Friday nights in the 70's meant homemade pizza. My dad use to make homemade pizza sauce when I was a kid. Then my parents would take a can of Pillsbury biscuits and pat them out into little circles. We, my brother and I, could help add the sauce, cheese and whatever else we wanted to them.
For my children, Friday nights usually mean homemade pizza and a movie. When I first went off to college I asked my parents for a few of the recipes they made: Pizza and Spaghetti sauces. Dad was responsible for the pizza, mom for the spaghetti. In fact, my mom was not someone who enjoyed being in the kitchen too much. But, her spaghetti sauce was really fantastic! Dad seemed to enjoy the kitchen more. Still, the recipes my parents used were pretty straight forward. Dad was able to give me his recipe. My mom had sort of a strange look on her face when I asked for her recipe...she always winged it! She would take the basics and then add to it each time. I needed to just watch her once to write down what she did. Neither of my parent's recipes had anything too special about them, but they both were so good and certainly favorites of mine. Like my mom, neither of my recipes for these too dishes is written down, exactly. I have the basics jotted down; someday my kids may want them.
Unlike my parents, I make my own pizza dough. I fell in love with the dough at a restaurant in Chicago about a year ago, Geno's East. Although this is suppose to be a "secret" recipe, thanks to the Internet and lots of sampling on my families part, I have been able to find a version very similar that we enjoy. Until my own version of the Geno's dough I happily used a recipe in the Disney's FamilyFun Cookbook.
So, now that I do not have a working oven for at least another four-five weeks, I need to find a creative way to make pizza! I recalled when my mom would make that delicious spaghetti sauce of hers. One of the treats of the evening (the sauce cooked for HOURS!) was that when it was done, mom would let us tear off chunks of bread and dip then into a bowl of sauce. My mom had a secret recipe for her bread too. We were sworn to secrecy because she didn't want her mom, my grandma- the true baker, to find out what she did. Grams thought mom made the absolute best bread in the world. And she did! But her secret was to take frozen loaves of bread dough and follow the directions on the package. :) You'd think Grams would have caught on since her daughter NEVER really liked cooking! I diverse... my creative way to make pizza...Pizza Fondue. A simple search on the Internet proved it was NOT an original thought. Still, I was game for this adventure. Worst case scenario, we order out.
In the fondue pot I used a can of Cheddar Cheese soup and added mozzarella Cheese. Tasty, but it doesn't stay on bread very well.
On the stove top I made my pizza sauce. To the sauce I added finely chopped pepperoni and cooked sausage.
Above is a nice picture of my work and serve area. I decided to mix both pans together. My son noted that it turned out more like a queso dip. It was much easier to dip the bread sticks I bought into this mixture. My taste-testers decided it was repeatable. The chef wasn't extremely pleased with the bread though. Maybe I am spoiled by that recipe I have for dough. A day later, I bought a loaf of French bread and sliced it very thin...about 1/4 of an inch slices. I toasted the bread and spread leftover, warm pizza sauce dip on top. MUCH BETTER! When the kids got home from school I made up some of these treats for them. They came back for seconds!
Last night I decided to try a crock pot recipe. I cooked a whole chicken with carrots, onion and celery. Above you can see my creations in progress. I have been using my computer a lot as a resource. I am still requesting anyone and everyone to send me their favorite CP recipes! So far both response I have received with recipes were for pulled pork. I will definitely be trying that next week! My MIL happens to LOVE pulled pork. My other friend who responded is a lot like me when it comes to CP cooking. Both our CP's are over 20 years old and used mostly to keep things warm.
After a successful day of CP cooking, here's a picture of our meal! Chicken in a pot (transferred to an easier to carry dish), green beans, fried apples and Risotto Rice with peas. We took this meal next door and dined with the in-laws. It was nice to use their plates and then dishwasher! My MIL made persimmon pudding the other day so that was our dessert. YUMMY!
Not every meal over the next several weeks will be this gourmet. But I am seriously missing a real kitchen! I needed to create!