I realize more and more that a meal is less about the food on the table than it is about the people around it. At our house we make a concerted effort to eat dinner as a family each and every night. With activities in the evenings, homework, bedtimes, etc., it’s not always easy. I have no expectations that it will get easier as the kids get older, so we do look for shortcuts to help us out sometimes. Yesterday was just one example of how an inexpensive shortcut helped us to have a very easy pizza night.
Put 10 people in a room and ask for their perfect pizza toppings and you are likely to get 10 different responses. Our house is no different. I just can’t bring myself to order that many pizzas to be delivered. I love leftover pizza as much as the next guy, but that’s just too much. Plus, the cost just gets crazy. I typically keep several dough balls in the freezer just for pizza night. Pull it out a day or two before, let it thaw, punch it out, roll it, toss it, top it, bake it….a little work, but well worth it. I even separate the dough for personal-sized pizzas so that everyone gets what they want.
As much as I love working with the dough, though, it can be a bit of a hassle. To work a line-up of 4 or 5 pizzas takes time and the kids just aren’t old enough to get terribly involved in the tossing process just yet. I spend all of that time in the kitchen cooking and miss out on the time with them. Add to that cleaning up all of the flour, toppings, sauce drips, etc…it takes a bit of a commitment. I was entirely prepared to do that last night when I found that our local supermarket had their pre-made pizzas on special. For $9, I got a cheese and a pepperoni pizza.
That, however, was not going to satisfy the household. So I picked up some canned olives and mushrooms (like $1 a can). We already had some sauce and bacon in the house. All set! I was able to unwrap the cheese pizza and let the girls take half to top however they wanted (olives, mushrooms, and bacon? really?). We slid that into the oven while Matthew picked his toppings for the pepperoni pizza. Some bacon and mushrooms later and it was ready for the oven as well.
I probably saved a solid 30-40 minutes of rolling pizza dough, working with a hot stone, etc, but got the same time with them. I probably sacrificed a little quality in the food, but that paled in comparison to the quality time that I got to spend with the kids. As they get older, they’ll have long forgotten about the pizza itself, but they’ll remember the time spent topping their own pizza and eating with the family. Those are the memories that matter most.
How do you make meals easy for your family? Every food has a story. Leave a comment and share yours.
jamielee kimball says
I read this and I was astonished by the toppings your girls chose. It is a good day if I can get my daughter to have pepperoni. Great share! Thanks!
Sandy Cain says
You are SO right – let the quality of the food slip just a little, it’s much more important to put in quality time with the kids. I also find that the kids actually eat better when they have a hand in preparing the meal. So nice your kids picked out the toppings, I love it! : )
nicole dz says
I love pizza night! we usually have it on the weekends. We sometimes make it with homemade crust and all! The homemade dough is so delish, but we sometimes opt out for store brand. I love lots of toppings on mine, mushroom, green peppers, onions, ham, pineapple, black olives, & bacon. We usually make two since the kids like theirs different. Usually just lots of cheese & some pepperoni.
Lisa Brown says
i love home made pizza; i try to do this with the family when i have the extra time during the evenings.
It isn’t always less expensive to make your own from scratch. I love making pizza, but b/c I’m often wanting to make one, that means I don’t have it as much! If you shop especially with coupons, sales, etc., you can get your pre-made up pizza to take home and jazz up – the kids love it, you have more time, and it is still pizza – yum!
Heather Hayes Panjon says
Pizza Night Is A Favorite In My Home! I Also Buy Pre-Made Pizza And Let My Family Add On Toppings It Makes It A Little Easier Then Making Pizza From Scratch.
Marti Tabora says
That’s a great idea that you came up with, even if you buy the inexpensive frozen pizzas they will taste great by the time you add your own toppings. I would probably add some extra cheese.
ellen beck says
Pizza night goes back a very long way in our house! I remember way back when the boxed types and my Mom letting us pick toppings and making them. Now its my turn to do it and its just as fun and easy,
We also have taco nights (or rather burrito nights depending on whats on hand) and thats fun too!