The B4FD Project features blog posts from guest writers that explore the far-reaching benefits of family dinner.

Family Dinner Month 2012: Sept 17 -- Oct 29, 2012


Favorite Family Meals: Pizza Night 4 Ways


by Jana Christian

One of our favorite family meals is pizza. Unfortunately, food allergies and preferences makeordering takeout impossible. Instead, I make one vegan (i.e. egg-free, dairy-free) pizza crust and top it four different ways.

Yes, it takes a bit longer than calling the local pizza joint, but everyone is satisfied (the kids like the taste and I like the fact that I don’t have to worry about the safety of the ingredients). After considerable trial and error (nearly two years), I found a recipe for Whole Wheat Pizza Dough that everyone likes (and does not have an anaphylactic reaction to like the flaxseed one I used to make).

NOTE: I only make two small changes to the recipe as it is written.

  1. I buy active dry yeast in bulk so I substitute 2 1/4 tsp. for each packet.
  2. add about 1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning or whatever dried herbs I have available for flavor.

Since my son gave me advance notice of his pizza craving, I mixed up the dough before bed and put it in the fridge (covered with plastic wrap) overnight. I then had my husband take it out of the fridge when he got home from work.

Preparing for the Pizza PartyPreparing for the Pizza Party

I shred the cheese (a mix of mozzarella and provolone) in the food processor to save money and eliminate any added preservatives (like cornstarch) and preheat the baking stones in the oven.

The first pizza is for the “men” (my husband and son)… They like the traditional tomato sauce (this time, I added some Italian seasoning to some leftover tomato paste thinned with water which worked just fine). Daddy gets the pieces with pepperoni, peppers, onion and mushroom and my son only eats plain cheese. You’ll notice the “deluxe” portion is larger, but my son is starting to notice the discrepancy and is eating enough to justify a 50/50 split of the toppings.

The "Man" Pizza

When that goes in the oven, I start on my daughter’s vegan pizza pie (which is basically a carrier for her favorite thing in the world… cheese). Since she doesn’t eat leftovers of her “pizza” (and her “cheese” is ridiculously expensive) she gets the smallest serving.

Vegan "Pizza"

Then, it is my turn (finally)… Usually I top pesto sauce with some mozzarella/provolone cheese, spinach, mushrooms and chicken, but I am getting more adventurous in my old age (and frugal lifestyle). Tonight, I had leftover shredded zucchini, cooked turkey, broccoli and some feta cheese to use up so I added those to my usual mozzarella/provolone cheese and mushrooms.

In case you are wondering… I don’t have any trouble keeping people away from MY pizza (I can’t understand why?!).

Veggie Pesto Pizza

To be honest, I couldn’t get through this process (making the dough, shredding cheese, topping four separate pizzas and related clean up) without my dear husband who gladly entertains the children during the witching hour so I don’t have to hear repeated choruses of “Is the the pizza ready yet?”

Pizza Night 4 Ways

What is your favorite pizza topping? How about your favorite family meal? What potentially unhealthy meals have you been able to make and improve at home–increasing the nutrient density while keeping picky eaters happy?

Jana Christian’s extensive knowledge about and passion for health and nutrition have helped her resolve her own personal health issues and adjust her family’s diet to accommodate multiple food allergies and environmental sensitivities. After seven years as a working mother, she recently made the transition to full-time home economist and blogs about her experiences at Write On, Jana! 

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