5 Reasons to go out for Pizza

Trying to decide where to take the family for dinner? Meeting friends and looking for the best place to eat that will suit all different tastes? My answer, as always, is Pizza! But in case you need convincing, here are my Five Top Reasons To Go Out For Pizza:

1. Everyone loves pizza. The whole family will enjoy it and your kids will be fed without fuss.

2. Pizzerias are kid-friendly and laid-back. You don't have to dress up and you don't have to muzzle the children.

2. Fancy restaurants are expensive. With the economy in bad shape, pizza is the perfect answer to a slim entertainment budget. Grab a couple of large pizzas and feed the whole family.

3. With a variety of toppings, you can customize pizzas to suit a number of people. Veggie pizza on whole wheat crust or deep dish meat extravaganza, there's something for everyone.

4. The price of cheese and other pizza ingredients has gone down since last year. Pizza is one dining alternative that isn't suffering from inflation.

5. You don't have to do the dishes after dinner.


Pizza Pan by Calphalon

If you're looking for a good all-round pizza pan but you're not ready to go all out and buy a pizza stone, then this Pizza Pan from Calphalon may be just the right way to start out.

Whether you make your own crust, use pre-made crusts from the grocery store, this pizza pan by Calphalon is a good buy for all-round pizza baking. It features heavy duty construction of stainless steel and an even heat distribution system that will bake your crust to golden perfection.

It's relatively inexpensive and dishwasher safe, so even the teens can use it to bake their favorite frozen pizzas.

I found this item at Target online for $11.99. Calphalon also makes a 16" pizza pan that is not dishwasher safe but for me this pan is the perfect item for a busy household where pizza is baked often.


Pizza Stones

If you are very serious about your homemade pizza, eventually you will look into buying a pizza stone. A pizza stone is a large, flat, unglazed stone that will help you make the tastiest home-baked pizza you ever ate.

Pizza stones must be cared for properly and used properly in order for them to give you years of service. The stone will "season" with use or you can rub a little oil on a clean stone now and then to help keep it seasoned and clean.

A pizza stone is porous, therefore it will absorb excess moisture from your pizza as it bakes, making the crust crispier. The stone also stays quite hot for some time after it is removed from the oven, which keeps the food warm.

A pizza stone must never be placed into a hot oven. Rather, place your pizza stone into a cold oven and then heat to the required temperature for what you are baking. Pizza stones are often used for other foods, like bread and cookies, they are very versatile.

Cleaning your pizza stone takes a little extra care. You must let it cool down and then you can use clean water or oil to clean off any remnants of food that may be encrusted. Never use soap. As mentioned previously, a pizza stone is highly porous, and will absorb the soap. You don't want soap-flavored pizzas in the future!

If you have a self-cleaning oven, some recommend leaving the pizza stone in the oven during the cleaning cycle. Then you have simply to brush away the ashes and it is clean without any effort.

Caution! Your pizza stone will be far too hot to handle with regular potholders, so its advisable to buy a set of wire brackets to hold it. You may be able to get a set of very heavy potholders, but most potholders won't withstand the heat of a pizza stone and you may get burned. Another option is to buy a wooden pizza paddle, which will slide under the stone and keep your hands far from it during removal.

Once you start using a pizza stone, you will never go back to ordinary pizza pans.