Tag Archives: Pizza

Recipe: Pizza Hot Dogs – great to make with kids!

The school holidays can take a lot of filling. On our last day off school we met up with some friends and headed to Bella Italia for lunch, then for a play at the nearby Wacky Warehouse. Lunch for 7 lively kids and 4 weary mums was a nice relaxed affair, the food was a crowd pleaser, but one thing caught my eye – the pizza hot dogs on the kid’s menu. It was something I knew I’d have to recreate at home. I had a hunch they’d be a hit and they really were.

Recipe: Pizza Hot Dogs - great to make with kids!

Not only are the pizza hot dogs great for kids to eat, but it turns out they’re lots of fun for them to make too. They are as junky as they sound, but as a once in a while treat they’re pretty blooming fantastic. If you’re feeding vegetarians you can use vegetarian hot dog sausages (which I’ve fed to both boys before and they’ve not noticed), if not, just choose your favourite frankfurter or hot dog sausage.

Recipe: Pizza Hot Dogs - great to make with kids!

I used a pizza base mix – most supermarkets have their own these days; a jar of pizza topping and some of those bright orange cheese slices you put on burgers. It’s up to you if you want to use a homemade sauce or a less processed cheese. These pizza hot dogs are a quick meal the kids can help you make. Perfect for a picnic lunch, movie nights at home, or for when you’ve got a crowd of little monkeys around for a playdate or party.

Pizza Hot Dogs

Ingredients – makes 8 
1 packet of pizza base mix (145g)
8 slices of burger cheese
1/2 jar of pizza topping sauce
8 frankfurter or hot dog sausages


Make up the pizza dough following the instructions on the packet. Pre-heat your oven to the temperature suggested on the packet  – mine was 200°.

Cut the dough into 8 equal sized pieces and roll out into rectangles (on a floured surface). There needs to be about 2cms at the top and bottom and 3cm each side when you put your sausage on.

Recipe: Pizza Hot Dogs - great to make with kids!

Take each cheese slice and cut it in half. Then lay the cheese on top of the dough and spread a heaped teaspoon of the pizza topping sauce on top of the cheese. Put your hot dog on top of the tomato sauce.

Fold the top and bottom edges of the dough over the sausage and press the edges of the dough together. Pull one of the long edges over the sausage and tuck it under. Pull the other edge across so the sausage is hidden inside. Pinch all the edges together until they are sealed shut.

Recipe: Pizza Hot Dogs - great to make with kids!

Dust a baking tray with flour or polenta so the dough doesn’t stick. Lay your pizza hog dogs on the tray. You may want to brush them with olive oil at this point, but that’s up to you. 

Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes. The time will depend on how thickly you’ve rolled out your dough. When cooked, remove from the oven and leave to cool for a few minutes.

Recipe: Pizza Hot Dogs - great to make with kids!

They retain their heat very well, so it’s an idea to cut them open and leave them to cool before little ones get their hands on them.

These Pizza Hot Dogs are really fun to make and a real family treat. You could fill them with your favourite pizza toppings too – pepperoni pizza hot dog anyone?

Casa Costello

Pizza Express delivered to your door by Deliveroo

Pizza Express is one of our favourite restaurants to eat out at as a family. We all love pizza and pasta, the dough balls are to die for and they are really child friendly. Pizza Express is now available to be delivered straight to your door by Deliveroo, so we decided to put them to the test.

This weekend was an incredibly busy one for our little family. I spent most of it out of the house working and the boys spent most of it in the park running about. We all arrived home on Sunday evening, tired, hungry and in need of a lazy few hours cuddling on the sofa in front of the TV. I was in no mood to cook, so we decided to order Pizza Express and have it delivered to our door by Deliveroo.


I’d downloaded the free Deliveroo app a few weeks ago and every so often I had a little explore of what was available in our area. The app is really easy to use, choose the restaurant you would like to order from and just select what you want to order, pay for it and it’s delivered to your door by a friendly chap on a bike.

