Homemade pizza is one of our staples. It's fast and easy, with a little advance prep in the slow-cooker and bread machine, and it's a hit with everyone in the family. It's also a great way to use up little bits of leftover meats and veggies hanging around in the fridge. Got a few mushrooms left in the package? A single slice of ham? A couple of bites of pineapple? You've got pizza toppings!
I've shared my slow-cooker sauce recipe before. We always keep some on hand, since it freezes well. I've recently discovered that I can stir a little carrot puree into it and no one is the wiser, so it's also a great way to sneak in some veggies.
If you don't want to bother making your own pizza crust, english muffins, pita breads, or even flattened refrigerated biscuits work just fine. However, we really like the crust made in the bread machine. This recipe comes from Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook by Beth Hensperger and yields enough for two 12-inch pizzas. Leftover dough can be wrapped in Saran Wrap and refrigerated for a day, or frozen for up to 3 months.
Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
1 1/3 cups water
1/4 cup olive oil
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, preferably unbleached
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp bread machine or instant yeast
Combine all ingredients in the pan according to the instructions for your bread machine. Program for the dough cycle. When it's ready, the dough will be soft. Preheat your oven to 450. Place the dough on a work surface dusted with cornmeal and divide into the desired number of portions. Using your hands or a rolling pin, stretch or roll into the desired shape. Place in an ungreased pan dusted lightly with cornmeal. (I use my hands and just stretch it out directly in the pan. Using cornmeal and not greasing the pan gives a nice, crisp crust.) Bake crust for 7-8 minutes, then remove from oven and top with sauce and desired toppings. Return to oven for an additional 7-8 minutes. Eat hot and enjoy!