How To Involve your Kids in Lunch: Mexican Skillet Pizza 

This Week’s Kids Meal Monday is the ultimate recipe story of leftovers, mayhem, and ingenuity.

So last week, I made a heaping soup of my “famous” chicken tortilla soup. This stuff is the bees knees. My grandmother taught me how to cook, people, and my grandpa said that he can’t eat hers anymore after having my version. (My grandpa is also a great flatterer.) This isn’t that recipe- you’ll just have to subscribe to the blog to get that recipe at a later date! This recipe does, however, use those leftovers.
Unfortunately, I could be Rachel Ray, but if it’s soup, well… Let’s just say I have a lot of leftovers from the Littles. I still serve it to them, because kids need to be introduced to foods a LOT before deciding they like it. But it doesn’t mean we don’t have a lot of leftovers.

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Hence the creation of my Mexican Skillet Pizza.

How brilliant am I?! I just drained and pushed out the “good stuff” (corn, beans, tomatoes, chicken, etc) from the soup- and used it for toppings for our pizza!

“But Miss Lauren,” you say, “why did you make it on the skillet?

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Wrapsody to the rescue!

Funny you ask… My oven quit on me. Completely freaked out when I was preheating it for chicken nuggets the other day. It screeched at me and flashed an F10 code while my house filled up with a godawful burning rubber smell. The oven screamed and the kids were yelling as I wrapped a tired and hungry baby, all while rushing out to the garage to hit the breaker to JUST MAKE IT STOP.
We had PBJ for lunch instead, and the Littles declared that I was an amazing cook.
I left the angry oven off for the rest of the day until Hubs could come to the rescue. He confirmed what Dr. Google and I already told him- busted control panel. ($$$). Which translates to- Miss Lauren is going to have to get creative for lunch. Hence our Mexican SKILLET pizza.
So the next day, I dug up this super simple recipe for pizza dough from All Top Food, and the kids and I went to work.

We mixed the dough, let it set for an hour, rolled it out… A little labor intensive, but here are the lessons the Littles didn’t know they were getting:

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  1. Hand strength. That dough was pretty tough, and the kids had to knead and work it really hard. Building hand strength is an important step in pre-writing skills.
  2. Practical life skills: everyone should know how to cook, and children should grow up with the confidence to do so.
  3. Patience and social skills: they had to listen, follow direction, and TAKE TURNS. It may seem like a simple task but it’s something my Littles (and most children) struggle with. Listening and following directions, to me, are more important tasks for Kindergarten readiness than knowing all their ABC’s.

And so, together, we made our pizza dough for the Mexican skillet pizza

For the dough, you will need:

  • 1 cup of warm water
  • 2 1/4 tsp (one packet) of active dry yeast
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsps salt
  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • 3 cups bread flour (I used all purpose)

Instructions:

  1. Stir the yeast and sugar into a bowl of warm water, and let it sit until it’s nice and frothy (apx 10 minutes). When I first began to make bread, I would make  it too hot- don’t do this, it’ll kill the yeast. Think bath water temp, to activate the yeast. I like to involve the kids in mixing, smelling, and watching the water froth. (Again- science!)
  2. After the water-sugar-yeast mix becomes frothy, addd the salt, olive oil, and ahlf of the flower.
  3. Gradually add the remaining flour, bit by bit. All Top Food says that the dough should be tacky but not stick to your hands at this point. Because of that, I didn’t end up using all of the flour because we had a good texture without the entire amount the recipe called for.
  4. Knead the dough for apx 6 minutes. This is where the kids really got to dig their hands in and mix.
  5. After all the Little’s had a turn, I placed the dough in a covered and greased bowl for a little over an hour before rolling it out in sections and making the pizza on the skillet. This was enough dough for 4 skillet-sized pizzas- plenty for my Littles, and for my family’s dinner!

Cooking the crust on the skillet was simple; all you have to do is slightly cook one side then flip it. After that, you can put on your toppings (like from our tortilla soup, but anything you want), and let them melt while the other side is cooking.

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Reuse leftovers, involve you children in cooking, and make a deleicious and simple meal with this Mexical skillet Pizza Recipe

I have a tendency to overcook things because I like them crispy. Helpful hint: don’t do this with the Mexican skillet pizza unless you like it burnt. But it turned out great, the kids enjoyed it, and I had enough dough leftover for pizza for dinner with the family. Huzzah for getting creative in the kitchen! 

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Lauren Lewis is no stranger to childcare development, having spent over 10 years as a nanny or family childcare provider. She’s the wife of a travel geek, mother of two vivacious children, and has an amazing talent for trailing lost things behind her a la Hansel and Gretyl. Her varied background in writing, child development, marketing, and enthusiasm for mess-making provided the perfect foundation for The Playground Chronicles. Her life is full of busy, crazy and LOUD. It is full of love and hope, ups and downs. And coffee, always lots of coffee- but she wouldn’t have it any other way.

More information and her work can be found at www.the-playground-chronicles.com

12 thoughts on “How To Involve your Kids in Lunch: Mexican Skillet Pizza 

  1. So sorry about your oven! Sounds like a great “Little Red Hen” experience for your kids! Plus, they sure seem to eat more of the food when they are involved in the cooking process.

  2. What a fun idea! My oldest is 3 and loves to help in the kitchen. His favorite thing to do is help make scrambled eggs, which can end up being slightly messy, AND sometimes we get shells in our eggs haha! I can’t wait to try this!

  3. I can’t imagine what I would do if my oven pooped out on me like that. I love the creativity of this meal. My little is still too little (only 10 months olf) to really help with making meals but he does love being in the kitchen with me. I can’t wait until he is a bit older and gets to help make fun meals like this! Certainly have me inspired and excited for the future!

  4. I love cooking with my 4 year old! He’s learning so much about fractions just by cooking! I love the idea of Kids meal Monday! I’m going to have to steal that!

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