Foodie Friday: Pizza for Toddlers, Made by Toddlers

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My plan was to do a pictorial story of when Little Mister and Little Missy made their own pizzas for dinner one evening after daycare. Unfortunately, my portable hard drive (aka photo treasure chest) is corrupt and I have so far been unable to salvage photos and videos taken of our twins from the last two years! Our toddler pizza experience was one of the collections which is unsalvagable so far.

So I will be up to you, the reader, to… PICTURE THIS…

It’s the night before TGIF and I am inspired to do something different for dinner to take us into the weekend. After looking at what ingredients (aka leftovers) we have available: a packet of Indian naan, can of tomato paste, green peppers, ground beef and chicken. I settled on making “plate-sized” pizzas. And hmmm why not take it one step further and let our 2 1/2 year olds design-their-own?

After doing a quick google search for pizza sauce, I came across this super easy recipe: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/easy-pizza-sauce-iii/ Why not make homemade pizza sauce so you at least know what goes into it?

My goal was to get all the ingredients ready beforehand, and like craft time, get the kids to “assemble” it. The pizza sauce needs to be chilled so it’s the perfect thing to do the night before. The ground beef was already cooked with spices, and we had some leftover cubes of cooked chicken ready to use as another topping. Half a block of cheese was grated the night before also. After work the next day, and before going to pick them up from daycare, I quickly sliced up the mushrooms, tomato and green pepper.

When the kids came home from daycare they donned their aprons and got to work preparing their masterpieces. Each got a small round baking pan (used by Mr. Mama for making nachos) to hold their naan (flatbread). Each got a small stainless steel bowl with spoon to hold their pizza sauce. I showed them how to spread the pizza sauce over the naan and they got really into it! Luckily it didn’t get onto their clothes.

Next up we had several toppings. It was neat to see what types of flavours they were choosing. The sliced apples they were munching on while they worked went on there…. sliced mushrooms, and very few green peppers and tomato slices (not their favourites). The meat toppings of ground beef and cubed chicken were carefully arranged as if part of a puzzle. Finally the grated cheese… oh the cheese.. In two containers of course, one for each! A chunk of it was eaten, the rest was fought over. But finally it perservered and the pizzas were complete!

Here’s where I wish there was a photo to show you what their finished products looked like. Picture a tandoori naan pizza shaped like, well, India (coincidence? hmm). With apples as a base layer, some random vegetables and meat, and topped with lots of cheese. It looked like a cheese mountain. Then in the oven it went. Luckily, it didn’t take long as all it needed was to be toasted until the cheese melted (since all the beef and chicken were pre-cooked).

As I wasn’t sure whether Mister and Missy would be able to wait for the pizza to be ready, I gave them another meal while we waited. But when those pizzas came out of the oven, they wanted “Mow !” (more)

Would we do it again? For sure! At first Mr. Mama wasn’t too thrilled about the idea of an apple pizza but I gotta say, the sweetness of the apples gave it a nice flavour.

Sometimes we don’t give toddlers enough credit. Future chefs, perhaps?

Ambereen is mom to almost 3 year old B/G twins and is always looking for ways to let them help in the kitchen. Aside from fulltime work and planning meals for the week, she maintains her blog 2Cute – Adventures in Twin Parenting

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Ringing the Dinner Bell

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So at our house, as I think I’ve only mentioned about a million times, dinner is a bit of a struggle. As the mom, I feel the pressure to provide a “meal plan” each week that covers everyone’s nutritional needs while providing fast prep and maximizing our grocery dollars. Add to that active children with evening activities, hubby and I both working full-time and each of us having other activities as well, and the task of making a family dinner seems nearly impossible.

I have developed some shortcuts. One night a week, we generally have frozen pizza or take-and-bake pizza from Costco or Papa Murphy’s. I try to cook a “real” meal on Sunday when I tend to have some time. But it’s the consistency that I find challenging. I feel like each week is so very different in the activities our family is doing that any plan I develop goes out the window by next week.

I’m hoping that I’m not alone in this struggle. So I’m asking for your help and advice – what do you eat for dinner? How do you handle planning meals over the course of a month? Let’s all share ideas here, whether it’s utilizing your slow cooker, planning for full-blown-sit-down meals, or foraging in the cupboards for whatever you can find on hand. I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

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