Cooking With Kids: Pizza Night

Breads, Cooking With Kids September 19, 2010

I love making homemade pizza with my son Joe.  He has so much fun making the dough (especially punching the dough) and picking out his own toppings.  It’s a great way to get him involved in the kitchen and encourage him to eat more vegetables.  When we have time, we make our own focaccia dough, but in a pinch we pick up Trader Joe’s pizza dough (whole wheat or garlic & herb).  You can find the focaccia recipe at the bottom of this post.  Don’t be intimidated, it is really easy to make!

A few weeks ago, we got our focaccia dough ready and headed out to the garden.  Joe picked some red sweet peppers,
and some basil (his favorite). 
He enjoyed trying the sweet red pepper.
While we are cooking, Joe likes to taste and smell each step and ingredient.  Sometimes he gets a little too close to the bowl.
His favorite part, punching the dough.
I let Joe prepare his portion of the pizza however he wants to.  I encourage him to choose at least one vegetable for his side.  This time he chose marinara sauce, tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and basil.
Mom and Dad’s side of the pizza included pesto, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, basil (and sausage on Dad’s side).  Everyone gets what they like!
Leila was excited about her brother’s creation.
These photos are from Nanna’s house where we used Trader Joe’s garlic & herb dough (they were out of whole wheat that day).  
Joe chose zucchini as his vegetable this time.  
Because Trader Joe’s dough is a little smaller than the focaccia, we used 2 packages of dough and made a kid pizza and an adult pizza.
Focaccia Recipe

-1 T. granulated sugar (I recommend organic sugar)
-1 T. (one package) active dry yeast
-1½ C. lukewarm water
-3 C. unbleached flour 
-1 C. whole wheat flour
(I HIGHLY recommend using quality flour such as Bob’s Red Mill organic unbleached flour and organic whole wheat flour.  Using quality flour makes a huge difference in the taste and texture of the dough)
-2 t. salt
-¼ C. onion, chopped
-1 t. garlic, minced

1. Combine the sugar, yeast and water.  Stir until it is dissolved.
2.  Gradually add the flour mixture to the water mixture until it is fully incorporated.
3.  Add the salt, onion and garlic.  You can either knead the dough by hand or with a mixer.  I use a KitchenAid Mixer with a dough hook.  Knead the dough for about 5 minutes.  If you are kneading by hand, use a small amount of flour to coat your hands and your work surface to keep the dough from sticking.
4.  Place the dough in an oiled bowl.  Cover with a clean cloth or plastic wrap and let it rise until it doubles in size.  If you are making your dough in advance, stick the bowl into the refrigerator.  You can even make it the night before you plan to use it.
5.  Punch the dough down (so fun with kids!) after it has doubled in size.  Flatten the dough on a large oiled baking sheet.  Spread it out to the edges, it should be no more than 1 inch thick.  Let the dough sit on the baking sheet for about 15 minutes in a warm place.  I like to place mine on the stove while the oven warms up.
6.  Add your sauce and toppings (get creative and have fun!)  Bake at 400 degrees until the dough is lightly brown, about 20 minutes.  Eat and enjoy!

Do you cook with your kids?  What do you make?

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  • Reply Denise September 19, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    Becca from Our Crazy Boys says your blog is great so I'm gonna have to follow it now too. She's never led me wrong before. Do you have any crockpot oatmeal recipes? I attempted one last night only to wake this morning and it be a HUGE failure. Nothing like having your expectations dashed to bits first thing in the morning before you even have had a sip of coffee. Sigh. Looking forward to keeping up with your blog!

  • Reply Alysa September 19, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    Thanks for the comment Denise! I have only made crockpot cereal once and it was pretty much a failure too. I will work on that! Hope you enjoy my other recipes :)

  • Reply Nour El-Zibdeh, RD September 20, 2010 at 12:43 am

    You have a cute family! How old are your kids? My son is almost 2. I've started doing some cooking with him but no dough punching yet :)

    I'm going to bookmark this recipe. I get Trader Joe's whole wheat dough but I've recently bought a mixer and want to make my own. Thanks!

  • Reply Nisha September 20, 2010 at 4:43 am

    Oh man, I second your opinion on the flour comment. Pizza is the one thing I'm a "normal" mom about (normal meaning I use white flour and white sugar) and my family wanted pizza the other night. I was out of BOTH flour and sugar, so I just quickly grabbed some flour, not thinking and our pizza was disgusting! I usually get Lehi Roller Mills and I will never stray again.

  • Reply Alysa September 20, 2010 at 4:51 am

    Nour, my kids are 3 and 1. I bet your son would enjoy punching the dough :)

    Nisha, I never realized how much of a difference good flour and sugar make, but I guess I should know that better ingredients make better food!

  • Reply Eisley Jacobs November 12, 2010 at 2:28 am

    We do cook with our kids! So much so we made a blog to entertain our friends and family, showing them that their kids can cook too! 😉

    Your Focaccia recipe looks AWESOME! I'm going to print it out and try it! Thanks!

  • Reply Stephanie December 30, 2010 at 11:27 pm

    Looks delicious! I have to say, though, we've been unimpressed by the pizza dough from Trader Joe's. Maybe we should try yours instead? :)

  • Reply Cooking with 5 Kids March 20, 2011 at 1:57 am

    I am enjoying your recipes on your blog!
    I just want to say I make steel cut oats in my rice cooker 3 times a week. It is really easy.
    I just put in 1 and 1/4 cups of steel cut oats and 3 cups of water. My rice cooker has a porridge setting and I put the ingredients in the night before and the timer makes it ready before we get up in the morning. It comes out perfectly!

    My kids LOVE to cook with me in the kitchen. Pizza is one of our favorite things to make. Our favorite kind these days is pizza waffles.


  • Reply Heather @ Not a DIY Life May 13, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    We definitely love make-your-own-pizza night at our house! I'm going to try this foccacia recipe and grill in on the GF grill in personal pizza size. What do you think?

  • Reply Alysa May 19, 2011 at 3:45 am

    Eisley, thanks for the comment! I look forward to checking out your blog :)

    Stephanie, have you tried the focaccia recipe yet? I would love to hear your feedback.

    Sara, thanks for the overnight oatmeal recipe. I wish I had a porridge setting on my crockpot!

    Heather, did you try it on the grill? How did it go?

  • Reply Butternut Squash Pizza December 18, 2013 at 10:03 am

    […] time was a butternut squash pizza.  I would get the fresh pizza dough from Trader Joe’s or make my own focaccia and throw it together on family pizza […]

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