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5 Easy Pizzas

Quick and easy pizza toppings you'll love.

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Pizza may be a takeout staple in your household but, once you try these easy and delicious toppings that can be made with either store-bought or homemade dough, you may think twice the next time you're about to dial your favorite pizzeria.

Prepare the pizza dough:

Place a pizza stone or an inverted baking sheet on the lowest rack in the oven. Preheat the oven to 500°F. Divide one pound of purchased or homemade pizza dough in 4 equal pieces. Place one piece of the dough on a lightly floured surface. With floured hands, pat into a 6-inch round. Stretch or roll out the dough with a rolling pin into an 12-inch circle. Place the dough on a cornmeal dusted pizza peel, or and inverted baking sheet, using enough cornmeal so the dough will slide easily. Choose one the toppings below and bake as directed.

1. Pizza Marghertia

Pizza Margherita
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Preheat the oven to 500°F. Brush one piece of the prepared pizza dough (see above) with 1 1/2 teaspoons of olive oil. Leaving a 1-inch edge, sprinkle with 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese and 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese. Top with 6 thinly sliced ripe plum tomatoes. Sprinkle the tomatoes with another 1/2 cup mozzarella and 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese. Carefully slide the pizza from the pizza peel, or baking sheet onto the heated pizza stone or baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the edge of the crust is browned and crisp. Remove from oven and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil.

2. Spinach and Mushroom Pizza

Preheat the oven to 500°F. Thaw one 9-ounce package of frozen creamed spinach. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add 5 cups sliced mushrooms and cook for 6 minutes, stirring often, or until lightly golden and the liquid from the mushrooms has evaporated. Leaving a 1-inch edge, spread one piece of the prepared pizza dough (see above) with the thawed creamed spinach. Top with the mushrooms and 1 cup shredded Fontina or mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle with 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese. Carefully slide the pizza from the pizza peel, or baking sheet onto the heated pizza stone or baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the edge of the crust is browned and crisp.

3. BBQ Chicken Pizza

Cut a 4- ounce skinless, boneless chicken breast half into 1/2-inch chunks. Marinate in 1 1/2 tablespoons bottled barbecue sauce in the refrigerator for about 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 500°F. Leaving a 1-inch edge, spread one piece of the prepared pizza dough (see above) with 3 tablespoons of bottled barbecue sauce. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup shredded smoked Gouda cheese, then 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese. Top with the marinated chicken, 1/2 cup chopped red onion, 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro, and another 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella. Carefully slide the pizza from the pizza peel, or baking sheet onto the heated pizza stone or baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the edge of crust is browned and crisp.

4. Vegetable-Pesto Pizza

Preheat the oven to 500°F. Leaving a 1-inch edge, spread the prepared pizza dough (see above) with 2 tablespoons homemade or purchased pesto sauce. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella or provolone cheese. Top with 12 thin slices yellow squash, 12 thin slices plum tomatoes, and 1 cup very small, slightly undercooked broccoli florets. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup sliced scallions and another 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella or provolone. Carefully slide the pizza from the pizza peel, or baking sheet onto the heated pizza stone or baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the edge of the crust is browned and crisp.

5. Vegetable Goat Cheese Pizza

Preheat the oven to 500°F. Brush one piece of the prepared pizza dough (see above) with 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil. Leaving a 1-inch edge, sprinkle with 1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese and 4 slices crumbled crisp-cooked bacon. Top with 12 thin slices plum tomatoes, 4 thin slices red onion with rings separated, 1 large seeded bell pepper sliced in rings, 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese, and another 1/3 cup shredded mozzarella. Carefully slide the pizza from the pizza peel, or baking sheet onto the heated pizza stone or baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the edge of the crust is browned and crisp.

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