Making really quick pizza with children

Cooking pizza with children is a great way to get them eating veggies

Cooking with children is a great way to help them eat healthily. They love being involved with the whole preparing and cooking thing. It also serves to show them how much effort goes into preparing each meal. When they're older if they know the basics of how to prepare food from scratch, they're much more likely to cook for themselves than fall back on processed food.

This week, I promised the boys that we could do some cooking together. I suggested brownies again. They wanted "secret current", which transpired to be pizza (I have no idea).

I don't often make homemade pizza. I have to confess to occasionally buying it as a really easy dinner and then worrying about the amount of salt that is in it when I hand it to a baby. Homemade pizza would be a great thing to get into. Pizza has a bad name for itself, but actually if it's homemade it's full of goodness. 

If I had been in 'super mum organised' mode, I would have made the dough in the bread maker. But I didn't. And the babies nap is normally somewhere between 30 and 60 minutes, which didn't really give us enough time to do 'rising' and that sort of thing. Anyhow, internet and a really really quick recipe to the rescue.

Cooking with young children. Set boundaries.

Reaffirm cooking rules: "You can't touch anything unless I tell you. Galen, you seem to be playing with the magimix". "It's just that I want to…" Hmmm…

Really quick pizza ingredients.

  • Plain flour 300g, bread flour 75g
  • salt, 1 teaspoon
  • sugar, 2 teaspoons (for the yeast)
  • dried bread yeast, 1 sachet (7g)
  • olive oil, 2 and a half tablespoons
  • warm water, up to 225mls

Really quick pizza, instructions

Put all the ingredients except the water in your food processor and mix. Add the water little by little until you get a dough like constancy. That's it! You have pizza dough.

And that was it, dough made and ready to go. I divided it in half and let the boys roll it out. Which they did several times. A bit of play-doh fun whilst I chopped whatever I could find to put on the pizza.

We used tomato passata spooned out of the cartoon and sprinkled it with basil. Kicking myself for using the last of the mozzarella the night before, we used some other pale cheese (not sure what it's called) that seemed to work fine. I managed to dig out a green pepper, some chorizo and a bit of tomato as toppings. The boys thought it was great, sprinkling them on top. I think Dante was going for a '4 seasons' approach, or '4 mounds' might be more accurate.

We cooked them for 30 mins at 200. Galen wanted to add an egg (like the pizzas we buy in the restaurant in the square.) So we added them 10 minutes before the end. Tragically I dropped Galen's as I was getting it out of the oven and the egg went splat. He cried, I nearly cried. My husband scooped up the egg and plonked it back on top.

The pizza was great. It was 10.30 snack time so we decided to try it. The recipe said for 15 people. Perhaps it meant 'you could cut it into 15 slices'? We were 2 adults, 2 small children and 2 babies and there wasn't much left over. And it wasn't even lunch time.

Galen had rolled his thin and Dante's was a bit thicker but both worked fine.

The kitchen looked like a bag of flour had exploded in it, which wasn't too far from the truth. Definitely more untidy than brownies but more successful on the eating front (and health front).

Verdict: a huge success, definitely recommend and will be doing again in the future. Even without my 2 little helpers.

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Dr Orlena Kerek

I am a paediatric doctor and mother of 4 small scamps. I write about helping children to eat healthily, without lots of stress and worry. It’s all about building healthy habits that last a lifetime.