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Thanksgiving Side Dishes, Apps. or Desserts a 10 year old can easily make

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This year my 10 year old niece has volunteered to help cook Thanksgiving dinner. While I already have my menu planned, I'm willing to be flexible to accomodate her request. While she can certainly help with various aspects of the recipes I already planned on making, I was wondering if anyone had some great menu ideas that my niece can make/bake virtually on her own that she can then claim was a result of her sole efforts. I remember that many years ago, when my son was little, he took over the corn pudding recipe which subsequently turned into "Gabe's famous corn pudding" on our annual menu. I'd like to do something similar for my niece. Any suggestions for an interesting appetizer, side dish and/or dessert that would work?

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  1. Mashed Sweet Potatoes Brulee.....so easy and so good!

    Wash and Peel potatoes, cut in chunks, and boil until soft.

    Mash, add some sugar and cinnamin, milk or cream, butter.

    Put in casserole type dish and spread a layer of brown sugar on top. Broil until sugar bubbles and melts.

    Take out of oven and let sit for a few minutes to harden.

    SO GOOD.

    (Sorry I don't have measurements....I never cook that way!)

    1. My 10 year old niece made yeast rolls one year. They turned out great and everyone was impressed that she made them from scratch (all, including the kneading). She did it in a crescent which looks really pretty, too. I also have a recipe for a chocolate mousse cake that children have made really easily and it's really good. Anything along those lines are easy--flourless chocolate cake, chocolate pudding cake, molten chocolate cake (just make it and bake before serving). If you want the recipe for the rolls, though I think a 10 year old can do most roll recipes, or chocolate mousse cake, I can post them.

      One more easy side that's good is the Durgin Park cornbread recipe:


      As I've thought about it more, it might be best to ask her what her favorite dish is and find a version she can make. Nothing thrills them more than making something they love and that tastes good. My son's favorite is this no bake Jif pb pie. I can't eat it but the kids love it and it's his special thing. If I had him make a cheesecake, he could do it but he doesn't like cheesecake so he wouldn't get that thrill of loving what he makes.

      1 Reply
      1. re: chowser

        Rolls were my first thought too, and making bread is pretty fun for a kid to make, lots of hands on fun. It's also fun if you make the ones that are three balls inside each muffin cup, because you have all the fun of rolling the little balls.

      2. Cranberry sauce is fun if you are a kid (or an adult) because the berries pop when they start to cook. Sad to say, I still a kick out of it. You can (should) make it ahead of time too, so she could be free to help with the last minute prep of the other dishes. Sauce can be as simple (berries plus sugar and water, as per the back of the bag) or complicated as you like so she could add her own touches. Spices, orange juice, peral onions, balsamic vinegar, garlic -- she can design her own. How much fun is that for a ten year old?

        1. Have her make a bread pudding. It's very easy. Cut brioche or other egg bread into cubes. Mix base & add to bread. Pour into pan.

          Do a search on epicurious they have a good pumpkin bread pudding recipe with a caramel sauce. My 9 yr old made this a few weeks ago. I was making test batches to see what to make for Thanksgiving. She was very proud of herself afterwards.

          1. how about pumpkin or pecan pie... both fairly easy

            1. Artichoke Dip

              1 can artichoke hearts, drained & chopped
              1 c. mayonnaise
              1 c. grated parmesan cheese

              combine, put into lightly greased casserole dish, sprinkle with paprika or cayenne pepper (if you're adventurous) and bake at 350 for 30 minutes

              Serve with pita chips, bruschetta, crackers and/or dipping veggies.

              This recipe is SO easy and I get raves every time I make it

              1 Reply
              1. re: SweetPhyl

                I make the artichoke dip just like you except I also add cream cheese--8oz block and I sometimes I use the marinated artichokes. It adds even more flavor. It's so creamy and very yummy! Bagel chips also taste really good with this too!

              2. The fudge recipe from Eagle Brand milk is easy and really good. It basically requires mixing chocolate chips, Eagle Brand milk, vanilla and salt in a pot until they melt. You don't have to worry about double-boiling because of the milk. Once it's melted, you pour in a pan to cool. It takes about 5 minutes to make a batch and people rave about it.

                The recipe also would allow your niece to be creative. You can make two or three different types of fudge.

                For caramel-chocolate fudge, I separately melt Kraft caramels with a drop of milk. Once melted, I mix it with the chocolate in the pan.

                For chocolate peanut butter fudge, I separately melt Reeses peanut butter chips and then mix that into the chocolate.

                For rocky road, get almonds pieces and mini-marshmallows. For this one, I melt some marshmallows with a little butter and fold it into the chocolate. Then I add the almonds and some more marshmallows as I pour the melted chocolate into the pan. You might also be able to use fluff, but I've never done it.

                The basic receipe is available on the Eagle Brand website (and often on the can).