Buddy’s Pizza Margarita

Buddy's Pizza

I’m becoming a pizza snob.  Eating frozen pizzas and low-rent pizza-chain pizza are out in my book*. I just can’t do it anymore.  The cardboard, the grease, the heartburn, uninspiring toppings, blah. So I’ve resorted to trying my hand at making my own pizzas at home.  Now eventually I’m hoping to get a wood-fire oven, but until then my poor 500 degree oven is going to have to do.

So on my quest for the “perfect” homemade pizza I have a list of about 10 recipes from various resources that I’ve been slowly gathering but this week I’m starting with Buddy Valastro. I’ll admit it, I love the Cake Boss. I think that whole crew is hilarious and someday I’d love to see the bakery in person but trying his Kitchen Boss recipes are the next best thing. So I went after the Margarita Pizza episode and I must say, it turned out really good! Light toppings, homemade sauce and homemade dough, totally worth the time it makes and I’d make it again in a heartbeat, BOOKMARKED and STARRED!  Alton Brown, your pizza is next.

*Unless it’s Lazzari’s in Lincoln NE before a Husker game. woot!

Buddy’s Pizza Dough Recipe

15 ounces unbleached a.p. flour (approx 3 1/4 cups)
9 ounces tepid water
3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil


Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle and mix, low, until mixture comes together. Switch to the dough hook and continue mixing, medium-low, another 3-4 minutes. Check dough – if too dry, add a bit more water. If too sticky, add a bit more flour.

Dump dough onto a lightly floured countertop or board and continue to knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, 5- 7 minutes. Form dough into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl, turn to coat, and cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel. Let rest 1/2 hr. to 45 minutes until risen.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board and press down to deflate. Cut the dough into thirds (or desired portions), and form into tight balls to press air out.

At this point, you can place the balls of dough on a floured board covered with oiled plastic or a towel, and let rise one hour if you want to use the dough today. Alternately, place the dough on a lightly floured tray, cover with oiled plastic and refrigerate overnight. Allow dough to sit a room temperature 10-15 minutes before shaping/baking.

Buddy’s Pizza Sauce

1 28 ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 smashed clove garlic
2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan
1 Tablespoon sugar
Salt to taste

Prep: Throw into a food processor until smooth, let set for an hour to let the flavors marry.

Buddy’s Margarita Pizza


1 ball Buddy’s Pizza Dough (see recipe above)
1/4 cup Buddy’s Pizza Sauce (see recipe above)
4 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced 1/4″ thick, drained on paper towels (The kind that’s a ball, NOT SHREDDED)
6 leaves fresh basil (I used 10 and chopped them)
Best-quality extra virgin olive oil


Preheat oven to 500° with a pizza stone on bottom rack.
Pat, stretch and roll dough out to a 9-10″ round. Gently place dough on a floured peel (a.p. flour or semolina). With the back of a large spoon or ladle, spread sauce over dough allowing for a 1/2″ border.
Tear the basil randomly over the pizza. Tear the mozzarella over the pizza as well.
Slide the pizza onto the stone. Bake until crust is golden brown and cheese bubbles about 7-10 minutes. Remove the pizza with the peel and sprinkle with a small pinch salt and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.

Forward Facing Bookshelves

Forward Facing Bookshelves 1

My oldest daughter loves books (which is obviously encouraged) and of course I try to be the mom that reads to her every night. After a glass of water, making sure their are no monsters under the bed and the sides of the blanket are tucked in tight, we usually grab the same pile of books on her nightstand and dig in. I’ve read aloud the same stories so many times that I can pretty much recite them by heart and it’s getting BORING!

Forward Facing Bookshelf

So to encourage NEW reading material from the shelf, I’ve decided to install some “forward facing” bookshelves so that she can see the covers rather than the spine. I’ve researched them online and I’ve seen everything from vinyl gutters to spice racks to built from scratch scrap wood.  I’m thinking to myself, there has to be an alternative that isn’t ridiculously expensive or wastes my time in the shed. So off to Menards I go and I find an eight dollar picture frame shelf called a “Stafford”.  It was unfinished wood which was fine by me, I have plenty of paint that can whip them into shape.  So after a paint job and an overnight to dry they are now on the wall. Overall I think they turned out really cute and bring more color to an already brightly colored room!

Forward Facing Shelves

Even my younger daughter has her own forward facing bookshelves with “age” appropriate reading material! Who doesn’t love counting, shapes and colors!?

Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe

Chicken Tortilla Soup

I’m a  soup-a-holic during the winter months but the go-to chili and chicken noodle soup recipes can get a bit boring after awhile. So last week I thought I would try my hand at a Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe and it was AWESOME. (Although I must say I was a bit embarrassed that I didn’t know what “hominy” was and looked a little ridiculous in Hyvee searching on my Blackberry for a hint! Sheesh.)

Here’s the modified recipe I used:

Chicken Tortilla Soup

  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (48 ounce) “box” chicken broth
  • 1  cups water (if you need it)
  • Juice of a lime
  • 1 cup whole corn kernels, cooked
  • 1 cup white hominy
  • 1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chile peppers
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 boneless chicken breast halves, cooked and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • crushed tortilla chips (not-optional!)
  • sliced avocado (optional)
  • shredded Monterey Jack cheese (not-optional!)
  • chopped green onions (optional)


  1. Cook your chicken first and dice into large chunks, set aside.
  2. In a medium stock pot, heat oil over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic in olive oil until soft. Stir in chili powder, oregano, tomatoes, broth, and water. Bring to a boil, and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in corn, hominy, chiles, beans, cilantro. Simmer for 1 hour.
  4. Before your ready to serve, stir in cooked chicken and simmer for another 5 minutes.
  5. Ladle soup into individual serving bowls, hit it with lime juice and top with crushed tortilla chips, avocado slices, cheese, and chopped green onion.