Knowing how to cook is one of the most basic and important skills a child can learn.
In addition to building their creative, problem-solving, organizational and attention skills, being in the kitchen teaches them how to approach a new situation, how to access and apply their creative resources, what steps to take if they make a mistake and how to work together with a group or another individual. It can help build confidence, instill a sense of joy and pride and at the very least, get them to eat their vegetables!
Being in the kitchen with kids is a terrific experience; one I highly recommend to anyone. Kids of all ages can find something to do in the kitchen from the very basics of helping mom stir a batter to making a grilled cheese sandwich to cooking a whole meal for the family. Start by giving them some basic and fundamental guidelines, setting ground rules and outlining safety procedures then work with them to create dishes and meals that cultivate and challenge their skills. Provide lots of encouragement and constructive direction along the way. And don’t forget to have a laugh or two while you’re at it.
This summer, spend some time in the kitchen with your favorite kid and create wonderful memories while you’re cooking up some delicious fun! These recipes are a great start.
Yogurt and Fresh Berry Parfaits
1 pint fresh berries, rinsed and patted dry
2 cups plain yogurt
1 ½ cups granola
2-3 Tbsp maple syrup
In a small bowl, combine yogurt with maple syrup.
Using 4 dessert cups, parfait glasses or ramekins, layer berries, yogurt and granola into each.
German Apple Pancakes
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 pinch salt
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup white sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 large tart apple – peeled, cored and sliced
In a large bowl, blend eggs, flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Gradually mix in milk, stirring constantly. Add vanilla, melted butter and 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg. Let batter stand for 30 minutes or overnight.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F
Melt butter in a 10 inch oven proof skillet, brushing butter up on the sides of the pan. In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup sugar, cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg. Sprinkle mixture over the butter. Line the pan with apple slices. Sprinkle remaining sugar over apples. Place pan over medium-high heat until the mixture bubbles, then gently pour the batter mixture over the apples.
Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 degrees F and bake for 10 minutes. Slide pancake onto serving platter and cut into wedges.
Calzones w/Cheese, Pepperoni & Roasted Red Peppers
1 (16oz) pkg prepared pizza dough
1 cup sliced roasted red peppers
1 cup sliced or diced pepperoni
1 cup baby spinach leaves
2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
1 ½ cups ricotta cheese
4 tsp dried oregano
Prepared marinara sauce for dipping
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Divide dough into 4 pieces and roll each piece in flour. Shape into balls and roll out into 6” rounds.
Mix together mozzarella and ricotta cheese and add oregano. Season with salt & pepper.
Spread ¼ cup of cheese mixture onto one half of prepared dough round. Top with roasted peppers, spinach and pepperoni slices. Fold remaining dough half over the topping and crimp edges to seal. Place on baking sheet and pierce tops in several places.
Bake 20-30 minutes until golden brown.
Farmer’s Market Roasted Vegetables in Avocado Cups
2 medium carrots, cut into 1/2-inch rounds and rounds cut in 1/2
1 medium zucchini cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 medium yellow squash, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium red pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 ripe avocados
1 lemon, zested and juiced (2 to 3 tablespoons juice and 1 tablespoon zest)
1 ear fresh corn, husk and silk removed
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped chives
1 tablespoon chopped dill
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
In a large bowl, combine the carrots, zucchini, squash, and red pepper. Toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix well. Spread in 1 layer on a baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. When done, set aside to cool.
Remove the corn kernels by standing the cob on a plate or in a wide shallow bowl. Set the blade of a small, sharp knife at the juncture of the kernels and cob. Slice downward to remove the kernels. Repeat this procedure, working your way around the cob, until all the kernels are removed. Set aside.
Cut the avocado in half lengthwise and remove pit, leaving the skin on. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to prevent avocados from discoloring.
In a large bowl, mix roasted vegetables, corn, remaining lemon juice, the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, and fresh herbs. Taste and re-season with salt and pepper, if needed.
Place each avocado half on a small bed of mixed greens or arugula, if using. Top each avocado half with a generous serving of the roasted vegetable salad. Sprinkle lemon zest on top and serve.