Things have been a little hectic the past couple of weeks, as I prepare for an upcoming ‘Book Blog Tour’ next week to showcase my cookbook! Anyway, I like to get the recipes out from my monthly ‘Kids in the Kitchen’ healthy snacks class the same week we do it and that just did not happen. I apologize!
Last week, our focus was on SIMPLE snacks that provide a lot of options for variety. The kids also practiced some fine-motor skills and learned to try new foods while they were at it! While the kids focused on creating their snacks, the moms and I discussed the ‘multi-functional’ aspects of the foods we were preparing.
Our first snack was a quick and easy pita pizza. Besides the opportunity to try a variety of different veggies to top them, there are also ways to switch things up for the ‘crust,’ like using whole wheat English muffins or mini bagels instead of pitas.
Another tip I shared with the moms is the homemade pizza sauce that I make and freeze into serving-size portions. This helps me on busy nights or times when I just don’t feel like cooking (yes, that happens to me too!) to still have something healthy that’s quick to put together.
Here’s how I make the sauce:
Herbed Pizza Sauce
1 8-oz. can low-sodium tomato paste*
1 6-oz. can low-sodium tomato sauce
2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
1 tsp. garlic, bottled, minced (or ½ clove fresh garlic, pressed)
*If you opt for herbed tomato paste, please check the label! I found that the herbed variety at my local store contained high-fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils – these were not ingredients in the same brand’s plain variety.
Mix all ingredients. Use about 1-2 tbsp. of sauce per pita and spread evenly over the top. Extra sauce can be stored for convenience, as follows.
Sauce can be stored in refrigerator up to 7 days. OR
Spoon leftover sauce into ice cube trays, cover with aluminum foil, and freeze. Pop frozen sauce cubes into a Ziploc freezer bag. Next time you’re ready to make pita pizzas, take 1 cube per pizza and defrost in microwave-safe bowl (about 1 minute on defrost setting).
Make the Pita Pizzas!
Ingredients (per pizza)
1 whole wheat or oat bran pita
1-2 tbsp. Herbed Pizza Sauce
2-3 tbsp. shredded mozzarella
½ c. toppings, sliced or diced as you like
Fresh basil leaves
Onions – red, yellow, white, or green
Sweet bell peppers – red, yellow, orange, or green
Chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
Canadian bacon/ham (get the nitrate-free variety if possible!)
Cooked bacon (nitrate-free)
Cooked ground turkey breast
Grilled chicken breast strips
Grilled or roasted eggplant
Ricotta (plain or mixed with chopped fresh spinach)
1. Set up a ‘prep station’ with bowls of several different ingredients and let the kids choose which toppings to add to their pizza. The key is to have at least 4-5 different toppings to choose from, and make sure that along with their favorites, there are new (or previously refused) foods to add. Make it more fun by encouraging them to design a face or pattern on their pizza and include lots of colors. The ½ toppings per pizza is a general guideline – they can put a little more or a little less.
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
3. Place prepared pizzas on baking sheet lined with aluminum foil or parchment paper (for the class I used parchment paper so I could write the kids’ names next to their pizza).
4. Bake 6-9 minutes, or until cheese is melted and pitas are slightly crisp at the edges.
I hope your family enjoys these as much as mine does! This has really been a life saver healthy dinner on nights when I’m feeling too busy or frazzled to really cook! Click here to get the other recipe from our class that day (Snackie Bracelets).
Do you have a ‘life saver’ or ‘go-to’ healthy dinner for busy nights? Please tell us about it in the comments section below!
I would love for you to join us on the Book Blog Tour! There will be prizes, freebie recipes from the cookbook, a LIVE interview (which I’m super nervous about!) and reviews of the book, plus some insights on why I wrote it. I would love to see you there!
Sign up to get the details HERE: