Don't fret. I have an easy solution. How about a velvety homemade tomato soup, a freshly baked, herb-studded foccacia bread, sprinkled with parmesan and salad on the side? It is all so simple to make, one of your kids could do it... if you talk them into it. This meal is not only good... it is economical as well.
Here's what to do:
Get a frozen pizza crust out of the freezer. Loosen the bag tie, but keep it covered. It will rise a little as it thaws. Turn on your oven to 450 degrees. If you have a pizza stone, this will take up to thirty minutes.
Now, take a jar of pizza sauce or pre-made pasta sauce and a large can of crushed tomatoes out of your well-stocked pantry. If you like chunks, use petite diced instead of crushed. Puree a small onion and two cloves of garlic in the food processor. Throw it into a deep pot with a tablespoon of olive oil. Saute until soft.
Add the tomatoes and sauce. Rinse the cans out with a little water and throw it in. Put in a teaspoon of chicken bullion paste. Taste for seasoning and add salt, pepper and a pinch of sugar. If needed add a small amount of dried Italian seasoning or a dollop of basil pesto. Simmer on the stove while you prepare the foccacia. There's one more step to finish the soup right before serving... stay tuned.
Get out a large pizza pan or peel. Generously coat your clean hands and pizza dough with olive oil. Stretch dough to desired size and thickness. Sprinkle with kosher salt, garlic powder and pepper. Rub it into the crust with your hands.
Dimple the dough with your fingertips. Drizzle a little oil into the indentions. Scatter fresh herbs like rosemary and thyme over. Bake for eight minutes. Remove from pan and place directly on stone for last two or three minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with shaved Parmesan. Drizzle with additional oil and cut into strips or squares.
Make a simple salad of mixed greens, tomatoes and whatever else you like. If you need a simple vinaigrette recipe look here. Add a few tablespoons of heavy cream to the soup and heat it through just before serving.
Now, wasn't that easy? Your fam will think you've slaved all day!