As a cheapskate, pizza is your friend. As a cheapskate with a big family, pizza might just be your best friend. It consists of a good part bread, which is cheap. The meat, if used at all, can be skimped on as it's being used more as a flavoring than the big kahuna (unless you're a meat-lovers kind of family in which case, um, shop the sales). You can sneak certain veggies in and on it; and even if those veggies are absolutely not a hit, people can pick them off and still eat the bulk of the meal you've prepared (though you might still get a bit of whining--try to silence this by offering to give that kid's piece of pizza to another kid or to Dad--that usually shuts 'em up), Sure, the cheese is going to cost you a bit, but the cheese for a pizza can be bought on sale and frozen since the cheese for pizza usually ends up crumbly anyway.
Also, pizza tastes good. In most families (even in my family--Motto: "We don't all eat what our mother serves:), it's a hit. In fact, I like to give pizza instead of the more standard casserole to friends when they've just had a baby. It's just as easy to take and store and I believe it's generally well received by pickier older children.
Pizza can be made, left uncooked, and frozen. And then it is perfect for those nights when you've been working all day in the yard and you'd otherwise be inclined to, well, pick up a pizza.
The only problem with pizza is that we tend to get in pizza funks. Tomato sauce, pepperoni, mozzarella. Which can get a little boring. Okay, never to my kids, but to me. On one such bored-of-pizza pizza night, I was looking for some inspiration and noticed a breakfast pizza on smittenkitchen.com. We had bacon; we had eggs. We had dinner. (Oh, you thought this was breakfast pizza, did you? Well, it certainly could be, especially if you let your dough rise in the refrigerator overnight. But we had it for dinner.) We even had fun with dinner. (Although if you are grown ups and making this for something grown up like a brunch, you don't have to.)
(or maybe that's just scary)
On smitten kitchen, there was no sauce used, which made me so nervous that I had some marinara for dipping in case I got a revolt. People did dip because my kids and husband are dipping kinds of people, but I was surprised at how very much I liked pizza without the sauce. It felt so grown up, so not Chuck-E-Cheese.
And as one final note, I must comment on the eggs. They came out a bit runny-ish. I know that this is how most people like their eggs and I think that this is possibly even how they were intended to come out. However, I wished for them to be more solid--not dry pasty yolk solid, but at least soft-boiled yolk solid. When we make this again, I will lower the temperature of the oven by about 25 degrees and increase the cooking time a bit to allow them longer to set up. I think using small eggs would also help. I will also, most likely break the yolks and spread them out just a bit (sorry Mister Clown face).
makes two 12-inch thicker crusted pizzas
adapted from smittenkitchen
Prep time: 15 minutes (plus a 30-40 minute rise for the dough)
Cook time: 15 minutes
(flour: .55, yeast: .05, Parm cheese: .50, mozzarella cheese: 1.25, eggs: .25, bacon: .40)
1 tsp active dry yeast
4 1/4 C flour (I used half all-purpose, half whole wheat)
1/2-1 Tbsp sugar (depending on whether you like a little sweet in your crust or not)
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 C warm water
1/2 C grated Parmesan
2 C grated mozzarella
2-3 eggs per pizza
4-6 strips bacon
salt and pepper to taste
several leaves of spinach
Note: If you're minions will not object, you can also use several tablespoons chopped parsley, chives, shallot, and/or green onion.
Combine yeast and water. Add sugar. Add 2 C flour and mix well. Add rest of flour until it becomes to hard to mix. Turn it out and knead it for several minutes (5-8). Or use your Kitchenaid and go leaf through a magazine for 4 minutes or so. Put in a warm area and let rise until doubled (about 30-40 minutes). You can use this time to prepare your other ingredients, as described below.
When it's risen, divide it in 2 and use your fingers to press it into 2 round pizzas. Alternately, you can make 1 large rectangular pizza in a jelly roll sheet. Lightly grease whatever sheet you put it on (or use a baking stone).
For toppings and to prepare pizzas:
Fry bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crisp. Drain on a paper towel. Break into pieces if you wish or leave large and make a smiley face and funky eyebrows.
Sprinkle almost all cheese over dough. Add spinach and sprinkle remaining cheese over that too. Add bacon pieces. Crack eggs over pizza (small ones are best; break the yolks if you want more cookage to go on). Season eggs with salt and pepper. Add other herbs, onions if using.
Bake at 375 for 10-15 minutes or until yolks are done (with rack set to medium position in oven). Note: Pizzas are generally cooked at much higher temperatures--especially, I believe, pizzas with a thin crust. The original recipe called for crusts half as thin and for the oven to be at 500 with the pizza baked on the lowest rack. This might work with a thin crusted pizza and it might take care of the runny egg problem, but Kip likes thick crusts, so I originally baked mine at 425 on the middle oven rack and ended up with runny yolks and slightly too-brown cheese. Perhaps I should have had more faith in the 500 degree lowest rack, though I still don't quite believe that it would have gotten my thicker crust cooked. Thus, if you have a thin crust, go with 500 on the lowest rack for 8-10 minutes. If you have a thick one, you can still do that, or you can try what I intend to try--lowering the oven temp and giving a longer cook time. If it doesn't work, leave an angry post telling me I should have tried this before giving out random advice, as I surely should have. I promise to on my next pizza.