Let’s be honest, the words easy and kids, just don’t go together when it comes to the kitchen!
Luckily there is light at the end of the tunnel, and also a McDonalds on every corner, as you might say. Well, yes there is a McDonalds around every corner, but no, that is definitely not what we are talking about here.
When it comes to yet another meal time the temptation to throw something together quickly can be strong, but there is a way to include your children in food prep and even have fun doing it. Most parents constantly seek advice on what to do for fun with their children, and the great news is that you can kill two birds with one stone!
Making food with your children can be fun, and satisfying their endlessly hungry tummies at the same time and you will get you extra “brownie” points. Plus, all parents want a healthy, happy child – and it really is possible to feed your little ones well, with foods that they will enjoy. Getting them involved will make them more likely to try new foods too. They will be picking up valuable life skills to boot.
You may find that your children actually enjoy cooking with you more than watching television or playing video games. The opportunity to enjoy your full attention (read: without a smart phone) will be very special to them.
So onto the recipes! The internet is crawling with amazing ideas to create foods that looks fun and taste delicious. Here we share some of the best that we came across.
Breakfast, the most important meal of the day they say, I am sure that was said by someone with no kids, as mornings can be incredibly hectic.
Well luckily this amazing recipe from Real Simple.com is fun and easy, plus it doesn’t take up too much time, so you can also enjoy your comfy bed for that extra ten minutes.
Bagel and Cream Cheese with Tomato and Cucumber
You will need:
2 bagels, split in half
1/2 cup of cream cheese
1 Small Cucumber
1/2 plum tomato, cut into wedge
Toast the bagel halves and spread each with the cream cheese. (Let the little ones help with this bit)
Cut the Cucumber into 8 rounds and several thin slices that can be used to form eyeglasses.
Cut the tomato into 4 wedges and use one on each bagel half to form a smile.
To make this really enjoyable for the kids, give all the ingredients separately on a plate and give them the chance to form their own faces.
You don’t have to use cucumber and tomato, you can mix it up a little bit and have fun with the kids. You can even let them decide which toppings to use. As long as it is mostly healthy, why not?
We all know that kids can take forever to eat on the days you really need to get moving. So, when you literally don’t have time, try this one from parenting.com. Your kids can eat their breakfast on the way to school if necessary!
You will need:
7 oz container plain yogurt (I recommend Greek yogurt)
1 Tbsp. raspberry jam (or any other favorite—raspberry just happens to be mine)
1 tsp. honey
2 Tbsp. toasted almonds, roughly chopped
Combine all ingredients in the yogurt container
Grab a spoon and go!
Extra: Any jam or nut combination can be added. Pair strawberry jam with pistachios for a colorful alternative.
Snacks are often a mealtime area where healthiness takes a back seat in lieu of speed. Wanting to fill a gap on the go means that chips and sweets are grabbed in – and we end up giving our kids a sugar rush!
On Allrecipes.com Veronica Lopez shares a unique way to make a quick super-healthy snack the whole family will enjoy.
Apple Ladybug Treats
You will need:
2 red apples
1/4 cup raisins
1 tablespoon Peanut Butter
8 thin Pretzel Stick
Slice apples in half from top to bottom and scoop out the cores using a knife or melon baller.
If you have an apple corer, core them first, and then slice.
Place each apple half flat side down on a small plate.
Dab peanut butter on to the back of the ‘lady bug’, then stick raisins onto the dabs for spots. Use this method to make eyes too.
Stick one end of each pretzel stick into a raisin, and then press the other end into the apples to make the antennas.
With this recipe your kids can help out a lot, and you can use the same technique with different fruit to make different animals. Be creative and don’t forget those little ones are artists of their own nature, so you will be surprised with the creatures they will create.
If you have time on your hands you can prep the following from childrensrecipes.com and keep them in an airtight container until you need a sweet treat for your little one.
What you need:
1 1/4 cups sugar
2/3 cup light molasses or corn syrup
1 cup butter or margarine
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 3/4 tbsp. ground ginger
1 tbsp. baking soda
6 cups flour
Heat the sugar, molasses, and butter in a large saucepan over low heat.
After the butter melts, cool mixture.
Stir in cream, ginger, baking soda, and flour.
Let dough stand overnight.
Preheat oven to 400
Divide dough into thirds. Roll each piece very thin.
Use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes. Bake cookies on greased cookie sheets for 5 to 7 min.
Cool on a rack. Makes 7-8 doz.
The following 2 tasty lunch ideas come from my recipes.com. They include fruit and veggies respectively and I am sure that you will enjoy them just as much as the little chefs.
Peanut Butter Banana Spirals
You will need:
3 tablespoons vanilla low-fat yogurt
2 tablespoons natural peanut butter
1 1/2 teaspoons orange juice
1 small banana, sliced
1 (8-inch) whole-wheat flour tortilla
1 1/2 teaspoons honey-crunch wheat germ
Dash of ground cinnamon
Combine yogurt and peanut butter, stirring until smooth. Drizzle orange juice over banana slices, tossing gently to coat.
Spread peanut butter mixture over tortilla, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Arrange banana slices, in a single layer, over peanut butter mixture. Sprinkle wheat germ and cinnamon over banana slices. Roll up tortilla; cut into 3 pieces.
Let your toddler help by: Arranging the banana slices on top of the peanut butter mixture. Sprinkling the wheat germ over the banana slices.
Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until hot. Add onion, carrot, and celery to pan.
Sauté vegetables 5 minutes; add garlic, and sauté 1 minute or until vegetables are tender and mixture smells good. Stir in broth, chicken, and thyme.
Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for around 15 minutes. Stir in pasta, and cook 8 minutes or just until pasta is tender.
“Mommy, what’s for dinner? Mommy I am very hungry.” That is what they always say, until the plate of food gets put in front of them and magically the hunger has disappeared!
The two most common meals kids will always ask for, is pizza and a burger, and tasteofhome.com has the answer, this will keep them satisfied.
Grilled Pizza Burger
You will need:
1 egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
3/4 teaspoon dried basil
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
3/4 teaspoon pepper
1 pound ground beef
4 slices provolone cheese
4 English muffins, split and toasted
1/2 cup pizza sauce
In a large bowl, combine the first eight ingredients.
Crumble beef over mixture and mix well.
Shape into four patties.
Grill burgers, covered, over medium heat for 5-7 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reads 160° and juices run clear.
Top burgers with cheese; cover and grill 2-3 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.
Serve on muffins with pizza sauce.
With this recipe you will have empty plates and those tummies will be generously filled .
You can even get your kids involved in preparing a fresh and tasty salad, the following video from cookingforkids.org is a great place to start.
Pasta, Pasta, Pasta!
Pasta is an all round favorite, and I am sure with this recipe from shemakesandbakes.com your little one’s hunger will reappear again!
You will need:
2 cups milk
2 cups pasta shells
1 cup white cheddar cheese
In a medium saucepan, bring the milk and pasta to a simmer over medium heat.
Cook for about 20 minutes, stirring often and making sure that the milk doesn’t boil. Once the pasta is al dente, remove from heat and add the cheese.
Stir until melted. If you like it a little creamier, you can add more milk. Add salt to taste.
All these fun recipes and this one is only pasta, you may ask? Well pasta is fun! Replace the shells with macaroni and give them a side plate so they can make “stickmen” and eat the little man limb by limb.
We have put this recipe from cookingwithkids.org in the ‘dinner’ section, but it can really work as a breakfast, lunch or snack too. It is incredibly simple and will keep even the fussiest eaters happy.
Grate peeled potatoes directly into a bowl of water. Transfer the grated potatoes into a colander and press them to squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
In a bowl, mix together the eggs, salt, pepper, and vegetable oil. Add the flour, whisking to combine. Add the potatoes and sliced green onion and mix well.
Heat a skillet over high heat. Spread a small amount of oil evenly over the surface. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the potato mixture to form each potato pancake. Flatten the pancakes with a spatula and cook until dark golden brown on both sides and cooked through. Serve immediately topped with applesauce and sour cream, if using.
“Eat all your food or you won’t get pudding!” Oh yes, we have all heard and used that phrase, more than once. I would love to share two simply delicious recipes that can find a place in a balanced diet. Everything in moderation after all!
My first recipe is from sixsistersstuff.com and is a no-bake!
No-Bake Chocolate Egg Nest Cookies
You will need:
1 (11-12 oz) bag milk chocolate chips
1 (11-12 oz) bag butterscotch chips
1 (10-12 oz) bag Chow Mein noodles
M&M’s, Jellybeans, Chocolate eggs, or any other kind of “egg-shaped” candy
Dump your two bags of chips into a microwave-safe bowl.
Melt in the microwave on 50% power for 60 seconds.
Stir and repeat until all chips are smoothly melted.
Add bag of chow mein noodles to the melted chocolate and stir until all noodles are coated.
Lay out wax paper and drop a large tablespoonful of chocolate noodles onto wax paper. Mold into a “bird nest” shape. Warning- your hands will get messy.
Place a couple of “egg” candies on top of the chocolate nest. Allow to harden (if you can resist eating it! They are good when they are warm and gooey too!) and place in the fridge if you want them to set-up faster.
This recipe could be a fun activity for the whole family to be involved in!
First you twist it….. Yes you’ve got it! The next recipe is an Oreo recipe from snackworks.com and I would give my whole body never mind my left arm for this pudding!
Oreo & Ice Cream Sandwich Cake
You will need:
1/2 cup of fudge ice cream topping, warmed
1 tub (8 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed, divided
1 pkg. (3.9 oz.) chocolate instant pudding mix
16 OREO Cookies, chopped (about 2 cups), divided
12 vanilla ice cream sandwiches
Whisk fudge topping and 1 cup cool whip in medium bowl until blended.
Add dry pudding mix; stir 2 min. Stir in 1 cup cookies.
Arrange 4 ice cream sandwiches, side-by-side, on 24-inch-long piece of foil; cover with half the cool whip mixture. Repeat layers.
Top with remaining sandwiches. Frost with remaining cool whip; press remaining cookies into top and sides of dessert. Wrap loosely with foil.
Freeze for 4 hours.
“The early years are when you give your child a foundation for establishing a proper diet. If kids learn about the importance of eating healthy early in their lives, they will not have to relearn as an adult.”
Wise words from Nicole Henderson.
We as parents are the builders of our child’s health and we all know that the foundation is the most important part. And what a blessing if we can take the time out of our schedules to teach our children this life skill and the enjoyment that can be found in cooking and baking.
We need to make the time to be with our children one on one like this where we can, and if you do have the opportunity, be sure to enjoy every moment with your children, forgetting everything else for a while, and that includes the dishes!