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Looking for a fun and casual Valentine’s dinner? Homemade pizza in the shape of a heart will put a smile on everyone’s face! The kiddos, and the inner-kid in all of us, will fall in love with this pizza. It’s cheesy in a good way. (I’m getting a little carried away with the play of words, but I can’t help it!) You can make the toppings as straightforward or as gourmet as you like – whatever gets your heart racing. (Oops, there I go again. Okay – it’s out of my system, I’ll stop now).
Making pizza is so much fun, and it’s super quick & easy, thanks to pre-made dough and jar or canned pizza sauce. There are all sorts of options for making the crust. I recently started using pizza dough in a can (Pillsbury) found with the refrigerated biscuits and breakfast rolls in the store. However, I’ve made my own pizza crust from a mix for years (Martha White, Betty Crocker, and King Arthur all have easy mixes). There are options for both regular and thin, crispy crusts. I follow the package baking instructions for the crust/dough of choice. Usually, the crust requires pre-baking before the sauce, meat, toppings, and cheese are added. The total baking time may vary based on the number of toppings. You want to crust to be lightly brown and the cheese melted. You can also buy pizza dough from the grocery store or favorite pizzeria.
Pizza sauce is usually next to the spaghetti and pasta sauce in the store. I’ve used both generic and gourmet brands of pizza sauce. I like the store brand. Jar or canned pizza sauce can be zhooshed up with a splash of vinegar and a couple of pinches of nutmeg. It’s not necessary, but it does give it a more homemade taste. (I also use this hack with spaghetti sauce.)
My gang likes a hearty pizza, so I make my pizza with a pound of ground sausage. Ground beef and ground turkey are also good choices. While you can’t go wrong browning your ground meat in a skillet. I opt to nuke mine in the microwave (it’s easier clean-up). If you are a pepperoni lover, forego the ground meat and throw on some pepperoni slices. Canadian bacon or ham would also be good. A meatless pizza is also an option. A hearty portabella mushroom is a great meat alternative if you are looking for something filling. Be as creative as you want with the toppings. My go-to is sliced mushrooms (fresh is best, but canned is fine), chopped onion, minced garlic, and sliced black olives. For this heart-shaped pizza, I added sundried tomatoes for a sweet-tart bite of flavor.
The key to a stress-free pizza making experience is mise-en-place (everything in its place). Organize all your toppings before you start. Everything should be sliced and ready-to-go. Ensure that your ground meat is cooked or browned and if you choose to go a different protein route, make sure that it is prepped.
Shredded mozzarella cheese melts beautifully, is traditional, and my recommendation. However, there have been days when I only thought I had shredded mozzarella in the fridge and have used non-traditional shredded cheese. Hey, it gave the pizza a different look and a slightly different taste, but with the pronounced flavors of the pizza sauce and ground sausage, the kids didn’t even mention it! It’s all good.
When I’m not in a Valentine’s frame of mind, with no need to shape the crust in a heart, I bake the pizza in a 9×13 pan that has a light coating of non-stick spray. You can also form the dough in a traditional round on baking sheet pan, but I find it’s all-around easier to use a 9×13 glass pan.
Pizza My HeartCourse: Valentine’s Day, Valentine’s Day RecipesCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy
Homemade pizza is quick and easy with pre-made pizza dough and pizza sauce. The heart shape is perfect for Valentine’s Day. Easy homemade heart-shaped pizza is perfect for Valentine’s Day, date night and special occasions
• 1 jar Pizza Sauce
• Pizza crust dough (I used Pillsbury Pizza Crust Classic)
• 1 pound ground pork sausage, cooked or browned
• Toppings: Choice of mushrooms, olives, garlic, onions, peppers, sundried tomatoes
• 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
• Optional: Oregano and dried red pepper flakes to garnish
- Prep work: Cook sausage in microwave or brown in a skillet – drain, slice or chop desired toppings, prepare pizza dough, if needed. Pre-heat oven according package instructions on the crust/dough.
- Draw or trace a large heart shape on parchment paper, use your baking pan to guide you on size. Place the parchment paper on a baking pan with the ink side facing the bottom of the pan. The heart drawing will still be clearly seen.
- Roll out and form the pizza dough in a heart shape following the outline as a guide
- Pre-bake the crust as directed on the package directions.
- Spread the pizza sauce over the surface of the pre-baked crust.
- Spread out the veggies evenly over the pizza sauce, top with the ground sausage. Layer cheese on top of the sausage layer. If desired, sprinkle with oregano and pepper flakes.
- Bake as directed by package instructions. Depending on the number of toppings, the pizza may take longer than indicated. Pizza is done when crust is lightly brown, and cheese is melted
- Remove from oven and allow to slightly cook before transferring to serving platter and slicing.
- Pizza dough/crust is also available as a mix and pre-made from the grocery store/pizzeria
- Zhoosh up pizza sauce with a splash of vinegar and a pinch of nutmeg to enhance the flavors
- Ground beef or ground turkey can be used. Pepperoni and canadian bacon also work. Meatless is an option too.
- Topping options are only limited by your imagination. Have fun!!
- If not making a heat, pizza can be made in a 9×13 baking dish lightly coated with non-stick spray.