Here's the thing: In addition to being a meal everyone loves, pizza is also the ultimate problem-solver for home cooks. Delivery or takeout pizza helps us fix our dinner dilemmas, but homemade pizza? Well, this workhorse can be tailored to solve a whole range of situational dinnertime struggles.
Here are 10 of the most common dinner conundrums and the pizzas that step in to get dinner (and breakfast!) on the table.
1. A Just-Special-Enough Pizza to Serve Guests
You've got friends coming over for book club (or wine club or board game club) and want to feed them something a little bit fancier than delivery pizza, but with the same homey comfort. Prosciutto and arugula pizza is the pizza to make and serve.
This pretty basic pizza gets topped with salty prosciutto and just enough arugula to make this feel elegant and fresh. You can make individual pizzas for each guest or serve them family style along with some fresh cut-up vegetables and dips for a casual yet classy dinner party at home.
The recipe: Prosciutto & Arugula Pizza
2. A Homemade Pizza for Parents in a Hurry
It's Wednesday and you and your partner just scored dinner reservations to the new place around the corner, the baby sitter is on the way, and you can't budget for delivery pizza on top of drinks, dinner, and paying the babysitter. Remember those flatbreads you froze two weeks ago? Ah, yes! Now you've got cheese pizzas in a hurry before you scoot out for adult beverages and conversation. Good job, you!
The recipe: Friday Night Flatbreads
3. Pizza That's Kinda, Sorta Health Food
When your brain says "eat more vegetables," but your heart (and possibly stomach) is begging for pizza, this veggie supreme pizza is here for you. Topped with a pesto ricotta and just enough cheese to hold the vegetables in place, this pizza is equal parts crust and crudités (not actual crudités, but close to it!).
The recipe: Veggie Supreme Pizza
4. Pizza You Make Instead of Ordering In
This particular scenario is playing out in my real life: you haven't found the pizza place in your new neighborhood quite yet and rather than be disappointed by another delivery order, you tackle your pizza craving head on at home.
Margherita is like the purest form of pizza you can make — its dough and sauce are as simple as it gets and you just need some good mozzarella to make it sing. Looks like you've found you new go-to pizza joint — and it's right at home!
The recipe: Classic Margherita Pizza
5. Pizza You Make Without an Oven
It's Sunday and your oven is rocking out some excellent meal prep — a roast chicken, roasted vegetables, even a few heads of garlic and some sweet potatoes — but then you realize you promised pizza to your kids and there is no room to bake one before dinner.
No problem — you can easily make a skillet pizza right on the stovetop in less than 30 minutes. That's a bonafide win on meal prep day and basically the double rainbow of home cooking when your number-one priority is keeping the oven off.
The recipe: How To Make Stovetop Skillet Pizza
6. Pizza You Make to Feed the Whole Soccer Team
Your partner calls from the soccer field to let you know he's invited all the Mighty Mites over for dinner. "We can just feed them pizza, right?" she asks sweetly. "Of course!" you say and pull the frozen pizza dough and meatballs out to thaw, because you want to be the house with the cool mom who makes meat-lover's pizza at the drop of a hat.
The recipe: Meat-Lover's Sheet Pan Pizza
7. Pizza That's Gluten Free
For that family friend whose littlest daughter can't eat gluten and is often excluded from the pizza get-togethers, an easy gluten-free pizza crust recipe can mean the world to them. This recipe uses grocery store basics and takes about an hour to put together.
The recipe: How To Make Gluten-Free Pizza Dough
8. Pizza You Make at the Last Minute, in Under an Hour
The best delivery pizza places have queues over an hour long on Friday nights, snow days, and during spring break, so if you want to avoid the wait and make a faster-than-delivery pizza at home, a thin-crust pizza is your best bet.
Because it's made from a thin, fast-rising dough, keep the toppings minimal and the pizza will bake in just a few minutes.
The recipe: Homemade Thin-Crust Pizza
9. A Homemade Pizza to Eat on Date Night at Home
No offense to the kids, but sometimes parents want to eat something without red sauce and without their little ones. This is the luxe, fast-and-fancy pizza you can make after you get the kids to bed and before your husband falls asleep on the couch.
The Recipe: Easy Fig & Prosciutto Flatbreads
You can eat cold delivery pizza for breakfast any time, but when you're ready for something special you can make real-deal breakfast pizza topped with sausage, scrambled eggs, and even hash browns.
May I suggest this recipe for sleepover mornings, whether they involve a gaggle of 6-year-olds or a bunch of hungover 30-somethings?
The recipe: How To Make Breakfast Pizza