Tuesday, October 03, 2006

(Almost) Homemade Pizza & Banana Cake for about the same as a Domino's 3-for-$15 Special

In the need of a creatively thrifty yet activity-laden dinner date, I decided to plan a (sort of) homemade pizza-making party shindig last night. It only takes 45 minutes of shopping/prep time and about 15 bucks for your chance to explore your inner-pizza topping artistry.

Although you can use this simple pizza dough recipe, given my (lack of) culinary skills, I figured it was a safer bet to just buy my dough from a local pizza joint. I picked up a ball of dough at Paisano's in Hermosa Beach; most chain pizza places don't sell ready-made dough but many mum'n'pop stores are cool with it. I bought a couple balls of dough ($2 per ball; each yielding two medium pizzas) and also picked up Paisano's pizza sauce ($2.50)--like I said, I was almost making my homemade pizza from home. Perhaps sensing I needed help, the friendly folks at Paisano's even took me behind the counter for a quick lesson in pizza-dough shaping ( lift the dough from one end and gently pinch and rotate between your thumbs in a circular motion). $10 at the supermarket covered the toppings; bacon, pineapple, green pepper, red onion, pepperoni, olives and mozzarella.
Before
After
If you have pre-made dough--and aren't concerned with a perfectly round-shaped pizza--it is super fast and easy. We were able to shape our dough and load it with toppings during the Bears/Seahawks halftime with plenty of time to spare. Meanwhile, to satisfy our appetizer munchies, and immature sense of humor, we also rolled boobie-shaped dough balls. At 350F; it's about 12 mins for the boob balls (roll them around in olive oil and then sprinkle with oregano-type herbs) and 20 mins for the pizza.
A Pair of Herbed Boobie Dough Balls

Taking advantage of my rare Susie Homemaker mood--as well as my bunch of overly ripe bananas--I also decided to make banana cake from scratch for dessert. I perused www.allrecipes.com and picked the recipe with the most positive comments, simple ingredients and basic instructions (this one has only 3 steps). Cutting the sugar by half and shaving off some of the butter, the recipe yielded a super-moist, not overly-sweet and heaps banana-ry banana cake; tasty enough to earn requests for 2nd and 3rd helpings. Even if, like me, you're not a 'cookin'in'the'kitchen type of person, with this basic homemade pizza and banana cake combo, you can totally fake it for a night.

Paisano's

www.allrecipes.com

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