I am constantly on the lookout for easy dinner ideas that don’t take a lot of time. Here at my house, we often get caught up with activities during our day that by mid afternoon, it’s time to start to think about what’s for dinner. Pizza is one of those easy take out options that works for many families, but isn’t always the healthiest. And for those of you with (and without!) food allergies, you’d be surprised at the allergy risk for some of the well known pizza places. Many of them have common allergens in their kitchens, especially if they offer dessert options.
The good news is that homemade pizza is one of those foods that is really fun to make with kids. You can do a lot of the prep work and get them to help put toppings on the pizza. Typically, if kids are more involved in making the food, they are more likely to eat it. That’s a bonus, right? Meaning you can probably sneak in some extra veggies as toppings, too. I find that the trouble with store bought dough is that it tends to taste yeasty, and frankly, I’ve never enjoyed eating it. You know that taste I’m talking about? No thank you. Plus, with store bought dough being made in the bakery section of the grocery store, there is no guarantee that it is allergy friendly – which of course is a big factor in our household.
This recipe below solves so many of these problems – you can whip up the dough in 5 minutes during nap time, it reduces the amount of yeast needed so it tastes MUCH better. You can also get your children involved, making meal time fun. Because you make it at home, you can be sure to know what goes into it, making it extremely allergy friendly! (However, if you have a wheat or gluten allergy, you likely need to substitute for an alternative flour. I have not experimented with this, but please share with me if you do!)
The original recipe inspiration for the dough and sauce comes from Smitten Kitchen. If you’ve ever visited Deb’s blog, you’ll know that her recipes are so well done and the food is delicious. It’s always my first stop when I’m looking to try something new.
- 3 cups of all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast (for dough made at nap time*) [note: you do not need to proof the yeast in advance]
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of sea salt
- 1 1/4 cup luke warm water (plus another teaspoon or two if needed to bring the dough together)
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
In the bowl of a stand mixer and using a dough hook attachment, mix together flour, yeast, sea salt and water. Ensure dough comes together in a ball – about 3 minutes. If needed, add 1-2 teaspoons of water to bring dough together.
(While the dough is mixing I start draining the tomatoes for homemade sauce – see below)
Using floured hands, remove dough from the bowl. It will be sticky! Grease the inside of the bowl with about 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Roll dough ball in oil to ensure all sides are covered. Put dough in bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and place the bowl in a warm location to rise for 2+ hours. Nap time for my LO is just after lunch, so I usually try and make dough by 2pm at the latest for a 5:00pm dinner. I personally find that because you are using a lot less yeast than standard recipes, the dough doesn’t rise a huge amount.
(*On her site, Deb provides an option for making the dough the night before. I have tried the overnight method and in my opinion the dough is much more elastic and harder to work with. The final result tastes essentially the same. I prefer the “nap time dough” method because it is easier to work with, and fit with our daily schedule much easier)
I am also am a fan of making my own sauce.
- 1 x 28oz can of tomatos (I use crushed tomatoes)
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- pinch of sugar
Drain tomatoes through a colander over a large bowl for 30+ mins. Once drained, add to blender with garlic, salt and sugar. Blend until smooth, about 1-2 minutes.
Mozzarella cheese, shredded
Tomato slices, Onion, Peppers, Spinach, or whatever toppings you prefer on your pizza!
After your dough has risen and the sauce is blended, you’re ready to assemble your pizza.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Grease a cookie sheet or pizza pan with a bit of olive oil. You can use cornmeal here if you’d like, but I prefer not to. Flour your hands and kneed the dough for about 1 minute. Start to stretch the dough into an elongated shape and stretch it out across the pan. Fold in around the edges to make a crust. Spread the pizza sauce over the dough, and dress the pizza with your desired toppings. Top with mozzarella cheese. My personal favourite is margerita-style with basil and mozzarella. I also like sliced tomato, onion, and bacon! If you have the time and patience, let your little one help you with dressing the pizza, they’ll love to help!
Bake the pizza for 10-12 minutes, until the crust is slightly golden and cheese is melted and toasted. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes.
Slice it up in fun ways – my toddler prefers small triangles, like mini-pizza slices! Enjoy!