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Summer fun! How to turn cheeseburger ingredients into pizza

By Wolfgang Puck, Tribune Content Agency on

It may have seemed like it would never arrive, but suddenly we're heading into summer. I love this season, because it gives me the chance to spend more time with my family now that the school year is over for my two younger sons. We may travel together a little, but mostly we enjoy warm-weather activities at home, including sports, swimming and, of course, cooking and eating delicious food.

I think spending time in the kitchen with your children is one of the best summer activities imaginable. It teaches them skills they can use for a lifetime. And the end result is always a wonderful meal you can enjoy together, making happy memories as a family.

Since I feature pizzas in so many of my restaurants across the country and around the world, they are often on the menu when we cook at home. But in summer, it can be fun to move away from the more traditional toppings that young ones like -- such as plain cheese or meatballs with tomato sauce -- and instead make pizzas that seem like something only a kid might dream up.

In that spirit, I am happy to share a recipe for cheeseburger pizza. It's one we have served sometimes in my more casual restaurants, and I even sometimes make it with my friend, Chef Marian Getz, who came up with this version for one of our appearances together on the Home Shopping Network.

Some people might scratch their heads when they first hear mention of cheeseburger pizza, but it makes perfect sense. After all, a pizza crust is not much different from a big, open-faced bun. Some pizzas toppings include seasoned ground meat, like a burger. Ketchup and mustard are basically sauces. And cheese is cheese, whether in a sandwich or on a pizza.

Cheeseburger pizza is as all-American as you can get, right down to the American cheese slices on top. But the beauty of this simple recipe is that, just like a burger, you can customize it however you like. If your children don't like pickles, leave them out. If they hate mustard, add extra ketchup. If you'd prefer sharp cheddar, Gruyere or some other cheese on yours, go ahead. Love bacon on your burger? Fry some up, drain, cool, chop, and then crumble it over the beef. Trying to eat less red meat? Substitute ground turkey or chicken, or even some of the surprisingly realistic vegetable-based meat substitutes that are now becoming more widely available.


In short, you can make your cheeseburger pizza any way you like it, and easily. And all the while, you and your kids will be having summertime fun together in the kitchen.


Makes 4 pizzas, each about 8 inches (20 cm)

4 6-ounce (185 g) balls Wolfgang's Pizza Dough (recipe follows) or 4 8-to-10-inch premade rolled-out pizza dough rounds


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