Fatherly Stuff: Making Pizza: A Delicious Way to Bond with Your Child

Feb 22, 2012

Making Pizza: A Delicious Way to Bond with Your Child

I’m always looking for fun and creative ways to bond with my child. From this desire, I’ve discovered cooking. We make a lot of fun stuff together like cookies, fruit smoothies and pigs in a blanket, but it think our favorite cooking activity to date has to be making pizza.
Pizza it a wonderful parent-child kitchen project for a variety of reasons. First off, at a total of 20-25 minutes of prep and cook time combined, it’s a relatively quick meal to make. Second, with such a variety of methods to make it, pizza is a really hard thing to mess up. No matter what “mistakes” occur, it is highly likely that it will still come out tasting great. Another reason pizza making is fun is because it is a very hands on, tactile activity and most children love that. It’s also a self-esteem builder. Your child will gain a sense of pride knowing that they created a meal with their own hands. Seems perfect, right?
Make no mistake; this type of activity is not for the faint of heart. A project such as this will naturally spark the interest of your little one and will provoke them to touch, grab, eat and throw when you may not want them to, so you have to be okay with them getting a little messy. It may also be a good opportunity to teach your child about the importance of patience, and how good things come to those who wait.

Here’s what you’ll need:
Pizza Dough (Can be bought fresh from most supermarkets. Also, wholegrain is the healthiest option)
Note: While I don’t disagree with making pizza dough from scratch, for the interest of time, I prefer to get the store bought stuff from the bakery section. There, it’s fresh and it’s just about as good as homemade
1 Bag of Mozzarella Cheese
1 Jar of tomato sauce
A pizza pan if you have one (We used a cookie sheet, which worked great)
A couple of tomatoes
A rolling pin (or something similar shaped)
Cooking Spray
 Some Basil (fresh or from a shaker)
Preferred toppings (Pepperoni, Sausage, Pineapples, ETC)
Eternal patience and lots of paper towels J


All of our ingredients are ready (if he doesn’t eat it all first...)


·         Preheat the oven to about 425 degrees
·         While the oven is preheating, you and your child should be prepping the pizza. If you are just pulling the pizza dough out of the fridge, you can use to heat from the oven to soften it by putting it on top of the stove for a few minutes. This is important because dough softness affects its manageability. Next, I sprayed the sheet with some cooking spray, to prevent the crust from sticking. While I had my son help me knead the dough to push all the air out, I also asked him questions about its texture; did the dough feel sticky, or rough?
(Chopping of tomatoes, meat and other toppings was a “Daddy Job”)

We used sausage as one of our toppings. I chopped up some Italian sausage and have that cooking while we waited for the oven to finish.
Yum.


·         Once the dough was thoroughly kneaded, you need to put it onto the sheet by using a rolling pin to spread the dough evenly across the sheet.

After frantically searching, I could not for the life of me find the rolling pin. At times like this however, you need to get creative:
He loved the “hands on” approach. Glass works just as well, apparently

·         After we finished rolling out the dough, I used a ladle to scoop up the sauce and with the help of my son, we evenly distributed the sauce around the pizza. Most recipes state that the less sauce you use, the better, but it’s really about personal preference. We then sprinkled the cheese on top and put our toppings on.

The picture below is from another day we did this. It’s an example of the creative, fun things you can do with the pizza:


Say “cheese” (horrible pun, I know)

·         By now, the oven should be fully preheated.  After you put your pizza in the oven, it usually takes about 10-15 minutes to finish. You want the crust to be golden brown.  

Once that’s done and a few minutes of cool down time have passed, your pizza should be ready to eat!


Finished Product.
·         Sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor
 


Happy camper



Question to the audience:

Have you done any cooking projects with your child yet? If so, what types?

Looking forward to hearing from you!



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