For a few weeks before having my brain tumor removed, I was on steroids and anti-seizure medication. (Not sure why I refer to it as “my” brain tumor as if it is some kind of trusted friend, which it most definitely was NOT!) It was a crazy time…I was averaging only about 2 hours of sleep per night. This meant I was an exhausted walking zombie and cooking was not on my radar. I couldn’t nap, I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t cook. But man, could I eat…the steroids made me super hungry, so I ate all day and all night long.
During this crazy time, a sweet lady named Lori showed up at our front door, brought a little piece of heaven and left while we stood there with our mouths gaping open. The “heaven” I’m referring to was pre-cooked, individual pizzas with all the toppings included. She told us to simply load them up and bake for 12 minutes. We were happy, happy, happy for days. I didn’t have to cook, but I got to eat! Bill and Billy were excited to have warm, delicious food coming out of our cold empty oven. I begged Lori for the recipe and guess what? She gave it to me and now I get to share it with you!
According to Lori, the key to success here is to pre-bake the pizzas and have all the toppings on hand. Just make the dough a couple of hours in advance, punch it down, roll it out in small rounds and bake for a few minutes. Then get your favorite toppings out and let everyone have fun building their own pizzas. Bake again for 12 minutes and dinner is complete. I even made a Thai pizza using Trader Joe’s dressing, grated carrots, roasted chicken, cheese, and cilantro-yum.
Add a green salad and you have a simple dinner that your family will enjoy and rave about! I must admit to being “yeast challenged” but this recipe is easy and works every time. If I can pull it off, you can too. Lori suggests making a bunch of these in advance and storing them in the freezer for after-school snacks. Brilliant idea…simply brilliant.
½ cup warm water
- 2 T brown sugar
- 2 T yeast
For the sponge: mix these ingredients; let mixture rest for 5 minutes until frothy.
- 4 cups flour (Lori uses 1 cup wheat and 3 cups white)
- 1 cup water
- 1 tsp salt
- ¼ cup olive oil
For the dough: while the sponge is doing its thing, put the flour in a bowl with the salt. Mix to combine and make a depression in the middle. Once the sponge is frothy, add it with the oil and water to the flour and salt mixture. Mix well and knead for a few minutes. Clean the bowl, oil it and place dough back in. Let the dough rise 1 to 1 ½ hours or until double in bulk. Punch it down and form the mini crusts (or make 2 large ones) by rolling out the dough. Spread corn meal on a pizza pan or stone before baking. Pre-bake the crusts at 375° for 20 minutes (or less for thin crusts). When ready to assemble pizzas, add toppings and bake at 425° for 12 minutes. This recipe yields about 8-10 crusts depending on how thin or thick you like them.
- Marinara, Thai dressing, salsa, olive oil/garlic or Alfredo sauce
- Mozzarella, cheddar, gouda, goat or your favorite cheese
- Chicken, ham, sausage, sweet pork, peperoni or turkey
- Carrots, zucchini, sprouts, onions (green, white or purple), tomatoes, basil, oregano, arugula, spinach, peppers, olives, artichokes, mushrooms or pineapple
- Check Pinterest for more ideas and combinations…