I mentioned last week that although Isobel isn’t what you’d call a picky eater she does have definite ideas about what she’ll eat and when, regardless of whether she actually likes a particular food or not. For example, she loves chicken. Loves it loves it. Always has. Though if you say, “Hey Isobel, let’s have lunch! I’m making chicken!” she will most likely say, “Nope!” or “Uh-huh!” and then choose something else to eat. It’s not that she doesn’t love whatever you’re offering her, it’s that it wasn’t her idea.
This, of course, doesn’t mean she gets what she wants all the time, but it does mean there can be a fair amount of negotiations before meals. If she requests something that’s both healthy and easy to prepare I’m usually not against it. Those things she requests that I don’t have on hand, well, I do make the effort to appease as long as it’s healthy. This is where Special Pizza came from.
I’m sure I’m not the only parent that has cobbled together some form of ‘pizza’ out of what was on hand in the cupboard–if you have cheese and tomato sauce you’re halfway there! This recipe marries the idea of a quick child’s version of a pantry pizza with crusty garlic bread, that way when your little darling suddenly denies ever liking tomato sauce despite heavy evidence to the contrary, you enjoy this bread yourself.
- Grocery store ‘French bread’ – you know the kind I mean, with the pillowy insides that go stale in a day. The kind you make garlic bread out of when serving spaghetti. You could always use a whole wheat loaf, too, but skip the sourdough. It’s all wrong for pizza.
- Tomato sauce – any jarred pasta sauce will do, but keep in mind your audience- children prefer slightly sweet sauces without too many extra ingredients. A simple marinara or tomato basil is perfect.
- Shredded cheese – it’s best to start with a mild mozzarella, but hints of Parmesan or any other Italian cheese will do. Really, if you are making this for your tastes or that of your child, put whatever the hell kind of cheese you want on it. You weirdo.
- Olive oil – I’m addicted the the spray kind.
- Garlic salt – most children don’t enjoy chopped raw garlic, but if yours does, more power to you.
- Butter – just a tad.
- Finely minced herbs – basil and parsley being the favorite.
- Slice a section of your baguette off the loaf and then cut it in half lengthwise. Spray with oil and a tiny bit of butter. Sprinkle garlic salt on to taste.
- Spread your tomato sauce on each piece of bread. I like to really load it on there because that’s the healthiest part of this recipe, and when your feeding kids you get to pack in the nutrition where you can.
- Sprinkle the tomato sauced-halves with chopped herbs and then layer on the cheese. Hide the fact that you are adding green stuff as expertly as possible.
- Bake until the sauce is warmed through, the bread is crispy, and the cheese has melted. I baked mine in our trusty toaster oven, which has yet to catch fire. An oven set to 350 F for ten to 15 minutes should work as well, but check frequently.
I did manage to get Isobel to eat a few bites in, which she of course liked once she started eating. It is Special Pizza, after all.