DIY Pizza Night Like You’ve Never Seen It Before

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This isn’t just your average pizza night.

Sure, we’ve got some must-try basics, like an easy tomato sauce from The Pioneer Woman, but wait until you see what Rachael Ray has to offer when it comes to creative pizza-flavor combinations. Check out classic and all-new ways to reinvent the crust-sauce-topping game.

Dough

There are a few ways to get started with dough.

1: Start with store-bought tubs of dough or dry mixes, or head to your local pizzeria, where you can usually buy a fresh ball of uncooked dough.

2: Make it from scratch. Bobby Flay’s Pizza Dough (pictured above) recipe has a 5-star rating and more than 300 fan reviews. This is the place to start.

Bonus: Want a quick idea kids love? Try these stand-ins for real pizza dough: naan bread, which is already so rich in flavor and the perfect size for anyone who likes a fairly deep and chewy crust, and mini pita pockets (pictured above). We’ve been known to slather a mini pita pocket with olive oil, top it with quick fixings like spinach and cheese, and broil the whole thing for 1 quick minute. That’s gooey goodness in a hurry.

Pizza Sauce

There are two main options here:

You really cannot go wrong with Ree Drummond’s tried-and-true Pizza Sauce. This recipe makes a big ol’ batch that freezes perfectly for the next time you need it.

Want to go green? Stick with Food Network Kitchen’s quick-fix Basil Pesto (pictured above) for a simple spread.

Toppings

This is where things get interesting. Choose two or three of the combinations below, then create stations by grouping like ingredients together and let each person dive right in.

1: Basic Pepperoni and 4-Cheese Pizzas: For these classic combos, no one does it more deliciously than The Pioneer Woman. Set all the ingredients out and let your rascals pick and choose which toppings belong in their own pizzas.

2: Taco Pizza: That’s right, Ree Drummond has raised the bar by combining yet another impossibly popular pair of foods — pizza and tacos. Freshly shredded lettuce, tomatoes and cheese, along with crispy tortilla strips, are piled high for a new dinner option no one will forget.

3: Wingless Buffalo Chicken Pizza (pictured above): Get ready to take a left turn from traditional Italian fare here with Rachael Ray’s fusion pizza. Two of the world’s most-popular pub foods become one, and it’s awesome.

4: Mediterranean: Shrimp, Feta & Corn: Want a lighter approach to pizzas? This festive combination offers totally fresh flavors.

5: Hawaiian Ham & Pineapple: If you’re from the West Coast, you probably grew up eating this pizza, as I did. To this day, it’s still my favorite and one I love making with the kids.

6: Springtime Pizza with Asparagus, Ricotta and Lemon: If you're dreaming of springtime, as far as it may be, try this trio of surprising pizza toppings. Tip: After they make their own pies, let the kids squeeze their own lemons at the table. Nothing converts dinner skeptics like DIY moves that get them involved.

Sweet Treats

That’s right, more pizza! These two ideas are such fun — just be sure to pop them in the oven before you sit down to eat dinner if you’re planning on having them for dessert. That way everything will be ready when you want it.

1: Chocolate Pizza: Here comes Giada De Laurentiis with a showstopping chocolate pizza. It’s one dough and four kinds of chocolate. Now, how bad can that be?

2: Fruit Pizza (pictured above): Just to round out the options, this fruity pizza is layered with creamy mascarpone cheese, a touch of cinnamon and a whole lot of delicious flavor. Technically, Giada says, it’s for breakfast. I say it’s for anyplace, anywhere, anytime.

Charity Curley Mathews is the mom of four small kids (ages 1 through 6), perpetual wiper of the counter and founder of Foodlets.com, where she blogs about cooking fresh food and teaching kids to love it. Follow Foodlets on Facebook and Twitter for a steady stream of ideas and encouragement.