Maybe it's time to make some comfort food. Here are some staff favorites!
Glissant ... a.k.a. Chicken and Noodles!
Ingredients for the pasta:
½ cup flour
½ tsp. salt
Add to taste:
1 tsp. dried parsley
½ tsp. garlic powder
Mix and roll out your dough into a large thin rectangle.
Take a pizza cutter (or a knife if you’re boring) and slice the dough into little squares or triangles.
Take some leftover roast chicken, and take the good meat off the bones.
Put the bones in a pot with celery, onions, carrots, salt, black pepper, oregano, rosemary, and garlic salt.
Add water and simmer until it smells and tastes like chicken noodle soup.
Once your broth is done, remove the bones, but leave the vegetables.
Bring your broth almost to a boil, and add your raw pasta.
Once the pasta is starting to float, add your leftover chicken meat, and maybe some leftover roasted potatoes.
Be sure to sample at least two dumplings, to test the broth, and make sure they are cooked.
Leave on a warm burner all day. Be sure to eat your chicken and dumplings with family, even if family is a dozen plants or a cat.
Are you still paying other people to make your pizza? Even when you could make a better one? Try it! If you have kids, a "Make Your Own" night can be very popular and get them started with cooking.
You can make the crust faster by using a bread machine (which warms it so it rises faster) or letting it sit out at room temp for a few hours, rather than putting it in the fridge for a whole day. But the taste of the slow method can't be beat!
4 1/2 cups flour
1 3/4 cups lukewarm water
2 T salt
1 T baking yeast (or one envelope)
Dissolve the yeast in the water.
When it gets a little foamy, add the flour and salt.
You can mix by hand (literally!), using a stand mixer with a bread hook, or on the "dough" setting of a bread machine. Just get it moving around for 2-3 minutes, till it's smooth. It should feel "elastic"--not too heavy and not sticky. You can adjust the feel with a little more flour or water until it feels nice and springy.
Place it in a lightly oiled bowl and let it sit, covered so it won't dry out, for 24 hours in the fridge. The slow rise is what will give your crust more flavor than the other guys'! By the end of this time, you should be able to see that the dough has risen.
Split it into 2 balls. You can freeze one for later if you want. --OR-- split it into 4 or 6 or 8 balls for miniature personalized pizzas!
Let the dough sit out to get warm while you prepare your sauce and your toppings.
You are not going to knead the dough, but once it has warmed up, you will stretch it gently until it's the shape you want. Remember that it will rise in the oven, so don't keep it too thick.
If you are working on this with kids, they might do better with a rolling pin for this last phase. This means, though, that you'll need to leave a little more time for the dough to rise up and get springy again because the roller will squeeze some of the air out.
(And this is when you should preheat your oven too: 450 degrees!)
Seriously, are you paying a faceless corporation to make sauce for you? And again I say, yours will taste better!
Heat 1 T olive oil in a nice heavy-bottomed pan.
Peel, dice, and saute a medium onion. (There are about a million videos on YouTube that will show you how to chop an onion, and it's a critical life skill. No time like the present, right?) Saute it slowly over low heat for a good ten minutes to really bring out the sweetness.
Peel, chop or squash, and add at least three cloves of garlic. Stir them in just to warm them.
Empty a large can of tomatoes (whole, crushed, strained, whatever) into the pan. If you are using whole tomatoes, squeeze each one to pulp with your fist as you add it. (If you have kids, they will love doing this for you in a big shallow bowl.)
Add thyme or oregano and some basil if you have that too. Maybe a tsp. of each.
Salt and pepper to taste. Some like to add some pepper flakes for a little spice.
Some add a dash of wine (red).
Simmer for ten minutes, or until it looks about the right thickness to you. Don't turn it up too high or it could burn, since there are a lot of natural sugars in tomatoes. (If you don't like your sauce with chunks, you can use a potato masher or run it through the blender.)
In another heavy-bottomed pan, in another T of olive oil, lightly saute the meat and/or vegetable toppings you want: onions, peppers, mushrooms, eggplant; sausage, pepperoni, etc.
Other toppings can just be sliced or chopped and added as they are: artichoke hearts, cooked chicken, roasted red peppers, fresh tomatoes, jalapenos, olives, anchovies, pineapple, fresh herbs.
Last but not least, how about that cheese? Maybe you like a traditional mozzarella, maybe you like fresh mozzarella, or maybe even the smoked version. Maybe a nice soy imitation mozz? Grate it or slice it--but don't slice it too thick. Add some parm or romano, or go for some goat cheese for extra flavor. One of our faves is to mix a little pesto into a half cup of ricotta and dot that around.
Onto your stretched crust, ladle some sauce. It does not have to be a lot. You don't want it running off the edges.
Sprinkle your toppings and add cheese. Or some people like to lay down the cheese first and put the toppings where they'll show.
Experiment with combinations! BBQ and shrimp? Chicken and artichokes?
The key here is to bake your pizza at a high temperature: fast and hot! 425 or 450 degrees. Watch your pie(s) carefully because they will cook fast, 8-15 minutes, depending on their size.
Once you've done this a time or two, you'll realize how simple it is and be slinging pies with the best of them. And so much tastier!