Ok, my friends! I got enough pleas--mainly through Facebook--to please post the pizza dough recipe that I use so I'm going to do so right here and right now! I have to give credit where credit it due. All of these years I've been using the recipe I got from Pampered Chef when I ordered my pizza stones and have tweaked it just a bit by adding whole wheat flour. I have to say, using pizza stones makes all the difference in the world in a positive and scrumptious end result. Aside from my Kitchenaide mixer, they're probably my favorite kitchen tool.
So, the basic Pampered Chef "Quick Mix Pizza Dough" recipe a la Lisa Amos is as follows:
1 cup water
2 T olive oil
3-3 1/2 cups all purpose flour, divided (this is where my tweaking comes in...I typically substitute about half of the all purpose with whole wheat flour)
1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
Heat water and oil to 120F (for me, this translates into microwave it in a bowl for about a minute 40 seconds...you don't want it to be too cold OR too hot though so use a thermometer if you need to til you get the hang of it). Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, yeast, sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add warm water mixture and beat w/an electric mixer for 3 minutes. Stir in an additional 1 1/2 cups flour by hand to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface. Knead dough for 10 minutes, adding the remaining 1/2 cup flour as needed to keep dough from sticking. Dough should be smooth and elastic, but not sticky when kneading is complete. Shape dough into a ball and place in a large greased bowl (I use a smidge of olive oil...keeping it healthiest), turning dough over to grease top. Cover with a damp cloth. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 45-60 minutes.
Preheat over to 450F. Punch dough down and divide in half. Dough may be frozen at this point if desired for later use. Press half of dough out into a 13-14 inch circle directly on the baking stone. A rolling pin may be used if desired. Form a thick ridge around the edge to hold the toppings. Prick the surface of the dough thoroughly with a fork. Parbake the crust for 10-15 minutes until lightly browned. Add your favorite toppings and bake an additional 10-15 minutes until crust is crisp and cheese is lightly browned.
Yield: 2 crusts
Ok, with the exception of what I typed in parentheses above that is the Pampered Chef recipe. Many of you have actually eaten my pizzas and I have to say I bake it a little differently than the recipe states. I do not parbake it. I just roll it out, spread some of my homemade sauce on there, put whatever toppings on that I'm using and pop it in the oven to bake once all together.
Another helpful note: If you'd like the crust to be a little bit on the thicker side then I'd suggest using the above recipe for one pie. If you like thin and crispy (like I do) then divide in half like the recipe states and use for 2 thin crust pizzas. For our family, I typically double the above recipe each Family Fun Friday and use one of the recipes for a thicker pie and the other half of the doubled recipe to make two thin crust pies.
To make a healthy pizza sauce, I simply combine a can of tomato sauce (low salt would be ideal) in a saucepan along with 1 packet of splenda, fresh garlic or some garlic powder (NOT garlic salt!), onion powder and some fresh, chopped basil, oregano and thyme from my herb container garden. Bring it to a light boil then drop the heat and let it simmer for a few minutes. Then I like to toss in a tablespoon or so of grated parmesian cheese for added thickness and flavor!
Our children typically go for the thicker crust and usually just want a half cheese/half pepperoni pizza. Pepperoni is horrible for you! But, I believe in moderation and not being an annoying fanatic....so long as you truly keep it in moderation. There only ends up being 1 slice of pepperoni on each pepperoni piece and if my children eat just 1 or 2 little slices of turkey pepperoni each week I'm cool with that. They're highly active and eat really well otherwise.
On mine and Matt's pizzas I love to get really creative! I will usually stick mainly to all veggies. My favorites to use are spinach leaves, artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, and mushrooms and sometimes I also use bell peppers, tomatos sliced really thinly, black olives and any number of other things. I will typically toss a VERY light sprinkling of grated mozzarella over our pies...probably no more than 1/3 cup over the whole thing--just enough cheese to give it some flavor and to get that delightful visual effect of melty, stringy cheese without blasting ourselves with unnecessary calories. I mean, really, I enjoy the experience of all of the unique flavors from all of the different ingredients dancing around on my palate--not to be overwhelmed by any one thing. At any rate, I also usually like to sprinkle a weensy bit of feta over the top and then drizzle a wee bit of olive oil--maybe a teaspoon or two--over the top of everything.
I can't tell you how much fun I've had getting creative with my pizza making regarding what toppings to use. Every now and then it's fun to get nuts with a BBQ chicken pizza or maybe a buffalo chicken pizza. In general, when trying to eat as healthfully as possible, you want to keep the sugar, salt and fat to a minimum. So, you don't want to go too nuts too often. Try to stick with those wonderful basics (in all of your cooking): fruit and veggies, whole grains and lean protein. Have fun with your pizzas. If you make a BBQ pizza one day then just shuffle your family out the door together later for a nice brisk walk, a scrimmage game of soccer or maybe a race around the block!
Oh, for those trying to keep track of that calorie intake, I've calculated the basic dough recipe. If you use 3 cups of flour (1 1/2 whole wheat and 1 1/2 all purp) like I do, and slice each pie into 8 slices, your calories would be 189 per slice for a thicker crust pizza and 95 calories per slice for a thin crust. Then simply add whatever calories to that for your sauce and toppings. If you stick to a plethora of veggies and use just that smidge of cheese you'll find this to be a very economically caloric meal! If you need more help determining how many calories you should be aiming for each day please visit my site at www.beachbodycoach.com/LisaErin. You can sign up for free--I'd love to help you set goals for becoming more healthy and help give you the tools to get there. It's all about trekking out on the path to living healthfully and happily and ENJOYING the ride!
~To your health~