Make Your Own Pizza Party
Whether you're planning a night at home with your children or hosting a party with a living room full of hyper youngsters, you have to find a way to entertain the kids and get them to eat dinner. Take care of both tasks at once by setting up a make-your-own-pizza workstation. It'll be a night of great memories.
Step 1: The Dough
You can easily find store-bought pizza dough that's precooked, though it may only come in large sizes. In that case, each person can put their toppings on a portion of the pie.
For a truly unique dinner experience (and one that will be far more memorable for your kids and any friends they have over), make the dough from scratch, and then cut and roll it into personal-size portions for everyone (about 10 inches in diameter each). Kids love the texture of the dough as they knead it with their hands.Dough Recipes
Step 2: The Sauce
The easy way to do this is to use your favorite jarred marinara sauce. If you want to be a little more unique, you can try a pesto, or pink sauce (marinara with some cream mixed in).
If you have a little more time, you can even make your own sauce.Sauce Recipes
Cilantro Cream Sauce (for a Mexican twist)
Pesto Cream Sauce (good for teens or adults)
Step 3: The Toppings
This is where the personal pizzas get really personal. Set out bowls of toppings for everyone to choose from. Set out everything from the traditional to the unconventional, and let everyone spread toppings in any combination they like. If the kids are working with uncooked crusts, spread flour over the table or counter top where their pizzas are being assembled so the dough doesn't stick to the work surface.
Ideas for Toppings
bowls of sauce with spoons for scooping
cheddar cheese (shredded)
gouda cheese (sliced or shredded)
fresh tomato slices
pineapple slices or chunks
crumbled cooked sausage
shredded or chopped cooked chicken (a good way to use leftover rotisserie)
thinly sliced steak (undercooked so it doesn't dry out in the oven)
uncooked shrimp (they will cook in the oven)
Step 4: Cooking
With the smaller size of the pizzas, you should be able to fit at least four in an oven at one time on two greased baking sheets (the sheets will catch any drippy cheese and sauce). For crispy crusts, try cooking them on pizza stones. Alternatively, you can partially bake the crusts before everyone adds their toppings, and then place each assembled pie directly on the oven racks -- this will help all the pizzas in the oven cook more evenly and reduce cooking time, while also making the crusts nice and crispy.
Make sure little hands stay away from the hot oven.
The small pizzas require a little less cooking time than a full-sized one, so keep an eye on the progress. Check on them at around 10 minutes, and make sure the crusts and any meat are properly cooked through.
While your little guests are happily munching away on their creations, throw dessert in the oven. The kids will go wild for this colorful fruit pizza with a cookie-dough crust. Save some time by mixing the dough earlier in the day, and refrigerating it until you're ready to roll and bake it.
Let the kids help put the toppings on it for the perfect cap to their pizza party.