We ordered the Etna Pizza – a succulently spicy Romana recipe, where nduja sausage is paired with sweet and spicy roquito chilli peppers. The Etna is exclusively available for Deliveroo customers. 


I went for the Padana Pizza – goat’s cheese, mozzarella, tomato, caramelised onion, spinach, red onion and garlic oil. And the small boy had the Piccolo American Set Menu – dough balls, pepperoni pizza and a little brownie. We grabbed a side of crispy, fluffy Potato Nocciola too – we were hungry!


The Deliveroo app helpfully has a countdown clock to show you where your order is up to – once it’s out for delivery you can even track your delivery on the map. I thought this was cool and my husband thought I was some kind of psychic – “our pizza is at the lights outside the nail bar in the village” etc.

Our meal arrived piping hot, I was impressed at how hot it was actually. The delivery charge is £2.50 and on a cold night when you’re all tired, I think it’s worth paying for delivery. The convenience of having someone hand you your meal half an hour after ordering it is a nice treat, and it’s always good to eat something I’ve not had to cook myself.

We all sat quietly munching through our pizzas. The small boy had the dough balls (always excellent), an American pizza, which was essentially a pepperoni pizza and a small brownie. He polished off every scrap and asked if we could have it for tea again – yes!


My Padana was very filling, loaded with toppings but I thought it could have done with another few minutes in the oven to really crisp up the base. 

Hubs had the Etna – he loves spicy things so this was perfect for him. He polished it off in double-quick time and like me his only criticism was it needed a little longer in the oven to crisp the base.

If I’m being picky – my favourite pizza wasn’t available (the Soho if you’re asking) and I couldn’t see a way to customise your order, so you can’t ask for no mushrooms for example. But we were all impressed and we would definitely order Pizza Express delivered by Deliveroo again. 

The spicy Etna pizza is exclusively available for Pizza Express customers to order by Deliveroo mobile app, through the Deliveroo website or through the Pizza Express website.

This is a collaborative post.

Review: Papa John’s new lighter pizza

Pizza night is always popular, but I am conscious that it is a slightly less healthy choice than a green salad. As a result I do try and order lighter versions whenever I can. Papa John’s has recently launched a lighter option for their pizzas, specifically for people who are conscious of what they eat, but still enjoy the occasional treat.

Papa John’s is now offering a lower fat cheese as an option on all of their pizzas. The lower fat light cheese contains one third less fat than regular cheese and I think it will be popular with a lot of people. There is always the worry that a slight change in the recipe will dramatically change the flavour of the pizza, so we put the new lighter cheese pizzas to the test.

Papa John's Lighter

We sampled two medium original crust pizzas with Papa John’s lighter cheese. I had the Mediterranean Garden Party – a pizza heaving with lots of lovely veg so at least you feel that you’re getting one of your five a day. Hubs had an “All The Meats” which suited him down to the ground. They were both made with the lower fat cheese instead of the standard cheese Papa John’s use on their regular pizzas.

Papa John's Lighter

It was Friday night at the start of a Bank Holiday weekend and we were all tired and needed pizza. We ordered Papa John’s and decided to picnic eat it in the garden to make the most of the sunshine. 

The pizzas arrived and I opened them up to check they didn’t look any different from how they usually do. There was no difference. The cheese looked good, melted nicely all over and we couldn’t wait to get stuck in.

Papa John's Lighter

We all devoured our pizzas, the small boy shared ours and enjoyed them as much as he would normally. To me there was no noticeable difference in the taste or quality of the pizza (and I’ve been a cheese judge at the International Cheese Awards). If there’s no real taste or texture difference, and there is 1/3 less fat in the lighter cheese then that’s a bit of a no-brainer for me. 

Papa John's Lighter

In future when we order pizza we will be ordering Papa John’s Lighter pizzas. We might even take another healthy step and go from original crust to thin crust. That one might take a bit more getting used to though. 

