Saturday, April 5, 2014

Homemade Pizza Mania

More often than not, when I ask my kids what they want for dinner, they'll cry out in unison "PIZZA!". What better way to enjoy the early evening by having everyone roll up their sleeves and get busy making their own individual personalized pizza. It doesn't get better than that! Studies show when kids get involved with the meal preparations they are more likely to eat it, especially since they get to customize it to their own liking.

The days are gone when I use to make the dough from scratch. I make it easy now by buying store-bought dough- they are just as good. Fresh dough is usually stored in plastic bags near the bread and cakes area. Or if you plan to use it on another day, buy it frozen and thaw it overnight in the fridge. The dough will rise double in size. Before use, I leave it on the counter for half an hour to bring to room temperature which produces a stretchier dough.  A standard bag at 425g is perfect for our family of five. It gets portioned out in pieces- three small pieces for the boys and two large ones for us grown-ups. I let the older boys knead and roll their dough with a rolling pin on a wooden board dusted with flour but I usually end up finishing it for them since they can't seem to get it thin enough to a nice size. Then I place them onto baking sheets before letting them top.

You'll need some pizza sauce, or plain tomato sauce simply jazzed up with a little dried basil and fresh garlic or garlic powder will do. And then go crazy with which ever topping your family enjoys. Just lay it all out on a tray or plates at the table and let them sauce, top and sprinkle to their heart`s desires! Here are photos from a few pizza making sessions and the yummy results! I usually serve pizza along with some fresh-cut vegetables served with a creamy dip, and a side homemade Caesar salad with croutons. I also set out condiments of mild tobacco sauce (often green hot sauce is mildest) and roasted garlic oil in a bottle at the table when we`re ready to eat.

While the kids are making their pizza, preheat the oven to 425 F.


TIP: Placing the stretched pizzas onto greased baking trays and topping them from there will make it a cinch to just top and bake without risking them toppling over when transferring.

Have fun making designs- fresh torn basil leaves for eyes and a mouth and pepperoni slices for cheeks! Try not to load up on too many ingredients and spread them evenly otherwise the dough won`t crisp nicely.

Place the baking trays on the rack in the lower third of your oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until cheese is bubbling and crust is golden. I lay the trays side by side and rotate them halfway through by turning them around so the front pizzas are now in the back and vice versa.

 The kid versions... 

And souped up versions for mommy and daddy... 

 When you`ve got some fun-making delicious pizzas like these, why opt for delivery!

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