June 14th, 2012
I’m not one for cutesy food. Probably to a fault—or at least to my children’s dismay—but I just can’t bring myself to stuff a cookie into a cookie, bake everything in a jar, or make a habit of putting funny faces on pancakes. Every once and while, though, I get down. I’ll shove something unexpected onto a stick (it works: kids like food on a stick) or make spooky, finger-shaped chocolate covered pretzels. I’m not a total wet blanket. (Ahem.)
These Deep-Dish Pizza Muffins (can be shared with kids 12+ mos)* were a challenge for me. I know, I know. They’re hardly cutesy, but they do scream “KIDS FOOD!” in a way that bugs me. If I can’t imagine making a recipe for just me and the Hungry Papa, then I can’t imagine making it for any of us. So, while we thoroughly enjoyed these, pizza muffins would normally be out since the Hungry Papa and I are not down with eating them on a weekly rotation.
Two things changed my mind about these: I found the recipe while reviewing the new, free Everyday Food cooking video newsletter with editor-in-chief Sarah Carey and the Hungry Boy had a dinner play date. Sarah’s video sold me on pizza muffins (she’s that good) and these are a perfect meal for hungry kids after a long day of school and hours of play.
The kids loved the pizza muffins as much as I love Sarah’s videos. (Full disclosure: The kids would have enjoyed the pizza muffins even more had I skipped the broccoli and added tomato sauce instead of fresh, diced tomatoes, but what’s new. They happily ate these just the same.) And, the best part, which Sarah doesn’t mention in her video, is that the Hungry Baby, in all his 2 1/2-year-old glory, was able to help make these while the big kids played on their own.
Since nothing about these has to be done perfectly in order for them to come out right, he could help with nearly every step. He oiled the muffin pan, pushed dough into place, and sprinkled ingredients in the doughy shell.
Maybe it was the way that everything came together, or maybe these are just genius. Either way, pizza muffins proved to be my perfect dinner play date meal. They are easy to make, fun, healthy and kind of irresistible. (Don’t you think?) And even though we don’t want to eat them all the time, paired with a simple salad, these pizza muffins were a totally enjoyable, laid back dinner for me and the Hungry Papa.
Have other similar recipes? What are your go-to dinner play date ideas?
Get the recipe for Sarah’s Mini Deep-Dish Pizzas and, if you like the sound of getting a daily recipe with short video how-to, check out my review of the Everyday Food video newsletter on Cool Mom Picks where you can get all the deets signing up.
*Note: While there are nothing in these that are unsafe for younger eaters, I recommend pizza muffins beginning at 12+ mos since they are best enjoyed by experienced finger food eaters. Pizza dough can be quite chewy and because of the shape of these pizza muffins, all of the dough is thick like the crust on a regular slice. Even 12- to 18-month-olds may need you to cut their muffin into smaller, age-appropriate bite sizes.