Packaged At Home Pizza Experiment
So, you might remember a week or two ago that I said I was going to start experimenting with making my own pizza at home. I have not found one pizza place in southern Indiana that I love – well, I did, but they went out of business.
While my ultimate goal is to come up with a recipe for homemade crust, sauce, and cheese mixture, today was Friday and I’ve not had time to gather the ingredients.
I knew I wanted to experiment with making it at home, but would have to buy some packaged crust mix and sauce. I popped into Kroger and picked up a jar of their store brand sauce for $0.89 and their pizza crust mix for $0.59 (with a Kroger Plus Card).
So, I am always trying out things like this and trying to ramp up the flavor by adding to the mixes, etc. Here is what I did:
I mixed the crust as directed, and preheated the oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit. The package said to let rise for 5 minutes, but I let it rise 15, because I like a lighter crust.
The package said to coat with oil, so I took olive oil, garlic powder and oregano and used that to coat the crust.
I then spread the pizza crust out on parchment paper and used my hands to stretch it as thin as possible but left a little bubble of crust on the edges.
Finally, I nuked 1 Tablespoon of butter with 1 crushed clove of garlic and brushed that over the entire surface of the crust for some added flavor. Next time, I think I’m going to use powdered garlic as it has a stronger flavor.
I used the sauce as it was after tasting it. For $0.89, I was pretty impressed. It had a good flavor without being overwhelming.
I do think using homemade sauce would take the pizza to the next level, but this night was about homemade pizza in a flash.
I used what I had on hand, which was:
- Pork sausage
- Mushrooms (actually borrowed these from my parents)
I browned the sausage and onions together along with three cloves of garlic for flavoring. I crushed them a bit but left them whole so I could pick them back out easily.
I then added the pepperonis and mushrooms to warm them slightly.
I spread all this on top of the sauce and then added some dry Parmesan cheese.
Finally, I placed bits of torn up Provolone all around the pizza and topped the entire thing with shredded Mozzarella.
Back and Bottom Cooking
One trick to getting great crust for an at-home pizza is to put the pizza on the bottom rack and toward the back (rotate once halfway through). I was glad to see the instructions on the Kroger pizza crust mix called for this technique.
I’m going to be experimenting with some different techniques to get the crust just so.
So, this made a huge pizza. I’d say close to an XL from Papa John’s as a comparison. So, I went over to the Papa John’s website and I put in the same toppings for an XL, a three-cheese blend and extra cheese. The sample pizza in their little app looks surprisinging like the one I made.
Their cost? $25.49 (plus I’d have to pay tax here in Indiana for purchasing food from a restaurant, but I don’t pay tax for groceries I buy from the store).
Now, I’m going to assume I could find a coupon and get this pizza for around $20.00. I can almost always find a coupon when ordering pizza.
Just to compare, here is what I used for my pizza and the cost of each item:
- Kroger pizza crust mix – 2 packages at $0.59 each = $1.18
- Kroger pizza sauce – $0.89, but I only used half the jar, so going to count as = $0.45
- Pepperoni – I paid $2.99 for the package of pepperoni I had here. I used half of it. = $1.50
- Sausage – I paid $2.50 for Kroger brand mild pork sausage. used half. = $1.25
- Onion – I had a bag here but don’t remember what I paid. I’m going to guess for the half onion I used. = $0.25
- Mushrooms – My dad brought these over because I was out. I’m going to allow the amount for full price on this item, but you can probably get it much cheaper than this if you shop sales and stock up. = $0.75
- Parmesan cheese – I had this on hand, too, and only used a very small amount. The entire jar was $2.00 after coupons, so = $0.25
- Provolone cheese – I used two slices out of a package of Kroger brand sliced provolone. I paid $1.99 when the cheese was on sale. It has 8 slices total. = $0.50
- Mozzarella cheese – I used half the package of shredded Moz, which I paid $1.99 for as well (Kroger brand). = $1.00Total cost = $7.13
So, it is less than half the take out pizza. Plus, we had two huge slices left that I took over to my parents, but we could have used for leftovers if we’d wanted to.
Overall, this pizza turned out really tasty and filling. We enjoyed it and it was definitely better than any place around here where you can buy a pizza.
It was very filling. I was stuffed after one slice, but ate two. I think it was because I added way more toppings than the typical chain does.
The crust didn’t have a ton of flavor, but tweaking it helped. It was still better than the chain restaurant pizzas, though, and very easy to make.
I don’t think it would have heated up very well the next day, which is why I decided to share it instead of keeping it. You can just kind of tell when a pizza will be tasty cold or reheated and when it won’t.
Stay tuned. I’ll be experimenting with making my own crust next time.