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Summer at Home: Family Pizza Night!

Summer at Home: Family Pizza Night!

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If you’re not already making pizza every week, what are you waiting for? This is a fantastic tradition to start for your family. And thanks to our method for pizza on the grill, it’s also a great way to enjoy pizza at home in your backyard this summer!

Photography Credit:Claudia Cash

Like so many of you, my family has been hunkered down for the past several months due to Coronavirus. While so many things in our lives have been turned upside down and backwards through distance learning, sports and activities being cancelled, and just living in the world of COVID-19, one thing that has remained an absolute constant and the anchor for grounding us each week is our Family Pizza Night!

A Weekly Ritual: Family Pizza Night

We started the tradition of making pizza every week a few years ago right after my twins were born, and now it’s just part of our weekly routine. Like clockwork, I start my two batches of pizza dough every Friday at 3 pm, and have done it so many times, it has become a sort of meditation routine for me.

We recently started doing personal pizzas, and it was such a hit! I heard my girls say, “This is the best pizza ever!” and “It’s so much more fun to make your own pizza!” and “I want to make mine look like a Nintendo Switch!” As you can see, it has been thrilling for me to watch them create their own dinner and feel empowered to try new things.

Since this has brought so much joy to me, I thought I’d share a few tips that help our Family Pizza Night go smoothly and leave us all with full bellies and smiling faces.

1. Setting Up Your Pizza Night

  • Portion your pizza dough into eight balls.
  • Put the toppings in the middle of the table so they’re easily accessible.
  • Place pieces of parchment paper at each chair with a ball of dough on top so everyone has their own work station, then let the kids shape the pizza however they want! My husband and I like a thinner crust while our kids like thicker crusts, so this do-it-your-own-way method makes everyone happy.

I like this setup, because then you’re all sitting down and talking while making the pizzas. The interaction is half the fun!

HOT TIP: Roll out the dough between two pieces of parchment paper. This way the dough flattens easily without making a giant mess on the table!


Grilling is by far the quickest and easiest way to cook individual pizzas.

While I help get everyone’s dough rolled out, my husband fires up the grill. I follow Our Site’ How To Grill Pizza guide:

  1. Grill the dough briefly on one side first.
  2. Then flip it so the grilled side is on top, and add the toppings.
  3. Finish grilling.


Pizza is a great way to clear out the fridge and to also get kids to try new pizza toppings. I like to set out all the toppings in little ramekins on a tray to keep them anchored to a certain spot on the table. This not only keeps the toppings separated, but it makes it easier for the kids to reach and pass around. I put the cheese and sauce in regular bowls since we tend to use more of those ingredients.

Here are some toppings we commonly use:

  • Marinara sauce (homemade, or I use Rao’s)
  • BBQ sauce
  • Alfredo sauce
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Feta
  • Pepperoni
  • Spinach
  • Chicken
  • Red onions
  • Pineapple
  • Cilantro
  • Peppers
  • Mushrooms
  • Olives

The more available toppings, the better! Let your kids mix and match, because you never know what they’ll end up trying and loving.

My 13-year-old daughter discovered she loves feta on pizza, and my seven-year-old decided to mix BBQ sauce with marinara. It seemed weird, but she was so proud and loved it.

Somehow, food just tastes a thousand percent better when on a pizza.


This isn’t a competition of who has the prettiest pizza (although my 13-year-old would beg to differ). In the words of my husband, “It may not look the prettiest, but it sure is going to taste amazing.” So true!

We love our Family Pizza Nights and hope you will, too!

Check out my other fun Summer at Home idea: Throw a Backyard S’mores Party!

Need Some Pizza Inspiration?

  • Grilled Pizza with Red Peppers, Broccoli, and Onions
  • Spicy Sausage Pizza
  • BBQ Chicken Sheet Pan Pizza
  • Spinach & Artichoke Sheet Pan Pizza
  • Sheet Pan Pizza with Roasted Cauliflower and Greens

Or peruse all our pizza recipes right here!

2 of 7

The Crust

Every great pizza starts with a yummy crust. These recipes are two of our foolproof favorites. You can streamline your pizza night by preparing the dough ahead of time or by using the dough's rising time (about an hour) to prep your pizza toppings and make a salad or side dish.

This recipe yields a crispy, traditional crust like the one you get at your local pizzeria.

Including whole wheat flour in this dough means it has a higher protein content and twice as much fiber as the olive oil recipe above. The result is a slightly chewier, heartier crust.

First, prepare your surface. A pizza stone yields the crispiest crust, but baking sheets also work well. If you're using a stone, warm it in the oven for 30 minutes at the temperature given in your recipe. Lightly flour your pizza peel (which you'll use to place the dough on the hot stone) before putting the dough on it. If you're using a baking sheet, lightly flour it first. Use a quarter of the dough for a personal-size pizza, half for a 12-inch pie. Dimple and stretch the dough to the desired shape. Don't spread the dough all the way to the rim of the baking sheet or the crust won't be crunchy.


