I am going to admit straight away that I actually don’t really love dinner time. In fact, I sometimes even dread it. My kids are tired, my patience is usually gone by then, and trying to keep three kids at the table until they finish their dinner is exhausting (remember this post?). I’m also not like Esther — I’m not super passionate about cooking. I mean, I do it… but it’s not something that I really love (my husband is the passionate chef in the family). But, I think dinnertime is incredibly important for a family, and the lessons of sitting at the table together, using proper table manners, trying different foods, taking turns in the dinnertime conversation, etc. are all such important lessons to teach our children.
During the week, I usually make the kids their dinner and serve it to them around 6ish. I usually give them a bath before dinner, so they eat dinner in their pyjamas (see photo), and then when my husband comes home around 7pm, he can read them a book and put them to bed. I usually make something simple for them or I give them the left-overs from our dinner the night before. My kids are pretty good eaters, although there are some meals which go down better than others (pasta is usually a winner). After dinner I usually let the kids have a little square of chocolate if they’ve eaten their dinner. We’re not big dessert people, but we do like our chocolate!
On the weekends, my husband usually makes all the meals (so nice!) and we eat together as a family. Weekend dinners are more enjoyable because there’s no time pressure or strict bed times, and everyone is more relaxed in general (although it still requires lots of patience and loads of encouragement to eat their meals!).
My husband often makes pizza on the weekends and it’s always a popular dinner. He usually makes one pizza with olives and anchovies, and another one with buffalo mozzarella and tomatoes. The kids help put the toppings on (sneaking olives and cheese of course!), and then we all sit down to eat it once it’s come out of the oven. It’s my favourite meal of the week!
Our pizza dough recipe comes from Jim Lahey’s My Bread cookbook. We’ve tried several different dough recipes but this is our favourite. Here’s the recipe for two balls of dough (enough for two separate pizzas):
In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, yeast, salt, and sugar. Add the water and, using a wooden spoon or your hand, mix until blended, at least 30 seconds. The dough will be stiff, not wet and sticky. Cover the bowl and let sit at room temperature until the dough has more than doubled in volume, about 2 hours. Remove the dough from the bowl onto a floured surface and gently form into a ball then divide the dough into two halves, spacing them 4 inches apart, and cover both with a moistened kitchen towel for 30 minutes.
When you are ready to make your pizza, preheat oven to 500°F and then roll out each ball of dough onto a rectangular, oiled cookie sheet. Then add toppings! (We usually put the tomato sauce onto the dough and cook for about 20 minutes before adding our toppings and cooking a bit more.)