Kid-friendly Ooey-Gooey Cheesy Pizza Bombs + Caprese Salad-on-a-Stick + Kid-Made Basil Cream Sodas Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Family Meal Plan: Ooey-Gooey Cheesy Pizza Bombs + Caprese Salad-on-a-Stick + Kid-Made Basil Cream Sodas

Family Meal Plan: Ooey-Gooey Cheesy Pizza Bombs + Caprese Salad-on-a-Stick + Kid-Made Basil Cream Sodas

Ooey-Gooey Cheesy Pizza Bombs + Caprese Salad-on-a-Stick + Kid-Made Basil Cream Sodas

by Erin Fletter
Photo by Africa Studio/Shutterstock.com
prep time
40 minutes
cook time
20 minutes
makes
6-12 servings

Fun Food Story

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Ooey-Gooey Cheesy Pizza Bombs

With this recipe, we’re taking an opportunity to showcase tomatoes and basil. There’s nothing like homemade pizza to lure kids (and adults!) to the table, and what could be more fun than dough balls stuffed with pizza toppings that kids can make themselves! We put the traditional Italian caprese on a stick to eat alongside the Pizza Bombs because most things are better on a stick—even salad. The history of pizza is sweet and brief, so be sure to read about its history below. You and your kids are going to love making (and eating) these cheesy versions of a beloved food!

Happy & Healthy Cooking,

Chef Erin, Food-Geek-in-Chief
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Shopping List

  • FRESH
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 3 handfuls basil leaves
  • DAIRY
  • 3/4 to 1 C plain full-fat yogurt **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 10 oz mozzarella cheese **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1/4 C heavy whipping cream or half-and-half **(see allergy subs below)**
  • PANTRY
  • 1 1/2 C all-purpose flour + more **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt, divided
  • 3/4 C olive oil, divided
  • 1 T tomato paste
  • 1/2 C sugar/honey (or 4 stevia packs)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • balsamic vinegar, optional, for drizzling
  • 3 C sparkling water
  • HAVE ON HAND
  • toothpicks
  • ice

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • chop :

    to cut something into small, rough pieces using a blade.

  • drizzle :

    to trickle a thin stream of a liquid ingredient, like icing, over food.

  • grate :

    to reduce food, like a carrot, to very small shreds or pieces of the same size by rubbing it on a tool with an outside surface that has holes with cutting edges (a grater).

  • knead :

    to work dough by pushing, pulling, and folding it by hand or with a stand mixer.

  • knife skills :

    Bear Claw (growl), Pinch, Plank, and Bridge (look out for trolls)

  • measure :

    to calculate the specific amount of an ingredient required using a measuring tool (like measuring cups or spoons).

  • pour :

    to cause liquid, granules, or powder to stream from one container into another.

  • purée :

    to blend, grind, or mash food until it is thick, smooth, and closer to a liquid.

  • slice :

    to cut into thin pieces using a sawing motion with your knife.

  • tear :

    to pull or rip apart a food, like basil leaves, into pieces.

Equipment Checklist

  • Blender
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Dry measuring cups
  • Oven
  • Muffin pan
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Measuring spoons
  • Wooden spoon
  • Kitchen towel (or plastic wrap)
  • Small mixing bowl
  • Grater
  • Cutting board + kid-safe knife
  • Blender (or food processor)
  • Toothpicks
scale
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Ingredients

Ooey-Gooey Cheesy Pizza Bombs

  • 1 1/2 C all-purpose flour + more **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY sub gluten-free/nut-free all-purpose flour)**
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt, divided
  • 3/4 to 1 C plain full-fat yogurt **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub dairy-free/nut-free plain yogurt)**
  • 1 large ripe tomato
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 handful basil leaves
  • 1/2 C olive oil, divided
  • 1 T tomato paste
  • 1 tsp sugar/honey
  • 6 oz mozzarella cheese **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub Daiya Dairy-free Mozzarella Shreds, or tofu + olive oil + lemon + salt—more info below)**
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning

Caprese Salad-on-a-Stick

  • 1 large ripe tomato
  • 4 oz mozzarella cheese
  • 1 pinch sugar
  • 1 handful basil leaves
  • toothpicks
  • olive oil for drizzling
  • balsamic vinegar, optional, for drizzling

