Archives for posts with tag: fun for kids

Almost any homemade pizza dough recipe article will say that their pizza dough recipe is easier than ordering pizza delivery. Few things in this world are easier than calling and ordering a pizza — I am not going to lie. However, this pizza dough recipe I got from Mark Bittman’s The Food Matters Cookbook is very easy and fun for kids.

You need 5 ingredients:
2 cups of white whole wheat flour
1 cup of all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon of instant yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups of water
Olive oil for greasing the pan
Toppings of choice

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1. Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Slowly add water to the dry ingredients and mix with a big spoon until incorporated with the dry ingredients. Don’t over mix and don’t knead the dough. You just need to form a ragged mass shaped like a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for at least three hours or up to 12 hours.

2. When you are ready, heat the oven to 500 degrees. Oil a rimmed baking pan or iron skillet. Stretch or roll out the dough and press it in the pan or skillet and add toppings. Bake for 10 minutes in the oven.

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This is a super easy way to make pizza at home. Heat the oven to 475 degrees. Oil an iron skillet. Press your favorite pizza dough into the skillet (I like Trader Joe’s dough). Add your toppings and cheese. Place in the bottom shelf of the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Let the pizza cool for 5 minutes and then serve.

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Homemade Mac and Cheese is a bit time-consuming; so, you have to plan ahead. But, it is really easy to make and really delicious.

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a casserole dish or other large baking vessel with butter.

2. Grate 2 1/2 to 3 cups or so of your favorite cheese (the more cheese the cheesier your mac and cheese will be) — cheddar, jack, mozzarella are all good choices. Feel free to use a combination of cheeses.

3. Fill a pot with water and some salt. Boil water. Add about a pound of your favorite pasta. Cook according to instructions on the pasta box. Drain pasta and set aside.

4. While to pasta cooks, add 2 tablespoons of butter to a medium-sized saucepan. When it melts, add 2 tablespoons of flour. Cook the flour on medium-low heat for a few minutes. Add 2 cups of non fat or whole milk. Simmer for 15 minutes. Take off heat and add 2/3 of the grated cheese.

5. Combine cheese sauce and pasta in the a large bowl or the pot you used to boil the pasta. Add half the mixture to you baking dish. Sprinkle some grated cheese on it. Add the rest of the pasta and cheese mixture. Sprinkle remaining grated cheese on top. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.

My kids are really into those big pretzels at the mall.  It was a rainy Sunday and I thought it would be fun to try to make pretzels at home for three reasons:  1) they could play with the dough; 2) there are a lot of steps so this project can keep them busy for most of the day; and, 3) I had all the ingredients in the house.  First, we mixed flour, yeast, salt, and sugar in a bowl.

Then, we added hot water and oil and mixed the ingredients until they form a shaggy dough.

Then, I got a bit of help kneading the dough from my mixer.

The dough rested in a warm place for an hour. My house was pretty cold so I took a shower and brought the dough into the bathroom to heat up.

After the dough doubled in size, I divided the dough into ten pieces and my accomplices rolled the dough into long snakes. We then made an oval with each piece of dough, twisted the top ends around each other twice, and pushed the ends onto the edge of the pretzel. Forming the pretzels may take a bit of practice — just relax, think pretzel, and try your best.  Remember — they don’t have to look perfect to taste good.

Then, the pretzels rised under a clean dish towel for 20 minutes.

A quick dip in a boiling pot of water with some baking soda.

The pretzels puffed in the hot water.

Then, salt, bake, and enjoy.

These were so good that I hate to just call them pretzels. Yum knot? Twist of deliciousness?  What do you think?

Homemade Pretzels

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Kid’s Baking

Ingredients

3 cups of all purpose flour, plus extra for kneading

1 package of rapid rise yeast

1 tablespoon of sugar

1 teaspoon of salt

1 cup of warm water

3 tablespoons plus 3 teaspoons of vegetable oil

2 tablespoons of baking soda

2 tablespoons of coarse salt

1.  In a large bowl, stir together the flour, yeast, sugar, and salt.  The warm water must be between 115 and 120 degrees.  Pour the water and 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil into the flour mixture.  Stir with a wooden spoon until rough, shaggy dough forms.

2.  Knead the dough for about 10 minutes, until smooth and no longer sticky.  This can be done by hand or in a mixer with a dough hook.

3.  Gather the dough into a ball and let it rest in a bowl oiled with 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil.  Turn the dough over the coat it with oil.  Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap.  Set the bowl in a warm spot and let it rise for about 45 minutes, until doubled in size.

4.  Oil 2 baking sheets with the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil.  Dump the dough out onto a clean work surface.  Press gently on dough to deflate it.  Cut the dough into 10 equal pieces.  Role the dough into long snake shaped pieces.  Twist each piece into an oval shape.  At the top of the oval, twist the rope together twice.  Bring the ends of the rope to the bottom of the oval so the that twist is in the middle.  Press down on the ends so the dough sticks.

5.  Divided the pretzels evenly on 2 baking sheets.  Cover the pretzels loosely with plastic wrap.  Set the pretzels in a warm place and let rise for about 20 minutes, until puffed and doubled in size.  While the pretzels are rising, preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

6.  Fill a large pot two-third full with water and stir in the baking soda with a slotted spoon.  Bring the water to a rolling boil over high heat.  Boil the pretzels for about 30 seconds on each side.  The pretzels will puff up a bit.  Remove pretzel to baking sheet with a slotted spoon and place them 2 inches apart on the baking sheets.

7.  Sprinkle coarse salt on the pretzels and bake for about 15 minutes, until they are a deep golden brown.

Whenever my kids get playdough it seems to go missing and then reappear dried up under a piece of furniture.  One day I was home and we couldn’t find the latest batch of playdough so I decided to try to make some myself.  I looked on the internet and found many different recipes.  I found a recipe on Teachnet.com that seemed easy.

I mixed flour, warm water, cream of tartar, vegetable oil, and salt in a medium-sized pot. Then, I added food coloring.  I heated this mixture on the stove over medium heat until it clumped up like a ball of playdough.

I let the dough cool on the counter and then I put it in the refrigerator for about 10-15 minutes.

The playdough firmed up and had the consistency of store bought playdough.

Then I had a few minutes of peace and quiet.  Thank you, playdough.

Homemade Playdough

adapted from Teachnet.com

1 cup of flour

1 cup of warm water

2 teaspoons of cream of tartar

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

1/4 cup salt

food coloring

1.  Mix ingredients, adding food coloring last.  Stir over medium heat until clumpy.

2. Remove pan and place ball of playdough on the counter to cool.  Place in a place bag or airtight container in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes.

3.  When done playing with playdough, store in the refrigerator in a plastic bag for next time.