Homemade Pizza: It’s Yummy, Healthy and Frugal

By ERIN TURNER

Pizza is one of those foods in our family which seems to appeal to all members.  It’s a flexible and semi-customizable dish which pleases all my kids.  Not to mention it’s a fun food and the clean up is a breeze!

Now, the pizza I’m referring to isn’t take-out or delivery.  I’m talking about good, old-fashioned, homemade pizza.  I have to be honest, I’m not a huge fan of commercially-made pizza.  I’ll eat it but it isn’t at the top of my fav list.  But I love homemade pizza…it has such a fresh and flavorful taste!

I save lots of money by making my own pizzas.  Depending on my toppings, it costs me under $5 to make an extra large homemade pizza.  If I was to order the equivalent, I would be paying around $22 plus delivery fees and a tip.   So, I am saving around $20 each time I opt for the homemade option.

I buy the large #10 cans of tomato sauce from Costco for around $3 each (SO cheap for tomato sauce!).  Once I open a big can then I break it down into 1 cup servings and freeze them.

Consider buying the large cans of tomato sauce and breaking them down into 1 cup servings forfreezing.

Now, you might think that homemade pizza takes lots of time and effort.  But I can whip out a pizza in as much time as it would take to phone in the order and wait for delivery.  The key to efficient and frugal pizza making is having the ingredients on hand and ready for use.

I make large batches of dough and freeze them in one-pizza serving sizes.  So when I want a pizza I just quickly defrost a ball of dough and roll it out.  I also buy the large #10 cans of tomato sauce from Costco for around $3 each (SO cheap for tomato sauce!).  Once I open a big can then I break it down into 1 cup servings and freeze them.  Again, a quick defrost and a sprinkle of fresh spices and I’ve got a custom- made sauce ready to spread on my homemade pizza crust dough.

Like most kids, my kids love pepperoni.  We make our own using wild game meat so my cost is reduced significantly.  But even if you buy pepperoni, you can use a coupon and get a package for under $2.50 (which would probably make you 2 extra large pizzas).  We also add homemade wild game sausage but you could buy some Italian sausage and use just ¼- ½ cup, leaving the rest for breakfast!

Try making large batches of dough and freeing them in one-pizza serving sizes.

Try making large batches of dough and freezing them in one-pizza servingsizes.

Other toppings we like to add: cheese, mushrooms, tomatoes, olives, jalapenos, spinach, fresh basil (when it’s in season) and onions.  We add toppings based on what is available and what we feel like eating.  The nice thing is these pizzas are completely customizable.  Tonight, we added lots of mushrooms on only one side because our middle son despises mushrooms.  It makes everyone happy to have the topping they love most or to avoid toppings they dislike!

When I have the time, our family loves making their own personal pan pizzas.  Instead of making one large pizza, I break the ball of dough into 5 small pieces.  The kids love making their own master pieces.  It takes a little longer because of baking 5 pizzas vs just one but it is a fun activity.  This is a fun idea for kids’ birthday parties!

Pizza Crust(this makes 2 pizza crusts…it can be doubled to make 4 crusts)

  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 ¼ tsp. yeast
  • 4 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 1 ¼ cup water, at room temp
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Measure the warm water into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup.  Sprinkle the yeast over the top.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the bread flour and salt, mixing briefly to blend.  Measure the room temperature water into the measuring cup with the yeast-water mixture.  With the mixer on low speed, pour in the yeast-water mixture as well as the olive oil.  Mix until a cohesive dough is formed.  Switch to the dough hook.  Knead on low speed until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.  Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, 1½-2 hours.

Homemade pizza is healthier, saves you money, is an easy clean-up and will make your family declare you a hero!

Homemade pizza is healthier, saves you money, tastes absolutely yummy, and is an easyclean-up!

Press down the dough to deflate it.  Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into two equal pieces.  Form each piece of dough into a smooth, round ball.  (If freezing the dough, wrap in plastic wrap, put into Ziploc bag and freeze at this point.)  Cover with a damp cloth.  Let the dough relax for at least 10 minutes but no longer than 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven and pizza stone to 400˚ F.  Meanwhile, roll out the dough with a rolling pin until you’ve reached your desired thickness (or thinness in our family’s case). Remove the pizza stone from the oven and dust the stone with corn meal (this makes the pizza so good!).  Place your pizza dough on the stone and prick the bottom numerous times with a fork.   Brush the outer edge lightly with olive oil.  Top with your own custom sauce and toppings.  Bake until the crust is golden brown, and cheese is bubbling, 20-22 minutes.   (adapted from Annies’ Eats recipe)

Pizza Sauce

  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 Tbsp pizza seasoning or Italian seasoning
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp fennel

Mix all ingredients together and let sit for awhile to let the flavors meld.  Then pour onto your prepared but unbaked crust and spread to the edges.  Finally, top with any desired toppings and then bake following the above crust directions.

With a little preparation, you can have all the ingredients on hand and ready for Pizza night—homemade style!  It will save you lots of money, will taste absolutely yummy, will be healthier, will be an easy night of kitchen clean-up and will make your family declare you a hero!    You’ll want to have Pizza Night every night with results like that!!

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 Erin’s got tons of tips for saving money, couponing, sticking to a budget, and living sustainably in her blog archive.

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Erin Eisenman-Turner is proud to be a native Missoulian. Along with her husband and three sons, they raise chickens, pigs, rabbits, and vegetables at Turner Family Farms in the Orchard Homes area. When the farm chores are done, the coupons clipped, and the blog written, you can find Erin exploring Montana, collecting antiques, and trying to maintain a well-run, happy, and organized home for her family.

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