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christmas eve/day - pizza bar? easy dinner?

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hi pizza makers! i know there are a lot on here and i am a complete novice. in fact i still think i might cheat. :) but i am looking for advice/recipes/etc for a make your own pizza bar. my husband is on call for christmas and so we only have christmas eve. and it's just the 2 kids and he and i. he is NOT into traditional dinners so i was looking for something that would feel special but be fairly casual. thought this would fit the bill. i HATE that our holidays often feel just like every other day so i try to do something - but i want him to like it too. thanks! i have a pizza stone but NO special stuff. could get a few things though.

also if anyone has ideas for EASY but yummy thing for the kids and i the next day that will make me feel like i had a holiday dinner but won't be too much work (or leftovers since i'm cooking for me, a 5 year old and an 18 month old). they are NOT picky!

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  1. please - anybody? bueller?

    1. Pizza's are lots of fun, and everyone can pick their favorite toppings! To do in the oven, I have a stone, plus a peel, which I think helps, but you can do on cookie sheets (lined with parchment).. Dough is easy to make, especially if you have a food processor (or you can buy). The most important advice -- don't put on too many (or too much) topping, and use a HOT oven. and use plenty of flour / cornmeal to make sure the dough comes off the peel (would also recommend using smaller pieces of dough).

      It's also fun to do on the grill (not sure where you are, but this is not a problem with Christmas in Phoenix). Here's my recipe... http://blog.firecooked.com/2007/10/25...

      Good luck, and Merry Christmas!

      1. Easy homemade pizza sauce that (in my opinion) tastes way better than anything store-bought: mince/crush one clove garlic. saute in olive oil w/ a handful or so of chopped onion, and herbs of choice (oregano, basil, thyme, and rosemary, in order from most to least used, are my favorites.) Once garlic and onion have softened (or you can wait for onions to caramelize, if you want a sweeter undertone), add one 6oz can of tomato paste and one 8oz can of tomato sauce (not spaghetti sauce, but the actual 'tomato sauce' that's sold right next to the paste). Whisk until smooth. Whisk in 1 tsp sugar, salt and pepper to taste. Simmer until heated through - if it's too thick for your taste, add a bit of water or chicken broth to thin it out a bit. Note: if I'm really rushed or feeling lazy, I skip the garlic and onions and just whisk and heat the paste and sauce together, toss in the sugar, salt, pepper, and herbs, and let it heat through before using on my pizza.

        Before bar time, pre-make individual sized pizza dough rounds so that everyone can decorate their own. When I don't feel like making my own dough, I use Trader Joe's herbed pizza dough - it's quite tasty. If you don't want to mess w/ dough at all, you could always use foccaccia, Boboli, or even pitas.

        Chop veggies/toppings to approximately equal sizes. Maybe the kids would have fun making pictures on their pizza w/ their toppings? Like smiley faces or something? A variety of colors in their toppings could make this more fun - i.e. black olives, red, yellow, and/or green peppers, red onions, etc...Just make sure the choices are things that your kiddos will actually eat :-)

        I'm not entirely sure what you mean by "make me feel like I had a holiday dinner"...do you mean you want a meal that resembles holiday dinner food w/out all the work? or just a holiday-ish activity? Decorating cookies/cupcakes or making a gingerbread house is always fun in my book. You could even have the kids help you put together little gift bags/baskets of your goodies and then you could help the kiddos deliver them to neighbors, friends, family, etc?

        Good luck and enjoy your holiday! :-)

        1. Thanks all. The smiley faces is a great idea. Unfortunately i had TJs in Cleveland but not here in richmond so I'm winging it with premade dough or have to do my own. Wouldn't mind except the 18 month old destroys everything when i turn away! I haven't even made cookies :( this year.
          I'm thinking an easy pot roast type thing with noodles for Christmas dinner. Will feel nice but shouldn't be too hard. And I might be able to grill in Richmond. I've heard that greatly improves the crusts.
          Thanks all!

          1 Reply
          1. re: AMFM

            If you can't make your own crust, most pizzerias will sell you a ball of dough (or more). That way it's fresh and (if you like your local place) tasty! My kids love making their own pizzas -- especially with faces. Just keep them from adding too much sauce. It takes less than you think. You might want to put it on for them and let (at least the 5-year-old) spread it around with a spoon.
            Definitely use extra flour or cornmeal -- the hardest part can be transferring the pizza to the hot stone! If your oven is plenty hot, they cook quickly (always a plus with kids).
            Pot roast for dinner (or any stew/braise) will work well because you can make it ahead and the leftovers will keep wonderfully -- so your efforts will cover another meal too!
            Enjoy!

          2. Along the same lines, you could also do a fajita, burrito or taco bar. That would eliminate the need to stick them in the oven afterwards. It might make it easier for people to try different combinations.

            Toppings could include black beans, grilled veggies, grilled chicken or steak, salsa, sour cream, guac, cheese.

            1 Reply
            1. re: rweater

              agreed - except that we do soft taco bars all the time. kids LOVE them. but less special. we've never done this so it would feel like something different for christmas. thanks for the ideas! has anyone tried ina's pizza dough recipe in the parties book? i had that one so i thought about it. otherwise i'm going premade! i have enough to do if i'm getting cookies made and presents wrapped!