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Toronto, Canada

312 Adelaide Street West, Suite 301
Toronto, Ontario - M5V 1R2
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What’s for Dinner? How about make ahead homemade pizza!

Written by Jessi McAlpine

Family Pizza Night

I don’t know how it is at your house, but as soon as I pick Goose up from daycare he starts telling me how starving he is — so there’s a mad dash to get dinner on the table. I’m still new to the world of having to make dinner quickly after I get home from work, and I fully admit to not having mastered it quite yet. In the couple of months since I’ve been back at work full-time, there have been more than a few last-minute take-out or restaurant meals and also some failed slow cooker attempts. And while my #afterworkdinnerfails are amusing, I thought it might be more helpful if I share a family favourite that I’ve managed to adapt for super-quick execution.

Homemade pizza is a favourite meal around here. Goose loves to help pat the dough and spread the toppings (or topp-ell-lings as he calls them). When I was home with him, I’d make the dough during nap time and let it rise all afternoon so we could assemble the pizza together later. Clearly, an afternoon of dough making and rising is no longer possible for this working mama so I decided to try making my dough the night before to see if it would still turn out well when saved in the fridge overnight — spoiler: It did!

So here’s the breakdown for quick after work family pizza night without having to pay for take-out.

The night before:

Make the dough. I’m not a fan of prepping food for the next day. Once Goose goes to bed all I want to do is RELAX but making this dough takes so little effort, even I don’t really mind.

  1. Add ½ tsp of yeast to ¾ cup warm water. Let this sit and dissolve and activate the yeast while you do the next step.
  2. Measure 2 cups All Purpose Flour and ½ tsp salt into your stand mixer turn it on and slowly drizzle in 3 tablespoons of olive oil.
  3. Give your yeast a stir and slowly pour it into the flour mixture with the mixer running on low.
  4. Let the machine do the work to knead your dough on medium/high until the dough comes together (about 3-5 minutes).
  5. Coat a large mixing bowl with olive oil, place your dough ball in the bowl and cover with a damp tea towel.
  6. Let the dough rise for 1.5-2 hours. I like to put it in my oven using the “proof” function but if your oven doesn’t have that you can place the dough in a warm spot in your kitchen (keep it away from drafts). Your dough will probably double in size during this time. Before you go to bed, punch it down and put it in the fridge for tomorrow.

When you get home the next day:

Assemble the pizza. Get your kids to help you. I like this because it prevents the pre-dinner witching hour meltdowns if Goose is helping me.

  1. Preheat your oven to 500°F
  2. Spread dough into a pizza shape on a cookie sheet, or if you’re fancy you can use a pizza stone (mine broke this summer so I’ve been using cookie sheets and they work great).
  3. Add your favourite pizza sauce. I like to buy jars instead of cans because I never end up using the whole can and it’s way easier to use a bit out of a jar and save the rest for next time.
  4. Sprinkle your cheese. I shred my own pizza mozzarella from the giant blocks you can buy at Costco, but to save time you can totally use the pre-shredded stuff from the grocery store. Once you melt it, it all looks the same.
  5. Add your toppings. The favourite combo at our house right now is Pepperoni and yellow or orange peppers but use whatever your family loves or whatever veggies are lurking in your fridge and need to be used up. I’ve tried broccoli, zucchini, asparagus and chicken, all with great results.
  6. Bake for 15-20 mins until the crust is firm to the touch and the cheese is melted.

Easy peasy. Enjoy your pizza night! I hope this becomes a family favourite at your house too!

Here’s an ingredient list:

  • ½ tsp. yeast
  • ¾ cup warm water
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 3 tbsps. olive oil
  • ¼-⅓ cup pizza sauce
  • ¾ cup shredded pizza mozzarella
  • any other toppings of your choice

*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Parent Life Network or their partners.