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 | 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
  • Print

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


Breakfast, Egg Dishes, Recipes

Pizza Frittata

So, what’s better than pizza? If your answer is pizza, you are definitely right. And if you’re confused, look no further than this AWESOME breakfast, lunch, dinner, or brinner recipe for PIZZA Frittata! Woohoo. Welcome to deliciousness, folks!

Pizza Frittata | thepajamachef.com

Whenever I’m in a bind with my menu plan for the week, I turn to one of my standbys: black beans and rice [cheap and tasty], breakfast for dinner [indulgent because this usually turns into pancakes for dinner], or a frittata [easy, cheap, and totally customizable]. What do these dishes have in common? They are all cheap [read: so I can spend more cash $$$$ on fun ingredients like mini chocolate chips], all things that I love [convenient, right?], and made from pantry staples that I always have around. Problem is… Ben gets really tired of all those dishes, really fast. Especially frittatas. Probably cause I stuff them full of my favorite veggies like kale and bell peppers. Ha ha, poor guy. But because I love him so, sometimes I experiment.

Pizza Frittata | thepajamachef.com

Experiments can be good or bad, and occasionally, they can be excellent, as was the case with this PIZZA Frittata. Sorry for shouting, I’m just excited. This frittata tasted¬†just¬†like a pizza, except instead of a chewy, carb-licious crust, you’ve got a soft egg base. It doesn’t taste like eggs, so don’t you worry–these aren’t pizza eggs. All you can taste are the flavors of pizza: garlic and onion, herbs, tomatoes, and¬†cheeeeese.¬†Lots of flavorful cheese! Our pizza toppings included fire roasted red peppers and pepperoni, but feel free to sub out for your favorites. I think italian sausage, bell peppers, mushrooms, or ham would be pretty tasty in the future too.

Pizza Frittata | thepajamachef.com

Though this frittata is a bit more work than the typical frittatas I make, it’s definitely worth it and makes a great anytime meal with some fruit or a salad. Hope you enjoy! ūüôā

one year ago: Pumpkin Cornbread
two years ago: Honey Whole Wheat English Muffins
three years ago: Pumpkin French Toast Sandwich

Pizza Frittata [adapted from Rachael Ray Magazine, July/August 2012]
click to print


  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/4 cup onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup fire roasted red peppers, chopped [from a jar]
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano [or several tablespoons fresh oregano]
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley [or several tablespoons fresh chopped parsley]
  • 3 ounces grated Mozzarella cheese, halved
  • 1 ounce grated Parmesan cheese, halved
  • 8 ounces tomato sauce, halved
  • 12 pieces pepperoni


In a 10 inch skillet, heat canola oil over medium heat.

While oil is heating, whisk together eggs, milk, oregano, parsley, half of both cheeses, and half of the tomato sauce.

When oil is hot, add onion and cook until softened, about 2-3 minutes. Then add garlic and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant. Season with pepper, then add red peppers to skillet.

Pour egg mixture over vegetables, then evenly top with pepperoni. Allow to cook for a couple minutes, until the bottom of the frittata starts to set, then use a thin spatula to lift the edge of the frittata. This allows the uncooked egg to transfer below to cook. Cook for 10-12 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat oven to 400 degrees.

When eggs are almost set, drizzle with remaining tomato sauce and top with remaining cheese. Place in the oven to cook for 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Cool briefly before cutting, then serve warm.

Time: 40 minutes.

Yield: 4 servings.

Main Dishes, Pasta, Recipes

Baked Pizza Pasta

So, when I made this awesome Baked Pizza Pasta on Sunday, this was my view outside:

Snowy Day | The Pajama Chef

Snowy Day | The Pajama Chef

So, so gross. I don’t like this second winter thing.¬†But it certainly was a great backdrop for this comfy, cozy baked pasta dish, don’t ya think?¬†And even now, when the forecast for today is in the 50s, I’d still eat this. It just might even be my lunch!

Baked Pizza Pasta | The Pajama Chef

I know there are a million recipes out there for pizza pastas, but since I really think it’s the sauce that makes a pizza, I decided to concentrate on the sauce and let the rest come to me. Instead of using a bottled¬†spaghetti¬†sauce, I whipped up a quick and easy pantry pasta sauce out of canned crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and load of herbs and seasonings. Feel free to add and subtract from my choices as you see fit–this is very adaptable. I’ve made many homemade pasta and pizza sauces, and find that we like using dried herbs instead of fresh here, but again, do what suits you. Then, I tossed in some hot Italian sausage, salty pepperoni [Ben’s fav!], some bell peppers [that I LOVE!], and a little onion. Add in curly rotini pasta and lots of mozzarella cheese, and you have yourself one heck of a pasta dinner! Very adaptable, very forgiving, very delicious.

