I keep on thinking that eventually I will do some sort of apartment tour of our new place, but then I realize that a) no one really cares that much b) I would have to manage having it clean all at once and at a time when there was good light and c) it would really just become an ode to our dishwasher. Because DISHWASHER Y’ALL. It is a game changer. We spent the first 3.5 years or marriage in a place with no dishwasher, and approximately 4 inches of counter space, which meant that every kitchen project took a million times longer because you had to stop and wash things just to have space to get them messy again. Sometimes James and I just pause in the evenings and listen to the gentle hum of the washer doing all the work, and feel blissfully content.
It is especially beloved when we have company over, which happens at least a couple nights a week. I love having my people gathered in my home and eating my food. We alternate hosting a weekly family dinner with my brother and his wife, open our home to our Bible Study every week, and frequently have the friends over to watch quality programming like the Bachelor. Nothing is better than covering the table with food and having people pile plates and scatter around the living room.
Last weekend we had all sorts of family in town, beyond the two brothers and one sister in law who already live here. My mom came out for the weekend, as did my sister in law’s two sisters and her (squishy infant!) niece and nephew. We spent the weekend trekking around as a posse of blended families and eating lots of the best things. There might have also been an Ikea trip in there, but I think that James at least has tried to block that out, as his idea of a perfect Saturday doesn’t exactly include an Ikea run with his pregnant wife and mother in law, who both find Ikea supremely relaxing and can wander for hours, while he wants to shove those tiny pencils in his eyes after about 5 minutes. We brunched, hit a museum, and enjoyed a nice dinner out in National Harbor, where I turned into just a little bit of a crazy demon when the restaurant canceled our reservation. What’s that, hostess? You are going to turn a hungry pregnant woman flanked with 7 other people out in the cold? Ha. TRY ME. (Forthcoming blog post: “All the times that Hannah’s overdeveloped sense of preggo injustice have led her into public altercations over minor things while James hung back in quiet shame.”)
But on Friday night, before the busy fun of Saturday, we decided to stay in for pizza night. Because pizza night is the embodiment of what family fun should be. You eat well, stress little, prepare little, and fill your people’s bellies with simple food that everyone craves. And yes, I love me some Papa John’s delivery drenched in that buttery garlic sauce like nothing else. But when we are trying to convince ourselves that pizza night isn’t a total diversion from nutrition and common sense, we love to make cast iron skillet pizza. There are lots of schools of thought on this technique, all of them ending in tasty pizza, ranging from thin crust, to deep dish. Our go-to is a thick and tasty classic pizza, bubbling from the broiler and crispy on the bottom but soft in the middle.
And the weekend is coming. So should you need a meal to feed to the people you love, here it is:
- Heat 2 TBS olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat about 8 minutes until skillet is quite hot.
- While the skillet is still on the burner, press pizza dough into skillet, with a little more bunched around edges. We love the Trader Jo’s crust dough, but you can also be fancy and make your own. Spread with sauce and toppings. Our favorite combos are pepperoni, garlic, green pepper, and mushroom, or ham and pineapple. My brother and his wife often make a pesto, chevre, bacon, tomato one that is awesome. Sprinkle cheese over top.
- Cook on stove top about 5-10 minutes, peeking under edge and removing when it starts to get golden. During this time, heat the broiler to high.
- Remove from stove and broil until cheese is golden, about 5 minutes.
- Let sit for about 10 minutes.
Then eat it alongside some salad with your favorite people, toss those plates in the dishwasher, and feel pretty happy with your existence.