Best Ever Homemade Pizza

This homemade pizza dough bakes up golden brown, soft, and chewy, and is the perfect base for your favorite pizza toppings!

Best Ever Homemade Pizza | thepajamachef.com

I used to think homemade pizza was lame. When I made it, it just never seemed as good as delivery or pizza shop pizza. Even though I shared recipes for pizza here on my blog I kinda thought homemade pizza was a frugal substitute for the real deal. But then I had GOOD homemade pizza, made by several different friends, and realized I was just doing it wrong. C’est la vie, right?

Best Ever Homemade Pizza | thepajamachef.com

That’s what prompted me to do something about it and put “homemade pizza dough” on my 30 before 30 list. I was determined to find the BEST homemade pizza dough. I tried several recipes… and you guys… I think this it it! [And not because of those delicious brown cheese bubbles there. :)]

Best Ever Homemade Pizza | thepajamachef.com

This dough is chewy, flavorful, and the perfect palate for any pizza topping. I haven’t added any seasoning to the dough because I don’t think it needs it, but feel free to doctor it up if it’s your thing… especially if that helps your pizza toppings succeed. Prefer something traditional? Great. Perfect a taco pizza? Awesome. Anything goes–really! This is dough bakes into a beautiful golden brown crust reminiscent of Pizza Hut pan pizza–not too thick or too thin, just right.

Best Ever Homemade Pizza | thepajamachef.com

Though this recipe is yeast based, it’s really easy. Seriously–it’s hard to mess up since it just has one rise. The dough is so soft and smooth after it rises that you can easily press or roll  it into the pizza pan. Some doughs are sticky–this isn’t one of them! Definitely try it and see what you think. I’m going to use it for calzones next! YUM!

Best Ever Homemade Pizza4

P.S. I did some work on my blog this week–what do you think? Let me know if anything looks funky and I’ll check it out. Thanks!

one year ago: Mango Quick Cake Squares
two years ago: Cookie Dough Dip
three years ago: Rhubarb Muffins

Best Ever Homemade Pizza

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 1hr 30mins
  • Print

from Creative Savings
Ingredients:

for pizza dough

  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 package [2 1/4 teaspoons] active dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup warm milk
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 to 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

for rest of pizza

  • cornmeal for sprinkling
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce – I like this recipe from Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures and usually add a drizzle of balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • toppings as desired – pepperoni, diced peppers, sliced mushrooms, spinach, chopped tomatoes, etc.

Directions:

In a large bowl [I usually use my stand mixer but you don’t have to], whisk together warm water and yeast to dissolve. I heat the water about 15-20 seconds in the microwave so it feels like bathwater–too hot will kill the yeast. Then add warm milk, olive oil, salt, and sugar. Whisk or blend on low to combine. Add in 2 cups flour and stir or blend to incorporate. Gradually add in another cup to 1 1/4 cups of flour in 1/4 cup increments to form a soft dough.

Knead [either in mixer or on a clean, flour-dusted surface] for 6-8 minutes until smooth and elastic. Grease a large bowl and place pizza dough in it, turning once to coat. Cover with a towel and set in a warm place to rise for about an hour or until doubled in size.

Partway through the dough rising process, preheat oven to 400 degrees so it’s nice and hot when it’s time to bake.

When dough is ready, punch down and press or roll onto a pizza pan that has been sprinkled with cornmeal. Top with sauce, cheese, and desired toppings. Bake for 18-20 minutes, broiling the last minute or so to brown the cheese. Let cool for 5-8 minutes before cutting and serving. Enjoy!

We even made a his and hers version of this pizza this weekend… SO GOOD! Make it now! Please. :)

Yummy yummy yummy homemade #pizza #hisandhers

A photo posted by Sarah Keil (@thepajamachef) on

About these ads

Tabbouleh

Tabbouleh is one of those things I didn’t know I liked, but once I found out I did, I wanted to make it all the time. This cold Lebanese salad is so fresh and flavorful. It goes with almost anything! I had eaten tabbouleh at the occasional restaurant over the years, but just kinda ate it because it was there. It wasn’t until I went to a Mediterranean theme dinner and decided to try my hand at making a batch that I really fell in love with it.

