Pizza Poppins: Never was there a more happier crew!

Hello, my name is Christy and I do not like musicals. I feel like I’m confessing an awful sin since I know so many of my friends and family adore them. I’m sorry folks, but there’s something about them that irritates me.  Maybe it’s the blur between trying to portray that something is in real life, but then breaking into a three minute song, and then everyone going about their business like the song never happened, or that the breaking into song was completely normal and happens in the real world. Now with that confession, comes some exceptions. You know I love The Wizard of Oz and yes, it is a musical. Yes, they break out into song and dance, and yes, I LOVE IT!! A few others that are exceptions to my dislike for musicals would be Annie (the old 1982 one), as I have yet to see the new one and Grease. These were two of my favorite movies when I was a kid.  I would try to do the choreography to “It’s a hard knock life” and all the sassy Grease numbers. Another one of my favorite movies that just so happens to be a musical is Mary Poppins. I love the wit and silly humor with a slight elbow nudging of more serious underlying thoughts. These all become more clear if you’ve seen the movie Saving Mr. Banks. My favorite character in Mary Poppins is Bert. Dick Van Dyke is just wonderful. I get a giggle when I see him on TV today and loved seeing his unchanged smile in the recent Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb. As I was making this meal, I was thinking about what I would call these little gems on the blog. I think when I made them once before and posted about it on Facebook, I called them Pizza Balls. I love that name because it’s referring to the line from the movie Splash, which has always been another favorite movie of mine.  Yes, I adore Tom Hanks (I’m sure I’ll blog about him more in the future)! It’s the scene where the tour guide sees Madison walking by the Statue of Liberty and yells out “Bocce Balls!” But, I thought most would not be familiar with that reference or know the tone that I meant it to be spoken in. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, just watch the movie and you’ll see what I mean. I decided that they reminded me of little pops of pizza so that blossomed into Pizza Poppins as a tribute to Mary Poppins.

Did you follow along in my scatterbrained, squirrel!!!!! side-tracked-train-of-thought? I hope so. Whatever you chose to call these – Pizza Balls!!!! or Pizza Poppins, I’m sure you will like them. They are basically a little miniature calzone pizza that you can stuff with whatever ingredients you fancy. They would be a great little appetizer or party food, or even a great food for a kid’s party or meal where they want to help out with the cooking. Kids love it when they can choose their own ingredients and enjoy their own food art.

Pizza Poppins aka Pizza Balls!!!



Frozen Rhodes Dinner Rolls – thawed per package instructions. Basically one Rhodes Dinner Roll per Pizza Poppin. I made 12 since it was just me and the girls.

Mozzarella cheese sticks, or even shredded mozzarella cheese would work.

Whatever fillings/toppings you want to have in your Pizza Poppins (Cooked ground sausage, Pepperoni, peppers, mushrooms, meatballs (click here for my meatball recipe). I used my frozen meatballs, that I let thaw out for about an hour or so.

Marinara sauce:

1 TBS Olive oil

1 small-medium diced onion

2 cloves minced garlic

1 TBS basil

1 TBS oregano

1 TBS parsley

1 teas garlic powder

1-2 fresh tomatoes- diced

12 oz can of tomato sauce

6-12 oz can of tomato paste, I usually use the smaller can, but I only had 12 oz cans of paste this time.

1/2 teas salt

1/2 teas pepper

1 TBS grated Asiago or Parmesan cheese

You will probably not use all of this, so it’s a great opportunity to freeze the leftover marinara to use for homemade pizza, more Pizza Poppins, or anything else you need it for.

Or, you could use store bought marinara. Nothing wrong with that, just transfer any leftover sauce to a freezer bag and toss it into the freezer.


Thaw your Rhodes frozen dinner rolls according to the package instructions. I usually do not plan far enough ahead and do the Speedy Method which takes about an hour or so of rising. Basically you put the frozen rolls in a sprayed pan and into a warm oven along with a shallow pan of hot water. After an hour or so, they are usually ready to use.


While your rolls are rising, make your marinara if making your own. I’m sorry, but I don’t measure anything for marinara. So I estimated on the measurements, but you can adjust per your preference.

Saute diced onion and garlic in a little olive oil for a few minutes on medium-low heat until onions become soft and translucent.

Add in diced tomatoes and saute for a few minutes.


Stir in tomato paste and tomato sauce, you may want to add just a little bit of water if the marinara seems too thick. You definitely don’t want your sauce watery, though.


Add in all spices and cheese and adjust to taste. Keep this on low until ready to use.




Cut up your mozzarella sticks into 1/2 inch or so size pieces.

Brown up sausage, if using.

Gather up all your fillings/toppings, dinner rolls, and marinara sauce so you can assemble your Pizza Poppins.


Grease a muffin pan and flatten one roll into a circle, add 3-4 slices of mozzarella cheese, and add whatever toppings you want and finish with a spoonful of marinara sauce. I found that when I used my meatballs, they did better if I cut them up into quarters and just put 1/2 a meatball per Pizza Poppin. The full meatball was too large to seal in the dough circle.


Seal the Pizza Poppins up like a little purse, pinching the seams together.



Place each Pizza Poppin in the muffin pan. You can add a pinch of salt or grated cheese to the tops if you like.



Bake at 350 Degrees for 20 min or until golden brown.


Carefully remove from muffin pan with a knife and serve. They are very hot so be careful!



Now let’s all sing together . . .

Oh, oh, oh! Let’s go fly a kite

Up to the highest height!

Let’s go fly a kite and send it soaring

Up through the atmosphere

Up where the air is clear

Oh, let’s go fly a kite!

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