Grandson Hunter, aged 11, is taking a Life Skills course in middle school. The shocking part of that sentence is that he is already 11 and in middle school. I’m so old. But anyway, when I was visiting yesterday Hunter was excited that he’d learned to make pizza in class that day. He suggested (with that cute Hunter smile) he could make pizza for Grandpa and me sometime.
A child who wants to learn to cook? I’m so there! I love teaching the next generations of family to cook. I enjoyed teaching my two kids and the grandkids have been equally fun.. I love to see the kids get interested and learn to experiment with food. Pizzas would be a great opportunity to use a variety of ingredients! Hunter and I decided Saturday would be a good time for pizzas.
I had a bag of frozen Rhodes Texas dinner rolls leftover from trying to make pizzas on my panini press. That hadn’t worked as well as I’d liked and still needs much tweaking before I will post that recipe. In the meantime the rolls would be perfect yeasty little bases for our pizzas.
When I got home I took out 10 rolls and put them into a plastic container I’d sprayed well with oil. I let them sit in the fridge overnight, covered, to begin thawing. I knew from experience they’d thaw too quickly on the counter and we’d have had to make pizzas at about 3 am. Just, no.
I also took a package of extra lean ground beef out and put it in the fridge to thaw. That didn’t thaw much at all so at 8 am Saturday I pulled it out to set on the counter. My P.S. hates when I thaw things on the counter but poo, my mother did that regularly when we were kids and nobody ever got sick or died. I just try not to make a habit of it, but I do it.
I picked Hunter up from his house at 2 pm and he was excited. In school he’d made the pizzas with biscuits from a roll and used pepperoni. My P.S. and I aren’t pepperoni fans so I’d talked Hunter into using ground beef, black olives, and lots of cheese. Then I added diced ham and a can of pineapple chunks I drained to make another kind of pizza. We could taste them all if we wished.
I sprayed 2 full sheet pans and 2 quarter sheet pans well and we used our oiled fingers to spread out the rolls into pizza rounds. They were about 6 inches across, roughly, when we got them spread out. I set a timer and let them rise again for 20 minutes, then another 15, and they were about doubled in thickness. They smelled nice and yeasty, and looked ready for toppings.
Hunter said we had a “cooking station”, the stove where we’d browned the beef and simmered the sauce I made from scratch. The sink was the “cleaning station”, with a second “cleaning station” in the bathroom off the kitchen where he likes to wash (it has an electric soap dispenser the kids love to use). Lastly we had a “building station”, the table where the toppings were spread. I thought that was some pretty creative thinking! There’s hope for a chef in the family yet!
The crusts were ready for the next step: building! As we ladled the sauce and spread it on our pizzas, we were talking about how they cook in school with teams of 3 or 4. They take turns washing or drying dishes and Hunter said he could wash dishes later. I said I’d already washed the skillets we’d used and the rest could go in the dishwasher. But he could put our dishes in the dishwasher when we were done eating. He look relieved. I chuckled, he is his dad’s son. Or do all kids hate doing the dishes?
We loaded the pizzas with different ingredients, some with green onions for Grandpa P.S. and some with lots of pineapple for me. Black olives went on everything; we’re all huge fans.
As the pans were finished we put each into the 425°F oven as the Rhodes site suggested, and cooked them for 12-14 minutes. I checked the bottoms with a spatula to make sure they were browned and crispy before removing them from the oven each time.
We had pizzas going in and out of the oven like crazy. Good thing I set the timer each time or we’d have had some disastrous results. They were all cooked perfectly, lightly browned crust and melted cheese. We cut them into fourths to eat and enjoyed our pizzas. The crusts were crispy underneath and softy and chewy on top under the sauce and other ingredients.
They might be the best pizzas I’ve ever made, since I’ve rarely tried to make them at home. Hunter thought they were excellent too, even though slightly different from his school pizzas.. He jokingly showed us a pizza bow tie.
Adapted from Rhodes.com