I love pizza. L.O.V.E. love it, and I don't care if it's full of carbs, or fat, or whatever, I like it and I want to eat it often. However, I do not like bad pizza...the greasy, limp, cardboard kind with tangy sauce and canned toppings and way too much salt. So I'm constantly on the quest for good pizza. We've found a place here in Denver that might have the awesomest pizza known to man. Beau Jos. They're historic, green, community minded, and about as healthy as pizza can get, plus their pies are heavenly.
However, their prices are just not at a level that allows us to eat there once a week, which is what we'd do if I had my druthers.
So I've been working on perfecting pizza night at our house. The kids get really into it, and I am blessed with a husband who eats whatever I put in front of him, so I don't have to worry too much about experimenting.
Tonight I made a pesto pizza with feta, tomato, Kalamata olives and red onion, a regular pizza with mushrooms and spinach, and individual cheese pizzas for the kids. At Christmas last year I bought my son a set of 4 individual pizza trays and a kid-sized rolling pin (isn't Montessori great?) Now he rolls out his dough, slops on the sauce and cheese, and gets to feel the pride of a master chef when he sees his creation come browned and bubbling out of the oven. My bread maker spits out PERFECT pizza dough, and the large size splits exactly into 4 mini pizzas and two medium ones for us adults. I even use 1/2 whole wheat flour and the dough is still stretchy and pliable. Plus, with the bread maker, I only need to spend about an hour in the kitchen, comparable to my normal cooking routine.
I've calculated it out, and even ignoring the benefits of making the kids ridiculously happy and avoiding for one night the dinner-table struggle to get the kids to eat, and the fun of preparing the pizzas as a family, and the satisfaction of being able to choose exactly what toppings go on it, pizza night at our house costs less than $15 (and that's with exotic ingredients like feta cheese and Kalamata olives. Without those it'd be under $10.)
I love finding the perfect spot between saving money and creating happiness. Pizza night does both.