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When I found a frozen disk of pizza dough in the freezer, I promised my husband homemade pizza for dinner... without realizing we didn't have any mozzarella cheese. So I looked through my refrigerator in search of some ingredients worthy of a kitchen-sink pizza! As my dad would say, "I never met a pizza I didn't like."
When I say "homemade pizza," it usually means pizza that is composed and baked in my own kitchen/oven/grill - but I rarely make my own pizza dough. Stroll into any local pizza shop, and chances are, they will sell you their pizza dough on the cheap. You can usually buy dough for a large crust for something like $1.50 (at least in central PA)! And that is usually enough to make 2 pies since we prefer thin crust. AND, buying the dough from "the professionals" means your pizza making will be super easy and it also ensures a delicious crust! Call me a cheater, but I love easy, tasty "homemade" pizza.
You can really make pizza out of anything - so even if you don't have the usual ingredients (red sauce, mozzarella, etc.), look around to see what you could use. It's like you're on Chopped :)
For pie #1, I started with a leftover venison burger (venison, onions, worcestershire sauce) and decided to pair it with cheddar cheese and BBQ sauce for a BBQ Cheddar Burger pizza. No burger is complete without toppings, so here's where it gets a little weird. I also added red onion, dill pickles and mustard.
For pie #2, I knew I wanted to use Pesto Rosso (sun dried tomato pesto) that I bought at Aldi. I paired that with garlic herb goat cheese (also from Aldi, have I mentioned I love that store?), baby spinach, and roma tomatoes.
Here's how I made them...
NOTICE: I am not a professional pizza maker, nor am I Italian. I make pizzas according to what has worked for me in the past, and that may include unconventional methods! Pizza is pizza.
Cheater's Homemade Pizza: BBQ Cheeseburger & Pesto Rosso Goat Cheese
Makes: 2 medium pizzas, ~10 slices
1 large disk of pizza dough, divided (from local pizza shop or dough recipe of your choice)
BBQ Cheddar Cheeseburger
- ~1/4 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce
- 4 oz ground beef or venison
- 1 - 1.5 cups cheddar cheese
- 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 dill pickle spears, diced
- Yellow mustard
- 2 roma tomatoes, sliced
- 1 cup iceberg lettuce, shredded
Pesto Rosso & Goat Cheese
- 1/4 cup sun-dried tomato pesto
- 1 handful baby spinach
- 2 oz garlic herb goat cheese
- 2 roma tomatoes, sliced
Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Split pizza dough in half and stretch/press it out on two separate cookie sheets.
TIP: I usually start by stretching the dough with my hands, then spray it with olive oil and press it out on a cookie sheet. It doesn't have to be pretty; it doesn't have to be round, it just has to be pizza.
Pre-bake the crusts for 5 minutes while you prep the other toppings. If any giant crust bubbles appear, just stab them with a fork. Remove after 5 minutes. Crust should be par-baked and may be slightly brown.
For the BBQ Cheddar Cheeseburger...
Brown ground beef or venison in a small skillet, seasoning with salt and pepper and a dash or two of worcestershire sauce. Spread BBQ sauce across the pizza crust using the back of a spoon. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese and top with the ground meat, red onion, and pickles.
TIP: Press the pickles in between a couple of layers of paper towels to dry them some - we don't want soggy pizza!
Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is melty and the edges start to brown. Remove from oven and drizzle with yellow mustard. As soon as the mustard hit the pickles, the smell of "cheeseburger" filled my kitchen.
To serve, top with fresh lettuce and tomatoes. The cold veggies add a delicious contrast to the hot melty pizza.
For the Pesto Rosso & Goat Cheese...
Spread pesto across the pizza crust using the back of a spoon. Top with a handful of baby spinach in one even layer, then add sliced tomato.
TIP: Press the tomato slices in between paper towels to remove excess moisture.
Crumble the goat cheese evenly over the pie and spray lightly with olive oil.
Bake for 10-15 minutes. Broil for the last 2 minutes or until the goat cheese and edges start to brown.