• By Judith H. Dern

Cool Kids in the Kitchen

Every child loves learning to cook and eating something “I made myself.” Parents, too, will share the pleasure—and the rewards. Read on for some delicious kid-approved recipes and clever ways to make the experience fun for all ages.

Here are four recipes with guaranteed kid appeal

Measuring, mixing, and getting started

Small chefs will enjoy more success if they learn the basics before beginning:

  • Wash hands before touching food.
  • Put on an apron and roll up sleeves.
  • Read a recipe all the way through before beginning to cook so there are no surprises.
  • Gather the necessary ingredients in one place and use proper measuring tools for dry and liquid ingredients.
  • Use spoons for tasting, rather than fingers.

Try these easy recipes

Here are four recipes with guaranteed kid appeal:

  • Snacks on sticks—Assemble chunks of cheese, hot dogs, fruits, or veggies of your choice on a skewer alternating colors and sweet with salty things, or soft with crunchy.
  • Yummy grilled cheese sandwich—Melt 1/2 to 1 tablespoon (.5 ounce) of butter in a frying pan on medium heat. Put a 1-ounce slice (28 grams) of cheese between two bread slices and place in pan. Brown on one side. Add another 1/2 to 1 tablespoon (.5 ounce) of butter and use spatula to turn and brown second side. When cheese melts, remove sandwich from pan with spatula.
  • Sunshine deviled eggs—Boil six eggs in saucepan over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and run under cold water to cool before removing shells. Cut in half and place yolks in medium-size bowl. Use a fork to mash yolks with 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon mustard (.5 ounce), and 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) sweet or dill pickle relish. Add salt and pepper to taste. Spoon a dollop of yolk mixture into the hollow of each egg half.
  • Easy ice cream sandwiches—Soften ice cream or low-fat frozen yogurt, and place a small scoop between two of your favorite cookies. Gently press together. Roll edges in miniature chocolate chips, candy sprinkles or chopped nuts. Cover with plastic wrap and refreeze. Tasty flavor pairings: vanilla ice cream with chocolate chip cookies and miniature chocolate chips or chopped almonds, strawberry ice cream with graham crackers and sprinkles.

Keep the kitchen kid-safe

Cooking is fun, but it’s always important to have an adult around to be sure things stay safe. Here are some simple tips:

  • Set up a special cooking area at the kitchen table or at a child-sized table to avoid unsafe standing on chairs or stools.
  • Consider using an electric frying pan instead of the stovetop; if using the stove, always turn saucepan handles toward the back to prevent accidents.
  • When supervising older children using plastic or serrated knives, put a piece of colored tape on the knife to show where to properly hold it, and always use dry hands and a cutting board. For younger children, prepare ingredients in advance or look for precut options.
  • As one child said, “Never touch a cookie when it’s in the oven.” Make turning on and taking pans or cookie sheets in and out of the oven an “adults-only” task.

Judith H. Dern

Judith H. Dern, an independent writer living in Seattle, started cooking when she was age ten by making chocolate chip cookies and brownies from scratch.

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