Simple. Quick. Tasty. Sneaking-veggies-into-their-diet. Yes, please!
Here's a go-to meal I love to have ready for my toddler, and it works well for bigger kids (and even us BIGGER kids when we just want something quick)!
It's a twist on the old English Muffin pizzas I ate as a kid.
One day when you are making spaghetti sauce or have a few extra minutes, go ahead and make some pizza sauce to store in the fridge or freezer:
Mix together the following:
1 - 6 oz can tomato paste
6 oz water (just fill the empty paste can)
2 Tablespoons of your favorite Italian seasonings mixed (I use equal parts dried oregano, parsley and basil--add yours to taste)
1 teaspoon sugar
To store in the freezer, just pour into a Ziploc freezer bag and seal out all the air. It should last a few weeks. If you want this just for mini pizzas, store in portioned snack baggies for easier thawing. You don't want to thaw and refreeze the sauce. And, I wouldn't store it in the fridge longer than a week.
For the pizzas:
1 Whole Wheat English Muffin
2-3 Tablespoons homemade pizza sauce
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh spinach
1 Tablespoon finely chopped broccoli florets
1/3 cup Low Moisture, Part-Skim Mozzarella Cheese
Preheat the broiler in your oven. Split English muffins and place on cookie sheet. Top with pizza sauce and vegetables, and warm in the oven for a few minutes (2-5 depending on how quickly your oven heated up). This helps the veggies cook and soak into the sauce. Then add cheese and broil until cheese is melted. Yields 1 serving. Serve with a side of fresh fruit cocktail.
Today I made these pizzas in the shape of a heart in celebration of Valentine's Day. Just use a cookie cutter to cut the English Muffin before you add toppings. What to do with the leftover bread that I cut off? That's going in tonight's meatballs....a favorite meal of the hubby's.
Other kid-friendly ideas to improve your pizza:
Finely shredded zucchini
Fresh sliced tomatoes
Whole wheat mini-bagels
Whole wheat pita bread
Chopped turkey sausage (sweet Italian isn't too spicy for kids, but check sodium content!)
Dairy: 1/3 cup Low Moisture, Part-Skim Mozzarella Cheese
Grain: Whole Wheat English Muffin
Vegetable: Pizza Sauce with added veggies
Fruit: 1/2 cup fresh fruit cocktail- blueberries, peaches, grapes
Protein: no meat, but cheese provides a bit of protein
**This meal looks like it would be loaded with sodium. And yes, it is a tad higher than other meals I would typically like to serve. Using the brands I had in my kitchen today, a full serving of this English muffin mini pizza would provide about 400 mg Sodium total because of the cheese and muffin (tomato paste was minimal). If your child typically snacks on fresh fruits and vegetables instead of crackers or other packaged foods, a little extra sodium at meal time is okay!