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5 Tips for Quick and Easy Italian Dinners


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Get Creative with Pizza
Top it how you like; it's your pizza after all.
Top it how you like; it's your pizza after all.
Stockbyte/Thinkstock

Pizza is arguably the king of popular Italian cuisine. It also has the advantage of being portable and, thanks to the many price wars among the major pizza restaurant chains, relatively inexpensive. If you've ever been inspired to make your own pizza, there are lots of ways to create a custom made pie.

The easiest option is to choose a basic frozen pizza and then add some of your own ingredients like extra mushrooms or bell peppers. You can also buy a prepared pizza shell, or refrigerated pizza dough, and craft a pizza from the crust up. These are pretty foolproof options.

You can get much more creative on pizza night, though. For a pizza appetizer, or for a cute kid's pizza, use half an English muffin as the crust, brush on some pizza sauce and add cheese. Place the muffin halves on a cookie sheet and broil them until the cheese melts. Using a half-loaf of French bread as a crust has merit, too. It makes for a soft, deep dish pizza that has gourmet appeal. Just slice the loaf lengthwise, brush on the sauce and load it up. Bake your French bread pizza in the center rack of a moderately hot oven for about 15 minutes.

Let's face it, making your own pizza is never going to be as easy as calling your neighborhood pizzeria for last minute delivery. Throwing together a pizza every once in a while can be fun, though. In 20 years, long after the kids are grown and gone, those create-a-pizza extravaganzas on family night may turn out to be the best times you ever spent in the kitchen -- more than worth the extra minutes and a few scorched potholders. Here are a few to try:


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