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Ideas for kids cooking classes (without a cooktop!)

MissLisaT Sep 8, 2012 06:53 PM

Hi, I'm going to be teaching 8-11 yr olds some cooking classes and I was hopefully looking for some new ideas here. The caveat is that I don't have a cooktop (the previous instructor had two of her own that she brought, I have none)... but I do have a blender, toaster over, and BBQ. Some ideas I've come up with already are smoothies, pizza (on the BBQ), quesadillas, and perhaps baked wontons (sweet and savory crackers, and egg-roll type items). Any other suggestions?

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  1. Cheese Boy RE: MissLisaT Sep 8, 2012 07:27 PM

    Have them shape and season their own burgers. Grill some fresh corn. Make the pizza(s) in the toaster oven if possible. Smoothies are a great idea -- think like Montel. If you're gonna make quesadillas, go for the whole enchilada and include some burritos in there also.
    Your students are going to love you for this!!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Cheese Boy
      MissLisaT RE: Cheese Boy Sep 12, 2012 05:44 PM

      Good call on the burgers (I'm sure they'll end up sliders), and so true on the burritos! Thanks!

    2. jmcarthur8 RE: MissLisaT Sep 8, 2012 08:27 PM

      We made salsa with our teen gardening group recently, and they loved it.

      You could do hummus and baked pita chips.

      1 Reply
      1. re: jmcarthur8
        MissLisaT RE: jmcarthur8 Sep 12, 2012 05:43 PM

        Yes! Salsa will go perfectly (as well as guacamole!) on the quesadillas and burritos. And hummus is one of my favorite foods so I'm sure it'll get stuck in there somewhere! Thanks for your reply!

      2. Emme RE: MissLisaT Sep 9, 2012 12:30 AM

        Roasted Vegetable Gazpacho - BBQ and blender
        Fish en Papillote - toaster oven
        Crusted Chicken Paillards - toaster or BBQ
        Homemade Mayonnaise - by hand
        Stuffed Grilled Portabello Steaks - BBQ
        Individual Eggplant Parmesan stackers - toaster or BBQ
        Paninis - BBQ
        Spring Rolls with Grilled shrimp and veggies
        Grilled Polenta
        Stuffed Zucchini - toaster, BBQ
        Muffins and Cookies - toaster

        sounds like fun!

        6 Replies
        1. re: Emme
          MissLisaT RE: Emme Sep 12, 2012 05:47 PM

          Wow, those sound so incredibly delicious! The kids are aged 8-11, so I'm afraid some of these will be a bit over their heads... But I do love the panini idea, and the polenta idea and made me think of a whole class on just appetizers! Thank you so much!

          1. re: MissLisaT
            rockycat RE: MissLisaT Sep 13, 2012 07:18 AM

            Depends on your kids. Mine is 10 and I don't think that any of those are beyond her or most of her classmates (except maybe homemade mayo - I still can't get that right). Then again, those kids make and serve hot lunch for 2 classes every other Friday and help cook holiday meals like Thanksgiving and Chinese New Year. Thank goodness for a school that believes kitchen skills are part of the life skills that need to be taught.

            1. re: rockycat
              MissLisaT RE: rockycat Sep 13, 2012 09:31 AM

              Yeah, right after I replied I actually thought critically about it (I don't have kids, which is why I'm not really sure what they are capable of). My friends kids that are that age would totally be able to handle this stuff. I was just selling them short. Oops. =)
              Your school sounds awesome! That is such an important skill, and it will serve them well the rest of their lives!

              1. re: MissLisaT
                Emme RE: MissLisaT Sep 16, 2012 09:27 PM

                my neighbor is 8, and he looooves to help make mayo... in fact, homemade is the only kind he'll eat... but take the temperature on the first day. see where the kids are at... throw out some ideas, and see which ones seem off-putting to a majority.

                i am so jealous. i wish we'd had that when i was a kid. i always said if i started a school, it would involve showing up at 7 am every day to make breakfast. great way to teach budgeting and health.

