Pizza gets an autumn twist with pumpkin sauce! Mmmm mmm good! #secretrecipeclub
Main Dishes, Pizza, Recipes

SRC: Pumpkin and Sausage Pizza

Pizza gets an autumn twist with pumpkin sauce! Mmmm mmm good!

Pizza gets an autumn twist with pumpkin sauce! Mmmm mmm good! #secretrecipeclub

Welcome to another SRC post! Secret Recipe Club has been my big blog event for most of my blogging career, and it was just announced that the club will be disbanding this fall. But don’t you worry–there are still a few more posts before that happens! Tear! It’s sad, but great to see the club go out on a high note.

This month I was assigned to Natural Noshing. Nora began her blog as a way to share her passion for nutrition and healthy, real food. She has tons of great recipes to share and I love her passion for food! I was drawn to SO many of her healthy recipes–it was hard to pick what to make, but I finally narrowed it down. Breakfast Quesadillas sounded interesting, as did Cappuccino Sour Cream Muffins. But I must have been in a pizza mood when recipe choosing because I loved the sound of anything and everything pizza–Pizza Potatoes! Pizza Quinoa Casserole! And lastly… the winner… Sausage and Pumpkin Pizza!

Pizza gets an autumn twist with pumpkin sauce! Mmmm mmm good! #secretrecipeclub

You guys know I love pumpkin so really, it was a no brainer. I don’t know what took me so long to make this decision. ūüôā Oh wait I do. Ben. He loves pizza, but this qualifies as “weird pizza” in his book so I was a bit skeptical if he would enjoy it. And I do like him to enjoy the food I make. ūüôā

Pizza gets an autumn twist with pumpkin sauce! Mmmm mmm good! #secretrecipeclub

Well, I am happy to report that he not only¬†enjoyed it, but he loved it! We both did, actually. It was a wonderful, hearty, fall pizza–the flavorful pumpkin sauce was the perfect base for sausage and kale. Nora’s original recipe used spinach, but she made this recipe as a “clear out the fridge” meal so I decided to do the same here! Why buy something else if you don’t need to? This pizza may just become a surprising fall favorite in our house. Hope you enjoy as much as we did–and thanks, Nora, for the great recipe!

two years ago: Banana Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins
three years ago: Funfetti Cookies
four years ago: Chicken Enchiladas with Green Chili Sour Cream Sauce
five years ago: Roasted Vegetable Soup
six years ago: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins

Pumpkin and Sausage Pizza

  • Servings: 8
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from Natural Noshing


  • 1 pizza crust – I used my favorite recipe¬†but any will do
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces sausage, thinly sliced – smoked sausage is what I used, but chicken sausage, brats, etc. would all be great
  • 1 1/4 cups tightly packed kale, washed and chopped into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons fresh herbs, chopped – I used rosemary, basil, and marjoram
  • 8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F [or follow directions for your specific pizza crust].

In a small saucepan, mix pumpkin puree, water, sage, garlic, and pepper. Heat over low heat until combined, then set aside.

In a medium skillet set over medium-high heat, cook sausage for about 2 minutes per side. I used precooked sausage, so this was just to add color. Top with kale and herbs and stir together for about 30 seconds or until kale just begins to wilt.

Spread pumpkin sauce over uncooked crust [unless you bought a precooked crust]. Top with half of the cheese, then the sausage and kale mixture, and finally the rest of the cheese. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is melted. Broil for a minute to make the cheese look extra delicious, then remove from oven. Let rest for 5 minutes before cutting, then serve and enjoy!

Check out the other SRC recipes today at the link below!

30 Before 30, Main Dishes, Pizza, Recipes

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 |

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 |

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 |

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 |

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
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from Creative Savings

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.


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. ūüôā

Main Dishes, Pizza, Recipes

Taco Pizza

Some people are pizza purists, and some people are me. I like trying the most ridiculous and random types of pizza ever. My most recent favorite at a local pizza place? Pecans, sweet onion marmalade, gorgonzola and fresh rosemary. So, so good. That is definitely a combo I will be ordering again and maybe even recreating at home! And I am sure it’ll be nothing but good.¬†But for now, this Taco Pizza I made from Budget Bytes¬†is my favoritest homemade pizza of all time. A high honor, and for good reason.

