Friday, September 12, 2008

Pizza Night!

With all this dreary, rainy weather, I knew we needed something warm and cozy for supper. Usually, I would pull out the soup recipes, but it seems a little early to be in soup mode. So, we opted for homemade pizzas! I found some Rhodes dough dinner rolls on clearance at Target, and I think they make the best pizza crusts! Thankfully, I had the pizza idea early enough in the day to allow them time to thaw and raise in the proper fashion, too!
As I was getting everything out for Cloe and I to assemble the pizzas, I, of course, realized I was missing a key ingredient to pizza: the sauce. Augh! Why does that have to be my lot in life?
So, to google we went and typed in "homemade pizza sauce." It was to my happy surprise I found a recipe that used fresh tomatoes! Thanks to our little productive garden, we have plenty of tomatoes! This recipe also uses tomato paste as its thickening agent--thankfully, I did have that on hand. I'm not sure when or why I bought it, but it's a good staple item, I guess!

Here's the recipe:

Homemade Tomato Sauce

2 pounds tomatoes (about 4 to 5 medium)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tablespoon oregano, chopped
1 tablespoons basil, chopped
1/2 teaspoon thyme, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon tomato paste, or more for thicker sauce
Crushed red pepper to taste (none for kids; lots for Cody!)

1. Place the tomatoes in a blender. Puree to desired thickness (longer for thinner, shorter for a thicker sauce).

2. In a medium saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat and sauté the garlic until light brown, about 1 minute. Carefully add the pureed tomatoes. Mix thoroughly, then cover and simmer for 15 minutes over low heat, stirring occasionally.

3. When the tomatoes are cooked, add the remaining oil, herbs, salt, tomato paste, and pepper, if desired. Simmer an additional 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened. Spread as much sauce as you like onto the crust, add toppings, and bake at 375 degrees until cheese is bubbly and golden. Makes 1 1/2 cups of sauce, enough for 2 to 3 12-inch pizzas.

I made our sauce a little on the thick side. It tasted so fresh and yummy! Much, much better than the canned stuff that has a lingering taste of added corn syrup...ugh.

I let Cloe be totally in charge of the toppings. It was funny to see what she thought each person "needed" on their pizza. Cody's pizza is the one smothered in pepperoni 'cuz dad's need a lot of that stuff. Notice, my pizza has three pepperonis...awesome.
Here are the kids' pizzas. Cloe gave Carson three pepperonis because he's kind of small, McClain got four because he's a little bigger and Cloe got six because that comes after five years old. There was a lot of logic going on in her little mind!

I didn't get a picture of the kids eating the pizza because they devoured them before I could remember to get out the camera. They were a hit! Cody loved the homemade sauce, too. I have enough sauce for one more pizza meal! I think I'll save it in the freezer until the next rainy pizza night comes.

The rest of the night turned out to be more fun than we had planned, too! Cloe got to pick out her first Bible. She needed one to take to Sparks every week. We found a super cute hot pink and purple Bible with embossed flowers and sparkly things. It's so cute I think it would make me want to read the Bible more! ;)
Next we ran to the mall for a minute ran into some church friends out for the night. Their niece is stranded in Houston because her college didn't evacuate the students in time. How scary is that!?! I can't imagine how helpless her parents feel not being able to protect their daughter during this major storm. We're praying she'll be safe!
Last, we met some other friends at Caribou for some nice warm coffee and a little treat. I LOVE Caribou's Lemon Cake! (Don't we sound so popular with all the friends...we won't mention all the nights we sit at home...alone! Thanks to those willing to be our friends! We love you guys...and your willingness to hang with the three little crazies!)
So, this dreary rainy day turned out to be quite a cheerful one! Sometimes I shy away from doing things with friends and our kids because I don't know how the kids will act or behave, but usually in the end, it's a wonderful time. I love my children, but we all need conversations with complete sentences, proper use of the English language (as in whole words not ending in "y" or "ing"), and lots of hot coffee. I guess need to challenge myself to be more gutsy in taking them and doing normal "adult" things...we'll see!