You can always opt for a store-bought pizza crust. For example, I really like Trader Joe's pre-made pizza crust, or my family has been using Bobby Flay's recipe for YEARS. I think like 10 years now. My mom has got it down to a T, and the pizzas turn out perfectly every single time. If you're wanting to make an easy homemade pizza crust, I couldn't recommend Bobby Flay's Homemade Pizza Dough more.

Thanks to a store-bought dough and a screaming-hot cast-iron skillet, weeknight pizza just got a whole lot better.

Recipes you want to make. Cooking advice that works. Restaurant recommendations you trust.

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2 of 16

Neapolitan-Style Margherita Pizza

Do you remember that scene in the movie Eat, Pray, Love, when Julia Roberts takes her first bite of pizza? She almost passes out from the bliss of tasting a slice. It&rsquos that level of delicious that we&rsquore going for here, with this classic rendition of the famous Naples pie. There are just a few toppings: crushed tomatoes, olive oil, fresh mozzarella cheese, and basil leaves, which means quality counts even more than normal. Cue Italian music and la bella vita can be yours. And there's no need for a pizza stone or any other fancy pizza equipment to replicate a restaurant Neopolitan-style pizza right in your own kitchen. The combo of the dough, the technique, and the high heat of the oven will yield incredible results.

If you have a lot of time on your hands, you should definitely try making pizza dough from scratch. This recipe is super simple and makes an amazing dough that goes perfectly with simple Margherita pizza toppings. You can’t go wrong with a classic, which is why this is one of the best pizza recipes!

Here’s another fancy combination that will have your mouth watering. Sweet caramelised onions pair perfectly with tangy goat’s cheese and crispy, salty parma ham in one of the best homemade pizzas you’ll ever try.

Skip Delivery and Try Our Easy Homemade Pizzas and Calzones Instead

Craving a slice of pizza with a crispy, buttery crust covered in cheese and flavorful toppings? Step away from the phone and put down the clipped coupons. With these quick and easy homemade pizza recipes and calzones, ordering delivery is completely unnecessary. Within the 45 minutes that it would take for a delivery pizza to arrive, you can whip up one of these delicious pizza recipes. The best part? You can add as many toppings as you&rsquod like &ndash no charge! From the ultimate homemade cheese pizza recipe to a quick BBQ Chicken Pizza cooked directly on your oven rack, homemade pizza recipe options are unlimited. Get fancy with a savory, smoky grilled pizza or volunteer to take dish duty with one of our sheet pan pizza recipes. Opt for a traditional homemade pizza dough or try whipping up your own crust. Incorporate your favorite pizza ingredients into a steaming and savory calzone, or simply add them to a spaghetti casserole. So preheat the oven or light the grill. You&rsquoll be amazed to see how many weeknight dinner favorites you&rsquoll invent when you look beyond delivery and into your own pantry.

Pull out the sheet pan for a homemade twist to pizza night

If you’ve gotten used to cooking at home more this year, then consider switching things up on pizza night and making it yourself on a sheet pan.

Not only will the pizza taste good, but it's a fun activity with kids.

First, the crust, which is vital as a canvas for your favorite toppings: You can make the dough from scratch or buy it raw from a grocery store. Pizza dough freezes well and thaws quickly. There are also good options for most dietary restrictions.

My favorite way to make pizza at home is to grill it, but sheet-pan pizza is my second favorite as you still get a crispy crust and it is virtually foolproof.

Some general advice before we get to the recipe:

I pre-cook the dough because I like a crispy-crusted pizza and dislike the “raw dough under tomato sauce” experience. I also prefer crushed San Marzano tomatoes rather than commercial pizza sauce as it gives the pizza a fresher, brighter flavor. If you like the dried oregano and other spices common to jarred pizza sauce, add it to the crushed tomatoes for a zestier sauce.

The San Marzano plum tomatoes have an intense, tomato-y flavor that is a perfect balance of sweet and acidic and pairs perfectly with traditional pizza toppings. The fact that you buy them canned means you can keep them in your pantry for whenever the craving for homemade pizza strikes!

I happen to love a spinach pizza the recipe here is made simply with crushed tomatoes, baby spinach and fresh mozzarella cheese. You could add mushrooms and pepperoni too. It’s easy to switch up the toppings — just make sure all of them are pre-cooked, since the cooking time here is only long enough to heat the toppings and melt the cheese.

If you're making your own dough:

This basic pizza dough can be made quickly using a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook or a food processor. Recipe adapted from “Pizza on the Grill: 100 Feisty Fire- Roasted Recipes for Pizza & More,” by Elizabeth Karmel and Bob Blumer (The Taunton Press, 2014)

Makes enough for 2 pizza crusts.