For more information about Papa John’s Lighter options visit www.papajohns.co.uk

Pizza Night with Papa John’s Pizza

About once a month we have a family pizza night, when we can’t be bothered to cook a home cooked meal we order in pizza. With the football currently dominating every waking hour for the boys, we decided to fuel up on take out pizza and phoned Papa John’s. 

We’ve never had Papa John’s pizza before, but I’d heard good things about it. It’s my brother’s favourite pizza emporium, so we knew it would be good.

pizza 2

For the boys I ordered the new BBQ Beef Brisket pizza – chunks of burnt ends sliced from slow smoked beef brisket, with crispy onions and bacon, and drizzled with a sweet cola BBQ sauce.

I went for the veggie “Garden Party” made with red onions, green peppers, cherry tomatoes, sweetcorn and mushrooms.

Papa John's

Our pizzas arrived still hot and smelling delicious. I had extreme pizza envy when I saw the BBQ Beef Brisket Pizza. I have a soft spot for anything with BBQ sauce, I did dip my finger in and have a taste and it was sweet and gently spicy. I reckon Papa John’s should sell bottles of their BBQ sauce. 

I really liked the look of my Garden Party pizza. It has a very generous topping of vegetables and even the slightly veg-phobic boy tucked in happily. I am a bit fussy when it comes to pizza. I don’t like my base to be too doughy, too oily or too boring. The Papa John’s pizza bases were light and not at all oily, we were all very pleasantly surprised at how good they were. 

Papa John's

The Papa John’s pizzas came with a little pot of garlic dip. We weren’t especially keen on these, but the BBQ Beef Brisket pizza was saucy enough without it and didn’t need it. It’s good to try new things and Papa John’s was new to us. We’ve had a referendum, taken a vote and our next pizza night will be a Papa John’s pizza night.

Visit www.papajohns.co.uk to try the new BBQ Beef Brisket Pizza for yourself.

Note: We were sent the Papa John’s pizzas for review purposes.

Kitchen Basics: Versatile Tomato Sauce

One of the staple dishes in our kitchen is a really simple tomato sauce. I make a batch almost fortnightly and it’s used in a few different ways, from spaghetti and meatballs, in lasagne, with baked vegetable dishes and topping pizzas, it’s so simple to do and the basis of so many meals it is one of the first things I’ll be teaching the boy to cook. Using some of the Cirio tomato products I’ve been sent, I knocked up a batch of sauce for a quick and simple meal this week.

Versatile Tomato Sauce

1 large onion (or two small ones) finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 bottle of Cirio passata
1 pod of Cirio tomato purée
1 teaspoon of oregano or mixed herbs
1 teaspoon of pesto, tomato pesto if you have it (optional)
Olive oil
Salt & pepper

1. In a frying pan heat up a splosh of olive oil (about a tablespoon) and gently soften your finely chopped onion. Stir frequently until soft and then add your crushed garlic and warm through for a few minutes, don’t let it burn or it’ll go bitter.
2. Once your onion is soft, add the passata and warm through. While it’s bubbling away gently, add the tomato purée, herbs, pesto (optional) and salt and pepper. To balance out any bitterness from the tomato add a good pinch of sugar to taste.
3. Leave to simmer gently for ten minutes or so, stirring frequently.

To serve as I have done, toss through some cooked spaghetti and serve with meatballs and a sprinkle of cheese. Alternatively layer into your lasagne, or cook for longer until it thickens a bit more and use as a pizza topping.

tomato sauce

This tomato sauce is incredibly versatile and I know that even if I serve it just with some plain pasta it will be a meal the small boy will devour in one sitting. As it’s made from tomatoes it is one of his five a day and is probably healthier than what I could buy in a jar.

tomato sauce

I like to use Cirio passata and purée where I can because of the quality of the tomatoes they use, you can tell by the colour, texture and flavour of the raw ingredient that anything you make with them will be tasty.

Note: I was sent some Cirio tomato products to try out in some of my recipes. All images, opinions and recipes are my own.