About once or twice a month, we have pizza night at our house. The great thing about pizza night is that everyone gets to make their own pizza, and within reason, choose their own toppings. My daughters love making their pizzas and view the assembly more like making crafts than preparing food. There’s just something about handling dough that appeals to kids of all ages.
Pizza night is only as hard as you make it. You can prepare your own dough from scratch, which we’ve occasionally done, or you can just purchase pre-made dough from Trader Joe’s or a bakery and start from there. If you make the dough yourself, be sure to let your kids help you mix the yeast with the water as it fizzes nicely and provides a great opportunity for you to share a little science lesson about leavening. Oh, just look at that yeast rise!
When we have pizza night, I make a simple marinara sauce and then set out a range of different toppings, which might include fresh basil, mozzarella cheese, fresh tomatoes, black olives, prosciutto, sausage and mushrooms. Whatever I have on hand (again… within reason. As an Italian mother, chicken is just not allowed) is an option. We all then have a great time stretching the dough, patching holes, and making our own personal pizzas just the shape we want. When it’s winter, snowmen pizzas might get made. At Halloween, a pumpkin shape might appear. Anything is fine. After that, we lay on the sauce (or none, if that’s your preference) and toppings.
Pizza night is a great way to get your children engaged wit their food. Some of my favorite moments cooking are sitting around our kitchen counter and chatting with my daughters while they spread olives all over their pizza. So if you’re up for a family cooking night, I highly recommend making pizzas with your kids.
Some simple pizza-making tips
1. Heat your oven to 500 degrees. This will allow the dough to crisp nicely, but you need to keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn.
2. You can cook your pizzas on baking sheets or a pizza stone. Anything is fine.
3. It’s nice to set up the toppings in small bowls and set them up assembly-line style.
4. If you’re interested in making your own dough, here’s a simple recipe.