Tabbouleh | thepajamachef.com

There are a zillion recipes for tabbouleh, though most are pretty much the same: bulghur wheat, parsley, tomatoes, olive oil, lemon juice, etc. I had Marisa‘s recipe pinned and decided to try it out because it was actually her grandma’s recipe, and we all know that grandma recipes are the best! Marisa’s grandma puts an extra spin on it by adding a little allspice at the end. This makes it extra special, in my opinion.

Tabbouleh | thepajamachef.com

I’ve made this salad for several groups now and have actually had some comments on how much better this version is from others. Chance? Or Marisa’s grandma’s special touch? I’ll never know! :) This recipe makes a large bowl–plenty of servings for a party, a week’s worth of lunches, or whatever you fancy! I’m sure the recipe could be halved too if you need less. Oh, and be sure to try scooping some up with pita bread… heavenly!

Tabbouleh | thepajamachef.com

one year ago: Italian Chicken & Veggie Couscous Bowls
two years ago: Banana Crumb Muffins
three years ago: Creamy Taco Mac

Tabbouleh [from Hummus and Jalapenos]
click to print

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups bulghur wheat [there are different sizes–I used medium]
  • 2 bunches parsley
  • 3-4 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 bunch green onions, diced
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • salt, freshly ground black pepper, and allspice to taste

Directions:

Rinse bulghur in cold water 3-4 times, then pour boiling water over top. Let rest in large bowl for at least a half hour, then drain with a fine mesh strainer and set aside in a bowl.

Remove stems from parsley and place in a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped.

Place parsley, tomatoes, green onions, cucumber, lemon juice, and olive oil in bowl with wheat. Season with salt, pepper, and allspice. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Time: 60 minutes.
Yield: 16 servings.

Mystery Dish: BBQ Chicken Salad with Jalapeno Basil Ranch Dressing

Today I have the BEST SALAD EVER to share with you!! I am so psyched, I can hardly wait to tell you about it [even though it is not original at all. But that’s okay.] But first, this recipe qualifies for not just one, but two challenges. Woohoo! First of all, I created this recipe for Mystery Dish. But since it includes a fantastic homemade ranch dressing, it also helps fulfill one of my 30 before 30 goals. Score!

BBQ Chicken Salad with Jalapeno Basil Ranch Dressing | thepajamachef.com #mysterydish #salad #summer

This month for Mystery Dish, Chez Catey Lou is our host. Cate is so sweet and gave us such a creative list to work with! We had to use at least two ingredients from this list: raspberries, peanut butter chips, edamame, lemon, yeast, whole wheat pastry flour, bacon, buttermilk, basil, and zucchini. There were a thousand ways I thought about going [I probably say that every month…sorry] but my craving for a salad won out in the end. I used a few of Cate’s ingredients [lemon, buttermilk, and basil] to make an awesome Jalapeno Ranch Dressing to dress up a BBQ Chicken Salad.

BBQ Chicken Salad with Jalapeno Basil Ranch Dressing | thepajamachef.com #mysterydish #salad #summer

I have long searched for a good homemade ranch dressing. I’ve made this recipe once before and let me tell you..it’s a keeper! It’s creamy, spicy, and best of all… clean! No weird mystery ingredients in the powder, thankyouverymuch. The key to this recipe is the jalapeno. It just elevates this creamy, herby dressing with a bit of spice. Oh so good!

BBQ Chicken Salad with Jalapeno Basil Ranch Dressing | thepajamachef.com #mysterydish #salad #summer

You know what else is good? This salad! I know a zillion restaurants have variations of BBQ Chicken Salad and this was mine. I just used seven ingredients so it’s pretty basic: lettuce, chicken, BBQ sauce, corn, tomatoes, black beans, and ranch dressing. You could also add avocados, onions, bacon, or anything else that strikes your fancy.

BBQ Chicken Salad with Jalapeno Basil Ranch Dressing | thepajamachef.com #mysterydish #salad #summer

I kept it simple though so the flavors could really shine. You will really want to make it again and again. One bite of this and Ben was swooning. Seriously! This is a man’s salad, and definitely fancy enough for a restaurant. Hope you enjoy it as much we do!

