Kids love playing mini chefs. So, I thought I’d give you some recipes for easy cooking with kids. Creating exciting meals in the kitchen with your children is excellent fun, and perfect for giving them future life skills.
But then again: If you’re a stay at home dad like myself you probably want to get in and out of the kitchen as quickly as possible without leaving behind a whole lot of mess behind; while still creating a tasty, healthy dinner for the kids.
The recipe’s I’ve selected are suitable for children of all ages and abilities. For younger kids, you’ll need to help with putting things into and out of the oven, frying, and chopping. It’s the perfect way to teach your children about kitchen safety; you don’t want any cuts or burns! Oh and don’t forget about the washing of hands before they start.
Why Cooking With Kids?
Kids usually eat what they’ve cooked for themselves, so it can be a great way to get a fussy eater to eat foods they don’t normally touch. It’s also useful for broadening your child’s pallet and getting them to try new things.
Cookery involves many essential skills such as math and science, and even geography if you are creating dishes from around the world. With preparation times listed for each recipe below, you can even combine cooking with teaching your kid about time!
Recipe #1 – Pizza Party
Kids love pizza! But rather than getting it from your local store or a pizza delivery outlet, it can be tremendous fun for kids to make their own. Making pizza is a fun social activity, perfect for playdates when other kids come over, pizza party! Because each pizza is made individually, everyone can choose the toppings they want.
- Preparation Time: 15 minutes
- Cooking Time: 15 minutes
- Ready in: 30 minutes
- Makes: 6 pizzas
Younger children will require adult help with chopping and slicing and to put the pizzas into and remove them from the oven.
- 1 large French stick
- 1 garlic clove peeled and halved
- 3 cups grated hard cheese of your choice
- 1 can (15 ounces) pizza sauce
- ½ cup ham chopped into small squares
- 1 cup sweetcorn
- ½ cup pineapple chunks
- 1 cup mushrooms washed and sliced
- 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- Turn on the grill and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper or baking parchment.
- Cut the bread into 3 pieces of equal length and then slice each of these along their length to give you six pizza bases.
- Rub the garlic clove over the soft side of the pizza bases.
- Lightly grill each of the pizza bases for approximately 1 ½ to 2 minutes until a very pale golden color on top.
- Switch on the oven to 390 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Centigrade).
- To prevent the pizza from becoming soggy add ½ a cup of the grated hard cheese to each pizza.
- Next, add a few dollops of pizza sauce along the length of each pizza.
- Add the remaining ingredients, except the mozzarella to each child’s liking.
- Add ½ a cup of the mozzarella on top of the other ingredients.
- Place the pizzas on the baking sheet.
- Cook in the oven for around 10 to 15 minutes until the cheese is molten.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly for a few minutes.
Recipe #2 – Marvelous Meatballs
This recipe gives lots of opportunity for fun – grating onions (don’t forget the swimming goggles), measuring, squishing and mixing. Try this great family recipe that is fun to make and gets them to eat their veggies too!
Both the meatballs and the sauce freeze well, so this is a perfect recipe for dividing into batches to freeze for future meals.
You don’t have to use ground beef and can swap it out for minced pork or turkey, or even make a vegetarian option by using mashed chickpeas.
- Preparation Time: 20 minutes
- Cooking Time: 40 minutes
- Ready in: 90 minutes
- Makes: 12 cakes
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves (finely grated)
- 2 large eggs (whisked)
- ¼ cup fresh flat leaf parsley (finely chopped)
- 1 ½ pounds good quality ground beef
- ½ cup Parmesan (freshly grated)
- ¼ cup dried breadcrumbs (made from fresh white bread the day before)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 medium size onions grated
- 5 cloves of garlic grated
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 4 x (28-ounce) cans of plum tomatoes with the juice (mashed)
- A handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
- Salt and pepper
- (Help from adult required) Place 2 tablespoons of oil into a small frying pan on a medium to low heat, fry the garlic gently stirring continually until soft and a pale golden color.
- Put the whisked eggs in a large bowl with the parsley, cooked garlic, meat, parmesan, salt and pepper and using clean hands smoosh together until thoroughly combined.
- Add the breadcrumbs one tablespoon at a time until the mixture holds together.
- Cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes.
- Remove the meat mixture from the fridge and form it into golf ball sized balls. Place each ball onto a greaseproof sheet.
- (Adult job) While creating the meatballs, heat the remaining oil in a large frying pan on a high heat. Fry the meatballs until cooked all over.
