Every kid – or at least every kid I know – loves pizza. And almost all kids love eating something they made with their own hands. So why not combine the two ideas and make your next family pizza night really special with a home-made pizza?
Getting kids in the kitchen is a great family activity, and I love to encourage families to cook together as much as they can. You can begin to teach even really little kids the valuable lifelong skill of cooking. When you make it yourself, you have more control over the ingredients (you can choose organic veggies, or low-fat cheese, and nobody will be the wiser.) And, of course, it’s just plain fun.
The ultimate family pizza night is best, and the most fun, when you start with fresh pizza dough. If you give the FRESH bakery 24-hour notice, they will be kind enough to make you some delicious fresh pizza dough. However, if you are in a hurry, you can use premade pizza crust at our bakery or buy a pre-packaged crust.
To keep kids’ attention span from flagging, pull out all the ingredients and preheat the oven before you call them into the kitchen to start. Make sure everyone’s wearing clothing that can stand to absorb a little pizza sauce or flour, and make sure you disinfect everyone’s hands before they touch any ingredients. Then get ready to create and pour love into your family’s very own pizza.
One large pizza crust
One jar or can pizza sauce
2 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs Italian seasoning
1 lb mozzarella cheese, shredded (use part-skim to lower fat content)
toppings of your choice
2 Tbs flour
If using fresh dough: Cut in two. (I have two children, so I give each child a ball of dough to shape.) Dust a large, clean work surface with the flour. Gently roll out dough to desired thickness, using fingers first and then a rolling pin if you want it thinner. Encourage kids to be patient; they can’t get it thin enough on their first try, but will need to take several passes to get it to the right thickness. Let the kids create any shape they want, as long as you can fit it in the oven – it’s their pizza. We even toss the dough into the air at our house (but this might not work for all families; I have a high tolerance for mishaps.)
When pizza dough is ready, or if you’re using a prepared crust, you can add toppings. Brush crust with olive oil, then carefully spoon on a thin layer of sauce, spreading to cover most of the crust. Finally, add the cheese, Italian seasoning, and toppings. Many kids prefer just cheese and possibly pepperoni, but this is a good chance to throw on some thinly sliced vegetables, such as mushrooms, green or red peppers, or onions. Let kids arrange toppings as they wish; you can make funny faces with pepperoni and veggie slices, for instance.
Bake about 20-25 minutes at 350° F, or until edges are starting to brown and cheese is melting.
Don’t forget to take a picture of the creations with your chefs before enjoying!