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Jul 1, 2014 08:52 PM

Super simple recipes/ideas to involve kids in cooking

Hey all, I'm about to embark on a ten-day adventure with a dear friend (who does not cook) and her grandkids (who do not cook). The kids range in age from 3 to 10 and I'd like to involve them in the FUN of cooking. Not teaching knife skills, not menu planning, but the shear joy of making (or stirring) and consuming something delicious at home.

We will certainly pick cherry tomatoes from the garden and whatever else is ready when they're here, but I'm looking for more than just grazing.

So far I've landed on:

--popsicles (VERY open to ideas here, have some vague memory of a thread and will search soon)
--wacky cake
--hand-churned coconut ice cream (since it only requires coconut milk, maple syrup and some lime if you're feeling fancy)

Other ideas of things they'd delight in, would be super simple (for all of us), and won't make grandma run for the hills when I suggest playing with fire?

I'm totally fine with things that have the kids as involved as their enthusiasm/ability allows them. I am NOT thinking of this as culinary boot camp, rather as experiences they will fondly remember and which may spark interest for future adventures.

Thanks in advance!

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    1. re: ipsedixit

      I'd forgotten all about m&c! I'll see if maybe the 10 year old wants to be in charge of dinner for everyone!

    2. Personal pizzas are a HUGE hit with my almost 3 year old.

      I do home made dough (an interpretation of the grilled pizza dough from Serious Eats), divide out into single serve sizes (I toss some of them which ups the giggle factor, especially when they bounce off the ceiling) and then she helps me top them. I put out bowls of sauce, cheese, veggies, meats etc and she can assemble her own. Then I bake and she's so proud of "her" pizza. I"ve done this with a small play group (2 other kids) and it was a HUGE hit. Even making a cheese pizza was so exciting.

      We have a step stool which gets her up to counter height for assembly purposes, but older kids wouldn't need this

      3 Replies
      1. re: autumm

        Fabulous idea! I think we'll do this on the grill and let everyone toss some. (Of course I'll make LOTS of dough.)

        1. re: miss louella

          My now 5 year old LOVES making pizza and has been perfecting her technique now for a few years. In the beginning she needed more help spreading sauce and sprinkling cheese, but now she handles those tasks ably. Her favorite is to bake the pizza and then layer prosciutto on top of the hot pizza. Baking the prosciutto with the pizza makes it too chewy and hard, as she would tell you very earnestly. :-)

          1. re: miss louella

            You can also use good, flat pitas. Of course, making the dough is better, but if you are looking for a time saver.....and mess saver. Comes out crispy like a nice thin crust pizza. Plus, it cooks fast because the cheese just needs to melt. You can precook items, like bell peppers, if needed, and each kid can choose the toppings and get their pizza quick!

        2. Egg in a hole.
          Crepes. Fill with sour cream and jam or just sprinkle with lemon juice and powdered sugar.
          Waffles if you have an iron.
          Grilled cheese sandwiches. Cream cheese or peanut butter spread in celery sticks. Cut up apples, have with cheese and crusty bread and butter.
          Grill hot dogs.
          Have berries, make shortcake.
          Corn on the cob.
          Cut up fruit, make fruit salad.
          Make chocolate milk.

          1. Anything made in a blender is popular, kids love hitting the button! (Well, so do i :)
            Bean dip for your fresh veggies, or whatever dip.
            The frozen banana soft serve is always popular.

            Guacamole is great since after you do the cut in half and pit they can scoop and mash with a fork, squeeze in the lime juice, etc.

            If you have a food mill those are fun, you could make pasta sauce.

            No bake cookies work great too since there's no worry about snacking on the dough or lopsided uneven baked ones.

            1. French toast
              Cinnamon toast
              PB and J sandwiches
              Bologna and cheese sandwiches
              Butter cream frosting on graham crackers
              Rice crispy treats
              Canapes using any cracker and squeeze or squirt cheese