Pizza – gotta love it!

Giordano's Chicago-style deep dish pizza
Giordano’s Chicago-style deep dish pizza (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pizza….ummm the mere thought makes me hungry.  At the ripe old age of fifteen I scored my first job at a pizza joint.  Seriously, the restaurant was called “The Pizza Joint”.  Although I was a waitress, I never missed an opportunity to check things out behind the scenes.  I wanted to know the secrets behind making a great pizza.   I love pizza.  Even my first date with hubby was at Giordanos in Chicago for some famous deep dish pizza.

Moving cross-country was an eye-opening experience in many ways.  I didn’t realize some of my favorite products were not distributed nationwide and I would not have access to them at local stores.  Thus, I started having “my” pizza sauce shipped in from Chicago to make homemade pizza and pizza-wiches.  All these years later, I continue having this sauce shipped west.

Ordering from Pastorelli is easier than ever via online shopping.  I order the 8 oz. cans of pizza sauce by the case and am sure to keep the RV stocked with these little cans. This sauce can also be used for other recipes such as chicken or eggplant parmesan.  Sky’s the limit with this tasty little number.

The crust…..if we’re in our sticks n bricks home, I’ll make my own crust.  My favorite is a Paula Dean recipe found on the Food Network site.  When I’m pressed for time, I use a store-bought package that only requires water and oil.  Martha White brand works great (FYI…add a bit more water than the directions call for).

Pizza-wiches…….this is a favorite in our household and works great in an RV.  I use English muffins or plain bagels as my crust.  This is a wonderful option for a toaster oven.  Super easy, quick to make and kids love’m.  Split an English muffin, top each side with plenty of pizza sauce, add your choice of toppings including cheese, then pop in the toaster oven until the cheese browns and is heated through.

Toppings….this gets fun.  For Al and I, we like Italian sausage, mushrooms, and onions.  “Johnsonville HOT Italian sausage” is our meat of preference.  When it comes to mushrooms, I gravitate toward jarred.  For some reason jarred mushrooms taste better on pizza than fresh ones. Toppings are endless and can add variety.  Switch out the sausage for grilled chicken and add tons of veggies for a healthier option.  Fresh arugula, basil, sliced tomatoes….who says pizza can’t be healthy?

Cheese….mozzarella is obviously the most popular.  I have a lactose sensitivity and leave the mozzarella off my portion and use a bit of parmesan or pecorino romano cheese instead (the harder the cheese, the less lactose).  Sometimes I’ll use a little feta or even ricotta to change things up a bit.   And let’s not forget the seasonings.  This too is a personal choice…..our favs = oregano, rosemary, pepper.

I find it so easy, so tasty, and so much healthier to make my own pizza or pizza-wich. We wouldn’t dream of ordering out for pizza.  Oh, and the secret is in the sauce!