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Pizza Time

Most people know that my all time favorite food is pizza.  I have tried all sorts of pizza, the very simple cheese, to buffalo wing pizza, to margharita pizza.  Since we've been on a budget, we've been making pizza at home.  It's so easy, and the toppings are always perfect because they're your own.
I have a go-to pizza dough recipe I first saw Giada de Laurentiis make on Everyday Italian.  Now I have it memorized and make different variations of by changing the flour to whole wheat and using molasses instead of sugar sometimes.  I also have a go-to sauce too, which I hunted for and finally found on  We make all kind of topping depending on what we want and sometimes if we have a lot of left over veggies, we slice them up and make veggie pizzas.
Make the pizza dough ahead of time, and it will take just as long to make this than it does to heat up a frozen pizza.  This will also fuel the mind to find other toppings not found in the freezer section of your grocery store. Enjoy these tasty pizzas!

servings: 2 thick crust large pizzas or 3 thin crust medium pizzas

1 1/2 cups warm water, 100 to 110 degrees F, plus extra as needed
1 (1/4-ounce) packet active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar or honey
5 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra as needed
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Olive oil, for drizzling

Put the water in a small bowl.  Add the yeast and sugar; until dissolved. Let sit for 15 minutes for yeast to activate.
In a large bowl, whisk the flour and salt together.  Add the yeast mixture and stir until a soft dough forms.  If the dough is too dry, add a little extra water, 1 tablespoon at a time.  If the dough is too sticky, add extra flour, 1 tablespoon at a time.  Transfer the dough to a floured work surface. With floured hands, knead the dough until it becomes smooth and elastic, about 10 to 12 minutes.  Drizzle the inside of a clean bowl with olive oil.  Put the dough in the bowl and cover loosely with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel.  Set the bowl in a warm, draft-free place, until the dough has doubled in size, about 2 hours.
Using a fist, deflate the dough in the center and cut it into 3 equal-sized pieces.  Form the dough pieces into 3 balls and put into 3 oiled bowls.  Cover each bowl loosely with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel and let rest for 1 hour.  Remove the dough and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for up to 1 day.
From Pizza Dough Recipe: Giada de Laurentiis


serving: 3 pizzas

1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
6 fluid ounces warm water
1 teaspoon minced garlic or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
salt to taste
In a bowl combine all ingredients and stir. Let  sauce sit for 30 minutes to let flavors meld. Use as needed.



1/2 of the pizza dough recipe above
Extra flour or cornmeal, for dusting
1/3 of the pizza sauce above
1/2 pound pepperoni
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 500°F. Dust baking sheet with flour or cornmeal. Roll and stretch dough to a 12-inch round pizza. Spoon and spread the tomato sauce. Scatter pepperoni and cheese on pizza as desired.
Bake pizza until brown and crispy. About 13-15 minutes.



3 large cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1/2 of the pizza dough recipe above
Flour or cornmeal, for dusting
Kosher salt
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 6.5-ounce cans chopped clams, juice drained and reserved
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
2 cups arugula and spinach salad mix
Juice of 1 lemon
Red pepper flakes, for garnish (optional)
Preheat the oven to 500°F.
Mix the garlic and 1/4 cup olive oil in a small bowl.
Roll and stretch into a 12-inch round. Place the dough on a pizza peel, or baking sheet, dusted with flour or cornmeal.
Brush half of the garlic-oil over the dough; season with salt. Scatter the mozzarella and clams over the crust; drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the reserved clam juice and the remaining garlic-oil. Sprinkle with the oregano, parmesan, and salt to taste. Bake until the crust is light brown, 13 to 15 minutes.
Just before the pizza is done, drizzle the arugula with olive oil and lemon juice. Top pizza with arugula and season with red pepper flakes.

From White Clam Pizza Recipe: Food Network Magazine


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So, if you haven't gotten your Thanksgiving Turkey and put it to defrost, it may be a little late.  I have an idea, though....make a Pernil or Pork Butt (not a ham, but actually the shoulder of the pig).  If you really want pork, but can't afford the pricey ham this is the way to go.  At home I'd get one for 60 cents/pound, and here they happen to have it for a week at my favorite discount grocery store at $1.50 a pound.  I snatched it up even though it wasn't in my normal grocery budget.  Now, this week when the budget is really tough with Thanksgiving around the corner, with a 10 pound pork butt, I managed to get 3 meals from it (maybe it'll be 4 by the weekend).
Pork is almost a staple in our household and it definitely was while growing up.  I have to say, Puertoricans know how to roast pork.  I will never forget the trip I took to Puerto Rico, and the day we had in the mountains where they had a whole pig roasting on a giant pit.  Then my dad and his best fri…