My kids have regular pizza days at their school – it’s popular because parents know that once a week, they get a pass on making lunch. And for anyone with school age kids, making lunches are one more thing to do in a packed schedule after a long day at work. And kids love pizza so it’s a win-win, right? Well, there’s not much nutritional value in a piece of cheese pizza. So, we end up making pizza from scratch – it’s actually a quick meal and we freeze extra pieces by the slice to send as lunch when we need to (if we don’t have leftovers from dinner).
I make a super simple pizza sauce with a can of diced tomatoes, a half a can of tomato paste, two cloves of garlic, olive oil and a sprinkling of sea salt. Brown the minced garlic in olive oil and then add the rest of the ingredients and let them simmer for about a half an hour. Use an immersion blender to blend it into a sauce.
There was a time when my son would protest if there was a green speck of oregano or thyme in his sauce so I keep it basic and add the flavour as toppings – they’re easier to pick off if necessary.
I use what I need for the pizza I’m making and then I freeze the rest in small containers so I can thaw them out as I need them. If I have sauce in the freezer, pizza-making takes no time at all.
If you were to ask my kids, they’d say they hate garlic and onions but if the garlic is minced, they don’t notice it. Onions, on the other hand, always get noticed. So I chop them in big chunks that are easy to pick out. That’s how I keep the peace at the dinner table.
Quick-Rising Pizza Dough
I have Donna Klein’s Vegan Italiano, which I love and use enough that the book is falling to pieces. The most used recipe in her book is the Quick-Rising Pizza Dough. It takes about 5 minutes to make perfect pizza dough. The dough has to rest for 10 minutes after I make it so I use this time to prep the toppings.
The only tweak I make to this recipe is to replace half the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour. It’s healthier and the kids don’t notice the difference.
One of the greatest things about homemade pizza is that you can top it however you want. Pineapple, olives, bell peppers, vegan pepperoni or ham are popular choices when I ask my kids. I generally make two pizzas so they can have whatever they want on theirs (extra pineapple) and I can add hot peppers to mine. This makes for lots of leftovers to freeze by the slice.
Dinner is served
Here it is. Pizza and a side of butternut squash with a dab of vegan butter and sprinkling of brown sugar. This brown sugar topping is something new I’m trying. My picky eater ate one big piece of squash – which was a nice surprise.