Baked Pizza Pasta | The Pajama Chef

We’ve been eating this all week long, so I can testify to the fact that it heats up beautifully and even tastes better the next [and the next next next next] day. Yum-o! Next time I make this, I might increase the amount of sauce [or use a little less pasta], so keep that in mind if you wanna make this saucier, but really, we thought this was perfect as is. Fresh and flavorful like pizza, just in a more comfort food friendly form. Enjoy!

P.S. You have my permission to serve this at Easter dinner. I totally think that would be great. ūüôā

Baked Pizza Pasta [TPC original]
click to print


  • 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 6 ounce can tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon¬†balsamic¬†vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried onion
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 pound rotini
  • 8 ounces hot Italian sausage
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 ounces pepperoni [reserve 5-10 slices for topping]
  • 1 cup diced bell peppers [I used red, yellow, and orange]
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded [reserve about 2 ounces for topping]


Preheat oven to 350 degrees, then begin by bringing a large pot of water to boil to cook the pasta.

In a saucepan set over medium heat, combine crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, vinegar, and oil with all dried herbs and seasonings. Stir sauce occasionally and heat thoroughly.

Meanwhile, begin browning the sausage in a small skillet, breaking up with a wooden spoon as it cooks. When sausage is fully cooked, remove to a plate and use a paper towel to blot up some of the grease from the pan. Add onions to the hot skillet and cook over medium-low heat about 7 minutes or until soft.

When pasta water is boiling, add rotini and cook to al dente. Drain and return to pan, then add sauce, sausage, onion, pepperoni [minus reserved pepperoni], peppers, and about 6 ounces shredded cheese. Stir together then transfer to a 9×13 baking dish. Top with reserved cheese and pepperoni.

Bake for 20 minutes or until hot.

Time: 50 minutes.

Yield: 10-12 servings.

Linked up with: Weekend Potluck.

Chicken, One Tablespoon Testosterone, Recipes

OTT: Chicken Parmesan

another Pajama Chef in action!

This is a guest post from my husband, Ben. Periodically, he has agreed to share some of his favorite recipes with you in a guest post column entitled One Tablespoon Testosterone, or OTT for short. Enjoy!


Ah, Italian food. ¬†The stereotypical style for dinner dates. ¬†I have no problem with that, and evidently ¬†neither does my wife. ¬†So on this past Valentine’s Day, I decided to make her some Italian food. ¬†For those of you who are regular readers of her blog, you understand that it is no easy task to cook for someone like her. ¬†The standards are high, and I have to be at the top of my game to please (okay, that may be andinner exaggeration, she is pretty appreciative of the mere fact that she doesn’t have to cook for a meal). ¬†But I enjoy the occasional kitchen adventure, so rather than just take her out to some overcrowded restaurant, I decided to have one of those adventures.

Chicken Parmesan [from Eat Live Run]


  • 4 chicken breasts halves, beaten into oblivion (okay fine, pounded)
  • 2 c Panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c flour
  • 1/4 c milk
  • 1 c shredded mozzarella
  • 2 oz pepperoni
  • 1/4 c parmesan cheese
  • 1 jar marinara or pasta sauce
  • 1/4 c canola oil
  • spaghetti or fettuccini¬†noodles, cooked


As always, begin by preheating the oven. ¬†In this case, to 450 degrees. ¬†Combine the eggs and milk in a shallow dish. ¬†In another shallow dish, spread out the bread crumbs. ¬†In yet another shallow dish, place the flour. ¬†Arrange the dishes in a neat little line. ¬†After pounding the chicken breasts (don’t go overboard or it’ll break into small pieces), dunk one breast at a time in each dish, starting with the dairy blend (not to be confused with store brand yogurt) and so on and so forth. ¬†Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. ¬†Place the chicken breasts in the oil and fry them until they are delicious-looking golden brown and cooked through. ¬†Drain the chicken of any excess moisture (if there is any, I had no need for it). ¬†Lay the fried chicken breasts in a greased casserole dish. ¬†Smother them in the pasta sauce, parmesan, and mozzarella cheeses. ¬†Last, but certainly not least, place the pepperoni on the top. ¬†Bake for 15 minutes and serve with spaghetti or fettuccini noodles. ¬†Enjoy.

Click here for the printable version: Chicken Parmesan