Fun Valentine’s Dinner Idea: Make-Your-Own Heart-Shaped Pizzas (Kids Cook Monday)
|February 12, 2013||Posted by Stacy under Healthy eating at home|
One of my family food resolutions for the new year is to do more Make-Your-Own nights. After all, kids tend to be more enthusiastic about eating a meal (even if it includes unfamiliar or lesser-loved ingredients) that they helped create. Take, for instance, Make-Your-Own Salad Night, when my normally salad-resistant kids devoured a bowl of mixed greens with fresh fruit to my amazement and delight.
For Valentine’s Day, I’m thinking Make-Your-Own Heart-Shaped Pizzas would be fun. So I test drove the idea on my kids on Super Bowl night. I knew that it wouldn’t be a challenging meal for my 4-year-old twins. My 7-year-old son, however, isn’t a fan of pizza since he got sick after eating it once. But even he was excited about designing his own and downed it happily.
Creating heart shapes was easy to do with a pizza cutter. To get the crust crisp, I set the oven temp to 500 degrees and placed baking sheets in the oven as it preheated. Before adding toppings, I cooked the pizza dough until the edges and bottom were golden. It puffed up a little in the oven, but I just used a spatula to flatten it again.
After removing the pizza crusts from the oven, I placed them on a cool cookie sheet (so the kids wouldn’t burn themselves). The kids added their own toppings, which I’d set out in bowls on our dining table. Then the pizzas went back in the oven until the cheese was melted and bubbly.
They may not be perfectly symmetrical, but there’s a whole lot of love in these heart-shaped guys. This one is topped with homemade spinach-walnut pesto, red peppers and sun-dried tomatoes:
We also did a plain version with just tomato sauce and mozzarella:
Heart-Shaped Whole-Wheat Individual Pizzas
Dough recipe from Eating Well
TO MAKE THE DOUGH:
- 1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour (I used whole-wheat pastry flour)
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 package quick-rising yeast, (2 1/4 teaspoons), such as Fleischmann’s RapidRise
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 3/4 cup hot water, (120–130°F)
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- Combine whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, yeast, salt and sugar in a food processor; pulse to mix. Combine hot water and oil in a measuring cup. With the motor running, gradually pour in enough of the hot liquid until the mixture forms a sticky ball. The dough should be quite soft. If it seems dry, add 1 to 2 tablespoons warm water; if too sticky, add 1 to 2 tablespoons flour. Process until the dough forms a ball, then process for 1 minute to knead.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Coat a sheet of plastic wrap with cooking spray and place it, sprayed-side down, over the dough. Let the dough rest for 10 to 20 minutes before rolling.
- MAKE-AHEAD TIP: Store in a plastic bag coated with cooking spray in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature before using.
TO MAKE THE PIZZAS :
- Place a pizza stone or inverted baking sheet on lowest oven rack; preheat oven to 500°F.
- On a floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll the dough as thin as possible. Use a pizza cutter to make heart-shaped individual pizzas.
- Transfer dough to hot pizza stone or baking sheet and cook until the bottom and edges are crisp and golden (this took about 6 to 7 minutes in my oven). Remove from oven and place toppings on pizza. (If kids are adding toppings, transfer pizzas to a cool baking sheet temporarily so there is no risk of little hands getting burned.)
- Return pizzas to oven and cook until cheese is melted and bubbly (about another 5 or 6 minutes in my oven).
- TOPPINGS SUGGESTIONS: spinach-walnut pesto or red sauce, very thinly sliced Brussels sprouts, sliced red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, chopped red onions, chopped fresh spinach, fresh basil, shredded mozzarella, Parmesan cheese.