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Back to School: Homemade Pizza (and a yummy dessert)

back to school pizza night dinnerWith school back in session, meals that can be whipped up quickly and still taste delicious are always needed.  My favorite is homemade pizza, but since I seem to be in a back to school mood, and I needed a party-ish thing for our middle child’s birthday, I made it into a back to school pizza night – with a dessert treat just for the birthday guy. 🙂

Here are all the details:

For the placemats, I cut a large black foam board (from Hobby Lobby) into fourths.

chalkboard placemat  1Then I covered each with chalk.
chalkboard placemat 2With a paper towel, I smeared the chalk all over it.
chalkboard placemat 3

Then I wrote in my best second grade student handwriting 🙂 on each placemat.  One read I will not push in line.  One read I will not throw paper airplanes. Another had I will not talk in class, and the final one said, I will remember to raise my hand.

back to school centerpieceFor the centerpiece, I used a potted mum wrapped in three paper napkins that were printed with the alphabet and then tied with red grosgrain ribbon.  School supplies (books, chalk, eraser, and pencils) were added to the table for a few more school details.

back to school dinner tableI had some paper rulers, and they made great napkin rings.
back to school placemat

For this simple meal, we just had our homemade pizza and Caesar salad.  I had planned to make some garlic knots to have with it, but we had our Open House at school tonight, so the bread got cut from the menu. 🙁back to school dinnerThe pizza was super easy to make.  Spray a large cast iron skillet with vegetable oil.  Sprinkle 2 teaspoons corn meal mix in the bottom of the pan.  Then line the pan with refrigerated pizza dough.   pizza crust in panBrown 1 pound ground beef in a skillet with 1/2 t. garlic salt, 2 t. parsley, 1/2 t. ground oregano, and 2 t. basil.  Drain.  Spread 1/2 c. tomato basil pasta sauce  on the dough.  Top with the browned ground beef. Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper. Put 2 c. grated mozzarella on top of the beef, and then top that with pepperoni slices.  Bake at 400 degrees for 30 ready for oven

Fresh from the oven.

homemade pizza Talk of the House

homemade pizza recipe Talk of the House

Since we were celebrating middle child’s birthday (belatedly) and he is a true lover of peanut butter, I thought a peanut butter pie(complete with oreo cookie crust) would be better than a cake.  (Plus we have had quite a few birthday cakes this month!)
peanut butter pie

Here is the recipe (but I forgot to add that I drizzled a little bit of chocolate sauce on it before serving.)

frozen peanut butter pie recipe Talk of the House

And that was our simple pizza night with peanut butter pie for dessert.

peanut butter pie Talk of the House

 I hope you will enjoy a pizza night one evening soon – perhaps on this Labor Day weekend! 🙂  We are hanging out here for the holiday just trying to finish up all the packing for our sons’ move. Do you have big plans as we bid farewell to Summer?

We’d love to hear!

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Faye - September 4, 2014 - 10:49 am

The table setting is adorable! I recreated it with my granddaughter, using her American Girl doll’s school desk as the centerpiece. Around it we placed her class picture, an old dictionary, small calculator, stapler, and composition book, along with pencils, rulers etc and the “chalkboard” placemats. So much fun for our Labor Day lunch. Thank you Kelly for the creative inspiration.
How super smart! I have been wondering where I could find a desk like that. Thanks for the inspiration! I love American Girls dolls and all the accessories. We had Bitty Baby things here (and I have saved all of them for future little ones here.)

Nan, Odessa, DE - September 1, 2014 - 8:11 am

Thanks for sharing!
Enjoyed your celebration.
Tell me about the red plaid drapes (where to buy, name of fabric) and you do get good mileage using your red napkins.
Where can I purchase them. The red just makes what you write and show so enjoyable. I am a big fan of yours and the color RED!
Nan, click on “The House” part of the red menu bar at the top of the blog and then scroll to the dining room info. You will find a link to the drapery fabric. The red napkins came from a small local shop, but I would bet that Williams Sonoma and Pottery Barn would have similar with the holiday season coming soon. We could start a fan club for lovers of red here!

Dawn - August 31, 2014 - 10:45 am


I love the back to school themed birthday party idea. Thanks for sharing your homemade pizza recipe. I will have to make that one night soon. This weekend we are at the lake house relaxing with the family.
Oh how I wish we had a lake house to travel to. We have looked at one recently, but it is very tiny and needs tons of work…so it probably won’t be one we move to. Do give the pizza a try soon Dawn. It is super easy.

phyllis - August 30, 2014 - 7:12 pm

Genius! I love the placemats 🙂
I make pizza often due to a picky 15 y.o. …you know how that goes…I love Caesar salad and haven’t thought about it in forever (thank you).
Thank you Phyllis! Picky kids are not fun to cook for, are they? I love Caesar salad too. You need to make yourself some (along with the pizza.)

Paula B. - August 30, 2014 - 4:10 pm

Loved the tablescape, I don’t know when you have the time to think up and execute all your decorating ideas. AND, manage a home, a family, and a teaching career. Phew! This pizza recipe is one I will definitely be making for “the girls” – it looks so easy and delicious. Had hoped to get to the Cape for a few days, but I am getting ready for the first of my knee surgeries and not getting around so well. However, I am managing to bake a few chocolate treats for our weekend, what with a cookout and a few game nights planned. We are having fabulous “September” weather with warm sunshine, a breeze, and temps in the high seventies (and nights going into the fifties). I know that sounds delightful, but it is a tad cool for swimming! Hope you have some fun amid the straightening up and enjoy the long weekend. Yep, we finally head back to school this coming week!
So glad you liked the table, Paula. I hope your knee is healing better now. Yes, I am jealous of your weather!