Kid-Made Basil Cream Sodas

  • 3 C sparkling water
  • 1/4 C sugar (or 3 stevia packs)
  • 1 handful basil leaves
  • 1/4 C heavy whipping cream or half-and-half **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub dairy-free/nut-free cream or milk)**
  • ice

Food Allergen Substitutions

Ooey-Gooey Cheesy Pizza Bombs

  • Gluten/Wheat: Substitute gluten-free/nut-free all-purpose flour.
  • Dairy: Substitute dairy-free/nut-free plain yogurt. For 6 oz mozzarella cheese, substitute Daiya Dairy-free Mozzarella Shreds, or 1 T crumbled extra firm tofu + 1/2 tsp olive oil + 1 squeeze lemon + 1 pinch of salt.

Caprese Salad-on-a-Stick

  • Dairy: Substitute dairy-free/nut-free cheese, like Daiya brand.

Kid-Made Basil Cream Sodas

  • Dairy: Substitute dairy-free/nut-free cream or milk.

Instructions

Ooey-Gooey Cheesy Pizza Bombs

1.
preheat + measure + mix + knead

Preheat the oven to 375 F. In a large bowl, measure and mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add 3/4 cup of yogurt and mix together until a stiff dough forms. Knead the mixture with your hands to form a ball of dough, adding more flour or yogurt as needed if the dough is too sticky or too dry. Then, divide the dough in half. Divide halves into thirds, and divide the thirds in half again so that you end up with 12 pieces of dough. Roll the dough into balls, set aside in your mixing bowl, and cover the mixing bowl with a damp towel to rest for 15 minutes.

2.
grate + mix

Grate 6 ounces of mozzarella cheese and set aside. In a small bowl, mix 1/4 cup olive oil with 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning. Set aside the seasoned olive oil.

3.
chop + press + tear + puree

Chop 1 tomato and add to a blender or food processor. Next, press 1 garlic clove using the heel of your hand, peel the garlic and add it to the tomatoes. Then, tear 1 handful of basil leaves and add to the blender. Next, measure and add 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon tomato paste, 1 teaspoon sugar, and 1 very big pinch of salt. Purée the mixture until a smooth sauce forms.

4.
stuff + brush + bake

On a floured surface, roll out balls of dough into 3 to 4 inch flat disks. Next, spread 2 teaspoons of the pizza sauce evenly over each disk like a mini pizza, and layer 1 tablespoon of shredded mozzarella over the sauce. Then, fold up the edges of the dough and pinch them closed so that you have little bundles, and brush their surfaces with the seasoned olive oil. Bake them in a greased muffin pan for 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool before eating. They will be hot! Serve with extra pizza sauce for dipping! Buon appetito!

Caprese Salad-on-a-Stick

1.
chop + spear + drizzle

Chop 1 tomato and 4 ounces of mozzarella cheese into 2-inch pieces. Sprinkle tomatoes with 1 pinch of sugar. Use a toothpick to spear a piece of tomato, mozzarella, and a leaf from 1 handful of basil leaves. Drizzle each salad-on-a-stick with olive oil and optional balsamic vinegar!

Kid-Made Basil Cream Sodas

1.
measure + pour + purée + enjoy

Measure and pour 1 cup of sparkling water and 1/4 cup of sugar into a blender. Add 1 handful of basil leaves. Purée until smooth, then top with remaining 2 cups of sparkling water and 1/4 cup of heavy whipping cream or half-and-half. Stir, then pour over ice and enjoy!

Surprise Ingredient: Basil!

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Photo by Chizhevskaya Ekaterina/Shutterstock.com

Hi! I’m Basil!

"Ciao (chow)! I'm Basil! But you can also call me Genovese basil (that's Italian, from Genoa). My leaves are usually used fresh, added late in cooking to keep my flavor. If you combine me with olive oil, garlic, pine nuts, and parmesan cheese, you'll have a yummy, green Italian sauce called "pesto," which is good on pasta. You'll also find me on a delicious but simple pizza from Naples, Italy, called "pizza margherita." Besides fresh basil leaves, Neapolitans (people from Naples) traditionally top this pizza with a tomato sauce from San Marzano tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, a drizzle of olive oil, and a sprinkle of salt. Of course, basil is good in dishes from many countries!" 

