There really is nothing better than getting together with friends over some good food and drinks. I’ve always loved hosting but since finishing my kitchen makeover I love it even more. Hosting dinner parties is great but they definitely can be a lot of work, not to mention expensive for the host(s). If you still want to host a great dinner that doesn’t involve a long grocery bill or take-out food, I have the perfect idea for you. Host a BYOT pizza dinner party. That’s a Bring Your Own Toppings pizza party!

Here’s  how it works – you provide the pizza dough ($2 each at any bakery or grocery store), basic pizza sauce and lots of shredded mozzarella cheese and your guests bring their favourite toppings and some vino. Not only is it easier on the host but it’s so much fun to get your guests involved and come up with some great pizza topping combos. Here’s the stash that we ended up with:

The Italian in me had to make homemade pizza sauce but feel free to buy if you prefer. I used this recipe, add more/less to taste:

• 3 tbsp olive oil
• 1 med. diced onion
• 2 28oz cans of crushed tomatoes
• 3 cloves of crushed garlic
• 3 tbsp tomato paste
• 2 bay leaves
• 2 tbsp dried basil

Heat oil in pot over med-high heat. Add onions & garlic and cook on medium until transparent. Add all other ingredients, cover and bring to boil then remove lid and simmer for 30 minutes. You can make this before and refrigerate then just reheat on medium.

This makes enough for 6 large pizzas.

Making sauce can definitely get messy but my new glass top Whirlpool stove makes clean up way easier. Such a bonus!

Then the real fun begins! Stretch out the dough on greased pans, set up your topping station and start creating some masterpieces.

TIP: use shortening (like Crisco) to grease your pans. Not only will your pizzas not stick even a little when they’re done but it will prevent your dough from shrinking when you’re trying to stretch it and it will give you the most beautiful golden crust.

Here are our final pizza creations before they hit the oven.

We cooked two at a time at 400° for 15-20 min. so we didn’t crowd the oven and let them cook evenly. It worked out great because you can take your time enjoying each different pizza and just when you’re ready for more a new pair comes out of the oven ready to be devoured.

They really were all delicious but this taco pizza was especially a big hit! There’s definitely no shortage of food or need for appetizers or sides with this dinner party. Just whip up a salad and have lots of wine on hand and you’re good to go. I even sent home left overs with all my guests so everyone had lunch for the next day.

My apologies for the grainy self timer photo in my dimly lit loft but that there is one happy group of dinner guests.

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