Thinking Outside the Pizza Box
Lately I’ve been trying to earn points through RecycleBank and I read this article on the dreaded delivery pizza box. The corrugated cardboard isn’t the problem when it comes to recycling, it’s the grease that has been smeared all over it by your nummy round noshings. Grease and paper just don’t mix. It made me think of all the pizzas and subsequent boxes my family has gone through in the last few years. Ugh.
BUT here comes redemption for you and me, folks. The best part is that in the amount of time it takes you to read this post, you will have skipped all the figure-it-out-for-yourself-dum-dum process that it took me. You will be healthier, richer and greener…. and… drum roll, please……
Make your pizza at home!
Triple benefit! 1. You have control of the ingredients on your pizza (better for us calorie counters) 2. It is WAY cheaper to use what you’ve got in the pantry/ refrigerator than to have it brought to you (and no one is burning gasoline… oh God, another soap box) and 3. NO greasy box.
Here is what I do on pizza night: You will need a mixing bowl, spoon, pizza stone and rolling-pin.
I make my own crust with this recipe. You could tweak the type of flour you use, I suppose, to make it a tad bit healthier, but my family likes it as-is:
- 2 & 1/2 cups flour
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 &1/4 tsp dry active yeast
- 3 tbsp EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
- 1 tsp salt
Mix all ingredients in mixing bowl and allow dough to rest 10 minutes. Start oven to preheat to 425 degrees F.
In the ten minutes that the dough is resting and oven is heating, I dig out all the toppings I will use. It’s never the same twice because I typically use leftovers from the last couple of days: spaghetti sauce, shredded cheese, chicken meat from a rotisserie bird, spinach, basil from the garden, fresh tomato, a couple of slices of pastrami, and those last two strips of bacon that weren’t enough to cook at breakfast. You get the idea- be creative!
Get ready to assemble the pizza: I use a pizza stone, but I think you could use a greased cookie sheet as well (just watch it to see if you need to adjust your cooking time). Sprinkle some flour or cornmeal on the pizza stone to prevent sticking. Scoop the dough out of the bowl it has been resting in and knead it out for a minute on a floured surface. On same surface, use your rolling-pin to shape it into a circle that will fit on your pizza stone ( For those using a cookie sheet, I think you could just press it into the sheet with your fingers, just be sure to not poke a hole in the crust). Gently pick up your shaped dough and place it on the pizza stone and start adding your toppings. Baking time is about 20-25 minutes, less time with fewer toppings or more time with thicker toppings. Allow pizza to set for five minutes or so after taking it out of the oven to let it cool and coagulate.
This yields one medium/largish pizza with an “original” thickness crust, approximately 12 inches in diameter. If you want it thicker or thinner, larger or smaller, just play with it and decide how you want it. I even separated the dough into three small personal sized pizzas once and fit them all at once on the stone and they turned out fine.
There you have it, people. Economic, eco-friendly, and easier on the waistline.