In full accordance with the “Meanest Mom Ever” title I hold proudly, I do not make a separate meal for the kid who suddenly doesn’t like what we’re having for dinner. I do try though to make meals that are modular so the kid that doesn’t like red sauce can have pesto and the kid that likes pineapple doesn’t impose it on the one that claims not to like it (though I suspect he’s never actually tried it). Mini pizzas are a great way to satisfy everyone, especially when hosting other kids for a sleepover. Plus, kids are much more inclined to eat something they made (shhhhh don’t tell them!)
My basic pizza dough recipe is adapted from Cooking Light’s All-Purpose Pizza Dough recipe (which is fine on it’s own, but of course I have tweaked it!)
- 1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
- 1 1/4 cups warm water (100° to 110°)
- 3 cups (360 grams) flour* (plus additional for dusting the rolling surface)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 TBSP honey
- 2 TBSP olive oil
- Cooking spray
* the recipe calls for all-purpose. I use white-wheat or half AP and half whole wheat.
- Dissolve yeast and honey in warm water in a large bowl, and let stand 5 minutes. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife (or weigh). Add 1 cup flour, salt and olive oil to yeast mixture, and stir well. Stir in 2 cups flour, 1 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes), and add enough flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent the dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel tacky). (DISCLOSURE: Once the yeast has proofed, I dump everything into my stand mixer, turn in on, walk away, check facebook and when I come back it’s pizza dough. You can also skip this step entirely and buy pre-made dough at Trader Joe’s for 99 cents. I will not judge you).
- Place the dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size. (Press two fingers into dough. If an indentation remains, the dough has risen enough.) Punch dough down; cover and let rest 5 minutes.
- Heat oven to 450 degrees (if you have a baking or pizza stone, put it into the oven to heat up).
Now for the fun part!
One recipe above makes enough dough to make four adult-sized-servings. Sometimes I get obsessive and weigh them to make sure they’re equal (and will cook at the same rate). With kids, I make smaller portions.
Lots of different topping allow for the pickiest of eaters to be happy.
Kids really like to roll out and shape their own dough.
I like to top mine with parm cheese and brush with olive oil (a few lonely roasted red peppers I found in a jar in the fridge also made their way onto the crust).
Once the crust is baked, I top it with arugula tossed with olive oil and lemon juice, then sprinkle on pine nuts (and pomegranate seeds if I have them).
Your possibilities are endless.
4. I roll out and shape the pizzas on parchment paper (which CostCo now carries!). Once topped, use a pizza peel if you have one to slide onto the heated baking stone (keep pizzas on paper). If you don’t, bake on a cookie sheet on parchment paper or covered with foil and sprinkled with cornmeal. Check the bottom of the crust to make sure it’s not burning.
5. Bake at 450 for about 8 minutes. Cooking time will vary based on your own oven, size of pizza and cookie sheet vs baking stone.
Extra dough? Bake up a few plain crusts and use to make your own version of Pizza Lunchables.