It's a well known fact: A family that cooks together eats together. And eats much healthier and tastier -- and hotter -- food than a family that calls for takeout to be delivered. So when my family has a craving for pizza, I reach for the food processor instead of the phone book.
Although it took some trial and error, over time I've figured out how to make a homemade pizza and have it on the table before a delivery person can ring my doorbell. While most pizza dough recipes call for a relatively lengthy period of kneading, rising, re-kneading and resting, I determined that a perfectly acceptable version can be made quickly using a food processor. It rises just long enough for me to get my toppings together and then it's good to go.
That's where the real fun begins. Once the dough is ready and the toppings are lined up, I bring in the kids. While they're now fairly proficient with a rolling pin, having had years of experience, when they were younger it was great fun to have them roll out their own dough and guess which continent their pizza resembled the most. I love it when cooking and geography collide.
Then, using an old, worn out pastry brush, they can paint on the sauce and begin the fun of topping their pizzas. This is where the advantage of eating at home can be most apparent. Instead of the cost-efficient gobs of greasy cheese that top most delivery pizzas, I buy good quality, part-skim mozzarella and Parmesan cheese and we use it sparingly. This way we get all of the flavor, without an overdose of fat. I also don't skimp on the veggies. The kids can pile on the mushrooms, tomatoes or even leftover chopped broccoli if they wish, and surprisingly enough, they often do.
Of course, the hardest part is waiting for their masterpieces to come out of the oven. Luckily, the wait isn't long and the process of getting dinner on the table is actually fun for the entire family. And if they can pick out Australia on a map at school the next day, that's just an added benefit.
Meredith Deeds of Edina is the author of "Everyday to Entertaining" and "The Big Book of Appetizers." Reach her at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @meredithdeeds.