pizza pizza!

until i get a stand mixer, i won’t be doing any REAL baking or dough-making, unless i feel like attempting an adventure. packaged baking mixes and premade pizza doughs will have to do! i loove trader joe’s pizza dough. i picked up a bag (only ¢99!) of their whole wheat dough a few days ago and decided last night i should probably use it up, so i made pizza! it wasn’t REALLY cooking, it was more like assembling. but still, the pizza was homemade and not the ¢99 stuff from downstairs. not that there’s anything wrong with it, ¢99 pizza is delicious. but this one was better 🙂 AND it was on a whole wheat crust! you can’t get THAT for ¢99.

like the bruschetta, pictures and rants are not necessary for this pizza since i didn’t make the dough from scratch. or the sauce. i could have made the sauce from scratch, but i only had one can of crushed san marzano tomatoes and i wanted to save that for penne alla vodka next week 🙂 so instead of instructions, i decided to make a list of tips for making pizza at home.

Tips for homemade pizza using store-bought dough

1. if the dough wont stretch or roll out, rub some some olive oil on it. it likes it. i learned this the hard way.

why are you doing this to me?

why are you doing this to me?

2. ladies, if you are dead-set on doing something a certain way, never ask a guy for help. their practicality can be annoying. (“maybe the dough just isn’t supposed to stretch out that much.” – dinner buddy. useless.)

3. for more flavor, season the dough pre-topping with olive oil, some garlic paste, kosher or sea salt, ground black pepper, and maybe some italian seasoning. especially if you plan on using tip #4.

wannabe parbaked focaccia?

now THAT'S rustic

4. if the crust is especially thick, parbake or prebake it a little. parbaking is partially cooking.

5. if you chop too many vegetables for toppings, cook them down a bit. heat some olive oil in a small skillet, throw in some crushed red pepper for fun. once the flakes start to sizzle, add veggies you wish to cook down along with some garlic. salt and pepper at the end if there are mushrooms to prevent too much sweating, otherwise season whenever you feel like it. in my case, i chopped way too many mushrooms and peppers. since mushrooms especially like to shrink when they cook, this was a great technique. unfortunately, i love raw veggies so the veggies didn’t have the crunch i wanted. next time, i’ll just save the extras.

i feel like emeril with this pan

i feel like emeril with this pan

6. layering toppings is fun! if you do sauce, cheese, toppings, there is a chance that your toppings will fall off. i like my toppings to be IN my cheese. here i did a light layer of cheese and the toppings.

mama mia! now it's looking like a pizza

mama mia! now it's looking like a pizza

then i did the final layer of cheese.

oops. maybe i shouldn't have used all the cheese.

oops. maybe i shouldn't have used all the cheese.

7. listen to the instructions about the baking temperature! even if it seems a bit high, they do know what they’re talking about.

425?? whatever you say, trader joe geniuses.

425?? whatever you say, trader joe geniuses.

8. please eat a snack if you’re hungry. otherwise you’ll do what i did and stare into the oven and then it’ll feel like an eternity before your pizza is done.

trying to be artsy

trying to be artsy

9. in the case that you put too much cheese, for your poor oven’s sake, please make sure there is room on the pan for the cheese to melt around the pizza. its ok if this happens though, those crispy bits of cheese are GOOD.

my cheese runneth over

my cheese runneth over

10. i loooove basil, so topping your pizza with fresh basil (AFTER baking) is a great idea.

making pizza at home can be a lot of fun since you can make whatever you want! its especially fun with a friend or two. here i made a very simple pizza, but the sky is the limit 🙂 you can do anything from gorgonzola and caramelized onions to regular pepperoni (or turkey pepperoni or veggie pepperoni) pizza. the crust is very important, so once you find a recipe for one or a ready made one you like, stick with it 🙂 aside my fight with it, the trader joe’s one is pretty good. give it a try one day!

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