August 23, 2017

Recipes Food Articles Craft Articles F&C Shop

Cooking with Kids > Articles

Kids Love to Cook

by Fran Claro

"Tell me and I'll forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I'll understand." —Chinese proverb

I always enjoy having kids by my side instead of underfoot in the kitchen. And that proverb pretty much takes care of why it’s some of the best time we spend together. And as we ready a meal, we don’t only master cooking techniques; we also gab and sometimes even entertain friends. What better way to celebrate his birthday than to have your seven-year-old and his friends man the kitchen to turn out pizza, pasta, tacos, smoothies, and cupcakes decorated any way they please. The kids love pouring, measuring, mixing, and finally tasting the dishes they’ve created. And despite all their birthday-party goofiness (okay, call it exuberance), you can tell that they’ve learned something valuable and memorable about cooking: the camaraderie that blossoms whenever people get together to prepare a meal.

Pizza

For the crust:
  • 1 package yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (plus more for oiling the pans)
  • 3 tablespoons cornmeal
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, dissolve yeast in the water for five minutes, or until it bubbles.
  2. With mixer on low speed, add salt; beat in 1 1/2 cups of flour.
  3. Add olive oil.
  4. Replace paddle with dough hook, add remaining flour. Beat with dough hook on medium speed for about 5 minutes.
  5. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface; knead for about 5 minutes.
  6. Place dough in lightly oiled bowl; cover bowl with plastic wrap; let rise about 45 minutes.
  7. Preheat oven to 425º.
  8. Oil 2 jelly roll pans.
  9. Divide dough in half; on a lightly floured surface, roll and stretch each ball of dough into a rectangle.
  10. Sprinkle pans with a dusting of corn meal.
  11. Place 1 rolled-out crust on each pan; dough will not cover pan completely.
  12. Brush olive oil on the edge of each crust.
  13. Add toppings.
Bake for 9-13 minutes (depending on your oven).

Toppings:

Tomato and Basil

  • 1 cup canned diced plum tomatoes (pat away excess juice)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or ½ teaspoon dried
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
  • Olive oil
  1. Mix tomatoes with oil and seasonings.
  2. Spread 1/2 of tomato mixture on each crust
  3. Top with mozzarella slices; sprinkle with olive oil
  4. Bake.

Sausage Pizza

  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage, removed from casing
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  1. Heat olive oil
  2. Break sausage into pieces, in the hot oil, brown sausage until it has lost all its pink color.
  3. Prepare pizza as above; sprinkle sausage over mozzarella.
  4. Bake

Pepperoni Pizza

  1. Pound thinly sliced pepperoni
  2. Prepare pizza as above; spread discs of pepperoni atop mozzarella.
  3. Bake
 

About the Author

Fran Claro is a cook and contributing writer to Food & Crafts. She lives in Irvington, New York where she dreams up Italian feasts for her extended family.