I sit here laughing pitifully at your poser of a deal. $5 foot long? Ha! I fed our family of 5 for just 5 bucks…and that’s WITH leftovers that everyone fights over later. Top that.
Last night I fed my entire family for $5. Less than that technically, if you consider we had leftovers. And it didn’t taste like cr@p. In fact, it was deliciousness on a plate. What is this wonderfood?
Oh that glorious concoction of crispy yet soft dough, slathered in slightly spicy sauce, with an ungodly amount of cheese and fresh toppings. Aye aye aye.
It’s definitely a staple here at the Nickels house. It’s cheap, it’s fast and it’s finger lickin’ delicious. And yes, the recipe is at the bottom of this post. I wouldn’t leave you hanging, would I?
I buy my bread flour, yeast, olive oil, mozzarella and sauce in bulk at Costco. This saves us a ton of
dough money. (Wow, that was a bad pun. Sorry.) The toppings I usually purchase at my local grocery store. I’ve approximated my cost per pizza in parentheses.
Bread flour $9.00 for a 25-lb bag ($0.36)
Yeast $4.64 for a 2-lb bag ($0.02)
Olive Oil $15.00 for a 2-liter bottle ($0.50)
Shredded Mozzarella Cheese $15.00 for a 5-lb bag ($2.00)
Prego Sauce $8.48 for 134 ounces ($0.25)
Sliced olives $0.99 for 4 ounce can ($0.50)
Mini Pepperoni $2.99 for 5 ounce package ($1.50)
My GRAND TOTAL per pizza? $5.13
Do you understand how cool that is? If you can get even half of your weekly dinners made for $5 or less, your grocery bill will start looking more like your phone bill and less like your mortgage payment.
First, if you haven’t invested in a bread machine, you should. There’s no reason you need to pay full price either. There are plenty on Craigslist, eBay or even on Amazon (used) for a fraction of the price of a new one. I love mine. Can you tell?
It takes me about 10 minutes to pull the ingredients together, toss them in the bread machine, and press “Start”. Seriously. The machine takes it from there…mixing, kneading and rising for another 45 minutes. This is easy stuff, folks.
Once the dough is done, it’s another 5 minutes of pressing out the dough in the pan, spreading sauce, sprinkling cheese and toppings. Stick it in the oven for about 14 minutes and that sucker is DONE.
It’s so stinkin’ good. Seriously. The dough is soft on the inside, crispy on the outside. In fact, after it came out of the oven, it was sliced up and gobbled so quickly I forgot to take a final ‘finished’ photo. So this post-dinner snapshot will have to do.
If you’ve already started cooking more at home, then here’s a virtual high-five *SMACK*. But if you want to get hard-core, buy in bulk and make your own pizza dough, and for $5 you can feed a small army.
~~~ The Nickels’ Basic Pizza Recipe ~~~
4 Cups Flour (preferably bread flour, it has a better gluten ratio)
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus a little extra to brush on the crust
1 tsp active dry yeast
1-1/2 cups warm water
1 cup of your favorite pasta/pizza sauce (we use Prego)
3 – 4 cups shredded mozzarella
Toppings of your Choice
In a small bowl, pour the 1-1/2 cups of warm water (warm, NOT hot or it will kill the yeast instead of activating it) and add the yeast. Don’t stir, just let the yeast sit on the surface of the water; it will slowly dissolve. Set it aside. In a medium mixing bowl, stir the flour and salt together. Drizzle the olive oil into the flour mixture, stirring as you pour. Now we put the ingredients into the bread machine. (If you don’t have a bread machine, you can google ‘pizza dough recipe’ and follow the directions for mixing/kneading/rising by hand.)
IMPORTANT! Pour the yeast/water mixture into the bread machine FIRST, THEN add the flour mixture on top. No need to stir, the machine will take care of everything. Set the bread machine to the dough setting, and press “START”. It should take about 45 minutes. At this point, if you need to prep any of your toppings, this would be the time to do that. If not, then go enjoy your 45 minutes!
Once the dough is complete, set your oven to 475 degrees.
Remove the dough from the bread machine and plop (yes, that’s a verb if you ask me) it out on to a heavily floured surface, stretching it a bit to fit into the pan you’re using. Turn the dough over to get both sides floured, and then place the stretched dough into your pan. I use a large cookie sheet with raised sides.
Once the dough is stretched out to the edges of the pan, I take a fork and poke the pizza dough just on the inside area where I don’t want the dough to rise. So in other words, avoid the outer edges, because you want a nice soft doughy crust. Don’t you? Then brush olive oil on the outer crust.
Take the cup of sauce (or more if you like things “saucy”) and spread it evenly over the inner area of the crust. Sprinkle salt lightly over the entire thing, and then add the mozzarella cheese. Lastly, add whatever toppings you like. (If it were just me, I’d have something along the lines of goat cheese-caramelized onions-bacon-mozzarella, but this was a family-friendly pizza, so I went with mini pepperonis and olives. We also like switching out the pasta sauce for BBQ sauce, and topping it with barbecued chopped chicken and thinly sliced red onions. Mmmmm. Maybe next time.)
The time will vary from one oven to the next, but our pizza cooks in about 14 minutes at 475 degrees. Don’t be afraid to let the crust get golden brown and the cheese to get that nice caramel color, it makes it so flavorful!