How to Host a Neighborhood Pizza Party

When our neighbor came home on leave from his tour in Afghanistan last month, we pulled together a few favorite neighbors to celebrate the happy visit. It seems, whenever we’re hosting a large group for dinner, that we turn to pasta or lasagna or some for of mush in a pan. To keep the night fresh and fun, my kids suggested instead that  a make-your-own-pizza-party would make me the coolest mom ever.

Anything to be the coolest mom ever.

Planning a neighborhood pizza party, requires a wee bit of coordination, but it’s not difficult.

The night before our big event, I pulled my kids in the kitch and we whipped up a double batch of easy pizza dough (recipe below). I love this recipe because it’s totally foolproof, and makes a perfect pizza crust. It took about an hour and a half to whip up the dough, roll into into dozens of personal-sized pizzas, and bake them in preparation for the party. Easy schmeasy.

If you want to partay at home in such a way, all you’ve got to do is wrap those baked pizza crusts tightly with plastic wrap and let them sit on your countertop overnight. Yes! A big, tasty party can be this awesome to put together.

About an hour before our guests arrived, we set the kitchen table with a slew of toppings and grated cheeses. There are a billion different topping options, but we wanted to keep the prep time short, so we stuck the simplest of ingredients:

SAUCES

  • Marinara Pizza Sauce
  • Canned Alfredo Sauce
  • Prepared pesto sauce
  • Chopped Garlic & Olive Oil

MEATS

  • Diced Ham
  • Pepperoni
  • Crumbled Sausage

FRESH VEGGIES

  • Tomatoes
  • Chopped Spinach
  • Diced scallions
  • Caramelized Vidalia Onions
  • Asparagus
  • Arugula

FRUITS

  • Fresh,diced pineapple

CANNED TOPPINGS

  • Sliced olives
  • Sundried tomatoes
  • Artichoke hearts

CHEESES

  • Mozzarella, grated (lot’s of it!)
  • Sharp cheddar cheese
  • Shaved Parmesan

Once our guests arrived, we set the kids loose on the table of toppings. It was hysterical fun to see what each child topped their pizza with. The little kids went safe–cheese and pepperoni for them, thank you very much. But, check out Brady’s pizza up there. He was all about a bit of everything.  He topped his pizza with one of each of the choices. Tres impressive, little foodie guy!

With pizza’s topped and ready to rock, we just popped them directly on the rack in the oven. This worked gorgeously because we could bake 8 pizza’s at a time, which meant less waiting for our hungry little revelers.

FANTASTIC TIP: While the pizza’s are baking, clear and clean the table to prepare it for dinner. This is a quick, easy way to make the most of all your table space and accommodate a house full of guests.

Once the kids pizza’s were cooked and tossed into their bellies, we adults set to enjoying the evening. With kids running themselves ragged in the basement, we settled in for delightsome conversation and a tremendous amount of table talk. I learned the shocking truth about my cute, careful neighbor Susie…she once lived for an entire summer alone in a tent. Nowadays, she a clever, craft bloggin’ mama over at ECBloom, so who’d have guessed that she’d totally driven a beater truck and showered at a campsite during college. Love that girl and her nice Jeremy husband!

Andy cracked more than his fair share of wry and witty jokes, the sort that had me laying in bed with John that night and trying to remember every line. Seems Afghanistan hasn’t sucked the good humor out of good Andy yet. I’m so glad. Sending prayers to him until his safe return. Though, I’m not particularly thrilled to consider him getting home and whisking his lovely wife off on another Army adventure. Trish is, hands down, the kindest, most thoughtful and giving neighbor I’ve ever had.  I once called to ask her if she had a heart-shaped cookie cutter and she showed up at my door an hour later with a pack of three cookie-cutters that she’d run to the store for. She’s mine. You can’t have her.

And, of course, kicking back for a date night with my husband–even when we are just making pizza’s at home–is always a treat. He’s a hottie, you know.

Homemade pizza, a table full of neighbors, one hot husband.  This is the way to spend a weekend.

Print

Quick & Easy Pizza Crust

Ingredients:

1 (1/4 ounce) package yeast
1 cup water
1/4 cup olive oil
2 1/2 cups white whole wheat or spelt flour
1 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, mix yeast in warm water until dissolved. Stir in oil, flour, and salt until it forms a ball of dough. It should be pliable and not sticky, but definitely soft. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel, and pop on top of your stove while the oven is warming up. Let rise for 15 minutes.

