Kids Take Over the Kitchen: Easiest Recipes

If your kiddos are anything like mine, they are eager to help out in the kitchen, any hour of the day.  And if you’re anything like me, you’re more than happy to oblige (as long as it doesn’t involve dangerously sharp objects, boiling water and/or sizzling hot grease). Stumped on how to give them the reigns?  Here are a few starter recipes to get them more familiar with working in the kitchen and earn their title of ‘Mini Chef Extraordinaire:’


Savory Snack Crackers:

Truth be told, these do not last long in our house!  Whisk together 1 packet dry ranch dressing, 1 1/2 tsp. dill weed and 3/4c. canola oil.  Pour over 20 oz. oyster crackers (typically 2 packages).  Do your best to let them sit for 2 hours before consuming.  (Good luck with that last step.)  And then watch how quickly they vanish.

I have substituted butter flavored coconut oil for the canola oil, as well as used only the dill (for a dairy-free option) and they’re equally as wonderful and kid-approved.


Fruit-filled Pitas with Almond Butter:

Who doesn’t love apples, bananas and almond butter? 

Super easy recipe that kids enjoy putting together.  Start with banana slices (or let them cut them up with a butter knife), thinly sliced apples, a jar of almond butter and a package of whole wheat pitas.  Open the pita for your child (because, let’s face it, that’s the trickiest part of this recipe) and let them spread the almond butter and place the fruit bits.  And heck, sprinkle some raisins on top for added mmmmph.


Mini Chicken Parmesan:

Frozen chicken tenders for the win!  While they’re busy cooking away in the oven, cut the baguettes for your littles and then hand them over to be spread with some tomato sauce.  Add a slice of provolone (or whatever their little hearts desire).  When the tenders are done, lay them across the cheese and smother with more tomato sauce.  Simple and delicious.

Nutritional bonus: toss on some fresh spinach for color and crunch.


Bread in a Bag:

The kids have a super fun time kneading the bread.  Just make sure you seal the bag nice and tight.  My child has been known to throw the bag in an effort to ‘tenderize’ the bread.  It was particularly delicious that night, so perhaps he knows something I don’t?  Also, a friend told me it’s a great recipe to cure aggression.


Apple Sandwiches:

These puppies keep my kiddos occupied for far too long, so it’s nice when mama needs a little moment to sit back and reflect.

Start with 3 cored and sliced apples (slice them width-wise to resemble a bagel).  Bust out the peanut butter/almond butter/cashew butter and any toppings you think might sound good with those flavor profiles: chocolate chips, granola, diced strawberries, candy bits, whatever.  Place all the items on the table and watch the spreading and decorating frenzy commence. 

Bonus tip: If you soak your apple slices in a bit of lemon water before you start, and then store the ‘sandwiches’ in individual baggies in the fridge, they don’t turn brown AND they’ll stay relatively crisp for the next 2-3 days.  ‘Yeah!’ for school lunchbox options, and you didn’t even have to make them yourself!


Half-Pepper Pepperoni Pizza:

Need a break from the carbs?  This one is a HUGE hit in this house.  Take 4 bell peppers, half them, de-seed them and hand them over.  Let the kids season them first with olive oil and some salt and pepper.  Then add pizza sauce, cheese (mozzarella and parmesan are a good mix), mini pepperoni and a sprinkle of basil, thyme and oregano.  Bake for 12ish minutes @ 350 degrees. 

Sidenone: We’ve been known to make these in green peppers, red peppers as well as yellow and orange peppers.  4 points on the bottom means the pepper will be a tad more sweet than the ones with only 3.  Kids tend to lean toward the 4-pointers.


Frozen Cereal Banana Pops:

Gather up your bananas, dip them into some yogurt (try lemon or strawberry or Greek!), and roll them in your most favorite mouth-watering cereal.  Freeze until the yogurt is nice and hard, and then devour.  We love these for breakfast, as well as for after dinner treats!

Some combinations worth trying out: Strawberry yogurt and fruity pebbles, plain yogurt sprinkled with cinnamon and dunked into coco krispies, blueberry yogurt and crushed up cinnamon toast crunch.


Anytime Sandwiches:

Shallots, avocado, hummus and tomato—drooling already.  Toast some yummy bread (sourdough works well here, as does ciabatta, french, multigrain… okay, okay… they ALL work.  Set out some diced shallots, thick avocado slices, a delicious hummus and some thinly sliced tomatoes and give your child(ren) a cheese spreader.  Some may end up with more hummus and others with more avocado, but that’s okay because they’re all going to be delicious.

Tip: Add some sprouts for the kiddos to sprinkle on too.  If they put it on, they’re more likely to try the ingredient.  Or at least that’s the way it goes in this house.


Hope this helps makes cooking a little bit more enjoyable for all.  It’s a place of gathering and laugher and HUGE messes for us, but it’s the part of the day we often look forward to the most.  Cheers, and enjoy!



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