How to: Host a Successful Family Pizza Night

Studies have shown that a family meals have intellectual and nutritional benefits for everyone sitting around the table. With our busy schedules, sometimes this can feel like a real challenge. Enter "family pizza night". Committing to a weekly or bi-weekly interactive family meal featuring everyone's favourite food, is a great way to connect with family members of all ages. Here are a few tips for a successful pizza night...

Homemade pizza dough is simple to make (recipe), but if time is at a premium, pick up some readymade dough from the grocery store or from a bakery. Just make sure you've got it ready to go before everyone comes to the table. Kids love rolling pizza dough, feel free to hand out rolling pins to any willing hands. You're not looking for perfectly rolled out pizzas, so let the kids get creative. If they don't mind eating a wonky shaped pizza, who cares? 

Pizza Supplies
The right tool for the right job makes life easier. A pizza stone turns out evenly baked pizzas quickly, while a good old-fashioned pizza or cookie sheet does the job just fine. Or maybe try grilling your pizza on the BBQ if it's too hot to cook in the kitchen. However you decide to cook your pies, just make sure you have what you need ahead of time. 

Topping Stations
Ask everyone in the family to choose at least one topping they love and have plenty of each on hand. Set up stations or sections of the table with toppings in bowls for everyone to access. You can also include different sauces and cheeses. This is a great way to encourage family members to try to foods. Experiment with some more exotic toppings like small fish, capers and sautéed greens. 

Individual Pizzas or Family Size
Poll the group and see if the consensus is to make one large family pizza or small personal pizzas. Individual pizzas are fun because everyone can personalize their own creation and swap slices later on. 

Cut Down on Clean Up
Parchment paper or butcher's block paper is novel and practical replacement for plates on pizza night. Just tear off a piece for everyone and avoid dishes for one night. 

Best Leftovers. Ever.
Make extra pizza and seal it up for the next day. Maybe let the kids help themselves to cold pizza for breakfast so you can sleep in, or pack it up and take it on a picnic.