Cooking with Kids

Happy family cooking together

by Sarah G. Mason

Your kids want to help in the kitchen but you’re worried about accidents around the butcher’s knife and a hot stove. Luckily, it doesn’t take much to make cooking safe for children. Here are a few simple ways to tweak a recipe that will allow your little chefs to enjoy the culinary fun – out of harm’s way!

Bake It
Instead of frying dinner tonight, why not take that same recipe and bake it? Not only is it healthier, but you won’t risk hot oils spilling on eager hands. Many traditionally fried recipes come with instructions for baking, from vegetables, to meats, to side dishes and even dessert! Plus, while your little helper might not be able to flip food on a frying pan, they can certainly set the oven timer, hit the baking light and monitor the meal as it cooks.

The Fewer the Better
While you’d love to walk your child through every step of the cooking process, there just isn’t enough time. The solution? Pick a recipe with fewer ingredients! With fewer ingredients and less steps, you’ll have extra time to include your kitchen helper in every stage of the cooking process. Better yet, fewer ingredients means simpler recipes, which will be easier for your child to recreate once they’re old enough to cook for themselves.

Crockpot Creations
Looking for a way to encourage kids to eat their veggies? Odds are, if they help make it, they will want to taste it! Instead of serving vegetables raw, throw them in the crockpot for a delicious, easy to make stew. Kids will love to help pick the perfect combination of produce to toss in the pot, and they will be eager to eat it once it’s done!

Make it Mini
Want a fun way to make any meal kid-friendly? Make it mini! Instead of baking one large quiche, pizza or meatloaf, try making a dozen child-sized versions in a muffin tin instead. Your aspiring chefs will love having their own, bite-sized model of their favorite dinners. In addition, handling and mixing ingredients is easier for little hands when they come in small batches.

Get Rid of Raw Egg
What’s our favorite part of a new kitchen creation? Tasting along they way, of course! Especially for children who haven’t quite learned patience, sampling as you go can be a great learning experience. However, it’s important to remember that some foods should never be consumed raw, like eggs. To avoid the risk of illness, choose recipes that are egg-free. For your muffin, bread or pancake recipes, try replacing each egg with ¼ cup applesauce!

Chopping for Children
Your child might be too young to safely use a sharp knife but that doesn’t mean that cutting must be ixnayed all together! Instead of serving vegetables raw, steam them so that they are soft and cuttable. Then, let your child slice them with a butter knife. Starting small will allow them to learn proper knife handling techniques, which will prepare them for the day when they can graduate to big-kid knives.



Recipe: Mini Pizzas

Looking for an easy recipe to try with your kitchen helper? Look no further than this mini pizza! With only four ingredients, this recipe is quick and easy – perfect for little learners. It calls for english muffins instead of pizza dough for a mess-free base and a pizza that is the perfect size for little hands. Best of all, these yummy bites are cooked in the microwave, so you won’t have to worry about hot grills or burnt fingers!

What You Will Need:
• Spaghetti Sauce
• Mozzarella cheese (shredded)
• English muffins
• Toppings of your choice!

1) Cut english muffins in half. Your little chef can help by piercing the muffins with a fork to get the cutting started.
2) Spread sauce over muffins. Teach your child measurements as you spoon out equal amounts.
3) Place cheese and toppings over sauce. Have fun making each one a little different depending on your child’s likes!
4) Put in microwave until cheese is melted.

Cooking with kids can be a fun, rewarding experience for parent and child alike. By starting small, tweaking recipes and staying safe, it’s easy to include your child in the kitchen.

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