Memories and healthy recipes for your dinner table.

Making Homemade Pizza Dough and Sauce

Many people love pizza. It is easy and versatile. In addition to being yummy, pizzas are fun to make, which makes it a great activity for the family. Have a house full of the neighbor kids? No problem. Let them make their own personal pizza.

Some prefer the store bought pizza crust, which is a little pricey, but it is a no fail way to go. While others may reach for the refrigerated pizza dough, I enjoy making my own.

The next step is the pizza sauce. Before you reach for the stuff in the jar, try making your own. It is easier than you think. It just takes a little preparation. The great thing about sauce is you can make it the day before, because like wine, it tastes better with age. Personally, fresh is best. But if you do not have time to peel and cut tomatoes, or have an herb garden, cans work.

2 1/4 teaspoon Active Dry Yeast
Pinch of Sugar
1 1/4 cups lukewarm water (110-115 degrees), divided
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more

If using Active Dry yeast sprinkle the yeast and sugar into 1/4 cup warm (105-110 degree) water. Stir until completely dissolved. Set in warm, draft free place for 3-5 minutes or until yeast bubbles and doubles in volume. (If mixture does not bubble up after five minutes, throw out and start over) If using instant yeast, mix the yeast with the flour and salt in step two.

In a mixer bowl with the hook attachment, add flour and salt. Make a well, add yeast mixture, 1 cup of warm water and 1/4 cup olive oil. Mix at medium speed until almost combined. Knead on high speed for 6-8 minutes in the mixer or knead by hand on a floured surface for 10 minutes. Dust with flour, put in a clean dry bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled.

Preheat oven to 500. Place rack on lowest shelf of oven. Punch dough. Break dough into fourths to make four small to medium sized pizzas. Brush pizza stone or baking sheet with a little olive oil. Form the pizza dough by laying the dough on the pizza stone, then pat and pull the dough until it is the size you want. *Rolling the dough forces the air bubbles out which produces and thinner flat crust. For a thick crust make a little rim. Poke the center of the pizza with your fingers to make small indentations. Once the toppings are on and the pizza is ready to be baked, place pizza on the bottom rack. Bake 10-15 minutes until crust is browned.

Use tortillas in the place of pizza dough. Place a tortilla on foil or a baking sheet. Brush with oil. Top with desired toppings. Bake 350 for 6-10 minutes. The cheese should be slightly browned and the tortilla a golden brown. So fast and easy they would make a great lunch.

Pick your sauce base- (about 3-4 cups or 4 pounds) fresh (peeled and seeded) or canned diced tomatoes or tomato sauce plus 1 can puree or tomato paste.
1 cup onion, chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Oregano 1-2 teaspoons, dried
Rosemary 1/2 teaspoon, dried
Thyme 1/2 teaspoon, dried

Saute onions and garlic in a little olive oil, until onions begin to be transparent. Season with herbs and pepper. Add tomato base and sprinkle with salt. Bring everything to a boil, then let simmer for about 20 minutes.

Replace the oregano, thyme and rosemary with 1 tbsp Italian seasoning.
Puree veggies such as zucchini, cauliflower or a carrot to add to the sauce.
If using diced tomatoes, process in a food processor until desired consistency.