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Kid-Friendly DIY Pizza Kits

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Ask most kids what their favorite food is, and chances are, they’ll say pizza! In fact, a recent Gallup Poll revealed children between the ages of 3 and 11 prefer pizzaover all other foods for lunch and dinner.

Pizza makes a delicious lunch or snack for home or school, but can be difficult to pack in a lunchbox. Store-bought pizza lunch kits are quick and convenient, but can be expensive and contain unhealthy ingredients. Luckily, it’s extremely easy to make homemade pizza kits when you know how. Here, we’ll discuss the many benefits of making at-home pizza lunch kits, along with ideas for healthy ingredients and delicious and easy make-ahead recipes for sauce and crusts.

The Benefits of Making Homemade Pizza Kits

Store-bought pizza lunch kits are a quick and convenient lunch or snack option for busy families and a fun treat for kids. However, with convenience often comes some not-so-convenient factors, such as:

  • Expense — Store-bought pizza lunch kits often contain a small amount of food for the price, with not all kids liking what’s in them and not enough food to fill up hungry bellies. They can result in wasted food, wasted money and a hungry child.
  • Unhealthy ingredients — Although there are now some readymade lunch kits on the market that contain organic ingredients, many are still loaded with salt, sugar and preservatives. Always read the nutrition information to be sure you know what’s inside.

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  • No consideration of special diets— Researchers estimate up to 5.9 million American children have food allergies. With the incidence of food intolerance and allergies increasing every year, more and more parents must pay scrupulous attention to what their child eats. Prepackaged lunch kits have a myriad of ingredients kids with food allergies and intolerances can’t eat.
  • No personalization options — The thing that makes these lunch kits convenient — prepackaging — is also what makes them unyielding when it comes to customization. With no way of substituting ingredients, customers have no choice but to buy the kits as-is, even if their children don’t like everything that comes in it.

There are many benefits of making your own pizza kits at home, which include:

  • Lower cost— Statistics project Americans will spend more than $41 billion on kids’ food and beverages this year alone. Convenience often comes with a price. It is much more cost-effective to make and assemble DIY lunch kits for kids that contain ingredients you can make ahead in large batches and refrigerate or freeze for future use.
  • Healthier ingredients — With control over the ingredients you place in your homemade lunch kits, you can choose ingredients that are healthier. That includes selecting foods with lower fat and sugar contents and incorporating more fruits and vegetables. You can easily sneak extra veggies into the sauce and crust without the kids even knowing.
  • Control over portions and food pairings — With control over portions, you can be sure your child is getting a lunch kit that will both nourish and fill them up. Pair them with other fun healthy snacks of their choosing so they will genuinely want to eat what’s inside.
  • Ability to tailor to special diets — For parents of children who require a special diet due to food allergies and intolerances, it’s imperative to know every ingredient to the last detail. When you make your own pizza kit at home, you can be sure you know exactly what is in it and adjust ingredients accordingly.
  • Getting kids involved — Making homemade pizza lunch kits is a fun way to get kids involved in meal choice and preparation. It also encourages them to try new foods and help with family tasks. They are easy to prepare ahead and simple for a child to quickly assemble on their own at home or at school.

What You’ll Need to Make Your Own Kid-Friendly DIY Pizza Kit

Put together a few basics like crust, sauce, cheese and toppings, package them in a fun and convenient container and you’ve got yourself a DIY pizza kit any kid will love! The list of ingredient combinations is almost endless. Keep in mind, it’s best to choose ingredients that will taste good if your kid has to eat them cold. You can prepare many of the ingredients ahead of time and refrigerate or freeze them.

  1. Crust

There are many varieties of crusts you can use for your pizza kits, including:

  • Homemade crusts
  • Prepackaged crusts
  • Crusts made with vegetables such as cauliflower
  • Gluten-free crusts

Whether your child has a special diet or you just want a delicious way to incorporate vegetables into their diet, you can adapt the pizza crust to each child’s individual needs.

