If you have one child in your home, there are probably times when you will look around and that lone child has multiplied and become three, four, or more. Over time, friends, neighbors, and classmates may seem to take up residence in your home and you become the entertainment coordinator for the day. The next time you’re looking for a solution to keeping the little hands busy as well as providing the group with something to eat, consider a homemade pizza party. With a few ingredients and a little time and supervision, kids can have fun making their own pizza creation and you can fill some of their time with an exciting activity.
Basic Pizza Dough
In a large bowl, combine the yeast, water, and sugar. Stir well. Allow the yeast to sit for approximately 5 minutes (the mixture should bubble and become foamy). Add the salt and oil and stir to mix. Add all but ˝ cup of flour and mix until just combined. Knead the dough for 5 to 7 minutes on a lightly floured surface, adding flour as needed until the dough is smooth and elastic. Spray the inside of 1-gallon (or larger) zippered food storage bag with non-stick cooking spray. Place the dough in the bag, close the zipper, and place it in a warm location for 1 hour to allow the dough to rise. At this point you can punch the dough down And divide it into equal portions for individual pizza crusts. One dough recipe should be enough for 4 to 6 child-sized pizzas.
If you are not adventurous in the kitchen or do not want to attempt making dough, supermarkets often sell pre-made pizza dough or pre-baked pizza crusts. If only large crusts are available, simply cut them into quarters. You can also use split English muffins, flour tortillas, or other flatbreads as an alternative pizza crust.
Sauce—If you foresee a pizza party in your future, buy some canned or bottled pizza sauce on your next visit to the supermarket. Keep it in your pantry and you’ll be ready when the pizza mood strikes. In a pinch, you can even use a jar of prepared spaghetti sauce.
Toppings—Include topping options such as:
Place the topping choices in flat-bottomed plastic bowls or on paper plates so the kids can reach into them easily. Give each child a ball of dough and let him or her press the dough into a pizza crust shape. To make transporting the unbaked pizza easier, have an aluminum pie plate available for each child. The crust can be pressed directly into the pie plate which will provide additional support to the unbaked crust.
Add roughly 1/3 of a cup of pizza sauce and spread it to cover the crust. Finally, let the kids add their own topping choices and cheese to their pizzas.
Bake each pizza at 400°F for 8 to 10 minutes or until the crust is brown and the cheese is bubbly. *Note: An adult should be responsible for moving the pizzas to the oven for baking, removing them, and checking the baked pizzas to make certain they are cool enough for little mouths. Remember, melted cheese retains heat so ingredients under the cheese will remain hot for an extended period of time. Cutting the individual pizzas into quarters will help them cool more quickly.
For variation, you can substitute ingredients such as seasoned ground beef, shredded cheddar cheese, salsa, and refried beans for a taco flavored pizza and top the baked taco pizza with shredded lettuce, sour cream, or guacamole.
The next time you have a house filled with hungry kids and you are looking for something to occupy their time, turn them into pizza chefs for the day!
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