Cooking with kids is always a lot of fun and usually a bit messy, too! Read on for some tips and recipes for kids in the kitchen.
When you first start cooking with kids, you're probably spending most of your time trying to get your toddlers not to eat all the ingredients. Before you know it, you might be sitting on the sidelines as your middle schooler starts to bake by himself for the first time. But whatever stage you're in, cooking, baking, and trying new recipes with kids can be a really rewarding experience!
Even the youngest ones want to help in the kitchen because then they feel proud and independent. And who doesn't love making a delicious homemade snack or treat? Here are a few ideas to get you started.
When selecting the right recipe for cooking with kids, consider one they will actually eat. That doesn't mean you have to stick to chicken tenders and cookies. There are plenty of delicious, healthy options you can explore. But starting with easy recipes for kids can set you up for success, especially when cooking with your little ones. Here are some delicious ideas for every meal of the day
Sandwiches are a perfect first meal to "cook" or just assemble with kids. You might not even need to use an oven or knife, so you'll maximize safety for all! You can even make them pretty and fun by cutting off the crust with a cookie cutter.
- Peanut Butter and Jelly- The classic sandwich has been a hit with kids and adults for decades. Learning how to spread the jam and peanut butter with a knife is an essential life skill. If you want to spice things up, add apples or sliced banana into the mix. Once your child is independent enough to make their own PB&J, they're one step closer to making their own packed lunch for school.
- Deli Meat Sandwiches- Two pieces of bread, meat, cheese, and sauce. Put them together, and you've got a delicious customizable sandwich option.
- Roll-Ups- If bread isn't your favorite, try putting your favorite ingredients in a tortilla for a delicious sandwich twist. If your kiddos like sauce, you could include a tasty "dipping sauce," too!
- Pizza- If your kids love pizza as much as mine do, try this cheese pizza recipe. It's easy to make and really fun to roll out the dough. Buy a pre-made pizza dough for easy prep. Just don't let them toss it as high as they do in the movies unless you're looking for your ceiling or floor re-decorated with pizza dough. And feel free to customize it with your favorite toppings, too.
Looking for some recipes to get your child involved with dinner prep? Here are a few favorites.
- Spaghetti- From boiling noodles to either making your own sauce or buying a jar, pasta is a wonderful thing to cook with your aspiring chef. It's easy to make and easy to customize.
- Cornflake chicken- This oven-baked chicken recipe is crunchy, easy-to-make, and a healthy alternative to fried chicken strips. It's sure to be a big crowd-pleaser with the family. Just be sure to wash your hands thoroughly if you're touching raw chicken!
- Tacos- If you're not feeling brave enough to let your kids brown the meat, they can assemble different bowls of toppings like cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and salsa. They can also sprinkle some cheese on tortillas for some easy quesadillas or melted soft tacos. If your kids aren't experts with taco shells quite yet, you can make DIY taco salad bowls instead.
- One-pot Meals- These kinds of recipes can be fun to gradually toss in all the ingredients and see how it comes together in the end. Whether it's soup, a meat-and-pasta dish, or a casserole, cooking it all in one pot minimizes kitchen mess and makes clean up a lot easier. If you have an adventurous eater, this is a great way to incorporate new ingredients into a recipe so they can try them!
- Chicken Parm Sliders- It's only 4 ingredients, but this simple recipe is perfect. Rolls, chicken nuggets, mozzarella/parmesan cheese, and tomato sauce. Have your kids help you assemble these quick, easy, and adorable sliders.
You probably won't have any trouble getting your kids to help out in the kitchen with these recipe ideas.
- Chocolate Chip Cookies- These are classic for a reason. You customize them for your dietary needs, with gluten-free flour or vegetable oil. You can use pre-made dough you just have to pop in the oven. Or, you can splurge and make the perfect chocolate chip cookies. However you like them, they're sure to be a hit when you're cooking with kids
- Fudgesicles- Did you know you can make homemade fudgesicles with just two ingredients! Just get a box of instant chocolate pudding, 2 2/3 cups of milk, whisk together, and freeze. It's a safe and fun recipe anyone can make, and a healthy alternative to ice cream.
- Chocolate-covered Strawberries- This classic, bite-sized dessert is so much fun, especially if you let the kids do the dipping. Kick it up a notch, too, by letting the kiddos add their favorite toppings like chopped nuts, sprinkles, coconut, or crushed candy pieces before the chocolate hardens.
There are so many fun, easy recipes to make with kids of all ages! Be sure to mix things up, so you're not just cooking things like cake or cookies. Experiment with healthier dishes, too. And be sure to share your favorite photos and recipes with friends and family on your favorite family app! What are your favorite meals to cook with your kids?