Taco Pizza | The Pajama Chef

Tacos and pizza are amazing on their own, and together in one dish is a party you don’t want to miss! Each bite has layers of hot and cold ingredients and is just so flavorful!

Taco Pizza | The Pajama Chef

When thinking about this pizza, it’s hard to tell what the best part is–the refried bean/salsa sauce? The crunchy corn? The cheese? [oooh cause you can’t have pizza without cheese!] Or the fresh, cold pico, cilantro, and sour cream on top of it all? I’m not sure, but you pretty much can’t go wrong with this idea because it’s so¬†versatile. Any taco filling would be fabulous on this pizza. I think next time I might add some shredded chicken and sauteed peppers and onions for a fajita-type pizza. Oooh! And chunks of avocado and a drizzle of guacamole salsa. That’s what I’m talking about!!

Taco Pizza | The Pajama Chef

Even without meat though, this veggie pizza is super filling, and your family will be fighting over the leftovers. Ben and I sure were! Haha. Just kidding. I think.

It’s a good thing I didn’t make this yesterday on our fourth anniversary! ūüôā Instead, we spent the day¬†picnicking¬†at a local winery and enjoying each other’s company. Better than squabbling over a¬†delicious¬†pizza,¬†methinks. Teeheehee. Hope you all have a great Memorial Day weekend!

Taco Pizza

  • Servings: 4-5
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from Budget Bytes

  • 1 batch pizza dough
  • 2 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 vidalia onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, minced + more for sprinkling
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 [15 ounce] can refried beans
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1 tablespoon taco seasoning
  • 1 1/4 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup corn
  • 1/4 cup sour cream


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a small bowl, mix together tomatoes, onion, and cilantro for pico de gallo. Add black pepper to taste, set aside.

Add oil to a small saucepan over medium heat, add garlic and cook until soft, about 2 minutes.  Then stir in beans, salsa, and taco seasoning and cook until heated and smooth. Remove from heat.

Roll out pizza dough on pizza pan, par-baking crust if desired for 5-7 minutes [I usually skip this step!]. Then remove from oven and top with bean mixture, cheese, and corn. Bake for another 10-12 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

Top with pico de gallo, cilantro, and a drizzle of sour cream [spoon into ziploc bag, cut off the corner, and squeeze over pizza]. You can also add a dash of hot sauce if that’s your thing. Enjoy!

P.S. SHAMELESS PLUG! Please check out and like my¬†new blog Facebook page… thanks!

Appetizers, Main Dishes, Pizza, Recipes

Mexican Pizza

I’m embarassed to say that this recipe has been in my posting queue for two months now. TWO MONTHS! Oh my goodness. I am so, so, sorry, you precious pizza you. ūüė¶ I should just quit school and tend to food all day long.


Kind of…

But anyways, I whipped this Mexican Pizza up back in the good ‘ole snowy days of yore February on a Saturday night. I was hungry after a long marathon training run and in the mood forsomething¬†delicious¬†and easy, packed with oodles of my favorite flavors. and filling. This Mexican Pizza fit the bill perfectly!¬†It was substantial enough to be filling, but I think it’s light enough to be a great appetizer.¬†It reminded me of ¬†a less-greasy quesadilla on pizza. Each slice was loaded with savory black bean spread [that was incredible¬†on tortilla chips too, by the way] and a chock-ton of vegetables like onions, peppers, tomatoes, and corn. I can’t wait to make this in the summer with even more fresh veggies! Summer is almost. here. YAY! Topped off with crazy amounts of gooey cheese, this dinner was ¬†a winner in my book! [okay…maybe not crazy amounts of cheese, but definitely enough to delight in!]