¼ cup olive oil, plus extra for oiling bowl

1 ½ teaspoons sugar or honey

1 package rapid rise yeasts (2 ¼ teaspoons)

3 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour, plus extra as needed

If your kitchen is cool, preheat the oven on the lowest setting. Pour the water into the work bowl of a large food processor or stand mixer. Sprinkle the oil, sugar and yeast over the water, and pulse several times until mixed. Add the flour and salt and process until the mixture comes together. The dough should be soft and slightly sticky. (If it is very sticky, add flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse until smooth. If it is too stiff, add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse until smooth.)

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface knead by hand to form a smooth round ball. Put the dough in a large, clean and oiled bowl, turn it over several times in the bowl to coat with oil, drizzle a little oil over the top, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Place in a warm spot or turn off the oven and stick it in there. Let rise until the dough has doubled in size, about 15 minutes in the oven or 1 hour in a warm spot.

Once the dough has risen, punch it down and knead on a lightly floured surface for 1 to 2 minutes, until smooth. Divide into two equal-sized balls and proceed with your pizza making. (The dough may be made ahead , frozen for up to a month, and thawed at room temperature before using.)


Depending on your appetite, this recipe will feed 2 to 3 people.

1 4-inch ball of pizza dough, see recipe below

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 8-ounce ball of fresh mozzarella

2 cups of baby spinach leaves tossed in olive oil

1 cup of San Marzano crushed tomatoes

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit and set the oven shelves in the middle position.

Take a small ball of dough, about 4 inches in diameter, and place it on a quarter sheet pan or 9-by-13-inch sheet pan coasted lightly with olive oil. Pour oil over the top and begin to stretch the dough out into a rectangular shape. You can push the dough with your fingers or use a rolling pin on a cutting board before you fit it into the sheet pan. If you need more oil to keep it supple, add a drizzle.

Once you have a nice shape, sprinkle it all over with the grits, turn the dough over and repeat, adding olive oil and grits as necessary. The oil will keep it tender and help the dough crisp up. The grits will give it a rustic texture that is a nice counterbalance to the toppings and melty cheese.

Note: If the dough is cold, you may have a difficult time stretching it to the end of the sheet pan. Let it sit at room temperature, and as it relaxes, it will become pliable.

Bake the dough in the preheated oven for 7 to 8 minutes or until the bottom is beginning to brown and the top has some color to it. If the dough bubbles, prick a hole in the bubble to let the air out. The crust will be easier to layer with toppings if it is flat.

Remove the pre-cooked crust from the oven and if it looks dry, brush it lightly with olive oil and season it with salt and pepper. Next, tear small pieces of the fresh mozzarella and scatter about ¼ of the cheese over the crust. Reserve the rest of the cheese for the top.

Spoon the crushed tomatoes over the crust and spread it with the back of a spoon so that you have a little bit of tomato sauce across the entire crust.

Toss the fresh spinach leaves in a bowl with a drizzle of olive oil to coat the leaves. Season lightly with salt. Scatter over the pizza. It will look like you have a lot of spinach but it shrinks as it cooks. Tear the remaining fresh mozzarella into small pieces and scatter over the spinach.

Place the sheet pan pizza back in the oven and set a timer for about 13 minutes. You will know when the pizza is done when the cheese is completely melted and bubbly, and some parts of the cheese have browned edges or tops.

Remove from the oven and let sit for 1 to 2 minutes to settle. Sprinkle flaky sea salt over the top and cut with kitchen shears.

50 Best Family Meals That Your Whole Crew Will Look Forward to Eating

When you think of "family meals," what first comes to mind might vary from person to person. For some, it's the image of a family sitting around a big feast&mdasha pleasant, calm scene. However, those in charge of cooking might find that the term conjures up feelings of stress, coming up with easy dinner ideas that are home runs night after night. For those of you in the latter boat, fear not! This list rounds up some fantastic family meals that can feed your crew while minimizing stress in the kitchen.

For instance, try one of the many casserole recipes that are always crowd-pleasers, yet are surprisingly easy to make. While there are plenty of options, the chicken and wild rice casserole with Gruyère stands out because it looks (and sounds) so fancy! We guarantee your family will be blown away. A sheet pan dinner&mdashlike the delicious chicken fajitas recipe&mdashis another easy-to-make meal that's also fun to get the kids involved with. "You can show little ones how to chop safely and let them have fun arranging the dish," Ree Drummond says. And when in doubt, quick pasta recipes will do the trick!

Your days of stressful weeknight menu planning will be a thing of the past once you take a look at these easy family meal ideas.

And the lasts up in our pizza topping ideas: this veggie pizza with avocado! Based on a pizza called the So Cal pizza, this one features a smattering of delicious veg and then dollops of creamy, tangy goat cheese. It’s bright and beautiful, and utterly delicious. Here’s what’s on this Veggie Pizza with Avocado:

Watch the video: Die Nacht von Freitag auf Montag (May 2022).