  1. Sauce

You can also choose from a variety of sauces for your pizza kits, including:

  • Store-bought pasta or pizza sauce
  • Homemade sauce

Incorporating extra veggies into a homemade tomato sauce is a great way to pack your child’s lunch full of vitamins and nutrients without them even realizing it.

  1. Cheese

No pizza kit is complete without cheese. Available in a number of delicious varieties, popular pizza cheeses include:

  • Mozzarella — available in whole milk and low-fat skim varieties
  • Cheddar
  • Parmesan
  • Lactose- and dairy-free cheese
  • Vegan imitation cheese

Choose one or a combination of different cheeses for a delicious lunch or snack that’s friendly for all types of kids.

  1. Toppings

Here is where your kids can really get involved in their meal choice and have some fun. Popular pizza kit toppings include:

  • Pepperoni — available in turkey, low-fat and low-sodium varieties
  • Veggies — marinated mushrooms, sliced black olives, roasted veggies
  • Diced or thinly sliced ham
  • Cooked shredded chicken
  • Cooked crumbled bacon or ground sausage
  • Pineapple

Toppings should be bite-sized and easy for kids to spread or distribute onto their pizza.

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Containers and Utensils

Part of the convenience of a lunch kit is packing it in a small and portable container. Don’t forget a spoon or other utensil for spreading pizza sauce and toppings. Here are a few other things you’ll want to have on hand when assembling your homemade pizza kit:

  • Plastic sandwich containers with a lid — also available with separate compartments for adding other snacks
  • Sandwich and snack-sized bags, either plastic or reusable
  • Plastic or metal utensils

Enlisting your child’s help in packing their homemade lunch kits for school encourages them to help out and also helps them feel like they’re part of their food choices.

Fun and Easy Recipes for Homemade DIY Pizza Kits

Homemade kids’ lunch kits are not only easy to prepare, but also easy to assemble. Here are some basic guidelines for packing and assembling your do-it-yourself lunch kit, along with some easy and adaptable recipes to help you make them nutritious and delicious.

  1. Homemade DIY Pizza Kits

Ingredients:

1 recipe no-fail pizza crust or 1 recipe quick-and-easy pizza crust

  • 14-ounce jar pizza sauce, or use a homemade recipe
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Thinly sliced pepperoni
  • Snack-sized sandwich bags
  • 1 plastic spoon
  • 1 sandwich storage container

Directions:

Prepare pizza dough according to recipe. Separate dough into 18 to 20 golf-ball-sized pizza dough balls. Set aside and let the dough rest for about 10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. On a floured surface, roll out each pizza dough ball into a five-inch circle. Place each pizza round on a pizza pan brushed with olive oil or a baking stone. Using a fork, prick the pizza rounds a few times to keep the dough from puffing up.

Bake pizza dough for eight minutes or until the bottoms are lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool before removing from pizza pan. When completely cool, place in a gallon-size freezer bag and store in the freezer until ready to use.

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To assemble pizza kit:

Add two pizza crusts to a plastic container with a lid. Add about two to three tablespoons of pizza sauce to a snack-sized zipper sandwich bag and seal. Put toppings such as mozzarella, cheddar cheese and pepperoni into a second bag and seal it. Add everything to the plastic sandwich container and place a plastic spoon inside to spread the pizza sauce. Close or snap shut and add to your child’s lunchbox.

  1. No-Fail Pizza Crust

Yields 18 to 20 snack-size pizzas

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup of warm water
  • 1 tablespoon of baking powder
  • 4 tablespoons of butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 ounce packet of yeast — 2 1/4 teaspoons

Directions:

Dissolve the yeast in warm water and set aside. Mix the flour, salt and baking powder. Add the softened butter and cut into the flour mixture using a pastry blender or fork. Add the yeast mixture and stir together to combine. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until well blended.

