Sunday, January 01, 2012

Happy 2012!!!

I hope everyone had a lovelee Christmas Season filled with family, friends, love, food and laughter.

I have been on vacation since December 23rd and it has been amazing.  I wouldn't say things have been relaxing though.  With 3 family Christmases to fit into 2 days, plus all the other gatherings, things have been busy.  As Derek and I were grudgingly getting ready for what felt like our 10th party we stopped and reminded each other of how fortunate we are to have this many friends and family around us during the holidays.  So even though Christmas can be crazy and I'm glad it only happens once a year, I am so grateful to have such great friends and family nearby to share the season with.

So other than eating/drinking 5 times the amount of calories per day I am supposed to and driving all over the city to various parties and get-togethers we did take some time to enjoy a couple PJ days and Pizza Parties! Yes, Pizza Parties!

This past Friday afternoon I invited my brother Keenan, sister Danielle, cousin Dean, and friend Cassie over for a pizza party.  It was so much fun!  I pre-made personal size pizza dough for everyone and prepared all the toppings I could think of.  We had:

  • pizza sauce
  • basil pesto
  • pepperoni 
  • chicken
  • ham
  • pineapple
  • green pepper
  • mushroom
  • sun dried tomatoes
  • tomatoes
  • red and white onions
  • jalapeno pepper
  • goat cheese
  • mozzarella cheese 

I think that covers it!  The next step was shaping our dough into a Christmas shapes.  I was really impressed with everyone's creativity and pizza shaping and topping talents.  Here were our final products.  I had to snap these pictures quickly - everyone was very anxious to taste their creations!

Danielle's Hawaiian candy cane

Dean's half pizza sauce, half pesto based Christmas bell

Keenan's meaty snowman

Cassie's cheesy Christmas tree and gift

My pesto based Christmas wreath

Danielle's Christmas holy (we shared this one)

The pizza dough recipe I used was just the one on the back of the jar of yeast.
Here she is:

Combine the following ingredients in a large bowl
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 tsp yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 3/4 tsp salt 
Add 2/3 cup of very warm water and 3 tbsp oil.  Mix until well blended; about 1 minute.  Add enough all-purpose flour to make a soft dough (3/4 - 1 1/4 cups).  The dough should form a ball and will be slightly sticky.  

Knead on a floured surface adding additional flour if needed, until smooth and elastic; about 4 minutes.

After I had created a nice dough ball, I split it into 2 individual balls and let them rise for about 30 minutes while I waited for my guests to arrive.  

Bake at 425 on the lowest oven rack for 12-15 minutes until the cheese is bubbly and crust is browned.  I repeated the recipe 4 times and ended up with 8 individual dough balls.  I ended up freezing the unused dough and am hoping it turns out alright - I'll letcha know.

I thought the pizzas turned out really great and everyone agreed that the dough was very tasty.  I would suggest preparing your pizzas directly on parchment paper and placing the pizza and parchment paper on your baking sheet.  This makes transferring the pizzas from the prep surface to baking sheet and onto the plate much easier.  

I think we will make this a yearly Christmas time tradition.  It's super simple to make the dough ahead of time and prep all the toppings before people arrive.  I also think this is a great idea for child's birthday party.  It would be fun to think of a theme (animals, dinosaurs, flowers, trains/plains/automobiles, or even letters to create initials) and then have party guests make their own custom pizza.

Did anyone else create some new holiday traditions this year?  Any pizza toppings I forgot and need to add to my list for next year?

Happy January 1st everyone!!!

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