Pizza Night

Growing up, Sundays at my house were sacred, but not for the usual reason. Sunday night was pizza night. It was my dad's night to cook and that almost always meant pizza. But not just any old pizza -- pizza from scratch with a homemade crust, homemade tomato sauce and all the toppings. Dad would toss it in the oven and I would camp out by the oven door waiting... waiting... drooling. It was a ritual that has grown into one of those fond childhood memories that I'll never be able to live up to. But why not try?

I have a lot of little "helpers" in my kitchen and there are plenty of times when I feel the need to scoot them out as I get dinner ready, but this wasn't one of them. There were plenty of jobs to go around.

Here is my recipe. It will never be as good as my dad's, but maybe close.

For the dough you need:

3 c. flour (you can sneak in some whole wheat if you like)

1 1/2 t. yeast (or 1 packet)

pinch sugar

1/2 t. salt

1 c. warm water

Put pizza stone on the bottom rack of your oven. Preheat to 500 degrees for 1 hour.

Proof the yeast by mixing it in the warm water. Add a pinch of sugar. If you see bubbling within 5 minutes, proceed. If not, toss it and start over with fresh yeast.

Mix in flour and salt (I use the dough setting on my bread machine for this, but kneading by hand is fun too). If the dough is too sticky, add more flour. Too crumbly, add more water.

Place kneaded dough in an oiled bowl and cover. Set in a warm spot until double in size (about 45 minutes). Punch down and divide into 2 equal pieces.

Roll dough out into circles. Sprinkle cornmeal onto a baker's peel (or cookie sheet without the sides). Place dough onto baker's peel and assemble pizza.

You know this part. Sauce, cheese, toppings. This is where those little "helpers" come in. Repeat with the other piece of dough.

Now the tricky mom part. Kids stand back while Mom tries to slide this thing off of the cookie sheet and onto the pizza stone. I got lucky and only lost one olive.

Bake for about 10 minutes. Enjoy!