Easy Homemade Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

I started making all of my own pizza dough last year after watching my sister and soon-to-be brother-in-law make theirs the past few years during our family vacations at Smith Mountain Lake.

Lemme tell ya, homemade pizza dough is crazy simple to make. EASY-PEASY. (Even though I know lots of people think otherwise.)

While my usual recipe calls for all-purpose flour, this month I’m following the #HH30Days Real Food Challenge, so I made an easy homemade whole wheat pizza dough (with only 5 ingredients!) instead.

whole wheat flour

After mixing the yeast with warm water (140°F to be precise, but I prefer to just use my wrist – not hot, but very warm), I just let it sit for about 10 minutes until the mixture starts to look kind of foamy.

whole wheat pizza dough yeast

Then, I let my KitchenAid + dough hook do all the kneading work for the next 10 minutes. This is followed by 30 minutes of rising (mixing bowl is covered with a towel and set in a warm oven that I’ve let preheat to 170°F and then turned off), one punch-down, re-kneading by hand for a minute, and then more rising for about 15 minutes.

whole wheat dough rising

I always roll our pizza dough out to a thin crust, and this works especially well with whole wheat pizza dough which can get too chewy if it’s really thick. (My personal opinion, anyway.)

whole wheat pizza dough rounds

When it’s about 1/8″ thick, and baked in a super hot oven, this whole wheat pizza dough turns into a deliciously crispy chewy crust that keeps me fuller longer than its traditional all-purpose counterpart and can also withstand lots of fabulous toppings.

whole wheat dough rolled

This recipe makes 8 personal-sized pizzas, so I’ll use 4 immediately, and then freeze the remaining 4 for the next time we’re having pizza. The frozen dough thaws out nicely overnight in the fridge, but I’ve also thawed them in the microwave when I’ve been in a pinch!

Easy Homemade Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

Here’s the finished pizza, baked at 500°F for 4 minutes and smothered with fresh mozzarella. I’ve also topped mine with local organic crimini mushrooms and organic scallions from our last Hometown Harvest small fixed bag – YUM!

And, there you have it: easy homemade whole wheat pizza dough (with only 5 ingredients)!

Easy Homemade Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
 
Prep time
Cook time
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Easy homemade whole wheat pizza dough recipe made with only 5 ingredients!
Author:
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 1 packet active dry yeast
  • 1-1/3 cups very warm water (about 140°F)
  • 3-1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 170°F. As soon as it's done preheating, turn it off.
  2. Combine the yeast and water in the bowl of a KitchenAid (or similar) mixer fitted with a dough hook. Let it sit for about 10 minutes or until you notice it starts to look foamy.
  3. After mixing the flour and salt together in a separate mixing bowl, add it to the water and yeast, turn the mixer on low for 30 seconds, and then increase the speed to medium-low for another minute longer. When the ingredients have come together, increase the speed to medium and drizzle in ¼ cup of olive oil. Let the mixer continue kneading the dough for 10 minutes; the dough should look smooth.
  4. Remove the dough from the mixing bowl and shape it into a ball. Coat the dough ball with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, place it back in the mixing bowl and cover the top of the bowl with a towel. Set the covered mixing bowl in the warm oven for 30 minutes. Remove the dough (it should have almost doubled in size), use your fist to punch it down, knead it by hand for a minute, reform the dough ball and then set it back in the warm oven (covered) for another 15-20 minutes.
  5. Cut the dough into 8 equal sized pieces for individual pizzas (if you're going to freeze some, just place them in a freezer-safe zip top bag and throw them in the freezer at this point). Roll each pizza to ⅛" thick, top with sauce, cheese and other toppings, and then place it atop a pizza stone that's been preheated to 500°F. NOTE: I leave the pizza stone in the oven and use a pizza peel coated with cornmeal to slide my prepped pizza dough onto the stone.
  6. Cook the pizza for 4 minutes, or until the cheese is melty and the edges are golden. Let the pizza cool for a minute before slicing and devouring!

