Easy Pizza Crust and a Time Saving Giveaway

Any of you busy moms out there know that it is not always easy to get a hot, homemade meal on the table.

And all you moms of six, including 5 month old identical twins, know that it’s nearly impossible.  (What? Am I the only one?!?!)

When the good people at Shirley J sent me some of their products to try, I stuffed them in the back of my pantry, because, really, I just didn’t have the time!  Or so I thought.  Then I sat down one quiet afternoon when the big girls were at school and the littles were miraculously sleeping at the same time, and I looked at the stuff Shirley J had sent.  In my pantry, I now had some great shortcuts to homemade meals.  I just had to add water to the Universal Sauce, heat it up for a bit and throw in some grated cheddar, and voila…sauce for mac and cheese.  I could add a scoop of the Pizza and Pasta Seasoning  to a can of tomato sauce and I would have a zesty pizza sauce.  And how easy would it be to add some water and frozen berries to the muffin mix!   We have since enjoyed many spur of the moment batches of muffins.  And while I like to flatter myself that my homemade muffins are better, this mix really makes a good muffin…and easier even than a boxed mix.

Well, now, the babies are a little older and I’m cooking and baking again.

For my 12 year old’s birthday party, we made pizza.  I mixed together some of my favorite pizza dough, but used my Shirley J shortcut Pizza and Pasta seasoning for the sauce.

I’ve never seen 8 ‘tweens put away four pizzas so fast!


Quick Homemade Pizza Dough

Most homemade pizza doughs call for a long rest time, generally overnight in the fridge.  This one is delicious, and can be ready for the oven in about 2 hours.

This recipe will make 4 medium thin crust pizzas.

  • 6 cups flour
  • 4 tsp salt
  • 1 T active dry yeast
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with a dough hook, combine flour, salt and yeast.  Add the water and olive oil.  Mix on low until it forms a dough (add more water, 1 T at a time, if it is too dry), then turn the machine up to medium and let it mix for 3 minutes.  Put ball of dough in a greased bowl, turn dough so that it is coated with oil.  Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit for an hour or two, until it is doubled in size.  Dump it onto the counter and gently press out any bubbles.  Shape it back into a ball and let it sit under plastic wrap for about 15 more minutes.

Separate dough into 4 equal pieces.  Roll out to desired thickness on a well floured surface.

Put dough round on a flat cookie sheet or a pizza paddle (either one dusted liberally with cornmeal).  Dress the pizza with your pizza sauce, cheese, and desired toppings.

Bake pizza in a preheated 400 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes, until the cheese melts and browns, and the underside of the dough browns to your liking.  (if you are using a pizza stone, make sure it goes in the oven while the oven is still cold, so that it can slowly heat up along with the oven or it will crack).


Now for the fun part.  The nice folks at Shirley J have agreed to send out some of these time saving products to THREE lucky readers.  Each winner will receive one jar of the Pizza and Pasta seasoning mix, one 5-pack of Universal Sauce mix, and one bag of Universal Muffin Mix.   Just leave me a comment telling me how you save time cooking meals when the going gets tough.  Three lucky winners will be chosen by random drawing and announced next Wednesday, December 7th.

About The Author


  • By Courtney 30 Nov 2011

    I don’t have any time saving meals tips – I more just have a few back up meals for when I am short on time – spaghetti, yoshida’s chicken, quesadillas – things that don’t take a lot of time and I always have the ingredients on hand.

    • By megantbradley 05 Dec 2011

      I buy the huge bottle of Yoshida’s at Costco. We love it on fish and chicken. It’s a great thing to have on hand!

  • By John cannon 30 Nov 2011

    When I don’t have time I hope my wife does.

  • By betsy 30 Nov 2011

    I make rolls ahead and freeze them. They are great.

    • By megantbradley 05 Dec 2011

      I’ve started making Kathy’s orange rolls. It makes 4 dozen so I’ve started to freeze half of each batch. I’m hoping they bake up just as good!

  • By Stephanie Cannon 30 Nov 2011

    Good to know my sweet husband (john) acts like he makes dinner. (unless throwing the meat I give him on the BBQ counts…which I don’t think it does. I’ll have to clarify that one with him.)

    • By megantbradley 05 Dec 2011

      Let me know if John doesn’t make you dinner in the next couple of weeks. I’ll have Seth get on his case.

      • By Stephanie Cannon 07 Dec 2011

        Done. He respects Seth so this could be quite beneficial.

  • By Tami 30 Nov 2011

    Tonight between running kids around we had breakfast for dinner. Oven pancakes this time but pancakes, crepes, french toast, etc. are staples around here during a busy week. Some cut up fruit and a tall glass of milk and I have happy kids and a sane (almost) mom!

    • By megantbradley 05 Dec 2011

      We do breakfast for dinner a lot. The kids love it because it generally involves syrup. :)

  • By Jennifer S 30 Nov 2011

    A couple of tips – if I can, I double hamburger or sausage when I cook it up and put the rest in the freezer. I do succumb to chicken nuggets chopped over salad or in a burrito when time is short – and I am getting better and better at making a meal out of leftovers in the fridge!

