My kids love to help out in the kitchen. I started baking with them when they were very small, but it took a long time for me to feel comfortable having them “cook.” I finally decided that it came down to the skills that they knew and the safety factor of the dish they were attempting.
Cooking is great for kids for lots of reasons, but for beginner kiddie cooks, these dishes are perfect. Your kids can make these dishes with only basic instruction, and since everything is cold, they can’t get burned. If you handle the stove/oven parts, they’ll be able to (nearly) fully prepare a dish.
Here are a few dishes to get your kid started:
- Lasagna: This is a PERFECT dish for a young cook. I cook the meat the day before, so it is cold and easily crumbled. I won’t promise a mess-free kitchen when your child is finished, but you WILL have a tasty dinner and a proud kid.
- Green Bean Casserole: Since you basically open cans and stir, this is great for kids. Be careful of sharp edges on the cans – but other than that, this one is fool-proof.
- Garlic Bread: If you soften the butter to near-liquid form and sprinkle in some garlic powder, then your child can stir and spread. If you don’t have a pastry brush, a new, washed paintbrush works great!
- Salad: My Little Man loves to assemble our salads – and I do mean assemble. While he does use a veggie peeler on the occasional carrot or cuke, for the most part, I chop the veggies and leave them in piles on a big cutting board. He stands on a chair nearby, and when I’m finished, he then arranges each salad on each person’s plate. He gets a kick out of ‘making’ such an important part of our meal!
- Goofy Cake: This cake is completely scratch made and delicious – and it’s perfect for a young child to help mix up because it contains no eggs! If your child is tempted by the chocolatey goodness and sticks in a finger, you don’t have to worry about salmonella. There’s another kiddie plus to this cake, though – the acids and bases react to make a volcano in every cake! Your kid will love to help you mix this one up.
- Peanut Butter Apple Nachos: The most dangerous part of this recipe is slicing the apples. If you have a combo apple chopper/corer, your child may be able to do this alone. If not, wash and slice the apples. Your child can arrange them on a plate and add the toppings. That’s really the best part, right?
- Cinnamon Almond Granola: Most kids love to stir and mix things up. That’s what makes granola the perfect food for a kid to make. Granola doesn’t have to be measured precisely, and the more you stir, the better! This is our favorite kind.
- Whole Wheat Pinch-Me Cake: I remember making this with my mom when I was little, and now my kids love to make it, too! The best part of the dish is pinching the dough off the rest, rolling it into a small ball, and then coating it with cinnamon and sugar. It feels like the most important job in the world – and if you’ve ever eaten a good Pinch-Me Cake, you’ll know it is.
- Circus-Inspired Snack Mix: This recipe is fabulous for toddlers. Nothing’s dangerous, needs to be cut, or needs to be precisely measured. Just choose your ingredients, toss them together in a bowl, and pour into containers for snacking.
- Whole Wheat Pumpkin Snickerdoodles: Like the Pinch-Me Cake, these cookies need to be rolled into balls and dipped. The dough does contain egg, so be sure to monitor those little hands.
There you have it. My top ten Great Dishes for Kiddie Cooks. What would you add?