Disclosure: Hometown Harvest is a blog sponsor, which means I’m compensated for spreading the word about what they do, my experiences and the deliveries I get. Interested in signing up? Click here and make sure to tell them I sent you! All opinions are my own, and I only work with brands whose missions I support!

Baked Italian Meatballs

Baked Italian Meatballs

Barbecue Pork Meatballs are a favorite in our house, although my 5-year old will call me out if I make the sauce too spicy (seriously, how tomato sauce, brown sugar and mustard can be spicy is beyond me…but we all know how “testy” those young palates can be).

Staring at a pound of ground pork in the fridge the other day, I thought I’d try my hand at another version of those meatballs. Something with a completely different flavor. Like the way a “spaghetti and meatballs” meatball tastes, but without the spaghetti. And not at all like spaghetti and meatballs.

What?

So, with fresh basil, shredded mozzarella and an unfinished can of tomato paste in the fridge, the flavor direction came together nicely.

Baked Italian Meatballs

I used ground pork in these Baked Italian Meatballs because that’s what I happened to have already thawed in my fridge. You could also make these with ground beef or turkey, or even with meatloaf blend (pork/veal/beef). Whatever floats your boat!

Also, if you don’t have oats on hand, you can use Italian bread crumbs, panko or even stale bread ripped into tiny pieces.

AND, if you’re looking for a good party recipe, these (or the Barbecue Pork Meatballs) would be great baked in a mini muffin tin, and served via toothpicks. They’d probably only take about 20 minutes to cook at the mini size.

Cheers!

Baked Italian Meatballs
 
Prep time
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Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • ¼ cup oats
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • ¼ cup freshly chopped basil
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Coat the inside of a 6-spot muffin tin with non-stick spray or with butter.
  2. Combine the pork, oats, egg, ⅛ cup tomato paste, basil, ½ cup mozzarella, salt and pepper together in a large bowl. Use your hands to mix it well!
  3. Form the pork mixture into 6 meatballs and place one in each spot of the muffin tin. Top them with the remaining tomato paste and mozzarella.
  4. Bake the Italian meatballs for 30 minutes, and let them rest for 5 minutes in the tin before removing them to eat.

5 Slow Cooker Dinner Recipes

5 Slow Cooker Dinner Recipes

Tomorrow is the BIG GAME, which means fans (and non-fans) will be watching a lot of football (and really great commercials) while feasting on all kinds of game-time goodies.

We’re keeping it small at our house: the husband, one friend, our basement man cave, and a slow cooker full of beef chili!

The kids and I will probably keep ourselves occupied elsewhere in the house (watching Harry Potter on ABC Family – I may have already set a reminder), flipping every now and again to the game. Maybe.

The great thing about slow cooker dinner recipes is that you can feed an army, and you can also be really flexible about when dinner’s served. If the guys don’t want to come up for dinner at 7 p.m. because it’s in the middle of a nail-biter end of a quarter, so be it. The chili can slowly  simmer away, waiting patiently, flavor developing fabulously the longer it goes.

Chili’s not the the only thing that’s great for the Big Game though! How about 5 slow cooker dinner recipes that are perfect for when you’re gathering a group?

5 Slow Cooker Dinner Recipes

Perfect for game day or any other day!

 

Whole Chicken in the Slow Cooker

1. Whole Chicken in the Slow Cooker

I love this recipe. It will never replace a true roast chicken, but it’s perfect for  a day where you’re running around, super busy, or just want to have the yummy-ness of slow cooked chicken without having to really do much of anything. For the Big Game, you could pull the meat off the bones (remember to save the bones and carcass for Overnight Slow Cooker Chicken Stock!), and make chicken salad, BBQ chicken sandwiches, or a variety of other meals to feed a crowd.

Slow Cooker Beef & Potatoes2. Slow Cooker Beef and Potatoes

Beef roasts are the best when you can find them on sale at the grocery store – I always stock up on a few and throw them into my deep freeze. Another great idea is to find a local farm with grass-fed organic cows, and buy a 1/4 cow directly from the farmer. They’ll butcher it and let you pick the cuts you want, plus you’re eating healthier and supporting local agriculture. This recipe is another that can feed an army if you pick the right size roast. If you don’t want to serve it with potatoes, leave them out and instead shred the beef when it’s cook. It would make a killer hot beef sandwich, especially with the au jus!

