Growing up in New York I enjoyed my fair share of pizza. I have the fondest memories of my mom surprising me after school with a slice of spinach pizza from Chefs of New York – a thin, chewy pizza comprised simply of spinach and white sauce, with a border of white sesame seeds where the crust and cheese meet. When my family moved to the West Coast, there was an absence of New York-style pizza and, in a pinch, pizza abruptly left our dining menu.
While my husband and I dabbled with Chicago deep-dish pizza for the duration of our stay in the Windy City, we’ve never been regular pizza eaters. Mostly it’s because we can’t find our preferred New York- or Sicilian-style pizza. But when Rice Kernel became old enough to “play” and “help” in the kitchen, pizza made a quick entrance.
Homemade pizza is simple to prepare, versatile, and nutritious. Rice Kernel has the most fun rolling out and cutting dough. To make it easier for him to eat his creation, I’ve mainly baked calzones and stromboli, which are a bit more contained and easier for little hands to hold (and contain the cheese and filling). Our typical toppings/fillings include spinach, roasted garlic, carmelized onions, roasted broccoli or cauliflower, grilled or roasted chicken, canadian bacon, and meatballs – but you’re only limited by your imagination and preferences. Authentic or not, homemade pizzas, calzones, and stromboli are a nutritious way to involve children in the kitchen and incorporate whole grains and vegetables.
Whole Wheat Stromboli
An American creation, stromboli is a type of turnover filled with cheeses, meats (often Italian meats or deli meats), and vegetables. Stromboli can be served whole or cut into strips as an appetizer for a crowd.
Whole wheat pizza dough (homemade or store-bought)
Tomato sauce, with extra for dipping
Olive oil or egg wash, for brushing top of stromboli
- Roll out dough on a floured surface, making a rectangular shape. Place ingredients, starting with the cheese down the middle of the dough, staying clear of the edges. Add slices/shreds of mozzarella or your favorite cheese. Fill with your choice of ingredients.
After filling, fold the two short ends slightly over the filling on each end (like a burrito). Now fold the two long ends over each other making sure to overlap. Carefully place on a baking sheet making sure not to tear dough.
Brush stromboli with olive oil or egg wash and sprinkle with salt, pepper, dry rosemary, dry oregano, sesame seeds, etc.
Bake at 400 degrees F for 8 to 10 minutes, until crust is brown.
Serve with optional sauce for dipping on the side.