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Ideas for kids cooking classes (without a cooktop!)

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. 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

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

    2. 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

        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. 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
        Couscous
        Grilled Polenta
        Stuffed Zucchini - toaster, BBQ
        Muffins and Cookies - toaster

        sounds like fun!

        6 Replies
        1. re: Emme

          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

            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

              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

                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

                  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

                    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. 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

            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

              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.

          2. 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

              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!