make your own pizza party

Kids love pizza. But there may be one thing they love more than eating pizza. Making a pizza! Can you blame them? They get to play with their food, make their meal how they want it and feel oh-so-grown-up in the process. What could be better?

The “make your own” pizza concept is especially good if you have kids who err on the picky side. Take my son for example. He’s actually not very picky (luckily), but he HATES melted, stringy cheese. Weird, right? I thought so until I found out that about 1/4 of the kids in his preschool class feel the same. I guess it’s a texture thing.

Anyway….the “make your own” pizza party is a perfect way to let kids customize what they like and don’t like (e.g. a pizza with no cheese, in my son’s case), as well as to introduce lots of color and variety (read: veggies) into a meal.

When we’re doing a “make your own” pizza party (which sometimes is just dinner, other times it’s a play date or actual party), I rely heavily on pre-prepared and canned items. After all, I should get to have some fun too, right?

The Crust

Crust options are infinite. Often times, I make my own pizza dough. Other times I rely on a pre-made dough from Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods. And yet other times, I pick up some whole grain flat bread and simply use that as the crust.

If you’re into making your own, my friend Serena at Teaspoon of Spice has a super easy recipe for quick-no-yeast-required homemade pizza dough (plus some awesome topping recommendations).

The Sauce

I have one tip for you here: avoid pizza sauce in tin cans. Tomato sauce is a naturally acidic food and that acid leaches BPA from tin cans, which you really should avoid. So if you’re opting for a pre-made sauce, go for a kind in a glass jar.

Or if you’re feeling ambitious. Make your own sauce. I often saute Pomi chopped tomatoes with some diced onion and garlic for a super flavorful and easy sauce.

The Toppings

Okay, topping options really are endless. So I won’t even attempt to list them. All I’ll say about toppings is this:

1. Don’t be afraid to rely heavily on pre-prepared, canned or frozen items: canned olives, jarred artichoke hearts, frozen fire roasted bell peppers, pre-diced onions, canned pineapple, etc.

2. Serve things in small bowls. Vegetables in small bowls are less intimidating to kids than a whole big mountain of vegetables. If one of your toppings goes quickly, you can always refill it.

What are your favorite topping combinations?

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