How to Throw a Pizza Party

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As a kid, pizza and birthdays just went hand in hand. Especially in a family where I had parents that hardly allowed junk food, delivery pizza was equivalent with being a little rebellious. It was these birthdays and such that allowed me to dive into the forbidden foods, like Cheetos and gummy candy.

Don’t get me wrong; on a cold lazy night, a veggie lovers deep dish from Pizza Hut is my jam. But pizza is SUCH a great way to sort of show off your creative ability. After a long day of Christmas Shopping, my friend Katie and I decided to throw her family a pizza dinner as a thank you for the wonderful day. And it is so simple. Here are the steps:

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The Dough
You can get great dough if you don’t want to make your own. I tend to be a last minute “oooh I want pizza” girl and often times go for something pre-made. My favorite? Wolfgang Puck. If you have a Gelson’s around you that has a conjoining Wolfgang Puck, they will sell you a fresh dough slab for a 16 inch pizza for $2.99. Amazing! Trader Joe’s also has a good one, but that needs to sit on the counter longer to warm up and fluff up a bit. Some Whole Foods Markets will also sell you their dough as well (usually the ones with a larger pizza station). Avoid anything that comes in a can… it will taste, well, like a can.

If you want to make your own dough, this is usually my go to recipe, but remember it is labor intensive. You have to start hours before and let it rise and proof.

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The Toppings
Whatever. You. Want. Seriously.

Have you ever gotten pizza delivered and said to yourself “where are my toppings?” The reason the 5-5-5 deal from Dominos is so cheap is the lack of anything other than bread and cheese that is on that pizza pie. Making your own pizza gives you full creative range AND allows you to hock on those toppings!

For this party, Katie and I opted for a classic Italian pizza and something more funky, sort of a mix between a southwest and BBQ chicken pizza. Really, and what I do with a lot of my meals, is we walked up and down the aisles in the market and saw what caught our eye. Here are our recipes:

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Sweet Italian Sausage Pizza
1 16-inch pizza dough
4 Sweet Italian Sausages
1 roasted red belle pepper
1 cup mushrooms (we used shitake, but button would work fine)
1/2 cup + 2 tbs pizza sauce
8 ounces mozzarella
4 ounces goat cheese
truffle oil (optional)

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Blackened Chicken Southwest Pizza
1 16-inch pizza dough
2 whole chicken breasts, or 4 chicken breast pieces
blackening seasoning (paprika, garlic powder, chipotle powder, a little cayenne, dried onion powder, oregano, black pepper, salt)
1/2 cup corn
1/2 black beans
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 cup + 2 tbs pizza sauce
8 ounces mozzarella
2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese
BBQ sauce, optional (for drizzling when it is out of the oven)

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The pizzas came out like this:

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The Sides
I go for light and simple. We made a mixed green salad with heirloom tomatoes, a little Parmesan, and some chopped green onions. But depending on your crowd, you could serve Caesar salad or a spinach salad. Remember, the pizza should be the star of your table.

This pizza making idea is also something great for kids to do at a party. Everyone gets pre-formed dough, picks their sauce and toppings, and then the pizzas get baked. When they sit down to eat, they get to munch on their own creation.

Pizza Ideas

I have made a number of pizzas before, some of which are on this site. It’s all about just trying new creations. Here is a list of my other pizza creations:

Pesto Chicken Pizza on Cauliflower Crust
The “B” Pizza
Kalamata Olive and Lentil Pizza
Lazy Morning Breakfast Pizza
Spicy Black Bean Tex Mex Pizza
Pear and Gorgonzola Cheese Pizza
Honey Goat Cheese Vegetable Pizza
Fennel Pizza
Hamburger Pizza

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