  • By Lindsey 01 Dec 2011

    When I do go through the effort to make something it has to make 1. Another night of leftovers or 2. Leftovers plus an extra pan for the freezer.

    • By megantbradley 05 Dec 2011

      Even when my family was small, I have always at least doubled recipes. That way we can at least get a few lunches for Seth out of it.
      Also, I always feel good about myself when I make enough to put a whole meal in the freezer. So efficient.

  • By Joanne 01 Dec 2011

    Homemade pizza dough is THE BEST. And that pizza looks so cheesy delicious!

    I don’t know how you do it girl.

    I always try to make enough for lots of leftovers!

    • By megantbradley 05 Dec 2011

      It’s called survival mode. 😉
      And leftovers…they’re a staple around here.

  • By Jana@ delectablymine 01 Dec 2011

    I love homemade pizza! To save time on meals, I try to make a big batch of something before I get too busy so I can eat leftovers throughout the next few days. If it’s good I don’t mind eating the same thing for a couple of days!

    • By megantbradley 05 Dec 2011

      Good idea. I love to make a big batch of soup or pasta sauce, then we can eat it throughout the week if we need to. Preplanning for a busy week is key!

  • By Tania saxton 01 Dec 2011

    Cafe rio is a staple for our busy nights:) that pizza looks amazing though:)

    • By megantbradley 05 Dec 2011

      I do love Cafe Rio. What I don’t love is bundling up six kids to get there! If only they would deliver…

  • By Mandy 01 Dec 2011

    Does take-out count?
    If not, it’s pasta or breakfast for dinner at our house.

    • By megantbradley 05 Dec 2011

      Breakfast for dinner is is a great tip. And when I say breakfast, that includes cold cereal. 😉

      Pasta is always an easy meal to throw together. No frills, just spaghetti and Prego!

  • By Season 01 Dec 2011

    I make a big batch of soup and freeze the leftovers. So we can have yummy soup anytime.

    Or we have breakfast for dinner too. Or hot chocolate and toast. :)

    • By megantbradley 05 Dec 2011

      How could I have forgotten about hot chocolate and toast! I used to love to dip a piece of buttered toast into my hot chocolate (even better if it was cinnamon toast!)
      If I served that for dinner, my three year old (sugar-fiend) would be in heaven!

  • By Lauren 03 Dec 2011

    Make larger batches and freeze portions.

    • By megantbradley 05 Dec 2011

      There is an ongoing theme here of making more and freezing! So smart to preplan like that!

  • By Juan Tapas 03 Dec 2011

    I’m not a mommy, I don’t have kids, in fact I’m not even married! but I’m taking this recipe with me! lol :)

  • By Jesica @ Pencil Kitchen 03 Dec 2011

    this look absolutely clean and beautiful!

  • By Chris M. 04 Dec 2011

    Precut vegetables help, marinading meat beforehand as well. Thanks!

  • By Ali 04 Dec 2011

    I think I NEED cheese pizza right now.
    Time savers…find and make awesome recipes (like, suchas, ones from this site) so that you WANT to eat the leftovers! Also, eggs, a can of beans, and tortillas do wonders in a pinch.

    • By megantbradley 05 Dec 2011

      I agree…you have to find food that you will eat again. Around here, pasta is the favorite thing to eat leftover.
      We love “breakfast burritos” though. I wrap them individually in foil so my kids feel like they’re eating “street food”. Whatever works, huh.

  • By Jay @ LocalFood.me 04 Dec 2011

    Nothing beats homemade pizza!

  • By Nicole 04 Dec 2011

    On nights when we are really in a pinch (such as having to go to bed early after working a long night) we’ll make breakfast for dinner! It’s a fast meal to whip up.

    • By megantbradley 05 Dec 2011

      Breakfast for dinner is really such a smart tip. And I love breakfast food! This blog originally started to document the Sunday brunches we had…fast forward four years, add three more kids…and the Sunday brunches aren’t quite as regular as they once were. 😉

  • By Steven 05 Dec 2011

    I like to make a large crockpot of chili, and then it becomes my lunch for the week!

    • By megantbradley 05 Dec 2011

      You are the first to mention the crockpot! That is a tool that I totally under-utilize. Probably because it involves thinking ahead!

  • By Fancy brownie sundaes 05 Dec 2011


  • By Matt 05 Dec 2011

    This was already mentioned, but I love using my slow cooker for quick meals… As long as I remember to throw everything in early in the day! The time to cook is long, but the prep is always extremely fast and simple.

    If I cook something, like a lasagna, that the two of us won’t finish within a couple of days, I’ll portion it and freeze it.

    Also having someone to cook with always saves time, and is a lot of fun too!

    • By megantbradley 06 Dec 2011

      I agree on the slow cooker. If I can get organized enough, that is a huge time saver. Freezing extras is also a great idea!

  • By Glenn 06 Dec 2011

    Well, as far as pizza goes, if I’m lazy or in a hurry I use the frozen variety. Great in a pinch.

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