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Pizza Party

When Brandon was in law school we entertained all the time. Somehow our house became the gathering spot for watching games, parties, showers, dinners and more. Since moving to Charlotte we haven’t entertained nearly as much and I think this is due to not having a big network of friends like we did in law school and just general busyness. It’s hard for me to slow down long enough to get the house ready and plan the menu.

I am going to make and effort to change this because I love having friends over for a casual dinner, especially now that the weather is getting nicer. Evenings spent dining outside and chatting on the patio are so pleasant!

Friday night we invited my sister in law and her boyfriend over for dinner and drinks to watch the UNC v. Marquette game (part of the NCAA basketball tournament). We ended up with quite an interesting assortment of beers.

I think it’s funny that so many craft brewers are using cans. If you’re a beer lover, you must try Dale’s Pale Ale (far left). It’s really grown in popularity over the last couple years.

Since we were watching a game, I wanted to keep dinner simple but fun. I decided to go with a make your own pizza bar.

Toppings included tomato sauce, pepperoni, fresh basil, chicken sausage, caramelized onions, black olives, sauteed mushrooms, artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes, banana peppers and mozzarella cheese.

We all enjoyed customizing our own pizzas.

Rachael + Stephen’s pizzas.

Mine + Brandon’s pizzas. I went with all the veggie toppings on whole wheat crust.

Rachael contributed a super delicious salad.

Mixed greens, walnuts, avocado, pear, dried cranberries, blue cheese…dressed simply with olive oil and a squeeze of lemon.

I decided to make Carolina-themed ice cream sandwiches for dessert.

I baked M&M cookies using my giant stash of M&Ms that I won the other night! After the cookies cooled, I spread softened vanilla ice cream between them and placed them in the freezer to set. Ice cream sandwiches = awesome and they must have brought some good luck because UNC crushed Marquette! 😉

What are your favorite pizza toppings? I’m a veggie lover!

{ 19 comments… add one }
  • 1
    kayli (Running on Sunshine) March 27, 2011, 9:44 am

    What a fun meal for a get-together! What kind of crust do you use- homemade or pre-made? It looks great. And I’m with you- the more veggies, the better!

  • 4
    Catherine March 27, 2011, 10:31 am

    Absolutely love the Carolina themed ice cream sandwiches! Will have to make them for Jeff soon 🙂

  • 5
    Alaina March 27, 2011, 10:36 am

    I love pizza making parties! I used to do that all the time as a kid. 🙂 And still do now!

    My favorites are a tie between hawaiian pizza and chicken, peppers and onions.

  • 6
    Kimberly @ Healthy Strides March 27, 2011, 11:23 am

    Make your own pizza nights are one of my favorite ways to entertain! I think it’s partially because I’m the only one in the group who prefers all veggie or the occasional Hawaiian pizza. Plus, it’s more casual and fun!

  • 7
    Lauren March 27, 2011, 11:28 am

    The cookie sandwiches turned out so well, Jen! YAY! And I have never met a pizza I don’t like, but Graham and I love mushroom and pepperoni, with fresh mushrooms only of course. So many pizza places use canned ‘shrooms that have a yucky aftertaste. See ya tomorrow!

  • 8
    Jackie @ Baking Charms March 27, 2011, 11:39 am

    Making personal pizzas is a great entertaining idea! I’m an olive girl myself 🙂

  • 9
    Heather March 27, 2011, 1:17 pm

    Those pizzas look amazing! I’m a veggie girl myself. Black olives, Kalamata olives & green peppers are my favorite toppings.

    Unfortunately, I suck at making pizza crusts from scratch (I’ve tried a recipe you posted and the Pioneer Woman’s recipe and neither of them… came together. Maybe it was bad yeast? Who knows…) so I have to buy balls of pizza dough or use the canned Pillsbury stuff. But it’s still fun to make them yourself!

    • 10
      Jen March 28, 2011, 5:05 pm

      Yeast can be so temperamental! I feel your pain. I struggle with getting perfect consistency homemade dough too!

      Have you tried Trader Joe’s dough? It’s our favorite for a quick fix!

  • 11
    Michelle (The Runner's Plate) March 27, 2011, 2:34 pm

    My husband and I love hosting people, but we haven’t done it in the longest time!

    Pizza + ice cream sandwiches + friends sounds like my ideal night!!

    I usually opt for a good old margarita pizza!

  • 12
    LeeAnn March 27, 2011, 9:01 pm

    Those pizzas look awesome! I would love to see recipe for the pizza crust – especially the whole wheat one. Also, do you make your own sauce?

    • 13
      Jen March 28, 2011, 5:04 pm

      Hey LeeAnn – we made the pizza with dough from Trader Joe’s. It is the BEST if you don’t have time for homemade! I also used marinara from TJ’s! Shortcuts! 🙂

  • 14
    Brooke @ Veggie Table March 28, 2011, 6:58 am

    The pizzas look delicious – such a fun party idea!!

  • 15
    lindsay cotter March 28, 2011, 7:52 am

    oh my, I wish I lived closer. I would have crashed your pizza party. hehe!

    • 16
      Jen March 28, 2011, 4:53 pm

      you would totally be invited! 🙂

  • 17
    Brittney March 28, 2011, 11:14 am

    I’ll come over for dinner anytime! You are an amazing cook Jen, everything I’ve eaten that you’ve made (or recipes I’ve cooked of yours) have been delicious 🙂 We don’t entertain that much either. It’s hard with Greg’s schedule!

    • 18
      Jen March 28, 2011, 3:45 pm

      Brittney – I would actually love to have you over for dinner! Once my life returns back to normal after I wrap up teacher training this weekend we should definitely plan to get together one weekend.

      Sooo happy to hear that you’ve enjoyed the recipes of mine that you’ve tried. I love cooking – I just don’t have enough time to do it as much as I’d like to! 🙂

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