History

  • A long time ago, Greeks and Romans believed basil would only grow if you screamed wild curses and shouted while sowing the seeds. They also thought that If you left a basil leaf under a pot, it would turn into a scorpion!
  • Basil may have originated in India; there are speculations that it originally came from tropical areas spanning from Southeast Asia to Central Africa. 
  • Ancient Egyptians used to use basil to embalm the dead and prepare for burial.
  • In Italy, basil is considered a token of love, and in Romania, if a girl gives a sprig of basil to her boyfriend, they are engaged. 

Anatomy & Etymology

  • Basil is a part of the mint family. There are 50 to 150 species, including Genovese (Italian) basil (the most common), Thai basil, cinnamon basil, lemon basil, lettuce basil, spicy globe basil, and green ruffles basil! Each type of basil has a unique aroma and taste. 
  • Leaves of the basil plant tend to be oval-shaped, shiny, and smooth-edged. Their edges cup slightly. 
  • Basil plants can grow to be from 8 inches to 4 feet high. 
  • Basil has seeds that can germinate after 10 years!
  • Basil will grow small flowers that look like spikes at the top of the plant. The flowers are edible, but we generally eat and use just the leaves.
  • The word "basil" comes from the Greek "vasilikos," which also means "royal." It is believed that basil was once used in royal perfumes. 

How to Pick, Buy, & Eat

  • Basil grows best in hot climates. When harvesting basil, pinch or cut the leaves at the stem from the top of the plant down. Select a few large leaves rather than snipping the whole stem. Choose leaves that are bright and free from blemishes. Picking leaves encourages the plant to produce more leaves. 
  • You could also try growing basil in a pot on your kitchen window sill, so it's easy to pick what you need when you need it.
  • Wash basil gently and pat dry. When you buy basil from the store, it will often come with its stems. Trim the ends of the stems and store in a glass of water as you would a bunch of flowers. Basil stores best at room temperature.
  • Use fresh basil leaves in salads, salad dressings, sauces, pasta, marinades, and sandwiches. Basil leaves in cold water make a nice summer refresher, or add some mint with the leaves to make a digestive hot tea. Basil can be dried or blanched and frozen. Dried basil enhances the flavor of tomato soup.

Nutrition

  • Basil contains 98% of our DV of Vitamin K1 in just one-half of a cup! Vitamin K1 is essential for blood clotting. For example, when we get a cut, we need our blood to clot so that the bleeding will stop and our cut will heal. 
  • Basil contains carotenoids—those powerful plant-based nutrients that protect our cells from oxidation (rust) and enhance immunity. 
  • Essential oils found in basil not only give it its aromatic and therapeutic scent but are also anti-inflammatory. 
  • Basil has been shown to act as an adaptogen. Adaptogens are natural substances that help us respond in a healthful way to stress. So the next time you're feeling stressed, grab a handful of basil, hold it to your nose, and breathe in deeply. Then, toss it in your salad and eat it.

 

History of Pizza!

Photo by Kampus Production
  • Pizza-like flatbreads have been baked and eaten by people around the world for a long time; since the neolithic age, to be somewhat specific (the neolithic age dates as far back as 10,200 BCE!). One of the forerunners to pizza may have been Italian focaccia bread, a flatbread baked by Ancient Romans. The modern pizza was developed from these breads in Naples, Italy, sometime in the late 18th or early 19th century.
  • A well-known story credits the Neapolitan pizza maker Raffaele Esposito for creating the first Pizza Margherita for Queen Margherita of Savoy’s visit to Naples in 1889. Tasked with cooking something suitable for the queen, Esposito retreated to his kitchen to prepare three different pizzas. The last pizza was a simple combination of tomato sauce, mozzarella, and basil, inspired by the Italian flag and its colors of red, white, and green. Queen Margherita enjoyed the pizza so much that she wrote Esposito a letter to tell him, which he used to promote his restaurant. It was the queen’s enthusiasm that jump-started the popularity of Pizza Margherita. 
  • Pizza came to the United States in the late 19th century, arriving with Italian immigrants. Since then, regional favorites have emerged. For example, there is Chicago-style deep-dish pizza with toppings typically added in reverse order: mozzarella cheese lines the crust, followed by other toppings, and then tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes, with a sprinkle of parmesan on top. New York pizza has large, thin, foldable slices. Detroit-style is a thick, square pizza. St. Louis pizza has a cracker-like crust, made without yeast, and its round shape is cut into 3 to 4-inch squares. And California pizza is known for its healthy and unusual toppings.
  • The largest pizza ever produced was 13,580 square feet! It was completely gluten-free and made in Rome, Italy, in 2012.

