I love an impromptu troop full of “terrible teens” filling our home.
(Terrible teens? I beg to differ…”)
And with that troop came so much beauty and bedlam….
We love to open our home, but it doesn’t happen nearly enough during our busy sports season.
Not a good excuse, but just a reality that needs to change.
For some, the aspect of hospitality is overwhelming. I think one major deterrent from opening one’s home is the whole food dilemma.
“What should we make? How much will I have to spend; this will be expensive.
I just don’t have the time” etc. etc.
We want to create a welcoming home, but in the process, we talk ourselves out of the concept due to an unrealistic pressure to “perform” to some magazine standard.

Since we have now entered the teen years, and will be in the throws of this age group for the next 15 years, we desire our home to be the place they want to gather.
A Welcoming Home/ a Haven of Hospitality is one of those things I passionately pursue, even if it’s not alway a reality.

With this desire comes the realization that teens want food….good food….and LOTS of it.
Since this gathering was thrown together at the last minute, I didn’t have time to go to the store and stock up on special goodies just for this.
Quite frankly, buying on impulse is something I want to avoid since it eats up the $500/month budget quite quickly.
There are a few main staples that I keep on hand for occasions such as this, and it gives me the freedom to know that I always have something to throw together.
I always have bulk amounts of sour cream in stock to make delicious dips on demand.
This was a great dill dip for the veggies.

Along side the soda I placed this bowl of yummy nutrients, and the first thing that came out of one of the girl’s mouth was, “ohh…hmm…healthy snacks?”
I knew I better get it into gear, so I quickly threw together this taco dip.
Yes, I forgot to take a picture until it was almost gone, so just for you I spread the dip around and threw a little bit of cheese back on….hee hee.
Seriously, every single one of my kids (including my five year old) can whip together a mean taco dip and they do it on a regular basis.
This is always a crowd pleaser and served with white corn tortilla chips, it’s the best.

And of course, chocolate soothes even the most picky of souls.
These, along with peanut butter cup brownies topped off the evening.

Deciding on the main meal is always the challenge.
Grilling is always a crowd favorite, but depending on the size of the group, it’s not always a feasible option. Quite often I go for lasagna, chili or…..

I am amazed at how many people shy away from the idea because conjuring up anything with yeast has a scary presupposition.
Trust me…it is not hard to whip up some crust and the price is ALWAYS right.

I can make a large pizza for just a few dollars.
Unfortunately for my guests this week, I was out of pepperoni, and only had a bit of sausage.
So, if cheese pizza is your preference, then the price is really right.

All the moms came up to me the next day and said how the teens were so impressed.
Trust me, this isn’t about impressing anyone.
It’s about feeding the multitudes, and pizza does the trick every time.

If you have a Kitchen Aid sitting on your counter…unused….get it out.

With a dough hook, homemade crust is a reality in minutes.
Even if you have to do it by hand, it’s so fun.
It will just take a bit longer than a few minutes, but only ten…max.

I am in the middle of redesigning my site, and once I do, I will be adding some video tutorials.
Homemade pizza crust will be one of them.

I am completely about making it quick, easy and affordable.
Yes, homemade sauce would be the optimal, but I got this Ragu with my doubled coupons when it was on sale BOGO Free. Yipee…and I know the teens could care less. 🙂
*One thing I do when I use store bought sauce is to add in a few additional spices to give it that homemade sauce taste such as basic Italian spices – oregano, basil, garlic powder etc.).
I sprinkle them right on top of the sauce and sometimes over the crust.

I made four large pizzas that all went quickly. If it was for our family, I would have made 3 of them a veggie supreme, but considering how they initially responded to the raw brocolli, I stuck with 2 1/2 cheese. But guess what, the brocolli and carrots were gone by the end of the night. 🙂This is another thing I make in bulk. If you are going to make dough, why not triple the recipe? You may freeze the raw dough, or make the pizzas and freeze them before baking.
This recipe will make one large pizza.
Recipes for yeast items scare me….they make it seem SO much more difficult than it is.
I have typed up the real recipe, but I will highlight the reality of just how simple it is.

And yes, I got myself into trouble by telling my friend that she needs to learn how to do this. Now she corralled me into teaching a Keeper’s Club girls group how to make it this week.
9-13 year old girls are each going to make one.
If they can, you can.

Crusty Pizza Dough

1 package active dry yeast
I buy this in bulk at Sam’s/Cosco…1 tb=1 package
1 cup warm water (105 degrees F to 115 degrees)
I have never ever taken the water’s temperature.
Stick your finger in the water. If it burns you, it’s too hot. Think NC summer day hot.

1/2 tsp salt
I love to use garlic salt for a little extra umph.
1 tsp. olive oil (or any oil)
2 1/3 cups – 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
(I actually have a grain grinder and can do my own ww flour)

Dissolved yeast in warm water in warmed bowl.
Nope, don’t do that either…who has time to warm a bowl.
Add salt, olive oil, and 2 1/2 cups flour.
Attach dough hook, and mix for 1 minute.

Continuing on low speed, add remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until dough clings to hook and cleans side of bowl. Kneed on low speed for 2 minutes.
This is where a video may come in handy. Cleaning the side of the bowl means the dough will begin to pull away and lump together in a nice kind of ball.

Place in greased bowl, turning to grease top.
Cover, let rise in warm place, free from draft, until doubled in bulk…about 1 hour.
Punch down.
In theory, this all sounds ideal, but when you have a room full of teenagers wondering when their food is coming, I am not about to tell them they have to wait for the dough to rise.
For the first two pizzas, I literally skipped this step. Isn’t that awesome to know?
Once I mixed the dough, I just rolled it right out.
While the first two pizzas were cooking, I did “force” a rise with the remaining dough by giving it that extra time to rise a little before punching it down, but not necessary.

Brush 14 inch pizza pan with oil; sprinkle with cornmeal (nope, didn’t do that either).
Press dough across bottom of pan forming a collar around edge to hold filling.
Top with desired fillings.
Bake at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

And look at all these happy campers.
Even though the dough didn’t rise, I think they were quite content.

And now Morgan, Katie, and Lindsey…you are all blog stars….hee hee.
Yes, I found out that one of these sweet girls actually reads my blogs….yikes.
Now I can’t say anything I want about my kids anymore. 🙂

Posted at Smockity Frocks