  1. Quick and Easy Pizza Crust

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 ounce packet of yeast — 2 1/4 teaspoons
  • 1 cup of warm water
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable or olive oil
  • 2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons of cornmeal (optional) for sprinkling on the cookie sheet

Directions:

Dissolve yeast in warm water and add sugar. Let yeast sit about 10 minutes until it is foamy. Stir in remaining ingredients until blended. Beat vigorously for at least 20 strokes. Remove the dough from the bowl and knead until it is no longer sticky. Place the dough in a greased bowl, turning dough to coat all sides. Allow dough to rest for five minutes in a bowl with plastic wrap or a towel over it before separating into golf-ball-sized dough balls.

  1. Gluten-Free Pizza Dough

This yummy pizza crust recipe is gluten-free for those with gluten allergies or sensitivities.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of high-quality all-purpose gluten-free flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of xanthan gum — omit if your blend already contains it
  • 2 teaspoons of instant yeast, or 1 tablespoon of active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup of hot water — about 100 degrees Fahrenheit
  • 3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, plus an extra tablespoon for drizzling

Directions:

In a medium-sized bowl or the bowl of your food processor or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, place the flour, xanthan gum, yeast and sugar and whisk to combine with a separate, handheld whisk. Add the salt and whisk again to combine well.

To the flour mixture, add the three tablespoons of olive oil and the water in a steady stream, either pulsing in a food processor mixing on medium speed in your stand mixer, or mixing with a spoon or fork to combine. If you are using a food processor, pulse while streaming in the water, until a ball begins to form. Otherwise, stir or beat constantly while streaming in the water and continue stirring until the mixture begins to come together. If the dough seems especially sticky, add more flour a tablespoon at a time, and stir or pulse to combine.

Press the dough into a disk. Place the dough in another medium-size bowl and drizzle it with olive oil. Turn the dough to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it in a warm, draft-free area to rise until it doubles in volume, about one hour.

After the dough has risen, wrap it in plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour before rolling it out. To make pizza, roll between two pieces of unbleached parchment paper. Create a crust by rolling in the edges, brush the dough with olive oil, and bake it at about 400 degrees Fahrenheit for five to seven minutes, so the crust begins to crisp. You can also separate the dough into golf-ball-sized rounds and make it into small crusts.

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  1. Cauliflower Pizza Crusts

Yields eight mini pizza crusts

You can make these delicious and healthy pizza crusts ahead and refrigerate or freeze them for up to one month.

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of cauliflower, chopped
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tablespoons of freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 teaspoon of dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of onion powder
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and set aside. Add cauliflower to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until it is finely ground, or use a box grater, yielding about two to three cups. Transfer it to a microwave-safe bowl. Cover loosely and microwave it for four to five minutes, or until softened, then let cool.

Using a clean dish towel or cheesecloth, drain cauliflower thoroughly, removing as much water as possible. Transfer cauliflower to a large bowl. Stir in egg, mozzarella, Parmesan, basil, oregano, garlic powder and onion powder, and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

With an ice cream scoop, spread cauliflower mixture into a circle for each pizza and place onto the prepared baking sheet. Spray lightly with nonstick spray and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden.

  1. Homemade Tomato Spread

Perfect for eating cold

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¾ pounds of ripe cherry tomatoes
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • ¼ cups of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes — optional

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Halve the tomatoes and add them to a small Dutch oven, along with all your other ingredients. Stir everything, and pop it in the oven, covered, for an hour. Uncover, give stir again and cook for yet another hour to let everything reduce.

Remove the Dutch oven from the oven, let it cool a bit, then use a blender to smooth it all out. Place the sauce in a container until it’s ready for use.

Pizza for the Whole Family at Giordano’s

Although your pizza kits are sure to be delicious, they’re probably not big enough to feed a large group. Giordano’s has food the whole family will love. Enjoy a stuffed deep-dish pizza with all your favorite toppings before catching a movie or after a busy day of work and school. Savor a hot, fresh pizza in our dining room or yours. Visit a Giordano’s location near you for pizza the kids will adore.