Why My Week Always Includes a Pizza Night

published Mar 6, 2017
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Rainbow Pizza (Image credit: Lauren Volo)

Pizza Friday is a well-loved weekly event in our family. To be honest, I can’t remember why or how we started it, but I do know that having this day on the calendar each week has not only brought joy to my children, but also a little more sanity to my meal planning. Friday night pizza serves two important and seemingly unrelated purposes: clearing out the fridge and holding space for family time.

Pizza night is clean-out-the-fridge night.

Pizza for dinner always feels a bit frivolous and fun. Pizza is not highly nutritious, it is an extra expense, and it doesn’t expose my kids to new foods the way ordering Thai might, but it is delicious and comes with a very practical purpose: Pizza night is a device for getting the fridge cleaned out and kicks off the planning of next week’s meals.

Some weeks I throw together pizza dough and we rifle through the fridge using up the last little bits of cheese, leftover roasted vegetables, or cooked chicken to top the dough. Cleaning out the fridge while finding toppings is a win-win.

Other weeks, we order pizza. These nights the kitchen is clear for me to literally clean out the fridge, freezing things we won’t eat up in the next few days, making a list of things we need at the grocery store the next day. It also means I can wipe down shelves, or rinse out the crisper drawers. It’s a chance to do some of the more tedious tasks I might avoid if I was in full pizza-making mode.

This ritual, the Friday fridge clearing, sets me up for my Friday evening cocktail and meal planning session that follows. What I need to use up in the fridge is at the top of my mind when I sit down to plan. And when we come home on Saturday with groceries, the fridge is cleared and ready for the groceries to be put away.

Pizza night is also family night.

Regular weeknight dinners have their own set of routines — packing lunches or trying to keep the kids on track with their bedtime routines after dinner. Weekend meals are spent socializing with friends and extended family, but Friday pizza night is just for the four of us.

We all cook together if we are having pizza from scratch, usually with the kids topping everyone’s pizzas in a flurry of cheese. We slow down a bit from the pace of the week and occasionally break some of our regular dinner rules. We have floor picnics in front of the TV and watch a movie, or we help our 5-year-old set up the dining room as her own personal restaurant.

The kids happily expect Friday pizza and don’t ask for it any other night. Pizza Friday is something that gets us excited to finish up the week and gives us an opportunity to reset and recharge as a family without wondering what will be for dinner.

Do you have a family pizza night? Or do you have a favorite meal for clearing out the fridge?