Getting kids to help with making dinner is always a challenge. Whilst they might be enthusiastic to ‘help’ with bickies or cake, getting them excited about dinner is another thing altogether. Combine that with trying to do things late in the day, with cranky children, and it can all seem a bit too hard. I find one of the easiest ways to combat this is to make mini pizzas. With the right preparation, it can be quick, easy, cheap and (relatively) healthy. This one is also great for a large number of kids or a kid’s sleepover.
What you’ll need:
Wholegrain English muffins
Tomato paste/pizza sauce and spoons to spread with
Ingredients to top the pizza with (whatever your child likes to eat)
A chopping board, knife and small bowls for the ingredients
Baking paper and an oven tray
A permanent marker (for writing names on the baking paper
How to do it:
Preheat the oven to 180degrees and line one oven tray with a piece of baking paper
Chop up the ingedients for each of the mini pizzas, ensuring that you make them nice and small. Place just one type on ingredient in each bowl. This time I used orange cherry tomatoes from our garden, grated cheese, bacon pieces, mild salami and mushrooms. Previously I have also used capsicum, olives, gerkins(!), baby bocconcini and other random things that my children were loving at that particular time. I generally use things that don't really require cooking as such i.e. I don't include raw meat etc, as the children are handling the food and the cooking instructions here aren't designed to cook foods all the way through.
Cut the English muffins in half prepare the pizza sauce. Get everything ready on the bench and set up a little station for each child with their own muffins and spoons to spread sauce.
This is where things get a little messy ☺ Call over the kids and let them at it. Encourage them to try new things, and to make 2 or more different types. My 2 and 3 year olds just stick with one muffin each, but you can do as many as you need to depending on the age of the children you’re feeding.
On the Baking paper, write the names of each of the children and then get them to put their finished products onto their name. (I have just used first inititals for the sake of this article).
Bake in the oven until the cheese is melted. Cooking time will depend on your oven, but for mine it only took about 6-7 mins. You could also do it under the grill if your oven has the capacity – I just prefer the oven because the children can look through the door and watch the progress as their creations cook.
Cool and serve.
I love that cooking food like this allows you to cater for a number of different children with different tastes without having to do several different meals. This makes it a great option for a dinner party if you have a few different families with children coming over. You can prep all the ingredients beforehand and just bring things out when you’re ready. It is also a great way to get children to try new vegetables.