This Old School Cafeteria Pizza recipe captures the essence of all that was good in the school cafeterias of our youth. (Cafeteria ladies not included.)
This fall marked a real Mama Milestone for me. After 28 years of recording the first day of school with a photo each year, and then sending my girls off to preschool, and kindergarten, and grade school, and middle school, and finally high school – times five! – I faced my baby’s first day of Senior year – and my last “1st Day of School.”
All but the youngest have gone off to college now too, but as anyone who has ever done so will tell you, sending a child off to college is an entirely different experience from packing them off to first grade. Anyway, this rite of passage got me reminiscing, and as I got online to update Em’s lunch account, I got to thinking about the cafeteria and the school lunches of my childhood.
I grew up in Northeast Portland and attended the same elementary school from kindergarten through the eighth grade; and in that time, I figure I ate nearly 1500 meals in our basement cafeteria. More than two-thirds were “hot lunches.”
To Make this Recipe You’Il Need the following ingredients:
Half sheet pan and line with parchment paper.
2 ⅔ flour
¾ cup powdered milk
2 T sugar
1 packet of quick rise yeast
1 tsp salt
1 ⅔ cup warm water (105-110 degrees)
2 T vegetable oil
½ pound ground chuck½ tsp salt½ tsp pepper1 8oz block mozzarella cheese – grated yourself (To be authentic school pizza, you will have to use imitation mozzarella shreds.)Sauce (I make sauce the day before):6oz can tomato paste
1 cup water
⅓ olive oil
2 cloves garlic minced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
½ tbsp dried oregano
½ tbsp dried basil
½ tsp dried rosemary crushedCrust:Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Spray pan with Pam and lay Parchment paper down (Pam makes it stick)
In a large bowl – flour, powdered milk, sugar, yeast, salt – whisk to blend
Add oil to hot water (110-115 degrees) – pour into your mixture
Stir with a wooden spoon until batter forms – don’t worry about lumps – you just want no dry spots
Spread dough into pan using fingertips until it’s even. If dough doesn’t want to cooperate, let rest 5 minutes and try again
Bake just the crust for 8-10 minutes – remove from oven and set aside.
Brown meats until it resembles crumbles – set aside and drain meat
Get out the pizza sauce – to partially baked crust, assemble:
Sauce – spread all over crust
Bake at 475 degrees for 8-10 minutes until cheese melts and begins to brown
Remove from oven – let stand 5 minutes
Cut in slices and serve!