Yesterday was a big day in our house. My sweet little girl started Kindergarten. It's hard to describe the simultaneous excitement and dread that has filled me all summer, but it all came to a head sunday night, and I was tossing and turning until 2:30 in the morning. That six am alarm sure was a harsh reality! All of my worries were unfounded, of course (Would someone snatch her when she got off the bus in the morning? Would the bus get into a terrible accident on the drive to school? What if she didn't make any friends?). I took comfort in the fact that she was 100% excited, and tried to channel that into my own bundle of nerves. Her spirit and joy are infectious, and it's hard to be sad or cranky when she's around. You hear all the time that a parent's job is to teach and nurture your child, but I never would have guessed how much the reverse is true as well.
I spent the day giving lots and lots of cuddles to my boys, baking Caroline a fun after school treat, and counting down the minutes until it was time to meet her at the bus stop. And just as she boarded the bus and went off to school all-smiles, she was all-smiles when she got home too! The day was a resounding success, and I loved hearing all about her teachers, her new friends, the bus, the cafeteria... oh to see the world again through the pure and optimistic eyes of a five year old. It's one of the most amazing things about being a parent.
Another amazing aspect of parenthood? Making dinner with your child. From start to finish, Caroline had a helping hand in this whole dinner. And not like when Smith "helps," and I go back after him and redo it all the right way. Caroline was a partner in this dinner - she picked the filling, she helped me stretch out the dough, top the dough, roll it up, and even slice and arrange the wheels on the baking sheet. She's come a long way from just throwing handfuls of cheese and veggies on pizzas.
Pizza has become one of our "things." When Caroline finds out we're having pizza for dinner, she gets so excited, because it means she gets to help. To be honest, it's one of the main reasons that we eat pizza as often as we do - I love having all the help. Sometimes I need it.
adapted from Completely Delicious
Feel free to change up the fillings to suit your tastes - get as crazy or wild as you want. Just be careful to use a light hand when adding the fillings to the dough. It will make it easier to roll up and slice.
- 1 lb pizza dough
- cornmeal, for sprinkling
- olive oil, for brushing
- 1 cup marinara sauce, divided
- 1 cup freshly shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/3 cup roughly chopped basil
- about 1/2 cup pepperoni
- kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lightly sprinkle the parchment with some cornmeal.
Sprinkle more cornmeal on a large sheet of parchment or a pastry mat. Roll the pizza dough into a 9x12 inch rectangle, with the long side closest to you. Brush with olive oil. Spread a thin layer of marinara sauce over the dough, using about 1/3 cup of the marinara, leaving a 1-inch border on all sides. Reserve the remaining marinara sauce for serving with the pizza wheels.
Sprinkle all of the mozzarella cheese and 1/4 cup of the Parmesan over the sauce, then scatter the pepperoni and basil over the cheese.
Beginning at the end closest to you, carefully roll up the dough, pushing the fillings back in if they leak out. Once rolled, pinch the seam closed.
Using a very sharp knife, slice the roll into 1-inch rounds. Carefully transfer each wheel to the prepared baking sheet, and repeat with the remaining rounds. Sprinkle each round a little salt, then top with the remaining Parmesan cheese.
Bake 15-20 minutes, or until the dough is golden-brown and the cheese is melted and is beginning to brown. Allow to cool 5-10 minutes, and serve with the reserved marinara.