Slow Cooker Shrimp & Sausage Jambalaya3. Mediterranean Inspired Shrimp & Sausage Jambalaya

The fabulous flavor combo of sausage, shrimp and all the other goodies slowly cooking together for hours and hours is drool-worthy. This is also one of those dishes that gets better with time. I find the next day, leftovers trump the jambalaya from the night before. SO, you could make this today, and then just reheat it tomorrow for the Big Game. How easy would that be? Also, not an olive fan? Just leave them out – flavor will still be just as fabulous.

Slow Cooker Black Bean Chicken Chili4. Slow Cooker Black Bean Chicken Chili

Making chili with chicken instead of beef or pork is a great way to appeal to a broader set of palates, especially when folks don’t eat red meat (my brother-in-law) or pork (my parents – except for bacon, LOL). I happen to love beans in my chili, but my husband hates it. When I make this for him, he either has to pick them out, or I make it bean-less. Hrmph. Can’t please everyone!

Slow Cooker Chili - Texas Twist5. Slow Cooker Chili – Texas Twist

Speaking of chili, one of my favorite things to do is make slow cooker chili with a Texas twist – stew beef! After it cooks all day, the stew beef just falls apart with a spoon, it’s so tender. Super hearty, a mugful is enough to fill most bellies, which means one slow cooker full of chili can really feed an army of game watchers!

Summer Couscous Salad

how to make couscous salad, couscous, mediterranean couscous

I have few Food Network chefs I’d call my faves, my go-to recipe crafters. Of the bunch, those I keep coming back to have simple, easy-to-follow, flavor-rich recipes that aren’t fussy and overwhelming. They fit in with our family’s busy lifestyle, and typically don’t use off the wall ingredients that require an extra trip to the grocery store.

These are the chefs that top my list:

  1. Alton Brown – His matter-of-fact way to talking about food and recipes are one big reason I have a passion for cooking myself. Love him!
  2. Ina Garten – No one makes you want to live in the Hamptons more than her. Her easy-going manner is catchy, and her recipes (while seemingly fancy) are always simple to pull together.
  3. Alex Guarnaschelli – No frills, sensible ingredients and perfect seasoning. Love it.
  4. Tyler Florence – I might appreciate the sage green subway tile in his studio kitchen just as much as his cooking style!
  5. Giada De Laurentiis – Her recipes, both classic recipes and those she’s given an Italian twist, are many of my go-to’s!

And speaking of Giada, I’ve been making a version of her Mediterranean Salad for a couple of years now. I’ve made this summer couscous salad vegetarian, I’ve used pomegranate arils in place of dried cranberries, and just the other day I substituted lime zest and lime juice for the lemon zest and juice.

Summer Couscous Salad

inspired by Giada De Laurentiis’ Mediterranean Salad

Summer Couscous Salad

Serves 6
Prep time 1 hour
Cook time 16 minutes
Total time 1 hours, 16 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 box Israeli couscous
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 3 limes (zested and juiced)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil (chopped)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Optional

  • lime juice (additional if you don't get enough fresh-squeezed)

Note

Easily make this recipe vegetarian by substituting vegetable broth for the chicken broth!

Directions

Add 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to a medium saucepan and then place it over medium heat to warm for 3 minutes.
Add the garlic and let it cook for 1 minute, followed by the couscous. Cook the couscous for 5 minutes, stirring often until it's lightly browned.
Carefully pour the chicken broth in all at once, and then add 1/8 cup of the lime juice and bring it to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat and then simmer until the couscous is al dente - about 9 minutes.
Mix the cooked couscous, remaining olive oil, another 1/8 cup of lime juice, the zest, salt and pepper in a large bowl and then let it cool completely in the refrigerator.
Once cool, toss in the cranberries, almonds and herbs. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

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