My grandma knew how to rock leftovers. That woman would not waste one ounce of food. Not one ounce. She was the stereotypical example of someone who grew up during the depression. She did her weekly grocery shopping from the sales flyers and what she already had at home… she always had a freezer stocked with things that could easily be made into meals. Two things that were always in the freezer – extra spaghetti sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese. One of her favorite things to make for us kids (and one of our favorite things to eat) were these “pizza burgers”. They are, quite simply, split hamburger buns topped with spaghetti sauce, mozzarella cheese and pepperoni. Ironically, I can’t ever remember eating a hamburger at my grandma’s house, but she seemed to always have hamburger buns in her freezer!
For my entire life, I thought that this was a totally unique concoction of my grandma’s, then I posted an Instagram picture of these on Saturday when I made them, and so many of you were totally familiar with them! I’m not gonna lie, I was a little sad, as I thought they were my grandma’s own secret little recipe. BUT, that doesn’t make them any less awesome. As kids, these just seemed like the best things ever. Even as a teenager, I loved when my grandma would whip them up.
I probably hadn’t eaten them in at least 15 years, and when I made them over the weekend and opened the oven, I couldn’t believe it! It smelled just like my grandma’s kitchen when she would make them, and I would have bet my entire life savings before making these that they wouldn’t have any sort of characteristic smell.
These “pizza burgers” are a superbly easy lunch (or dinner) option if you have buns that are about to go stale, leftover (or jarred) spaghetti sauce, and some cheese in the fridge. If you have little ones, it’s a great recipe to get them helping in the kitchen. Use whatever sauce you like, whatever cheese and whatever toppings. I love how quick and customizable they are!
I also love that they remind me of countless days in my grandma’s kitchen 🙂
One year ago: Tomato Mozzarella Tart
Two years ago: Hot Corn and Cheese Dip and Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread
Three years ago: Malted Milk Ice Cream
Four years ago: Cranberry Orange Scones
Five years ago: Chunky Pecan Pie Bars
Six years ago: Pasta Fagioli
Seven years ago: Applesauce Oatmeal Muffins
Hamburger buns topped with spaghetti sauce, mozzarella and pepperoni - one of my grandma's specialties!
Spaghetti sauce (homemade or your favorite jarred)
Shredded mozzarella cheese
Pepperoni or any other toppings of your choice
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Split the hamburger buns in half and arrange them cut-side-up on the pan. Spread a spoonful of the sauce over each half and top with shredded cheese and pepperoni (if using).
3. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the cheese is completely melted and the edges of the buns are starting to toast.