Dinner-for many of us it’s one of those annoying little tasks that can make an already exhausted woman cranky. A few years ago, I decided to end the madness and started making weekly meal plans. It’s helped my stress levels about dinner immensely and I’ve learned quite a few tricks along the way. Each year, I streamline the process a little more and dinner prep keeps getting easier.
One of the ways to make meal planning easy is to get a few dinners out of one cooking session. We have a weekly family tradition of having homemade pizza every Friday night. On Friday afternoons I make pizza dough and sauce. That night we have pizza. A few days later, I use the leftover pizza dough to make calzones. Another night, I pour the left over sauce over some pasta. Three dinners from one (short) afternoon of cooking.
Of course, you can make it even easier on yourself and buy pre-made dough and sauce too. Do what feels best for you and your family and skip the guilt. But, if you are so inclined to make your own dough, here’s my recipe:
Homemade Pizza Dough Recipe
By Laura Bray
1 tsp Active Dry Yeast. I buy the “Bread Machine” kind, it seems to rise faster.
1 1/2 cups of warm water. Just run your hot tap while you pull out your measuring cup.
4 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup olive oil
Put the yeast, warm water, and one cup of the flour into the bowl of a stand mixer (have your dough hook attached). Mix until combined and let set for 5 minutes. It should look like this after 5 minutes. If it doesn’t, your yeast is probably dead. Start again with fresh yeast.
Add the flour and salt. (A note on salt, if you like crispier, flatter crust add the full teaspoon of salt. If you like your crust soft and doughy, use about a 1/2 teaspoon.)
Start mixer and as everything begins to combine, slowly pour in the olive oil.
Keep mixing until the dough comes together. Many recipes say the dough should look like a baby’s bottom. It should be soft and smooth.
If it looks like this, you are good to go:Depending on the weather and your batch of flour, you might need to add more flour (if the dough is too sticky) or more water (if the dough is dry and looks “flaky”). If you make dough every week, this will all become second nature to you.
Once the dough is ready, grease a bowl with a little olive oil. Put the dough in and rub a small amount of oil over it. It will look like this:
Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise for 2-3 hours until it looks like this:
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Divide the dough in two. Make one crust by rolling out the dough. You can roll it out to fit a round pizza pan or a flat, cookie sheet. The dough should be rolled out to about 1/4 inch thick.
Rub the baking sheet with olive oil and put the dough on it.
Add sauce, cheese and your favorite toppings.
Bake at 400 degrees for 15-18 minutes, until the dough is lightly browned and the cheese is melting. A great way to tell if the dough is cooked is to flick it with your finger. If it sounds hollow, it’s ready!
Did I mention my daughter loves pizza night?
If you liked these tips and want to learn more about Meal Planning, check-out my free Meal Planning Ecourse. It’s a 7 day ecourse that teaches you how to create a meal planning process for your home & family. You can learn more here.
This is a guest post by Laura Bray. Laura Bray is a professional craft designer and creative lifestyle & business coach. She inspires creative women to live a life of balance & make a living doing what they love. You can get creative business and life tips by signing up for her newsletter here.