Cooking with kids is fun, healthy, and a great learning experience. It is an incredibly valuable, lifelong skill, along with academic skills that involve reading, math, science, and much more. As children grow into adulthood, the job of feeding becomes theirs. We should teach them how to cook at a young age so the transition to adult cook is easy later on and they don’t need to depend on processed foods and take-out meals. Cooking with your kids is a great way to instill healthy eating habits when you discuss what nutritious ingredients should go into your recipe. Healthy foods create healthy bodies, and kids often eat what they make. The end result is the best part of cooking. The feeling of accomplishment in creating an amazing meal with the people you love is extremely rewarding.
Reading the list of ingredients and following directions are great real-life applications in which kids can use their vocabulary and sequencing skills. When children follow directions step by step, or when they add ingredients in the right order, their overall ability to understand information is enhanced. Who knows, they might come up with their own techniques such as folding or blending!
Math comes into play when you need to measure, count, or estimate ingredients. Quantity, color, texture, shape, and/or sizes are all math concepts. Children can practice fractions with measuring cups and measuring spoons. They can see that a ½ cup is bigger than a ¼ cup. What temperatures make broiling hotter than baking? What is a 13×9 pan? Doubling a recipe requires addition or multiplication skills and halving it requires division. Children can see that math has a practical application in the real world.
Cooking provides an opportunity for kids to get hands-on experiences with basic science. Children can predict and observe the changes in food ingredients. Mix two ingredients together and, poof, you can see the texture change in an instant. Put the items in the oven for 20 minutes and see how different they look. What better way to explain the states of matter than through watching how water boils or freezes? Imagine how fascinating it is to see how the dough or batter rises and becomes something delicious. Children may even learn some mistakes along the way: too much salt was added, not enough flour, or the wrong timing can cause you to have a less than perfect meal.
Cooking foods from different parts of the world is a perfect opportunity to talk about the origins and cultural awareness. It is far more interesting to teach kids about the Chinese New Year by making Kung Pao Chicken, Cinco de Mayo by making Mexican quesadillas, Italy by making spaghetti, or France by enjoying the best truffles. Children will remember much more because of the experience they have with you.
The best part of cooking with your child is family bonding. This is the time when you can share your day, stories, or positive memories together. As the saying goes: The family that cooks together stays together. In addition, cooking fosters cooperation and communication among siblings. It’s shocking how brothers and sisters will work together when there’s a batch of cookies at stake. Everyone will benefit from a nutritious, awesome, nourishing, and delicious meal. Your child will feel a great sense of pride and achievement in contributing to the family meals.
As more and more emphasis is placed on eating healthy foods these days, people are eager to embrace this home-cooking lifestyle. So bring the kids into the kitchen and try these top 4 kid-approved and kid-friendly basic recipes that the kids can cook and will love. Three of the recipes were tested and loved by ASAP students. If you would like to share recipes, please send them to me and I will be happy to post them in our school blog. Thank you and happy cooking!
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon of salt
1 1/3 cups milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pam cooking spray
Pure Maple Syrup
Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl. Whisk in the milk, egg, 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, and vanilla extract until only a few lumps remain. Let the batter stand for 5 full minutes for extra fluffiness.
Heat a skillet or griddle over medium heat and spray with Pam. When the oil shimmers, slowly pour about 1/4 cup of batter into the hot pan. Cook until bottom is browned, about 2 minutes, then flip and cook until the center of the pancake is set and the other side is browned, about 2 more minutes. Keep warm until serving. Serve with butter and/or Maple Syrup.
Pepperoni Pizza Bagels
You can be creative with this simple recipe. Let everyone make their own mini pizzas by adding colorful toppings like pineapple, red peppers, and broccoli.
1 package of Thomas’ Plain mini bagels
1 package (6 oz) Hormel Original Pepperoni
1 bag of Kraft shredded Mozzarella Cheese
1 jar of Classico Tomato and Basil Pasta sauce.
Arrange bagels on a baking sheet, cut sides up.
Spoon a thin layer of pasta sauce over each bagel half and sprinkle with cheese.
Place 2 or 3 pepperoni slices on each bagel.
Bake in oven at 350 degrees until cheese is melted and pepperoni is lightly browned, about 10 minutes.
Flour Tortillas (12 inches)
Pam Cooking Spray
1 bag of Shredded Mexican Four Cheese Blend
2 Cups of shredded cooked rotissarie chicken
Optional: add diced bell peppers or chopped broccoli
Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat and spray with Pam.
Place one tortilla in skillet
Put shredded chicken and cheese on ONE HALF of the tortilla.
Allow cheese to melt.
Fold the other half of the tortilla over the meat and cheese and press firmly. This will create your quesadilla.
Cut into triangles and serve.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Chocolate Chip Cookies are a tried and true family favorite. The tasty combination of the vanilla cookie dough with delicious chunks of chocolate make them a yummy snack any time of the day.
2 ¼ Cups of All purpose flour
¾ Cup of Granulated Sugar
¾ Cup of brown sugar
1 Cup of butter
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp salt
2 Cups of Semi sweet chocolate chips
- Heat oven to 375 Degrees
- Mix sugars, butter, vanilla, and egg in large bowl. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt. Stir in chocolate chips.
- Roll into teaspoon-sized balls and place on ungrease cookie sheet.
- Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light brown. Cool slightly, remove from cookie sheet and enjoy!
Terri Yee, (Title I, Grade 2)