- Once cooked place the meatballs onto a baking sheet covered in kitchen paper to absorb excess oil.NOTE: If you want to reduce the fat in this recipe, you can bake the meatballs in an oven at 390 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes, instead of frying them.
(Help younger children with cooking the sauce, due to burning danger)
- Heat the oil in a medium-size saucepan on a medium heat.
- Add the onion and garlic and cook stirring continually until transparent to lightly golden.
- Add the tomato puree and then the tomatoes to the pan and leave to simmer on a low heat (uncovered) for around 10 minutes.
- Add the parsley, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Add the meatballs and cook on a medium to low heat for around 30 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Stir regularly to ensure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Serve with cooked spaghetti and freshly grated parmesan.
Recipe #3 – Secret Ingredient Chocolate Chip Muffins
I love a cake made from Zucchini! It always makes the cakes moist and delicious, but best of all its full of zucchini, which I like to think makes it slightly healthier than regular cake.
There are loads of different versions of zucchini cakes, from chocolate brownies to lemon drizzle cake. I’ve chosen chocolate chip muffins, but if you didn’t want to use chocolate chips, you could leave them out or exchange them for blueberries.
- Preparation Time: 15 minutes
- Cooking Time: 20 minutes
- Ready in: 50 minutes
- Makes: 12 cakes
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup white Sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- ¼ cup milk
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup grated zucchini (peel the zucchini if it is not very fresh)
- ½ cup chocolate chips or cooking chocolate broken into small pieces
- ½ cup – chopped walnuts or pecan nuts (optional) beware of nut allergies!
- Pre-heat over to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
- Line muffin cups with paper liners or grease.
- Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl.
- Mix egg, oil, milk, lemon juice, and vanilla extract in a separate bowl.
- Stir wet mixture into the dry ingredients until just moistened.
- Fold in zucchini, chocolate chips, and walnuts.
- Fill prepared muffin cups 2/3 full.
- Bake in preheated oven until a skewer inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.
- Leave to cool.
Recipe #4 – Tutti Fruity Salad
Salads? Hold on, don’t skip this, hear me out. This one is awesome!
Fruit salad is easy to make, tasty, sweet, and healthy as it’s packed full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. What’s excellent about fruit salad is you can use any fruits you like. Try to pick seasonal fruits and the greater the rainbow of colors the better!
Fruit salad is best eaten fresh as it won’t keep for very long (max three days), even in the refrigerator.
- Preparation Time: 15 minutes
- Chilling Time: 30 minutes
- Ready in: 45 minutes
- Serves: 8 to 12 depending on serving size
- 4 cups (1/2 a medium size) honeydew or cantaloupe melon
- 4 cups (1/2 a small) seedless watermelon
- 4 cups (1 small) pineapple
- 4 fresh kiwi fruits
- 1 medium sized lime
The fruit preparation will require the help of an adult for younger children.
- Remove the seeds and skin from the honeydew or cantaloupe melon.
- Remove the skin from the watermelon.
- Skin and core the pineapple.
- Skin the kiwi fruit.
- Roll the lime around pressing down on a hard surface to release the juice. Half the lime and squeeze all the juice into a large bowl.
- Chop everything into small cubes of about 1cm square and place into the bowl with the lime juice.
- Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Serve and enjoy.
Need Further Inspiration
If your still not convinced that cooking with your kids is AWESOME, make sure to check out ruby’s video I found on youtube. If SHE can’t convince you, nobody can 🙂
I hope you enjoy cooking these recipes as much as my son Benni and I do.
Cooking is such a valuable life skill to learn and creating an interest in cookery and nutrition from a young age, will help kids make better choices about food as adults too. Once you’re finished creating delicious recipes, don’t forget about cleaning the kitchen and doing the washing up. And it’s probably one of the best ways to really spend intense quality time with your kids!
Now I’d love to learn from you? What is your favorite recipe to prepare for your kids? Did you try any of the above-listed ones? Which one was your favorite? Do you have any valuable “life hacks” that make cooking with your kids so much easier? And finally: Did I forget THE #1 dad-friendly meal on my list? Your “secret sauce”? Please let me know in the comments below! 🙂
P.S.: Did you EVER happen to yell at your child or call a timeout? Did you regret it afterwards? I certainly have, and I never felt good about it! If you want to learn how to put an end to this behavior, decode your kids and understand them so much better and become a calm parent, then make sure to read my FULL REVIEW of “Positive Parenting Solutions” HERE. This program changed our family’s life and we saw first results within just 3(!) days. And it will certainly work for you as well!