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 :)