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Jennifer, who is a college professor in Washington D.C., says cooking is a great way for her to relax after the school day.

"I think eating dinners together as a family is so enormously important. It fosters a sense of communication and place in a family," says Jennifer Palumbo-Maan, a former elementary and middle school teacher who now teaches future teachers at a college in Washington, D.C.

"My husband Raj and I have kept alive our Friday night pizza tradition for six years now. Raj claims he could eat my pizza every night of the week. That is never going to happen, but I have to admit that it's so simple that it could easily become Sunday through Saturday night pizza!"

Baking pizza at home makes it easy to customize your pie just the way you like it, Jennifer adds. "Raj likes pepperoni on his half with a lot of mozzarella cheese while I prefer less cheese and no pepperoni. We both like to top it with fresh or dried basil. This recipe makes enough for two 12-inch thin-crust pizzas with enough dough left over for breadsticks to dip into extra pizza sauce."

Try Jennifer's recipe and top it just the way you and your family members like it.

Raj's Favorite Friday Night Pizza

Liven up your Friday nights by having a family pizza party.

    Pizza Crust:
    (makes enough for two 12-inch thin-crusted pizzas with enough dough left over for breadsticks to dip into extra pizza sauce):
  • 3 tsp. yeast (1 packet has 2¼ tsp.)
  • 1½ Cups warm water
  • 3 TB. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2½ Cups white flour
  • 2 Cups whole wheat flour
    Pizza Sauce:
    (makes enough for two pizzas with extra for the breadsticks):
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (½tsp. MINCED GARLIC rehydrated in 2 tsp. warm water)
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 2 15-oz. cans tomato sauce
  • ½ tsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 Cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • pepperoni, black olives, onion, peppers, etc.

To make the crust, dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Add the oil and salt to the mixture. Mix the flours and knead them into the liquid mixture. Let the dough rise for 30 to 40 minutes. Once the dough has risen, punch down, divide in two and roll out to your desired thickness. Set aside on parchment paper until you're ready to bake it. If you roll the dough thin you can take a golf ball sized hunk off each crust and roll that into breadsticks.

For the sauce: In a small pan, sauté the garlic in the olive oil until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomato sauce and the rest of the ingredients, adjusting to your personal taste and level of heat. Combine until heated through. Remove from heat and set aside.

Assembling the pizza pies: Preheat oven to 500°. If using a pizza stone place in the oven to preheat. If not using a stone preheat oven to 425°. Place the pizza dough on a paddle or cookie sheet dusted with cornmeal. Add sauce, leaving a ¼-inch border around the edge. Sprinkle with cheese and your favorite toppings. Carefully slide the pizza onto the heated pizza stone in the oven, if using, or place directly onto the rack without a pan. Bake for 15 minutes or until the cheese is oozing and bubbling. Remove with a pizza paddle or carefully slide onto a cookie sheet or cutting board. Top with fresh or dried basil if desired.

Prep. time: 1 hour
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Yield: 2 pizzas, 12 slices

Nutritional Information with cheese only: Servings 12;
Serving Size 1 slice (117g); Calories 190; Calories from fat 60; Total fat 7g; Cholesterol 15mg; Sodium 610mg; Carbohydrate 25g; Dietary Fiber 3g.

Raj's Favorite Friday Night Pizza

Need any spices for this recipe?

Description Price Quantity
Garlic Minced 1.2 oz. 1/4 cup jar $3.79
Italian Herb Mix .7 oz. 1/2 cup jar $4.79
Crushed Red Peppers California .5 oz. 1/4 cup jar $3.09