, barely any cleanup. Kid-friendly, mom-friendly, an all around crowd-pleaser.
Yes, homemade pizza can absolutely save dinners everywhere. What makes this extra easy is using refrigerated pizza crust. While you can buy the ball of pizza dough and roll it out yourself, I feel this adds an extra unnecessary step and I don’t find it easy to get a thin crust from the balled dough. A little special trick I like to do is to brush the crust with a little extra virgin olive oil then sprinkle it with garlic powder, it really helps make the crust become this final savory seasoned bite at the end of the cheesy pizza. Keep a few packages of the thin crust refrigerated pizza dough in the fridge so you’re always ready to whip up some homemade pizza on one of those nights that needs a little saving.
A note on the Mozzarella cheese, while I typically like grating my own cheese, especially for Cheddar, I think it’s fine to use packaged shredded Mozzarella cheese for pizzas. If you want to grate your own from a block of cheese, absolutely do that, but I’ve had this both ways and I find either way produces the perfect pizza cheesy-ness.
-1 package thin crust refrigerated pizza crust
-1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
-2 garlic cloves, grated
-1 lemon, zested
-1/4 cup chopped, fresh basil
-1/2 cup diced sun-dried tomatoes
-2 and 1/2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
-1/2 cup ricotta cheese
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1/2 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
-Extra virgin olive oil + garlic powder for dusting the crust
1. Preheat oven to 425. Lightly spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray, then place the unrolled pizza dough on top and gently knead and stretch the dough until it fits the size of the pan. Don’t worry if you get a hole, pinch the dough back together and press it together and it will seal back up. Once the dough has been fully unrolled, bake it for 8 minutes.
2. While the dough is pre-baking, in a medium pan over medium heat, pour the extra virgin olive oil. Add the grated garlic, the chopped basil, the chopped sun-dried tomatoes, and all of the zest from the lemon. Cook and stir for 2-3 minutes, then remove from heat and pour into a bowl.
3. When the dough has been pre-baked, remove from the oven. With a brush lightly brush what will be the crust with extra virgin olive oil, then very lightly sprinkle with garlic powder. If you don’t have a brush, no big deal. Pour some of the oil into a small bowl, then bunch up a paper towel. Dip the paper towel in the oil and use that to brush the crust.
4. Once the crust has been prepared, cover the remaining dough with the shredded Mozzarella cheese, spoon in dollops the ricotta cheese over top the Mozzarella, sprinkle the 1/4 teaspoon of salt over top. Next, spoon the sun-dried tomato lemon basil mixture over top the ricotta and Mozzarella. Lastly, sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the whole pizza.
5. Bake for 10 minutes at 425 degrees.