Date Night: A Homemade Pizza Party for Two!

I am very excited because tonight is pizza-making date night with the hubby. It’s a recent phenomenon that I’ve gotten Ryan into the kitchen to help and, while I don’t want to jinx it, I think he’s secretly enjoying it. We’ve been making an effort to spend more time together aside from the time we spend watching TV and sleeping. As much as Ryan would love to consider sleeping “quality time”, it’s just not. And quality time happens to be one of my love languages (read the book The Five Love Languages for some context).

homemade pizza date night - Carrie Tyler

Pesto Prosciutto vs. Meat-lover Paradise Pizza

I have no idea when I started to love cooking, but it is a fact that Ryan hates cooking. He’d prefer to order take-out every night if it saves him 15 minutes in the kitchen cooking, baking, doing dishes or just staring at me and waiting patiently for the dinner bell. Slowly but surely, I’ve found ways to get him involved (much to his chagrin).

My most recent plot to get him involved includes shopping for items that I know he’ll enjoy. Kabocha squash and grilled vegetables don’t necessarily get his taste buds pumping. The idea is that instead of making a protein shake or a warming up a can of black beans [or ordering 2 Dominoes pizzas because “they’re having a deal”) for dinner, he will actually wait for the good menu I have planned.

So, while at the store this week and with Ryan in mind, I planned two menus.

Menu 1: Turkey meatball pasta with Italian side salad.
Menu 2: Homemade Do-it-yourself Pizzas with Italian salad leftovers.

Who doesn’t like meatballs and pizza? Now, keep in mind, I am still me…so we are going for healthy turkey meatballs and pizza. The pasta will be spiralized zucchini and the pizza crust will be as health-conscious as I can stand. For those of you gluten-free individuals out there, Trader Joe’s sells a cauliflower crust for $3.99! They also sell various pizza doughs (plain, wheat, garlic & herb) for $1.19/bag.

homemade pizza date night - Carrie Tyler

Trader Joe’s crust options! Left: Frozen Cauliflower Crust, Right: Wheat Dough.

I picked up two crust options – a frozen Cauliflower crust for me, and I splurged on the wheat dough for Ryan because cauliflower crust is a lot to ask of a man.

I had fun shopping for toppings. I chose pesto and red pizza sauce and got loads of toppings like goat cheese, spinach, artichoke hearts, prosciutto, sausage and roasted red peppers!

homemade pizza date night - Carrie Tyler

Various topping options found at Trader Joe’s

While quality time is the best reason for our date night, the inspiration is truly our unused pizza stone, a wedding gift that has sat in a cupboard for 3 years. It’s about time we dusted it off and got it cooking.

Now, I do not want this date to be a failure. I’ve heard many a pizza-making tale where the pizza dough and toppings end up all over the bottom of the oven. That would be a horrible (and hangry) end to a wonderful date. Adamant that this would not be our fate, I did my research and wanted to share it with all of you!

Without further ado…

How to make the PERFECT date night pizza!

FIRST TIME PIZZA STONE USERS:

  • Wipe the stone with a wet cloth to clean it. Use a metal spatula to remove any leftover crusty pieces.
  • Never use soap (it soaks into the porous stone’s surface).
  • Never remove a hot pizza stone from the oven. Wait for it to cool completely otherwise you risk cracking the stone.
homemade pizza date night - Carrie Tyler

Our beautiful unused pizza stone from Sur La Table.

You will need:

  • Dough/Crust (I’m using cauliflower crust and wheat dough, both from Trader Joe’s)
  • Toppings
  • Upside-down Baking Sheet (I don’t have a pizza paddle, but if you have a paddle – use it instead!)
  • Parchment Paper
  • Fork
  • Tongs

Now, grab a glass of wine and let’s do this.

Instructions:

  • Place COLD pizza stone on lowest rack in oven prior to heating the oven.
  • Preheat oven as hot as it will go without boiling.
    • Cooking sites recommend 450-500 degrees if that helps! 800 is perfect but who really has an oven that cooks at 800 degrees in their standard kitchen?
  • Heat pizza stone for 30 minutes.
  • While pizza stone is heating, lay parchment paper on upside-down baking sheet (or pizza paddle) so it covers the entire surface. Use two baking sheets if you are making two pizzas.
  • For Trader Joe’s pizza dough:

    1. Let the dough come to room temp before baking.
    2. Shape the dough on the parchment paper in desired shape.
    3. Stab the dough with a fork so it doesn’t bubble up in the oven.
    4. Shimmy the pizza dough & parchment paper from baking sheet onto pizza stone in the oven (no toppings yet).
    5. Cook dough/parchment paper 3-5 minutes without toppings.
    6. Remove the partially cooked crust from the oven and place replace on upside-down baking sheet (you may need tongs to assist in this process).
    7. Add desired toppings.
      homemade pizza date night - Carrie Tyler

      Wheat dough pizza pre-final oven bake.

    8. Shimmy the dough with toppings & parchment paper back onto pizza stone in oven.
    9. Total cook time should be around 7-10 minutes.
      1. When the pizza has been in the oven about 5 minutes, slide the dough off the parchment paper. Discard parchment paper into trash.
      2. Continue cooking pizza on the stone for another 5 minutes, or until browned to your liking.
        homemade pizza date night - Carrie Tyler

        Pizza in oven on our stone. By this point, we already slid the pizza from the parchment paper thus the reason you no longer see the paper.

  • For Cauliflower crust:

    1. Follow instructions on Trader Joe’s packaging for crust preparation.
      1. Follow steps 5g-5i.
        homemade pizza date night - Carrie Tyler

        Cauliflower pizza pre-oven.

  • Slide cooked pizza from stone back to baking sheet.
  • Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and enjoy!

We couldn’t decide on which toppings to use so we both did half pesto and half red sauce. Even if we both don’t love being in the kitchen, we sure do have similar taste in pizza!

Have fun cooking!

1 Comment

  1. Karin Miller
    March 25, 2018 / 8:04 pm

    It looks YUMMY!!!! And VERY FUN!!! Do you think I could get MY husband to cook this?????????

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