Cast Iron Skillet Pizza

It’s been a longstanding tradition on my family’s side to have Saturday night pizza night.  Saturday night pizza was one of my favorite things as a child growing up. I have such wonderful memories of sitting around my grandparents table with them, my aunt and uncle, cousins, my parents and siblings and sometimes even friends.  I’m not even sure how long this tradition has been in place, but it goes back as far as I can remember and even as far back as my parents can remember.  I love sweet family traditions like this.

Now that I have my own family, I have been trying to implement and create our own traditions for my children. Does your family have any traditions that are meaningful or special to you? I’d love to hear about them.img_20170218_160624

The evening always started out  like this, my aunt would make the pizza dough from scratch and get the crusts ready. Then she would take the tomato sauce and add just the right amount of seasonings.  My mom would be shredding the cheese and swatting kids hands as we darted in and out of the kitchen trying to steal a handful here and there and sneak a piece of pepperoni. Then the kids would help “decorate” the pies while eating our fair share of the toppings in the process.  We always had special made to order pizza for everyone’s liking.  “We aim to please” my aunt would say as she placed onions on half of one pie and pineapple and ham on another.  The piece with green olives was always special made for me.  Well, that is if my oldest cousin wasn’t around, then I had to share.

Now that I’m on the other side of the United States from my family, I’ve had to recreate those moments with my own children.  We do things a bit differently from how I grew up, but still a tradition all the same.  For instance, often we choose to make our pizza with a gluten free crust and when our garden is in bloom I love to make sauce from our fresh tomatoes.  We like toppings such as ground turkey and red peppers, BBQ chicken, red onions and BBQ sauce, pesto sauce with feta and greek olives. A little too adventurous for the liking of some of my family back home.

Look at that ooey gooey yummy cheese, golden crust and crispy pepperoni! I’m drooling right now.

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I’m always experimenting with pizza, the crust, the toppings, the baking process.  This time I decided to try cooking one in my cast iron skillet.  My husband loves a thicker crust and I thought what a perfect way to get that deep dish pizza feel.  Plus, I’ve read that there are some great benefits to cooking with cast iron.  According to Kerri- Ann Jennings, registered dietitian and Eating Well magazine editor, when you cook with cast iron you can use less oil, it is a chemical free alternative to non-stick pans, and it adds iron to your food. All good things!

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Cast iron pans are great heat conductors, which makes for the perfect pizza crust. Crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside!  Plus, if ever in a pinch a cast iron pan makes a great weapon, just ask Rapunzel.

RECIPE:

Lightly oil your cast iron pan before spreading dough into crust.                                         Dough of choice either pre-made or homemade                                                                          Sauce of choice                                                                                                                                      Toppings of choice

Lots of choices!

Bake at 450 degrees for about 15-20 minutes

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Although miles away, even to this day, when I come home for a visit there will be a slice of pizza with ham and pineapple or green olives just for me.

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