Practical food tips for parents from a RD and mom of three

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Pizza Party

Turn your kitchen into a pizza parlor! Everyone likes pizza, and it is an easy meal to make with your kids. We like to make individual pizzas for a couple of reasons:
  • It's easier to roll out a small ball of dough, and less messy to transfer the small rolled-out “crust” to the pan
  • Everyone gets to add the toppings they like
  • Kids love having their own little pizza for lunch
The kids loved “waking up” the yeast with warm water. We watched it bubble for a few minutes, then added the rest of the ingredients. We made the dough in a bread machine that did the rising and kneading for us. The kids took turns looking through the machine's window to watch the dough twirl and rise.

Here is the pizza dough recipe from the Food Network that I've been using for years. My version has the exact same ingredients, but the instructions are modified for our bread machine:

Bread Machine Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

1 package dry yeast
1 ¼ cups lukewarm water
1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp honey
½ tsp salt

1.Pour water and yeast into bowl of bread machine and let sit for 5 minutes or until bubbles form.
2.Add the rest of the ingredients and set bread machine on “pizza dough.”
3.When dough cycle is complete, turn dough out onto a floured surface. Cut dough into thirds (each third makes a big pizza). These sections can be frozen for future use at this point. Take one section and cut it into four pieces for individual pizzas.
4.Roll dough out to desired thickness and move to a baking sheet. Top with your favorite sauce, cheese, and toppings.
5.Bake at 450 degrees for 7-8 minutes for a thin-crust pizza... longer if your pizza is thicker.

Here are our finished pizzas. We were in a rush that day and kept it simple with sauce and cheese. They were still customized, though -- Lila only likes cheese, Deacon likes tons of sauce and cheese, and Ned's pizza had typical amounts of each. The sky's the limit, though, so encourage your child to try new toppings. Set up a pizza bar of toppings and challenge your kids to be creative chefs.

Why stop there? Get crazy and make one of these sweet yet healthy pizzas:

Fruit pizza – Bake a crust without toppings and let cool. Top with light cream cheese or greek yogurt and your favorite fruit.

Peanut butter banana pizza – Bake a crust without toppings and let cool. Top with peanut butter and banana slices....yum!

Chocolate berry pizza – Bake a crust without toppings and let cool. Add a thin smear of Nutella and sliced strawberries. Or sprinkle a still-warm crust with dark chocolate chips (a delicious source of antioxidants), let them melt for a few minutes, then top with raspberries.

Now I'm hungry for a dessert pizza. Good thing I have dough in the freezer!

Today's tip: Make pizza at home instead of calling the delivery guy.

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