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Farmers Almanac
The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

Poll Results: Pizza Wins by a Landslide!

Poll Results: Pizza Wins by a Landslide!

The results are in! The votes have been tallied, and the winning all-American dinner is none other than…(drum roll)…PIZZA! Here is the final count:

What is your favorite all-American dinner?
Pizza (43%)
Fried Chicken (29%)
Hamburgers (15%)
Other (7%)
Hot Dogs (4%)

Origins of Pizza
While it is impossible to know where pizza first began, Italy has traditionally been considered the birthplace of the pizza. Tomatoes were first imported to Italy from Peru in the sixteenth century. Wealthier Italians originally thought tomatoes to be poisonous, but the poor ate them along with their usual diet of bread, cheese, and olive oil. As time passed, the combination caught on with the general population. Naples is credited with creating pizza in the form we know it today. Neapolitan pizzas are considered to be the world's best.

Pizza in the U.S.
In the late nineteenth century, Italian immigrants brought pizza to the U.S. The first pizzeria, Lombardi's Pizzeria Napoletana, was opened in New York in 1905. But pizza didn’t really catch on with Americans until after World War II when soldiers stationed in Italy returned home with a passion for pizza. The popularity of pizza spread rapidly during the 1950s and 1960s and has been an American favorite ever since.

Pizza Facts

  • Approximately 100 acres of pizza are consumed each day in the U.S.
  • 17% of all restaurants are pizzerias.
  • 93% of Americans eat a minimum of one pizza each month.
  • Pepperoni – America’s favorite topping – accounts for 36% of all pizza orders.
  • Frozen pizzas first became available in 1957.

Pizza Recipes
Frozen pizza and pizza delivery are convenient, but you can't beat a fresh homemade pizza right from your oven at home. Making your own pizza is healthier and allows you to customize the pie to your particular tastes. Try these recipes!

Basic Pizza Crust
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 package instant yeast (.25 ounce)
2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup sugar
8 ounces milk, warmed to 110 degrees
4 ounces water, warmed to 110 degrees

Combine dry ingredients in large mixing bowl. Add warmed liquids all at once to dry mixture. Stir until well mixed, incorporating all dry ingredients. Cover bowl with clean towel and set aside for 20 to 25 minutes, allowing dough to rise. Knead by hand 6 to 8 times on floured surface, adding additional flour to surface as needed to keep dough from sticking. Roll into desired shape and thickness. Place dough onto greased pizza pan; add favorite sauce and toppings. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes, depending on thickness of crust.

Pizza Sauce
8 ounces tomato sauce
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Combine ingredients in microwave-safe bowl and heat on High 2 minutes; stir. Use as pizza sauce or as a dipping sauce for bread sticks.

Chicago Style Pizza
1 thick crust pizza dough shell
1 cup pizza sauce
12 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 pound ground beef, crumbled, cooked
1/4 pound Italian sausage, crumbled, cooked
1/4 pound pork sausage, crumbled, cooked
1/2 cup pepperoni, diced
1/2 cup Canadian bacon, diced
1/2 cup ham, diced
1/4 pound mushrooms, sliced
1 small onion, sliced
1 green bell pepper, seeded, sliced
2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese

Place thick style pizza crust dough into oiled 12-inch pizza pan, folding excess over to make small rim. Spread with pizza sauce; sprinkle with all but a handful of the mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle with meats and vegetables. Top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Bake pizza at 400 degrees until crust is golden, about 25 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before slicing.

Pesto Pizza
1 1/2 cups (packed) stemmed spinach leaves
1/2 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves (about 1 bunch)
1 1/2 tablespoons oil from oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes or olive oil
1 large garlic clove
Olive oil
1 thin crust pizza dough shell
1/3 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, sliced and drained
2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Blend first 4 ingredients in processor to coarse puree. Transfer pesto to small bowl. (Can be prepared one day ahead. Press plastic directly onto surface of pesto to cover; refrigerate.) Grease 12-inch pizza pan with olive oil. Arrange dough in pan and cover with pesto. Sprinkle with sun-dried tomatoes, then cheeses. Bake at 400 degrees until crust browns and cheese melts.

Barbecue Chicken Pizza
10 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons spicy-sweet barbecue sauce
1 thin crust pizza dough shell
Cornmeal, semolina, or flour for handling
1/2 cup spicy-sweet barbecue sauce
2 tablespoons shredded smoked Gouda cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 small red onion, sliced into 1/8-inch pieces
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

In large frying pan, cook chicken in olive oil over medium-high heat until just cooked, 5-6 minutes; do not overcook. Refrigerate until chilled. Once chilled, coat chicken with barbecue sauce; set aside in the refrigerator.

Place dough onto pizza pan. Spread barbecue sauce evenly over dough. Sprinkle smoked Gouda cheese over sauce. Cover with 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella. Distribute chicken pieces evenly over cheese. Add red onion and sprinkle an additional 1/4 cup mozzarella over top. Bake at 400 degrees until crust is crisp and golden and cheese at center is bubbly, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon cilantro.

Philly Cheesesteak Pizza
1 medium onion, sliced
1 medium green pepper, sliced
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
8 ounces roast beef, shaved
3 tablespoons Worchestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 thick crust pizza dough shell
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
4 cups provolone cheese
1/4 cups Parmesan cheese, grated

Saute vegetables in 1 tablespoon olive oil until limp; add roast beef and saute three minutes. Add Worchestershire sauce and pepper; stir and remove from heat. Set aside. Brush prepared dough with 3 tablespoons olive oil and spread crushed garlic over entire surface of dough. Top with thin layer of shredded cheese, then meat/vegetable mixture, distributing evenly. Top with remaining shredded cheese, then Parmesan. Bake at 400 degrees until cheese is melted and bubbly and crust is brown. Let stand 5 minutes before cutting and serving.

California Style Vegetable Pizza
1 thin crust pizza dough shell
1/2 cup pizza sauce
1/2 cup lightly steamed broccoli
1/2 cup artichoke hearts, chopped
1/3 cup black olives, sliced
1 tomato, sliced
6 green pepper rings
6 red pepper rings

Place pizza crust in oiled 12-inch pizza pan, pushing edges up a little to form a rim. Spread sauce on dough. Arrange vegetables with tomatoes and peppers. Bake at 400 degrees approximately 15 minutes until crust is brown and crisp.

If you notice a hole in the upper left-hand corner of your Farmers' Almanac, don't return it to the store! That hole isn't a defect; it's a part of history. Starting with the first edition of the Farmers' Almanac in 1818, readers used to nail holes into the corners to hang it up in their homes, barns, and outhouses (to provide both reading material and toilet paper). In 1910, the Almanac's publishers began pre-drilling holes in the corners to make it even easier for readers to keep all of that invaluable information (and paper) handy.