The other night we had a super fun Make Your Own Pizza dinner with friends, and (after getting lots of questions about it on IG) I decided to share all the details in today’s new post! It was really not a hard dinner to pull together, and everyone seemed to enjoy the interactive twist on the evening … and I am not just talking about the kids here!
When we finally sat down to eat, one of the dads kept saying how tasty his homemade pizza was. But he was sure to point out that there was certainly a little prep work I’d put into it first before he made his amazing creation. LOL :)
On another note, I feel like our kids are growing up WAY too fast (such a bittersweet thing!), and I’m learning that as they get older it becomes a little trickier to find ways to entertain them. Don’t get me wrong, they’d be happily “entertained” by video games or Snapchat all night, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I can no longer put out a few cans of play-doh and have them walk away thinking that was the “best night ever!”
Which is another reason why I loved this idea of a Make Your Own Pizza Night. You seriously cannot be too young (well, maybe if you’re a baby, haha) or too old to enjoy this activity.
And, even if you’re a “too cool for school” brand-new teenager, you might accidentally find yourself having a grand ol’ time. This image right here honestly made my day when I saw them all gather around to watch their pizza creations come to life…
So, without further ado…here’s exactly what you need to do if you want to have a pizza night like this at your house. Whether it’s just for a handful of people from your own family, or you’re planning to invite friends, it’s sure to be a crowd pleaser!
How To: Make Your Own Pizza Dinner
- Make the Pizza Dough
I used my tried-and-true recipe that you can see (and print) at the bottom of this post. It’s nice to give the dough some time to rise while you’re prepping the toppings, so that’s why it’s the first step. I make 1 recipe of pizza dough per 4 people. So, since my food processor can only hold so much, I made the pizza dough recipe three times in a row for the 12 people we had over the other night. I then cut each ball of dough into four equal pieces (one for each person).
- Prep the Toppings
The list of options really can go on and on, but here are some ideas (plus a pic of what I offered at our gathering). Before you call everyone into the kitchen, make sure the raw items are cooked, the cheeses are shredded (or crumbled or sliced), the pesto has been made (if using), and everything is put into its own little bowl! I also like to put out little bowls of flour to help with rolling out the dough.
– Tomato sauce
– Pesto sauce (homemade is the way to go with this one!)
– Mozzarella (shredded or sliced thin)
– Goat cheese
– Parmesan cheese (I like this best when put on after baking)
– Sausage (cooked and crumbled)
– Bell peppers (cooked)
– Onions (yellow or red, cooked or caramelized – although raw is good, too)
– Mushrooms (cooked)
– Chicken (cooked – great with BBQ sauce and cilantro that you put on after baking)
– Roasted veggies (zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant, Brussels sprouts, etc.)
– Ricotta cheese
– Pine nuts
– Sliced tomatoes
– Arugula (put on after baking)
– Fresh basil (put on after baking)
- Assembly Time!
Once the dough has risen and you’ve cut each batch into the four pieces I mentioned above, it’s time to get started. Rolling pins are very helpful here, but if you are in a pinch you can always wrap some wine bottles in plastic! Let everyone know what the topping options are and instruct them to sprinkle a little flour on the counter before getting started with rolling out their dough.
Then simply fold over the edges to make a crust and (I highly recommend) transfer them to greased baking sheets BEFORE putting on the toppings. It’s important to not go too crazy with the pizza sauce and mozzarella … a little can go a long way there especially when it gets all melty. And be sure to hold back any leafy greens (such as arugula and basil) until after it comes out of the oven.
- Chow Down
We had to make our pizzas in batches (due to limited counter and oven space) so the kids cooked and ate theirs first. Then the adults went next, and you can see how they all turned out below! I gave out foil so everyone could pack up and take home any leftovers they had of the pizza they made. I also had a citrus salad I offered on the side.
We also made a little video of the whole process, which you can view just below. Hopefully that’s everything you need to try this at home! Unless you are one step ahead and already have a Make Your Own Pizza night at your house? If so, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below! :)
Homemade Whole-Wheat Pizza
- mixed veggies
- parmesan cheese
- goat cheese
- Drop the yeast into the 1-cup of warm water and let it go to work for a few minutes. It should foam up a little bit. Stir the salt and olive oil into the yeast mixture.
- Pour the flour and yeast mixture into a food processor with a dough blade or into a mixer with a dough hook and turn on the machine. (You can also mix up this dough by hand.)
- You should end up with a ball chasing itself around the food processor. If the dough is too dry add warm water a teaspoon at a time and if it is too wet add flour 1 teaspoon at a time.
- Remove the ball from your food processor and knead into a smooth ball. Put the dough into a large ziplock bag or bowl covered with plastic wrap (put a touch of olive oil in and coat the inside of the bag/bowl first) then leave it in fridge for as little as 1 hour or overnight depending on how much time you have. It will rise on its own in the fridge.
- When ready to make the pizza preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Use a rolling pin to roll it out into the desired shape (don’t make it too thin!). Put the flat pizza dough on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking oil. Top the dough with homemade or organic tomato sauce, cheese and other toppings of your choice. Bake in an oven for about 8 – 10 min. or until crust and cheese are golden brown.
Vegetarian if meat toppings are omitted.