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Pizza Night

Pizza NightPizza night can become a long-standing family tradition that kids will cherish forever. Throw in a movie and it quickly becomes the most highly anticipated night of the week. For the parents it becomes a cost effective source for family entertainment. While this is called Pizza Night, it is mainly about selecting a night to get together as a family and have a fun meal.

 

Food Traditions

There are many traditions that we establish as families. Many of these revolve around food. Because food is such a vital part of our daily lives, it naturally provides a time that families can spend together. Not only is food a vital element of our lives, it is also something we very much enjoy. Who doesn't love pizza? It is probably the most favorite food among children today. At least it is at my house!

What started out as simply picking up some pizza from the local pizza chain, gradually evolved into our favorite night together. We have constantly improved on this activity over the years. We moved the production of the pizza from the pizza place to our own kitchen. See the recipe background section below. We have added movies to the evening. We have also done it as a game night on occasion. We even purchased these cute plates in the shape of pizza slices. We will occasionally add weird sodas as the beverage of the evening. While these are great ideas, the point of this family activity is to have a regular time together.

Fun Variations

Pizza NightHawaiian Night

Make the pizza with ham and pineapple for toppings.

If you really feel adventurous use barbeque or teriyaki sauce instead of tomato sauce.

Have everyone dress in flower shorts and shirts.

Play aloha music in the background.

Have a hula contest to see who can get their pizza first.

Watch the movie "Surfs Up" by Sony Pictures or "The Backyardigans: Surf's Up" as you eat.

Western Night

Make the pizza with beef, bacon and cheddar cheese for toppings.

If you really feel adventurous use barbeque sauce instead of tomato sauce.

Have everyone dress in plaid shirts and jeans. Wear cowboy hats, if you have them.

Play country music in the background.

Have a square dance contest to see who can get their pizza first.

Watch the movie "An American Tail: Fievel Goes West" or "Home on the Range" as you eat.

Pizza NightMexican Night

Make the pizza with taco seasoned beef and cheddar cheese for toppings.

If you really feel adventurous use salsa instead of tomato sauce.

Have everyone dress in ponchos or sombreros.

Play Mexican mariachi band music in the background.

Have a hat dance contest to see who can get their pizza first.

Watch the Disney classic movie "Three Caballeros" as you eat.

 

Instead of Pizza

Traditions are great. However, when they are done on a weekly basis, they can get a little stale. Here are a couple other ideas that you may want try every once in a while to keep things fresh. Discover your own alternatives by being daring and adventurous.

Nachos

All you need is a bag of tortilla chips, a bag of shredded cheese, and a jar of salsa. If you want to spice it up, try some diced onions, diced pepperoncini, diced chili peppers, taco flavored ground meat, or black olives. Start each person by piling the chips on a plate, sprinkling the cheese over the top and then microwaving the heap for about 30 seconds. The cheese will come out melted and ready for the rest of the toppings.

Sliders

A slider is a small cheeseburger. These are easy to make with ground chuck or ground turkey. They cook and season the best by frying them in a salted iron skillet. Use dinner rolls for the buns. Lay out the toppings and condiments in a buffet style for everyone to make their burger to their own liking. Throw in some potato chips and you have fun meal.

Background on Pizza Recipes

Pizza NightWhen we first began making homemade pizza for our pizza nights, it was hard. We had to make sure that it was cost effective to make it ourselves, as well as… edible. I've got to say that for the first two months, maybe longer, my family suffered through some rather sad excuses for pizza crust. The wheat just tastes gummy and sweet, and the white never really rose the way it was supposed to. But you live and learn. However tedious it may be, you learn so much through trial and error, and trial and error, and trial and yet another error…

We kept our eyes peeled for any pizza crust recipes, and kept playing with the ones we had. We ended up with two really nice ones, and one OK wheat crust. One of dad's co-workers gave us a fabulous thin-crust recipe that is so different and when you make it seems to be like some sort of joke. It calls for egg whites, which is a rather unique ingredient when it comes to pizza dough. Our all-time favorite recipe for pizza crust is, understandably, the deep dish crust. I remember watching America's Test Kitchen by myself one Saturday, and at the beginning of every show they tell you what they are going to make. When they said deep dish pizza crust, I knew that it was going to be good. America's Test Kitchen can't go wrong. I frantically ran to find a sheet of paper and a pencil. I listened carefully to everything they said as my hand flew across the paper. For the wheat crust I had been playing with a recipe from one of our cook books, an old one, which we like. However, the pizza crust was mediocre and just barely edible. I changed the flour to white and didn't put as much as it called for, and I also added more water and olive oil to the mixture. Also, I had to make sure that it stayed warm all afternoon until I was ready to bake it.

Try this pizza recipe or your own for a frugal, fun, and formative pizza night! Add an activity and enjoy!

Simple Pizza Recipe

Here is a simple pizza recipe that we use regularly. We use a bread maker to mix the dough and let it rise. You can also mix by hand or use a large kitchen stand mixer with a dough hook.

Ingredients

dough

  • Unbleached white flour
  • Quick yeast
  • Warm water
  • Salt
  • Olive Oil
  • Sugar

toppings

  • pizza sauce
  • mozarella cheese
  • pepperoni
  • veggies

Preparation

  1. Add water, oil and salt
  2. Stir in flour
  3. Stir in sugar and yeast
  4. Mix well
  5. Let dough rise for about 1 hour
  6. Smash down and mix again
  7. Let dough rise 2nd time
  8. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
  9. Spread dough on pizza pan or cookie sheet (use flour on hands and outside of dough ball if too sticky)
  10. Bake dough on pizza pan for 5 minutes
  11. Add sauce to naked crust
  12. Bake dough and sauce for 15 minutes
  13. Add cheese and toppings
  14. Bake additional 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and golden

 

Pizza Night

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Timeless Wisdom

Your success as a family ... our success as a society depends not on what happens in the White House, but on what happens inside your house.

 

- Barbara Bush (former U.S. First Lady)