Trapped inside with stir-crazy kids and out of ideas? Get those little hands kneading, chopping and grating in the kitchen. These winter days are the perfect time for families to spend time together creating meal masterpieces. Plus you all have to eat, so you might as well make it fun!
Bust out the family aprons and give these three recipes a try:
2 ¾ cups unbleached flour
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
¼ cup water
In a food processor, add the flour, salt, eggs and oil and pulse until coarse crumbs form. With the motor running, add water and mix until the dough comes together and is sticky.
Put dough on well-floured surface and knead until it’s no longer sticky. Cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Cut the chilled dough into eight equal pieces and use a pasta machine to flatten into the pasta thickness and shape of your preference. Place the finished pasta on a sheet pan lined with parchment and sprinkle lightly with flour until ready to cook.
Boil water and add salt when rapidly boiling. Add pasta and cook until it rises to the top slightly 2-4 minutes. Serve with your favorite sauce.
Make it fun:
Let the kids make the dough and help run it through the pasta machine. Try a few different pasta shapes from pappardelle to spaghetti with the different settings. Pasta is a trial-and-error process, so play until you figure out your favorite type of noodle.
3 ½ cups unbleached flour (more as needed)
2 tsp. honey
½ tsp. salt
1 ¼ tsp. instant yeast
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil (more as needed)
Grated Parmesan cheese
Toppings of your choice
Combine flour, honey, salt, instant yeast and olive oil in a large mixing bowl. Add 1 ¼ cup of cool water. Mix until the dough comes together in a coarse ball, at least 2 to 3 minutes by hand.
Let dough rest uncovered for 5 minutes.
Knead the dough by hand on a lightly floured surface. Add more water or flour as needed to produce a ball of dough that is smooth and fairly tacky but not sticky. When you poke the dough with a clean finger, it should peel off, leaving only a slight residue.
Lightly oil a bowl that’s twice the size of the dough ball. Roll the dough in the bowl to coat it with the oil and cover the top of the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least eight hours or overnight. If the plastic bulges, release the carbon dioxide buildup by lifting one edge of the plastic wrap and reseal.
Once the dough rises, take it out of the refrigerator and set it on a lightly oiled work surface. If using a baking stone, put in oven on the middle rack and preheat oven to 500 degrees.
Divide dough into four equal pieces. Dust surface with flour and sprinkle the dough lightly with flour. Gently press it into a round disk. With floured hands, carefully lift the dough and rest it on the back of your hands and knuckles. Use the tips of your thumbs to stretch the outer edge so you create a thin dough with thicker edges.
Place stretched pizza dough onto parchment paper. Use pizza sauce, Parmesan cheese and toppings as desired. Cook for 5-10 minutes, depending on size of pizza.
Make it fun:
Add sausage, roasted red peppers and goat cheese for a delectable bite.
Add asiago cheese, goat cheese and mozzarella cheese for a tasty four-cheese pizza.
Add basil and asiago cheese for a delicious take on margherita.
Make your own signature pizza with your choice of toppings, ranging from pepperoni to mushrooms to peppers. Have a contest for who makes the best-tasting pizza.
Biscuit Dough Doughnuts
Peanut oil, for frying
2 cans large buttermilk biscuits
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ cup sugar
3 cup confectioners’ sugar
5 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¼ cup cocoa powder
Heat 2 inches of peanut oil in a large pot or Dutch oven to 350 degrees.
Make the doughnut toppings. In a small bowl, mix together the cinnamon and sugar. In another small bowl, whisk together 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar, 2 Tbsp. of milk and 1 tsp. of vanilla extract to make vanilla icing. In another bowl, whisk together 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar, ¼ cup of cocoa powder and 3 Tbsp. of milk to make chocolate icing. In another bowl, put 1 cup confectioners’ sugar for powdered sugar. Set aside toppings.
Take out the biscuits and lay on a cutting board. Using a biscuit cutter or 1½-inch round cookie or biscuit cutter, cut a hole from the middle of each biscuit. Fry the cut doughnuts in the oil until golden, about 1-2 minutes. Use tongs to flip to fry the other side, 1-2 minutes.
Remove doughnuts and drain quickly on paper towels. Toss the doughnuts in the toppings of your choice while they are still warm. Add sprinkles and enjoy.
Make it fun:
Fry up the doughnut holes as well and put into bag of either powdered sugar or cinnamon-sugar mix and shake! Let the kids take complete control of the toppings and decorating. The more sprinkles the better!