The school year had come to a close. Our young hero, Lucas Skywalker MacDonald, was planning the menu for his early June birthday, a sleepover of a soiree.
There was a waterslide to be erected in his honor, video games of the modern variety as well as a retro Galaga machine for his nostalgic father’s entertainment, Nerf arrows and accompanying mechanical bows, Styrofoam swords that when struck make a heck of a racket — leading the youth on the receiving end to believe he’d been hit much harder than he had — and a football for some good, old-fashioned, clean fun should the modern brand of entertainment grow old.
Of course the most important question Lucas was in charge of answering was what to serve a group of growing boys. Our world is now full of food allergies, lactose and gluten intolerances, celiac disease and common ailments that may or may not have been caused by the over-processing and genetic modification of American cuisine.
I’m not getting on my soapbox, but there is a lot to consider as the chaperone of what may be someone’s first night away from home. I’d hate to sour the larger picture of future spend-the-night parties by feeding a kid a peanut that ends up forcing us to pile a multitude of boys, two by two into a midsized SUV built to transport only five as we make our way to the ER.
There was a bit of a vetting process and any kid with more than two allergies would be out. We can’t accept that much liability. Anyone scared of the Crichton Leprechaun or the Midtown Wolf Woman was off the list. Once our invitation list was whittled down to a total of six kids and myself as the lonely adult, could we now decide on dinner?
Pizza was certainly the easy route but proved too easy for Lucas’ taste. A recent trip as a volunteer with Catherine to Ronald McDonald House exposed the young man to a hybridized casserole/pie called Bubble Pizza. It’s all the rage with the youngsters as well as adults who don’t mind consuming a high-carb meal of 10,000 calories. But in small doses you can rest assured this is a total crowd pleaser.
And so it was decided Bubble Pizza would be served at the MacDonald household as the celebratory main course along with plenty of unhealthy items, both salty and sweet. From chips and cheese puffs to brownies and ice cream with chocolate syrup, we pretty much kept the health conscious at bay with our carbohydrates and sugars like garlic to vampires. A diabetic couldn’t have come within 100 feet of our house without needing a snort of insulin.
The only hurdle was the one lactose-intolerant kid who couldn’t eat the ice cream. But, like a real man, he mustered the literal intestinal fortitude to choke down his share of pizza and drew the line at the Old Dutch vanilla, opting for two brownies instead of a la mode.
The closest we got to health food was the blueberries fresh from the bush in the backyard that we handpicked for the next day’s pancakes. While gathering my crop I overheard my newfound lactose-intolerant friend explaining to waterspout expert Jason that eating them off the bush was better than grabbing a couple from Mr. MacDonald’s bucket because, “They’re fresher that way.” Turns out blueberries lose their freshness within 30 seconds of being plucked.
There were no Wookalar or Bigfoot sightings, no real ghost stories to tell, and the whole party went off without incident, thank goodness. Aside from a little sleep deprivation and a couple of new grays, I really enjoyed myself, but the only thing that topped the waterslide was, you guessed it, Bubble Pizza.
Here is the way Lucas and Catherine prepared it.
This monster looks like a pretty thick version of lasagna when it’s all said and done. Break out the 13 x 9 baking dish or grab disposable aluminum trays from the sugar aisle of the grocery store.
• 2 tubes of refrigerated buttermilk biscuit dough
• 1 15-ounce can of tomato sauce
• 1 lb ground beef
• 1 tsp oregano
• 2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
• 1 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
• Salt and pepper to taste
Start by browning the ground beef in a large skillet over medium heat. Drain the grease (we use a turkey baster and an empty can from the recycling bin) and stir in the tomato sauce, oregano, salt and pepper. This would be the time to add any garlic powder or a snort of red wine to make your sauce your own. If you aren’t adventurous, feel free to use pre-made pizza or spaghetti sauce.
Grease the baking dish. Open the pop-up dough and quarter each biscuit. Place the pieces a quarter inch apart to line the vessel and top with the meat sauce. Bake uncovered in a preheated 400-degree oven for 20 minutes. Top with cheese and bake another 5-10 minutes or until the cheese is melted. I prefer a little browning, myself.
Slice wedges of the pie and serve hot, topping with parmesan and red pepper flakes for those who want some heat. I am not one who goes crazy for pizza in most situations, but this was a dish I couldn’t resist.
It’s cheap and easy and not too greasy. The kids loved it. You know what else they loved? Their first rounds of Galaga. Retro wins!
This page is available to subscribers. Click here to sign in or get access.
It looks like you are opening this page from the Facebook App. This article needs to be opened in the browser.
iOS: Tap the three dots in the top right, then tap on "Open in Safari".
Android: Tap the Settings icon (it looks like three horizontal lines), then tap App Settings, then toggle the "Open links externally" setting to On (it should turn from gray to blue).