                1. re: Emme
                  cheesecake17 RE: Emme Sep 18, 2012 05:41 PM

                  A friend used to teach at a school where free breakfast was offered to all students and staff. When she asked her students, high schoolers, why they never showed up, the told her they'd rather be hungry than eat what the school served. She ended up revamping the breakfasts with the kids' help. The cafeteria staff agreed to execute waffles if the kids would make batter, serve fruit if the kids sliced it, and give out small jars of jam for toast. The students stayed late after school to do prep work... Within a few months breakfast time was packed, and students were lining up to help after school.

                  1. re: cheesecake17
                    sandylc RE: cheesecake17 Sep 18, 2012 06:02 PM

                    That is wonderful! Mostly because it was ALLOWED. So often I hear that school districts don't allow good things like this, based upon silly regulations and sillier regulation-writers.

        2. d
          Dcfoodblog RE: MissLisaT Sep 9, 2012 06:43 PM

          Bruschetta. They just need to cut up the toppings and mix and they can even grill the bread and rub it with garlic. The classic is tomatoes, basil, and garlic with olive oil.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Dcfoodblog
            MissLisaT RE: Dcfoodblog Sep 12, 2012 05:50 PM

            Oh my gosh, that's a brilliant idea. It will be perfect for an appetizer class I'm forming. Thank you for your idea!

            1. re: MissLisaT
              cheesecake17 RE: MissLisaT Sep 13, 2012 06:06 PM

              You can do a theme for appetizer class, say "around the world on a slice of toast." pick different breads and toppings and have the kids rotate through th steps of preparing each dish.

              1. re: cheesecake17
                jmcarthur8 RE: cheesecake17 Sep 13, 2012 07:02 PM

                I love that!

          2. e
            escondido123 RE: MissLisaT Sep 12, 2012 06:14 PM

            I have the same quandary, so I went to a thrift store and bought both an electric fry pan and a hot plate. It made teaching easier.

            1 Reply
            1. re: escondido123
              MissLisaT RE: escondido123 Sep 13, 2012 09:30 AM

              Yeah, I'm just about to scour my local thrift stores... I was thinking about putting a pan on the BBQ and then realized how ridiculous that was getting. Ha!

            2. s
              sandylc RE: MissLisaT Sep 12, 2012 06:29 PM

              The basics of salad making. Vinaigrette, types of greens, washing and serving, things you can add, etc. A lifetime long skill.

              Bread. Have them mix and knead dough, but also have dough formed and ready to bake so that they can taste it.

              2 Replies
              1. re: sandylc
                MissLisaT RE: sandylc Sep 13, 2012 09:32 AM

                Absolutely wonderful idea! I can't believe it had escaped me... so simple, so versatile... Thank you so much for your ideas!

                1. re: MissLisaT
                  cheesecake17 RE: MissLisaT Sep 13, 2012 06:05 PM

                  Salad idea is great. The kids can prep their own salad bar and take turns mixing each others custom salads.

              2. meatn3 RE: MissLisaT Sep 13, 2012 11:58 AM

                I've taught children's cooking classes in schools with no equipment. One thing which was handy to have were a number of chopping jars. It let the kids break into groups and work on a recipe and removed the issues of knives from the equation. These work great for salsa, nuts, dried fruits, etc.


                I also picked up a reversible electric griddle/grill from Big Lots. An immersion blender is easy to transport and opens up a lot of possibilities.

                If there is down time during the segment busy work is useful. When we did a harvest apple lesson each child had a form which we used to record our impressions of a taste test of four varieties. We discussed and compared color, shape, flavor, crispness, sweetness. We also conducted an experiment timing the difference in browning between a plain slice and one dipped in lemon juice.

                At the end of the class each child had a packet with our recipes, an apple word search, a fill in the blank information sheet, taste test findings and experiment results.

                Other handy things are lots of rags, bus pans to stash dirty equipment, ziplocks, extension cords, painters tape to secure cords. Your back will thank you if you have a portable table with adjustable legs!

                1 Reply
                1. re: meatn3
                  MissLisaT RE: meatn3 Sep 16, 2012 08:51 AM

                  Wow, these are some incredibly helpful ideas! Thank you so much!

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