Bonnie Bryant - August 29, 2014 - 7:35 pm

Had my Labor Day fun earlier this week. Just got back from the Cashiers Decorator Showhouse, spurred in that direction by your visit last year. General consensus from everyone was that it was not as good as last year’s, but I did enjoy it. What I enjoyed most was the shopping in both Cashiers and Ashville. Came home through the lovely little town of Landrum, S.C. Just went to one antique mall there, but the town is definitely calling me back for a longer visit!
I am jealous of you Bonnie! With all the moving going on with our children, we did not get to make the trip this year. Even if it wasn’t as good as last year’s I bet it was still great to see. Plus you are in Cashiers – LOVE that area. I will have to check out Landrum. We have never stopped there…I will add it to our travel plans!

Julia - August 29, 2014 - 1:09 pm

I love the pizza in a cast iron skillet! I will be trying this soon. Also, very clever back to school themed party. Happy belated birthday to your middle child!
I hope you get to try it Julia. It is easy and delicious. Thank you for the b-day wishes. 🙂

Shannon - August 29, 2014 - 11:53 am

It IS yummy!

Jackie Caruso - August 29, 2014 - 10:19 am

You are just too clever!!! I love everything about this back to school themed celebration. I have four adult children, one of which is a school teacher, and six grandchildren and we try to get together the weekend before school starts to mourn the end of summer. Your table decorations and settings would sure help to cheer us up.
This would work great for them! The loss of summer is a sad time, but it will come again. (At least that is what I keep repeating to myself. 🙂 )

Garden, Home and Party - August 29, 2014 - 8:18 am

The table turned out so well. I love the idea of the black(?) foam core board and then chalked words. Your pizza looks delicious and I am definitely going to try that sometime this weekend. I’ve never thought of putting it in a cast iron skillet but I can see the benefit…nice crust and sides to hold all of the yummy goodness.
Happy birthday to your son.
Enjoy your long weekend.
Do give that pizza a try. I love it! (And if you like sausage just substitute sausage for the beef.) Thanks for the birthday wishes for our son.

Arlene@Nanaland - August 29, 2014 - 8:11 am

Two new recipes!! Yippee! The writing on the placemats reminds me of the NO DAVID books that all of my grandchildren have enjoyed! I received my giveaway package in the mail yesterday Kelly….Your calligraphy made the package so pretty and special. I was truly blessed to be chosen as the winner!!
I had not thought about the No David books, but you are right Arlene! It IS very much like it. 🙂 Glad you liked the package. Hope you like the contents too.

Jill - August 29, 2014 - 7:47 am

I love your table….especially the placemats. So cute! I never thought of making pizza in my cast iron skillet. Great idea! I bet it gives the crust a nice crisp. This weekend we are going to make homemade personal pizzas using pita bread for the crust. It makes a good, easy crust and the kids enjoy picking out what to put on their own little pizza.
Yes, that cast iron skillet gives it a very cristy crust…I don’t like it “whimpy”!

Debra - August 29, 2014 - 7:37 am

Oh my gosh woman! Cute enough for a Pottery Barn Kids catalog photo, I swear!! Though this is a simple meal, it still took enough time to put together. I loved those placemats. Your family is blessed. I will have to try your version of homemade pizza. Your frozen pie sounds yummy too. Not sure what our weekend will bring yet, though every Labor Day brings a birthday on September 1st, for our third daughter. Yes, I labored on Labor day! Birthday celebrations here too. Smiles… 🙂
Ha ha! The pizza and pie are delicious (but I am sure NOT healthy.) Happy b-day to your daughter. How funny that you labored on Labor Day. Love it!

L J - August 29, 2014 - 12:21 am

Kelly, you do amaze me with all you manage to get done! Whew, do you sleep? lol The place mats are just the right touch–cute too. I do remember being disciplined and required to write 100x “I will not talk in class”…and at that more than on one occasion.
Birthdays–my son requests mint chocolate chip ice cream pie with chocolate cookie crumb crust for his birthday desert; his day is Aug 22. I’m sure your son and the entire family enjoyed the peanut butter pie–sounds yummy. Is a going-away or movin’ out party in the offing for you/your son?
No going away party – too busy packing! We had a dinner to celebrate and tell everyone goodbye a week or so ago that I will share soon. There were 8 of us at a restaurant I want to tell you all about.

Louvina - August 28, 2014 - 11:49 pm

What a neat BD supper/back to school theme! Seems like you are always in some transitional phase with your family. But in all the hustle and bustle, you still find so many ways to make it special and a time to remember. How are you dealing with all these changes and full time teaching? We are off to the beach for our first “mini” vaca away! Right in the midst of remodeling bathroom (oh my) and my class reunion trip ( 50 years! Oh my) Trying to handle all the to do lists so I won’t forget anything!! No stress, mind you— but really enjoying everything! Really ready to bid summer weather farewell– especially this terrible hot weather. So looking forward to my favorite season– Autumn– where are you?! 🙂
Glad you liked the meal! Yes, we are always in some transitional phase here, but it sounds like you are super duper busy yourself, Louvina! You need to take a break from all your adventures and just rest for a little while. 🙂 I am sooo looking forward to some cooler temps too.

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