- Bettina Applewhite
Build Your Own Pizza Station
One way to get your kids to eat better is to get them involved in the process. Who doesn't like pizza? It's even better when you get to add in your own toppings. This do-it-yourself pizza comes together really quickly so it's great for a mid-day activity that also serves as a delicious lunch.
I don't like many hands in the kitchen while I'm cooking but if those hands are little hands that are learning, I'm excited for it. Children learn by doing and observing. Working together to prepare a meal, gets them excited for the meal in front of them. It gives them ownership and for us trying to keep them fed, it helps them choose exactly what they want for their meals.
Putting together a pizza making station can be pretty simple. I use whole wheat lavish bread which is already cooked so it toasts quickly for a delicious thin crust pizza in no time. The day before or a few minutes before put several different toppings in little bowls. You can have a few basic ingredients like pizza sauce, shredded mozzarella cheese, and pepperoni or you can have a smorgasbord full of ingredients like mushrooms, mini-meatballs, pesto, fresh basil, and fresh mozzarella.
What You Need to Build a Pizza Making Station
Whole Wheat Lavish Bread
Your Favorite Toppings
Sliced Bell Peppers
Even Some Unique Toppings
Fresh Sliced Mozzarella
Sliced Chicken Breast
The key is to choose some foods that your children will like and a couple that you're unsure if they've even tried before. Variety is key. They can learn while they build. Maybe they haven't tried black olives before but it's an option for a topping. They can taste one before they put it on their pizza to see if they would like it. Or maybe they're familiar with broccoli but they've never had broccoli on pizza. Let's try it to see how it turns out.
When I was growing up pizza was for Fridays. My middle school offered pizza lunch on Fridays and I would be so excited to have pizza for lunch. It was the best end-of-the-week meal. Friday nights were often pizza and movie night too. Instead of ordering in, make your own with all the fixings you want.
Building a pizza making station can be fun for us adults too. A quick gathering for a game night and don't know what to make, get your guests to do the work for you. Build a pizza making station and share stories along the way.
In order to make this a complete meal that's an acceptable reimbursable meal for the school lunch program, serve your pizza with a garden salad and some fresh fruit. The USDA requires that all grains served in school meals programs are whole grains. This is why it's important to choose a whole wheat crust. Whole wheat lavish bread is tasty and meets this requirement. I like using lavish bread because I like a thin crust pizza over a pan crust pizza. Plus, it toasts up so quickly.
To make your pizzas, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray, lay 1 - 2 pieces of lavish bread on the sheet tray. Spray lightly with cooking spray. Bake for 5 minutes. Remove pan from oven. Flip lavish bread over. Top with your favorite toppings. Try a thin layer of pizza sauce (1/2 Cup), Shredded mozzarella cheese (enough to cover the pizza, ~1/2 to 3/4 Cup), pepperoni slices, sliced mushrooms, and sliced onions and bell peppers. Or try pesto, parmesan cheese, fresh sliced mozzarella cheese, and fresh cherry tomatoes.
Place your pizza back into the oven for 5 minutes until the cheese melts and is ooey and gooey. Slice and serve. It's so quick that you can make them in batches without having to wait for a long time.
Build Your Own Pizza Station
Serves as Many as Like
Whole Wheat Lavish Bread (Or Another kind of Whole Wheat Flatbread)
About 1/2 cup Pizza Sauce per Pizza
All the Toppings You Love and Some to Try. See Suggestions above
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray baking sheet and lavish bread with nonstick spray. Place lavish bread on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 3 minutes on one side. Remove from oven. Flip on other side.
Place desired toppings on lavish bread.
Place back into oven and cook for 5 minutes until cheeses have melted.
Slice and Serve. Repeat as desired.