Weekly meal planning, much like our monthly budget planning, has been an important and sanity-saving ritual for our family’s quality of life. Neither are tasks I particularly enjoy in the process, but I feel infinitely better when I have a plan in place, whether it’s for the money going out or the food coming in.
I’m all for implementing strategies that make these not-so-fun tasks a little easier and more enjoyable. For budget meetings that means a glass of wine! And for meal planning, it means plugging a few no-brainer days into the plan.
That’s why every Friday or Saturday is Pizza Day. It’s one less meal I have to think about, it’s easy, and it makes everybody happy. Of course, nothing is ever completely hassle-free. Somehow my family finds a way to make even Pizza Day complicated.
We rotate between homemade and take-out pizza. Everyone loves my homemade crust, and it’s by far my favorite pizza, too. However we just can’t decide at 4 p.m. on a Friday that we have a hankering for homemade pizza. The beloved dough for the crust requires at least 24 hours in the fridge before baking. I also need to make sure we have the ingredients on hand for the sauce and toppings, as well as cheese for shredding.
And as much as I love serving my family a completely from-scratch pizza, sometimes I just want a night off from cooking. Easy enough, we’ll just order pizza! Nope – this is where it gets really complicated. First of all, it takes a UN resolution for us to come to an agreement on where we want to order it from. Not that place, it was gross last time. That one has too much sauce! I hate that place – they cut the slices in squares! That place doesn’t have cheez dip! Once we finally narrow down a joint, the search for coupons is on. It’s going to be how much? Seriously? Finally, I can never time the ordering right. By the time we get around to actually ordering the pizza, the kids are gnawing on each other’s arms and raiding the pantry for snacks to “hold them over.” Then there’s the ultimate disappointment: the pizza finally arrives and it’s lukewarm. Wasn’t that fun?
For years, Papa Murphy’s has been my bridge between homemade and disappointing take-out. It comes closest to homemade for us, without the planning ahead. I love that I can pick it up when it’s convenient for me, and then bake it at home so it’s hot and ready when we’re ready. We order it at least once a month, and always on Halloween and Valentine’s Day for a fun pumpkin or heart-shaped pizza treat.
I was more than willing to participate when MomSelect and Papa Murphy’s asked if we would like to be one of the first to try the new Fresh Pan Pizza. It’s the same fresh, quality ingredients we already love paired with a Fresh Pan dough that bakes on a light layer of buttery oil. The result is a thicker crust that bakes up crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.
I brought home a Pepperoni and a Murphy’s Combo. I invited my dad over as well, who was living the bachelor life while my mom was sunning it up in Florida. Right off the bat I was pleased with one particular difference: the pan. Papa Murphy’s pizzas can be quite large, and maneuvering one on the Signature crust pan can be tricky. The Fresh Pan pizza comes in a sturdier pan with a nice lip on it, and it was much easier to manage both getting it in the house as well as in the oven.
The Fresh Pan pizza only take a few minutes longer to bake than the Signature pizzas, so in no time at all you have a fresh, piping hot pizza ready to eat. The verdict? Well, it certainly looked good …
I’m happy to report it tasted fantastic as well. In fact, Mike, who prefers other local pizzas to Papa Murphy’s, declared the Fresh Pan pizza his new favorite. I was worried that the kids wouldn’t love it as much as the Signature pizza, as they both are very vocal non-fans of thick crusts. But the Fresh Pan crust is thicker, not thick. I got the ultimate vote of approval from them: not a single complaint. Actually, not a lot of words in general … they were too busy eating!
Now if only the monthly budget meeting could be this easy and delicious!