Let's Learn About Italy!

Photo by Marina Andrejchenko/Shutterstock.com
  • Italy became a unified country in 1861, only 150 years ago. It is sometimes called "bel paese" or "beautiful country."  
  • Italians invented the piano and the thermometer! 
  • In ancient Roman mythology, two twin brothers named Romulus and Remus founded Rome, Italy's capital city. The myth says the twins were abandoned and then discovered by a she-wolf before being found and raised by a shepherd and his wife. Eventually (and after many exciting adventures), they found themselves at the location of Palatine Hill, where Romulus built "Roma." The Italian wolf became Italy's unofficial national animal. 
  • In the 1930s and 40s, Mussolini, Italy's prime minister, and dictator tried to eliminate all foreign words from the Italian language. How did he do that? He just changed them! For example, in soccer, "goal" became "meta." Disney character names changed, too: Donald Duck became "Paperino;" Mickey Mouse became "Topolino;" and Goofy became "Pippo." Although they're not banned anymore, these words and names have stuck. So now if you go to the Italian Disneyland, called Gardaland Park, you will see Topolino and Pippo! 
  • About 60 million people call Italy home, and it is 116,350 square miles, slightly larger than the US state of Arizona. If you compare that to the United Kingdom, 67 million people live there, and it is about 94,350 square miles. So, the UK is smaller than Italy but has a bigger population! 
  • The Italian flag is green, white, and red. These colors represent hope, faith, and charity.
  • The average Italian eats close to 55 pounds of pasta annually. If you think about how light pasta is, that is a considerable amount! There are more than 500 different types of pasta eaten in Italy today. 

What's It Like to Be a Kid in Italy?

  • Kids begin school at 6 years old. They grow up speaking Italian, but they learn English in school, so many become bilingual in Italian and English.
  • The most popular sport for kids is football (soccer). The Italian word for soccer is "calcio," the same word they use for "kick." A favorite of younger kids is "Rody, the bouncing horse," a plastic horse that a small child can hop onto and bounce around the room. Rody was invented in Italy in 1984.  
  • The family ("la famiglia") is a central characteristic of Italian life. Children have great respect for their older relatives. It is traditional to name the first male child after the grandfather and the first female child after the grandmother.
  • If kids live close to school, they can go home and have lunch with their families! Lunch at school might be pasta, meat with vegetables, a sandwich, or a salad with lots of ingredients. Families typically eat dinner later (7 to 8 pm), so kids end up staying up later, too!
  • Between lunch and dinner, kids often enjoy "merenda," which is an afternoon snack that translates to "something that is deserved." It is really a mini-meal that can include both savory and sweet foods. Examples of savory foods are a salami or mortadella sandwich, a slice of rustic bread rubbed with a cut, raw tomato, or "pizza bianca" (white pizza without tomato sauce). Types of sweet foods eaten during merenda are "gelato" (a lower-fat type of ice cream), any kind of cake, or biscotti dipped in warm milk.

Lettuce Joke Around

What is a seagull's favorite herb? 

BAY-sil!

That's Berry Funny

Why were mozzarella and feta holding hands?

They look gouda together!

The Yolk's On You

"Knock, knock!

"Who’s there? 

"Noah!

"Noah who? 

"Noah herb named Basil?

That's Berry Funny

What did Arthur the aardvark order on his pizza?

Ant-chovies!

That's Berry Funny

Want to hear a joke about pizza? 

Never mind, it's too cheesy!

That's Berry Funny

How do you fix a broken tomato? 

Tomato paste!

THYME for a Laugh

Why did the tomato blush? 

Because he saw the salad dressing!

That's Berry Funny

Which cheese surrounds a medieval castle? 

Moat-zarella!

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