On a large baking sheet lined with parchment (or sprayed with nonstick cooking spray), spread a racquetball-sized bit of dough out until quite thin. I like pressing the center of the pizza as thin as possible, then leaving the edges just slightly thicker. Bake two large, three medium, or four small personal sized pizza crusts at a time in your preheated oven for about 7-9 minutes. You just want the crusts to set, but not to brown at all, so keep an eye on them!

Cool crusts completely before wrapping tightly with plastic wrap. Store overnight on your countertop, or store in freezer bags in your freezer for up to a month.

Once ready to bake your pizzas, top with desired toppings, and bake directly on the rack, in an oven preheated to 400 degrees for 12-14 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and the edges of the crust golden brown.

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21 Responses to “How to Host a Neighborhood Pizza Party”

  1. 1

    Liz on June 10, 2011 at 8:12 am Reply

    What a fun idea! I will have to try this out with friends and family the next time we all get together! Thanks for the great idea!

  2. 2

    Carrie on June 11, 2011 at 7:18 am Reply

    Sounds so lovely! What a fun hostess you are!

  3. 3

    Katrina on June 11, 2011 at 3:22 pm Reply

    Love this post! Golly, I wish I lived in your neighborhood.

  4. 4

    anna on June 11, 2011 at 8:08 pm Reply

    such cute pictures! and the pizzas look wonderful – i could use a recipe for foolproof crust, that’s for sure!

    • Brooke replied: — June 12th, 2011 @ 7:54 pm

      Thanks, Anna! You’ll love this recipe. It really is totally foolproof. Enjoy!

  5. 5

    Kolette on June 12, 2011 at 10:53 am Reply

    I love.love.love a “make your own” anything. The creative process flourishing on the top of a pizza crust. Everyone wants to create something totally unique and individual – even if it is just the placement of the pepperoni and cheese.

    • Brooke replied: — June 12th, 2011 @ 7:53 pm

      And I love.love.love you, Miss Kolette! A DANG LOT!

  6. 6

    mangiabella on June 12, 2011 at 6:52 pm Reply

    what a stellar evening! I, too, love the make your own magic that let’s everyone’s individual tastes and personalities shine…that alone is a great conversation starter!!! sure wish i was your neighbor!

  7. 7

    Susie on June 12, 2011 at 7:37 pm Reply

    I just made some pizza tonight with your family pizza/pasta spice mix. Holy cow!! You may need to post your secret recipe, or else bring me more when mine runs out- it’s the best!

    • Brooke replied: — June 12th, 2011 @ 7:51 pm

      Oh, Susie. You are so cute! How come I don’t even know what our secret spice mix is?! What am I missing here?! Now I need to get it from YOU! ;)

  8. 8

    marla on June 13, 2011 at 6:44 am Reply

    Brooke, I love this idea for a fun party. Also gotta try this crust recipe :)

    • Brooke replied: — June 13th, 2011 @ 11:50 pm

      Marla…THANK YOU!!!

  9. 9

    Aggie on June 13, 2011 at 3:48 pm Reply

    You can’t ever go wrong with a pizza party. Fun to get everyone involved! Great post!

    • Brooke replied: — June 13th, 2011 @ 11:48 pm

      Thanks, Aggie!

  10. 10

    Sharon at Momof6 on June 17, 2011 at 12:00 pm Reply

    I am so excited to try this pizza recipe! I have been looking for a great recipe that produces a thin and crispy crust! So thank you! I plan to feature a picture and a link to this post in my Sunday Links to Love post over at http://www.momof6.com!
    Warmly,
    Sharon

  11. 11

    Cheri on June 18, 2011 at 9:50 am Reply

    What a funny party! Love the idea of pre-baking the crusts.

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  14. 12

    Pizzas Online on September 7, 2011 at 3:45 am Reply

    Wow ! Kids at Work – now Pizza making is a Child’s Play too. Extremely Amazing. The Pizzas are really looking yummy & cheesy ! Thanks for this share.

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  16. 13

    Kari on October 30, 2014 at 9:38 pm Reply

    Hello and thank you SO much for this page! I am making pizzas now for our Saturday pizza party for my soon to be 4 year old. We are so excited. Just wondering how to cook them since I plan of freezing them tonight. The party is at 3 on Saturday. Thank you SO much!

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