In our house, every Friday night is Pizza & Movie Night. It is “tradition” and it is our favorite night of the week because we have made it to the end of another busy week and get to relax and have fun together.
As a family, we have many “traditions”. It is important for all kids to have some sort of structure, routine and predictability in their daily lives but for kids that have experienced a whole lot of unpredictability, stress and trauma, it is absolutely crucial. So, we have traditions.
Heck, who am I kidding, routine and structure are crucial for me too. I like order and predictability. I am a girl who has a plan and a list for everything. Flexibility is not my super power and I freely admit it. Thankfully, I am not a control freak. I am a recovering control freak who is now able to appreciate the fact that God gave me three little people who are perfectly wired to
test my resolve help me grow on a daily basis.
Yup, that God, he’s a funny guy. Have you heard the saying the way to make God laugh is to tell Him your plans? Well, I am absolutely certain that I provide Him with constant amusement, in oh so many ways. Thankfully, I have learned through His endless grace and constant mercy to trust Him even when the need for plan B or C or even D arises. That being said, I will always have a list or two going. I can’t help myself.
So while control is not the goal (hmmm, alliteration, I’m not usually a fan but I think maybe that should be my new motto), we are still very intentional about how our daily lives are lived. We have to be and meal time is no exception. Every night, we eat together at the dinner table as a family. If daddy is going to be late then the kids eat together and I sit with them and then enjoy dinner with Gary when he gets home. We practice sitting still, eating with manners (and forks) and we talk over our day like ladies and gentlemen; or at least we try.
But not on Fridays.
Yes, built into our structure, routine and predictability is pizza night.
Every Friday night, we eat with our fingers, slurp on a root beer (or a glass of wine – I do try not to slurp my wine but it really just depends on how much “growing” I have done during the week) in front of the TV while we watch a movie. It is messy and a little unhealthy (everyone needs a root beer once in a while) but that is good because it is fun and it is tradition and no body ever said order and routine had to be boring.
Come to think of it, neither does pizza.
Sometimes we order our pizza but often times we make it ourselves. The most fun is to have a bunch of different toppings laid out and then everyone makes their own individual pizza.
Sometimes the crust is homemade, sometimes it is Trader Joe’s dough or my favorite Archer Farms brand Ultra Thin and Crispy, sometimes it is a ciabatta roll, whole wheat tortilla or a piece of pita bread; see, I can be flexible. More and more we make our own pizza. It is just tastes better and after spending $60 or more on delivery only to have each kid eat one piece compared to watching them devour every bit of the homemade stuff, homemade wins.
I’m going to share my favorite homemade pizza with you because I’m the mom and because my pizza is the best. In fact, let’s just call it “Mom’s White Pizza is the Best”, because a) it is a white pizza; b) that is what I dance around and chant after every perfect bite; and c) it is the best.
Then, I will share a list of some of our favorite pizza toppings. Because lists are awesome.
Mom’s White Pizza is the Best (that part can be optional – look at me being flexible)
Here’s what I do …
Decide on my crust. These Archer Farm’s crusts (found at Target) are wonderful. I am totally a thin and crispy devotee and these are convenient, low cal and really good. I have not been asked to endorse this product in any way (hello, small potatoes here) I am just sharing them because I have tried them and think they are great!
Spread a generous layer of plain old Ricotta cheese on my thin and crispy crust.
Drizzle on some olive oil.
And add whatever toppings sound good.
Here I’ve got fresh mozzarella, freshly grated parmesan and fresh basil.
Bake it according to the crust’s directions. This was baked at 425 degrees for 12 minutes.
On this one I added a little bit of Sun Dried Tomato Pesto. Amazing.
And there you have it, Mom’s White Pizza; which is not entirely white but we’ll stick with that because of the Ricotta “sauce”. I also love to top it with arugula and fresh halved grape tomatoes, placed on the pizza just after it comes out of the oven.
For the record, while this is an individual pizza, I do not eat the entire thing in one sitting.
Well not unless I have “grown” considerably that day.
A big hit with my kids is a recent discovery.
I had some left over ciabatta rolls and decided to make pizza with them. I topped them with traditional pizza sauce, turkey pepperoni, fresh mozzarella and freshly grated parmesan.
I just popped them under the broiler and crisped them up (3-5 minutes) and my kids inhaled them. In fact, they have requested them for pizza night again tonight. David wants me to add bacon to his though. I will. Because I love him.
Serve this ciabatta pizza with a few hot wings, yogurt blue cheese dressing and a side salad and it’s perfect for mom and dad too.
As for dad, his basic pizza requirements are no white sauce (it has to be red or it isn’t pizza) and it must be covered in jalapeno peppers. Good. But not “the best”.
There are a lot of different toppings that we’ve tried and enjoyed and everyone certainly has their favorites. As promised, here are a list of some of ours (I will let you guess who likes what) …
- Pesto as pizza sauce
- Asiago Cheese
- Romano Cheese
- Kalamata Olives
- Artichoke Hearts
- Roasted Red Peppers
- Hamburger and Onion
- BBQ Sauce, BBQ Chicken, Cheddar Cheese and Red Onion
- Caramelized Onions or Shallots and Gorgonzola Cheese
- Brown Butter Fried Sage Leaves and Sausage
Truly, the possibilities are endless. I would love to know what some of your favorite pizza toppings are and if you have pizza night too or any other fun family traditions.
Happy Pizza Night!