This post comes courtesy of Elaine Smit of Chow Bella Kids.
With the kids back in school, we’ve begun to settle into a manageable routine. Now the fun part starts: after-school activities like sporting events and gatherings with friends.
Sometimes reconnecting with school friends after the long summer break requires a well-planned activity to get everyone talking and laughing again. Since I’m a kids’ cooking instructor, I naturally look toward food for a fun activity. I have found the best way to break the ice is to get the kids together and cook. Since my daughter Jenny loves pizza, we like to pull out our pizza-making supplies and get everyone involved.
Let the kids help measure and mix the ingredients; they also like to knead, roll and spread their own dough. If possible, have an 8-inch pizza pan for each child who is cooking. That way, they can make an individual pizza with their own toppings.
When cooking with a group of kids, it helps to have the ingredients semi-prepared and ready to go. Most kids enjoy cheese pizza, but when they’re cooking for themselves, they are more likely to be adventurous and try something new. Use this opportunity to add a few new toppings like broccoli, pineapple, mushrooms, tomatoes and bell peppers.
Chow Bella Kids’ Cheese Pizza
We take a shortcut with our pizza dough recipe by letting the dough rise for just ten minutes. We have found that, when cooking with kids, this is about as long as they can wait. The flavor and texture always turn out great.
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 envelope Rapid Rise Yeast
2 tsp. salt
1 cup very warm water
5 Tbs. olive oil
4 Tbs. cornmeal
For the toppings:
1 cup pizza sauce
8 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
2 large tomatoes, thinly sliced
4 fresh basil leaves, cut into strips
4 Tbs. grated Parmesan cheese
In a large bowl, combine 2 cups of the flour, the undissolved yeast and the salt. Add the very warm water and 1 Tbs. of the olive oil and stir. Slowly stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough.
On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough until smooth and elastic, 4 to 5 minutes. Cover and let the dough rest on the floured surface for 10 minutes.
To prepare the pizza pans, using a paper towel tipped in olive oil, lightly rub four 8-inch round pizza pans with the remaining olive oil. Sprinkle each oiled pizza pan with 1 Tbs. cornmeal. Set the pans aside.
Divide the dough into 4 smooth balls. Knead again for a few minutes. Place the individual dough balls on the pizza pans. Using your hands, shape the dough to fit the pan, leaving a ½-inch rim around the pan.
Spread the desired amount of pizza sauce across the top of the dough (about ¼ cup per pizza). Spread the desired amount of mozzarella cheese on top, then place the thinly sliced tomatoes across the pizza. Sprinkle with the basil leaves.
Bake the pizzas in the oven until the crust is sufficiently crispy and the cheese is melted to your liking, 12 to 14 minutes. Sprinkle with a little Parmesan cheese and enjoy! Makes four 8-inch pizzas.
About the author: Elaine and her daughter Jenny are the founders of Chow Bella Kids. A business that specializes in cooking events just for kids. They teach kids cooking classes, cooking parties, summer camps, scouts and private cooking events. They created www.chowbellakids.net/ blog where they showcase kid friendly recipes, cooking tips, and videos. They are committed to educating and inspiring kids. They strive to make a bigger difference on the planet through the power of teaching children and families kids how to cook in a safe, fun and healthy environment.