FIT FOR KIDS! GRILLED PERSONAL PIZZAS!

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This is another recipe designed for kids that might not win the James Beard award…

But will win you kudos as the super fun mom who made a party activity and supper that’s much healthier and much more delicious than take-out options: Grilled Personal Pizzas.

And even if you use healthier and higher quality toppings (like organic veggies, lower fat turkey and/or vegan sausage and pepperoni, and organic and/or vegan cheeses) it’s still probably less expensive than the cheap delivery type and is way more fun for the kids  because they make it themselves!

And, like the Frozen Yogurt Birthday Cake in a Jar, it was fun for me….because other than a little prep and the actual cooking, the kids did all the work!

I can tell you, after test driving this last week for a “Tween” party with a dozen 11 year old girls –who were all about expressing their creativity and individuality– it was perfect!

They had so much fun, created exactly what they wanted, and I had an (almost) clean kitchen when it was all done and never had to slow the party down to wait on a delivery guy! (Dancing while making, by the way, is optional, but highly recommended…)

FIT FOR KIDS: GRILLED PERSONAL PIZZAS

Again, like the Birthday Cake in a Jar post, this is less of a recipe than a technique..with some loose ideas about toppings. Personalize it to your party and your kids!

INGREDIENTS:

1. Pre-packaged raw pizza dough…. If you have a Trader Joe’s store in your area (they’re popping up everywhere now), they have plain white flour dough, whole wheat dough and garlic and herb dough for less than 2 dollars a package…which can make 4, 6 or 8 personal pizza crusts.  But many other supermarket chains across the U.S. now carry raw dough, too.

But if you really want to do this, and no store in your area has raw dough, make your own!  It’s SO easy. Just go to my favorite food site, Foodily.com, for these “Pizza Dough” recipes.  You’ll get dough recipes from all of your favorite chefs and you can even get specific about what you want: Whole wheat? Low fat? Gluten free? They’re all there!

Whether you buy the raw stuff in a store or make your own, lightly flour your hands so you can handle the sticky dough and make it into one big ball…

Then cut it, on a cutting board, into 4, 6, or 8 pieces (according to the size of the kids you’re serving and the size you want your pizzas to be) and roll the pieces into balls.

Plop the balls unto un-greased non-stick baking sheets and start stretching and pushing…

(A good non stick pan will help you stretch it to the thinnest possible thickness and help it stay put, so it doesn’t shrink back…If you try and stretch it to perfection on a cutting board it’s much harder!)

If you’ve never done this before, start by pressing down in the middle, pushing the dough from the middle with one hand, while you pull the dough from the outside with the other hand until you get it as thin as you can.  (Yikes! I can’t believe how old my hand looks here! Look away!! Look away!!!)

When your oven is preheated (most dough packages call for 450), start tossing the baking sheets into the hot oven as you get them loaded, cooking each tray no more than 5-6 minutes…you want them to be firm enough to handle, but not fully cooked or crispy.

(Tip: You can do this step the morning of your party and stack them on a plate until ready to use. Or, do the day before and refrigerate until the next day.)

PIZZA SAUCE: For ease, just buy pizza sauce in a jar or can..organic if you can get it..it will be fine…

TOPPINGS:

The toppings can be adjusted to what you know your kids will like best and what you feel comfortable with…

For this party, I used a mix of fresh raw veggies and herbs (sliced tomatoes and chopped basil and oregano),  slightly cooked veggies (peppers, onions and mushrooms), and a mix of low fat mozzarella and vegan cheese and organic pork, turkey and vegan meats…

(Tip: You can quickly warm the slices of vegan pepperoni and crumbles of sausage in a non stick pan with a whisper of olive oil spray just to make them more appetizing.

Then, using the same pan, without washing,  slightly soften the peppers, onions, and mushrooms so they’d be soft enough to fully cook in the few minutes they’re on the grill…)

After everything is prepped and in bowls, let the kids get to work building their pizzas as you pre-heat your grill…

Heat all burners on high for 15 minutes, lid closed. (You want to create the heat of a brick pizza oven in there!)

Turn the heat to low and toss the pizzas on and close the lid again for 5-6 minutes until the cheese is fully melted.

As you pull the pizzas from the grill, set them on cooling racks in the kitchen for a few minutes so the cheese can firm up a bit before you toss them on cutting boards to slice…

With a platter or two of grilled chicken legs and veggies–like zucchini, peppers, asparagus, onions, eggplant and corn that you cook over medium heat before you crank the grill up to high to warm the grill for the pizzas–it makes for a fun buffet full of protein, veggies and pizzas that everyone will  love!

PLAY WITH YOUR FOOD

This is also a fun way to make appetizers for a grown up party… Try adding feta cheese, shrimp, slightly cooked asparagus or even some anchovies to the mix for adult eaters!

RE-USE, RE-PURPOSE, RE-CYCLE

If you’ve done this for a party over the weekend and ended up with more pizzas than you can eat that night, let them cool, bag them and freeze them!

Re-heat in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes, serve with a huge salad, and you’ll have a ready to go dinner on a Wednesday night!

(Or, do as I did with a couple of wonderful working moms who picked up their girls the next day, and send them home with a frozen bag or two of pizza…they’ll love you forever!!)

About Lisa McRee

After 25 years as a local and network anchor, Lisa was just another American mother struggling, and failing, to lose weight. Finally, she cracked the code, and lost 30 pounds, quickly and for good, by doing what she loves: reporting, cooking and eating! The Skinny is the inside story on how she did it, and how you can, too!
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