Cooking with the Kids: It’s Pizza Time With Jadon!

I am passionate about teaching my kids where food comes from and instilling healthful eating habits. By providing times for fun, yet educational, opportunities in the kitchen, the kids have learned to enjoy a wide variety of foods, along with learning how to prepare their favorite foods.

This is why I have begun the new weekly tradition in our home called, “Cooking with the Kids.” The kids select a recipe and help cook it. Then, I blog about it. Currently, we are using recipes from The Essential New York Times Cookbook.

For this week’s installment of “Cooking with the Kids,” my son, Jadon, chose to make pizza. Our family LOVES pizza. No, really, I mean we LOVE pizza. While living in Denver from 2003-2008, we began making homemade pizza, both as a way to save money and to get our kids cooking in the kitchen.

After some deliberation (mainly by me), we selected “Chez Panisse Calzone (or Pizza) Dough.” (CLICK HERE to read an article about Chez Panisse, which includes several recipes.)

Chez Panisse is a restaurant in Berkeley, CA, where Chef Alice Waters makes the most amazing food from the “finest and freshest seasonal ingredients that are produced sustainably and locally.”  Several years ago, I became aware of Alice Waters, when I read about her involvement with a project called “The Edible Schoolyard.” This project began in 1996, when she created a one-acre garden, kitchen-classroom, and a “eco-gastroomic” curriculum for the students of Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School in Berkeley, CA.  Here, the students are actively involved in all aspects of the food cycle. Since then, I have read several of her books, and used many of the recipes. One of my favorites is In the Green Kitchen: Techniques to Learn by Heart.

Although this recipe is more time consuming than my go-to “15 Minute Pizza Dough” recipe, every single step was TOTALLY worth it. Oh. My. Goodness. It was seriously amazing! We made a double recipe, so we would have enough dough to cover our 18″ pizza pan. Then, we topped it with our “Secret Recipe Pizza Sauce,” Canadian Bacon, Basil and Cheese. We could hardly wait for it to bake. The aroma in the house was torture!

What was the verdict? Well, everyone loved the pizza dough (which can be used for calzones, too). However, the kids asked that next time I not put the basil on until the last few minutes, as it got a bit singed. Totally, my fault!

Overall, this is one of the best pizza dough recipes we have ever tried. We definitely recommend you trying this one. Personally, the next time I make this one, I will be caramelizing some onions, adding a bit of goat cheese and sun-dried tomatoes. Of course, that will be for the grown-ups. The kids have asked for a “Macaroni and Cheese Pizza.” Yes, it’s just as it sounds: pizza dough, topped with macaroni and cheese. Not my tastes, but, oh well.

Take an evening to cook with your kids. You’ll be glad you did!

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