BBQ Chicken Salad with Jalapeno Basil Ranch Dressing | thepajamachef.com #mysterydish #salad #summer

one year ago: Strawberry Muffins
two years ago: Sweet-Tart Quinoa Salad
three years ago: BAST sandwich

BBQ Chicken Salad with Jalapeno Ranch Dressing
click to print

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked chicken [leftovers from a roasted chicken work great]
  • 1 cup bbq sauce [I used Sweet Baby Ray’s]
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 2 cups black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 cups fresh corn, cut from 3 ears of corn
  • 1 head romaine lettuce
  • Jalapeno Ranch Dressing, recipe below

Directions:

Stir together chicken and bbq sauce in a skillet set over medium-low heat. Heat for 5-7 minutes or until heated through, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, toss together romaine lettuce and Jalapeno Ranch Dressing in desired amounts. Divide lettuce between four plates, then top each with a quarter of all ingredients: chicken, tomato, black beans, and corn. Toss together and enjoy!

Time: 10 minutes.
Yield: 4 meal-size salads or 8 side salads.

Jalapeno Ranch Dressing [slightly adapted from The Lively Kitchen]

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk [for this I use real buttermilk, a substitute could be kinda weird]
  • 4 green onions, chopped, with white bottoms removed
  • 1/2 of a chopped, deseeded jalapeno [~2 tablespoons]
  • 3 tablespoons  fresh parsley, chopped [or 1 teaspoon dried parsley]
  • 1/3 cup fresh Thai basil, chopped [or cilantro, basil, etc.]
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

DIrections:

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse until smooth. An immersion blender works great!

Dressing thickens in the fridge so add some extra buttermilk before serving leftovers as desired.

Time: 5 minutes.
Yield: 2 cups.

Please check out the other awesome recipes from this month’s Mystery Dish!

May Mystery Dish Collage

1. Raspberry Lemon Sweet Roll Cake with Buttermilk Glaze – Baking a Moment
2. Twice Baked Zucchini Boat – Chelsea’s Messy Apron
3. Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Raspberry Mint Compote – Blahnik Baker
4. Lemon-Raspberry Bundt Cake – I Dig Pinterest
5. Peanut Butter Chip Cookies – The Dessert Chronicles
6. Mini Coconut Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting – I Want Crazy
7. Zucchini Noodles with Meat Mushroom Tomato Sauce – Joyfully Healthy Eats
8. Baked Wonton Cups Filled with Edamame Corn Salad – The Well Floured Kitchen
9. Easy 30 Minute Orange Rolls – Yummy Healthy Easy
10. BBQ Chicken Salad with Jalapeno Basil Ranch Dressing – The Pajama Chef
11. Mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cupcakes – Culinary Couture
12. Zucchini Muffins with Lemon Glaze – The Weary Chef
13. Lemon Bundt Cake – Chez CateyLou

Black Bean-Pumpkin Soup

Updated March 30, 2014… so today, I was looking through some blog pics and realized I made a terrible error! The soup that had been pictured here was NOT this wonderful Black Bean-Pumpkin Soup, but rather a Minty Tomato Soup. Whoops! Somehow I mixed up my labels. Sorry about that! This soup is still delish no matter how it looks, but I wanted to come back and make it right with you. :) Forgive me? 

Black Bean-Pumpkin Soup | thepajamachef.com

I hope you’re okay with another soup recipe this late in March! If you aren’t, look away. But be forewarned: you’ll miss some awesome soup. It was snowing in Nashville yesterday [not enough to stick, but still], so soup is entirely justified I think!

Black Bean-Pumpkin Soup | thepajamachef.com

Earlier in the year, my mom texted me a picture of her dinner: a delightful orange-y colored soup. I asked for the recipe and received a text with a picture of the recipe, which I immediately made for lunch the next day. Yay for iPhones and technology! :) That soup is the one before your very eyes now… a creamy, flavorful, filling Black Bean-Pumpkin Soup. I’ve made plenty of black bean and pumpkin soups in my day–but never together, and never this good. The soup is a cinch to throw together and definitely gets better as it sits. With just a hint of spice and a bit of sweetness, this soup is unlike any I have ever tasted. Next time I make it I will be sure to stock up on sour cream, green onions, and pumpkin seeds because the [unpictured] toppings are the very best part! Enjoy!

one year ago: Roasted Chickpea, Carrot, & Radish Salad with Lemon-Dijon Dressing
two years ago: Cinnamon Curry Tuna Wraps
three years ago: Fruit and Nut Granola Bars

Black Bean-Pumpkin Soup [slightly adapted from a magazine via my mom]
click to print

Ingredients:

  • 2 – 15 ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 – 15 ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 2 cups loosely packed spinach
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil [STAR Fine Foods Grilling Cuisine Cooking Oil is what I used; extra virgin would also work]
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, deseeded [optional]
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 cups chicken [or vegetable] broth
  • 1 – 15 ounce can pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1-2 tablespoons molasses or bourbon [optional]
  • sour cream, for topping
  • sliced green onions, for topping
  • pumpkin seeds, for topping

Directions:

In a food processor, combine black beans, tomatoes, and spinach. Process until smooth.