Mexican Pizza


  • 1 batch pizza dough
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese [I used 3/4 cup each cheddar and monterey jack]
  • 1 batch black bean spread, see below
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • 1/2 cup diced tomatoes with green chilis, drained
  • 1/3 cup green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup red onions, diced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, minced
  • sour cream, for dipping
  • spinach, for topping
for the black bean spread: [from goodLife {eats}]
  • 15 ounce can black beans, drained
  • 2-4 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • dash cayenne pepper
  • generous amount of freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • water or chicken broth, added to consistency’s sake
Prepare pizza dough as directed, divide into two portions if applicable. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Roll out 1 round of pizza dough and bake for about 8-10 minutes [use your judgment–longer, 14-16 minutes, if a thick crust in a springform pan; shorter if spread thin… basically you want the crust to cook somewhat but not be crispy when it’s time to top that baby!].
Meanwhile, prepare black bean spread. In the bowl of a food processor, combine black beans, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, garlic, and cayenne pepper. Pulse to blend well. Add freshly ground black pepper to taste and water or chicken broth to thin out the sauce if need be. A hummus-like consistency is good.
Then, prepare the pizza! Spread a thin layer of black bean spread on the crust, then top with onions, tomatoes, peppers, corn, and cilantro. Cover with cheese and return to oven for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until done. Serve with spinach and sour cream.
Click here for the printable version: Mexican Pizza
Main Dishes, Pizza, Recipes


So I lied. I was going to get to posting this recipe on Saturday, but that just didn’t happen. Somehow I spent the whole day lounging on the couch, doing laundry, watching Letters to Juliet, going to the grocery store [my first visit to Aldi’s], and baking cookies. What did you do this weekend?

[Anyways, enough about my unproductive Saturday. On to regularly scheduled programming…]

You know how there are some foods that seem really difficult to make well at home? Some of the foods that make my list for difficult to prepare well at home are chicken fingers [or really any coated meat], tofu, tortillas, and many fancy Italian-restaurant favorites.¬† Pizza used to be on that list.¬† It’s not anymore. So did calzones.¬† Now they aren’t. Yay!

There are several local restaurants that serve amazing calzones, and I’ve tried to make them at home before with no success, so I was intimated to try again.¬† But try again I did, and this time, was very pleased with the results.¬† I had a lot of leftover pizza sauce in the freezer and As my husband described them, the dough was perfectly cooked–crispy on the outside, and soft on the inside… exactly as you’d want it to be. I’m excited that now I can satisfy my calzone craving at home.¬† I love saving some dough [ha ha ha, I crack myself up] and controlling the ingredients.¬† It’s a win-win situation!

Homemade Calzones - easier than you think!


from The Bread Lover’s Bread Machine Cookbook by Beth Hensperger, recommended by Life As Mom


  • 1 1/8 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 3/4 teaspoons bread machine yeast
  • 2/3 cup pizza sauce + more for dipping
  • mozzarella cheese
  • desired toppings [I used about 1/3 cup saut√©ed chopped onions and green peppers; Ben used pepperoni.]
  • water for basting


Add all dough ingredients [water, olive oil, flours, salt, yeast] to the pan of your breadmaker according to the manufacturer’s directions. My breadmaker calls for liquids and salt, then dry ingredients, then yeast, but yours may be different.

Turn on the breadmaker using the “dough” setting.

When dough is prepared, remove from the pan and turn out the dough on a floured work surface or countertop.¬† Divide the dough into desired number of portions–we just made two huge calzones for baking ease, but you could make 4 medium-sized calzones or even 8-12 small, appetizer-sized calzones.

About 30 minutes before baking, preheat oven to 425 degrees and oil and cornflour a baking sheet [or use parchment paper].

Use a rolling pin to roll out dough thinly, then place desired fillings [1/3 cup sauce, cheese, and anything else you dream up] over half of the  dough.  Be sure to leave a one inch border so it can be closed up easily.

Homemade Calzones - easier than you think!

Then fold over the dough side [on right in the above photo] and pinch up the sides with your fingers pie-crust style.

Homemade Calzones - easier than you think!

Baste top of calzone with water.  Cut slits in the calzone for air ventilation and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Allow to rest for about 10 minutes prior to eating.  Serve with pizza sauce for dipping.


Each calzone is really large if you split the dough in half, fyi. I ate about 1/3 of mine in one sitting, then ate the rest as leftovers.

While I haven’t done this personally, tips for converting breadmaker recipes to manual [aka your own two hands] recipes can be found here and here. Good luck! ūüôā

Homemade Calzones - easier than you think!
Homemade Calzones - easier than you think!


What are some foods that you’ve always thought would be difficult to make at home? Have you ever tried to create them at home?