My New Stand By Meal - PIzza

We all have them, those stand by meals. The meals you can always make from ingredients on hand. The meals that are quick and easy. The ones you fall back on when you didn't plan dinner ( common around here,) the plan fell through ( forgot to get the meat out of the freezer,) or you don't feel like sticking to the plan ( I'm way too tired to deal with lasagna tonight! )

For years the stand by meal around here was spaghetti. Cook up some noodles. Throw a jar of sauce in a pan. ( Yes, I know a jar of sauce? I rarely make sauce from scratch. Old habits die hard. Maybe if I get it together this summer we will can homemade sauce. ) Voila! Dinner!

Though we still use that some, the new stand by meal around here is PIZZA! Pepperoni and mozzarella cheese are staples here as are the rest of the ingredients needed. First the crust, from scratch. We've used several recipes over the years. Below is the current favorite. The recipe is from my favorite cookbook, Settlement Cook Book

, the 1965 version.

1 package dry yeast
2 TB warm water
1 C boiling water
2 TB shortening
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
3 C sifted flour

In a large bowl soften yeast in warm water. In a separate bowl add boiling water to shortening, salt and sugar. Cool to lukewarm and add to yeast. Add most of the flour and beat until smooth. Add remaining flour and knead. Cover and put in a warm place to double in bulk. Punch down and press dough firmly onto greased pan.

The recipe is actually supposed to be for two 12 inch pizzas. We like our crust a little thicker and I use one recipe per baking stone. I prefer a baking stone. If you use one and it is seasoned you won't need to grease the pan.

Next, I brush the dough with olive oil and then spread on the sauce. My sauce depends on what I have on hand. Sometimes it is leftover spaghetti sauce. Often it is a small can of tomato sauce and occasionally tomato paste. If I am using tomato sauce or paste I sprinkle on some spices. Garlic, basil, oregano, a bit of salt and pepper.

Next I put on a layer of mozzarella. We like a lot of cheese and I've found it cooks better with a thin layer first and then another on top. Put your favorite toppings between the cheese layers. For us this again depends on what we have on hand. Tonight, one was pepperoni, the other pepperoni, onion and mushroom.

Bake at 450 F for about 20 minutes until the cheese is melted and just starting to brown. Pizza is our most common stand by meal around here. What is yours?

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My New Stand By Meal - PIzza + water