In a Dutch oven, heat olive oil on medium. Add onions and jalapeno [if using] and cook until soft. Add garlic and cumin and cook for another minute, until fragrant. Then stir in broth, pumpkin, vinegar, and pepper. Bring to a boil then cover and reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in molasses if using, then serve with sour cream, green onions, and pumpkin seeds as desired.

Time: 35 minutes [15 minutes active].

Yield: 8 servings [about 2 quarts]

Mystery Dish: Spicy Chicken, Spinach, and Corn Enchiladas

This month for Mystery Dish, Christine from I Dig Pinterest and I Did it Too was the head honcho. She gave us the following ingredients to work with: fresh mushrooms, pork, spinach, cream cheese, pineapple, butterscotch chips, macadamia nuts, Sriracha, Ritz crackers, and tortillas. When I first saw the list, I had dreams of a fabulous dessert. But things just didn’t work out due to family and work things… so dinner it was! But shhhh! Don’t tell these enchiladas they were a second choice because they’d be oh so sad. They were SO tasty and SO spicy and SO worth it.

Spicy Chicken, Spinach, and Corn Enchiladas | thepajamachef.com

The two ingredients I used from Christine’s list were spinach and tortillas. I thought about also using Sriracha in the spicy enchilada sauce, but after a quick test taste, I realized there was no way I’d be able to handle the heat if I added that. :) So two ingredients it was! Obviously tortillas are an essential part of enchiladas–but spinach? Sounds a little weird. But I’m never one to shy away from adding veggies where they are unexpected. The combination of chicken, spinach, and corn made for a delightful enchilada filling, and when we had a little leftover, I saved it for quesadillas later in the week. Also an excellent choice for this filling! If a super spicy sauce isn’t your thing, feel free to buy some or try my [old old old] recipe for a classic enchilada sauce.

Spicy Chicken, Spinach, and Corn Enchiladas | thepajamachef.com

We loved how flavorful, fast, and unique these enchiladas were, and I bet you will too! Be sure to check out some of the other creations made by my Mystery Dish pals. :)

one year ago: Italian Sausage and Red Rice
two years ago: Sausage, Apple, and Egg Casserole
three years ago: Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

Spicy Chicken, Spinach, and Corn Enchiladas
click to print

Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces tomato paste
  • 1 cup tomato juice or water
  • 1/2 cup onion, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup green pepper, roughly chopped
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1-2 chipotle peppers in adobe sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 6 ounces cooked chicken, shredded
  • 2 handful spinach, torn
  • 1 cup corn
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 8 flour tortillas
  • 1 cup white cheddar cheese [pepperjack or a Mexican blend would also be good]

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a food processor, combine tomato paste, tomato juice, onion, green pepper, garlic, chipotle peppers, chili powder, cumin, and oregano. Process until smooth. Spread 1/3 of the enchilada sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish.

In a bowl, stir together chicken, spinach, corn, and salsa. Divide mixture between the tortillas, then place seam side down in the baking dish. Top with remaining enchilada sauce and the cheese.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Time: 45 minutes [15 minutes active].

Yield: 4 servings.

February Mystery Dish Collage
1. Grilled Pineapple with Nutella and Macadamia Nuts by Joyful Healthy Eats
2. Hummingbird Cake by Baking a Moment
3. Three-Cheese Spinach Squares by The Well Floured Kitchen
4. Easy Pesto Pita Bread Pizzas by Yummy Healthy Easy
5. Minty Pea Prosciutto Toast by Chez CateyLou
6. Pina Colada Cheesecake by Blahnik Baker
7. Chocolate Banana Cheesecake Chimichangas by Culinary Couture
8. Pork with Pineapple Fried Rice by I Want Crazy
9. Tropical Green Smoothie by The Dessert Chronicles
10. Spicy Chicken, Spinach and Corn Enchiladas by The Pajama Chef
11. Pineapple Drop Cookies by I Dig Pinterest