Saturday night is movie night in our household. I love movies and I needed an excuse to be able to watch while eating comfort food. I love watching a good movie or TV show while I eat, but in order to set the right boundaries for our kids, we’ve decided to do this one specific night per week instead of “anytime we feel like it”.
Alright, now that I’ve started this article with a gloomy “welcome to Daddy’s dictatorship of the TV set” mood, let skip to what I really wanted to discuss here: Pizza.
One thing I love with my Saturday movie night is Pizza and soda. Yup, not the healthiest meal but I really enjoy this guilty pleasure.
For a very long time, I used to have a bunch of “Red Barron” frozen pizza in the freezer. These can be had for approximately $4 on sale, for the 12 inch pizza. They are pretty much the cheapest I can find that doesn’t taste like melted cardboard. I actually love the taste of the Red Barron Pizza. But my wife was concerned about the ingredients in there.
One Saturday I realized too late that we didn’t have any more Red Barron in the freezer. But I really wanted pizza, and since a friend had just recently given us some dry yeast, I decided to look for a pizza dough recipe online, and I found one that looked simple enough and delicious.
I spent some time preparing the dough, and had to let it rise for about 2h. For the topping, I went with something quite simple: some tomato sauce (either marinara bought from Trader Joes, or tomato can + some salt and garlic. No big difference in price, I found out), Mozarella cheese, shredded cheddar, and some Italian herbs for a nice aftertaste.
Ready to bake!
I didn’t get the topping right the first time, as I didn’t put nearly enough of it. It tasted more like bread with a bit of sauce on top. But from the second time, I really got it right, and I can now proudly say that I’m making a terrific pizza.
My son didn’t like Red Barron pizza, neither did my wife. But they love this one!
Is it ok to admit I look at this picture every time I feel sad, to remember myself that Saturday is going to be awesome?
The dough + topping cost me approximately:
- $0.5 worth of flour
- $0.3 for the other dough ingredients (salt, pepper, honey, olive oil)
- $2 for the mozzarella (I’m convinced you can find mozzarella for cheaper than the one we have)
- $0.7 worth of tomato sauce
- $0.5 worth of cheddar cheese
Total $4. This amount of pizza will feed 2 grown ups, or, in our case 2 reasonable adults plus one kid who doesn’t eat too much :). Total cost, less than $1.5 per person, same as the Red Barron pizza on sale, and probably a bit healthier (hey, it’s still lots of cheese and carbs, people!)
Wait, I didn’t include the cost of cooking the pizza? Well, that’s because it takes same amount of time as it would take to cook a frozen pizza anyway, so there’s no difference here between buying a frozen pizza or making your own.
There’s also a lot to be said about the joy of cooking your own stuff from the most basic ingredients. Pizza dough is kind of a pain to prepare, but it’s also enjoyable time spent “creating” something. I’m feeling back some of the joy I had as a programmer (before I moved to a project management role) in the creation process here. I now make enough dough for 6 people every other week, freezing half of it for the next movie night.
The dough in the recipe lets you make four 6-inch pizzas like this one. The three of us eat two of them (roughly equivalent to a 12-inch pizza), and we freeze the other half of the dough for the next time.