Saturday, September 18, 2010

Home Cooking: Helen’s Homemade Pizza

As Chan, Zach and I were wandering the aisles of the grocery store this week, I kept asking, “What do you guys want to eat?”

For quite awhile the answer was the usual, “I don’t know,” then all of a sudden Chan said, “Can’t you make that pizza you make?”

“You mean my mother’s pizza?”

Yeah, that’s the one. I’ll go get the stuff for it.”

Before I could respond, he was gone. I continued with my shopping and moments later, Chan was back.

“Is this everything?” His arms were loaded with a boxed pizza crust, pepperoni packages, shredded cheese, and hamburger.

“You’ve got it all,” I said.

Last night, we made the pizza. The fun thing about this process is that the boys are old enough and usually willing to help, which means less prep time for me to try to do it alone, and dinner is on the table quicker than it might otherwise be. As a matter of fact, with this pizza we can be done in less time that it takes to deliver at Dominos!

The boys dug out two large, rimmed cookie sheets and sprayed them with Pam, while I made the crust thanks to Chef Boyardee. Letting the dough rise on the stove during the preheat, I started cooking the hamburger. I don’t know why it started, but my mother used hamburger in her pizzas. Maybe she did it because the meat was cheap, maybe just because we loved it, but that became a staple in my mother’s pizza recipe.

I browned a pound of it, then asked Kent to drain the fat while I spread the dough onto both 9x12" pans. Chan poured and spread the sauce then held up the tiny packet of Parmesan cheese. “This is it? This is it?” he said. “You’re supposed to add this and actually make a cheese pizza?”

“Yeah, that’s what the recipe on the box says, but you know better,” I said. “Kent, get the extra Pamesan from the cabinet. Zach, pull out the shredded cheese from the fridge. Be sure to get both kinds.”

Then comes the part that takes real crafting—placing the pepperoni on one of the crusts so that not a single inch of dough will ever be eaten without a full slice of pepperoni. The other pizza gets a layer of hamburger, and if there are leftover pepperonis from the package one pizza number one is complete, they go on top of the hamburger.

Then we cover the whole thing in cheese! We like sharp cheddar, but we will also use a pizza blend of cheddar and mozzarella if the mood strikes.

Into the over they go, following the boxed directions, and twenty minutes later, we are eating. One other probably strange trick I learned from my mother is to cut the pizza with a pair of scissors, just like cutting a bolt of fabric.

This is a pizza I like both hot from the oven and cold the next day for lunch, but I fully understand that cold pizza is an acquired taste, so I won’t be offended if you don’t like it that way. ou won’t be alone.

Here’s the complete recipe:

1 Box Chef Boyardee box mix for two pizzas
1 pound ground beef, browned and drained
1 large package of sliced pepperoni
1 large package Pizza Blend shredded cheese
1 large package Sharp Cheddar shredded cheese
extra Parmesan cheese, to taste

Follow the boxed directions for the crust. Sprinkle browned and drained ground beef over the prepared base for one pizza. Place pepperoni on the second one. Cover well with shredded cheese. Place both pizzas into the oven for 10 minutes at 425. Rotate top to bottom and bake another ten minutes until done. Cut clices and serve hot.

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