Archive for Cooking with Kids

Cooking with Kids-Ice Cream in a Bag

Ice cream is a super fun treat for kids and adults and it couldn’t be easier to whip some up in a zip lock bag by hand. Kids can do the mixing all on their own and have a tasty treat to enjoy in just a few minutes. 

kids making ice cream in a bag

You need a gallon sized zip lock bag and a quart sized bag, some rock salt, ice and ice cream ingredients. I have made this with my kids several times and it’s always so much fun! It’s also good motor skill building since they have to put in the work to get the reward. The sensory experience of the cold ice, the smooth plastic, and the sweet, yummy smelling ice cream is awesome as well. And SCIENCE is involved in watching the reaction of the milk as it turns from liquid to solid as it freezes. 

Ice cream in a bag, Little Sprouts Learning

This activity has so much to offer kids, plus they get a yummy, chemical free snack from the deal in the end. Who doesn’t love a super fun dessert? I know I do. 

Ice cream in a bag, cooking with kids

Ice Cream in a Bag
Simple homemade ice cream made in a zip lock bag.
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 C. Heavy cream
  2. 1/2 C. Whole milk
  3. 1/2 tsp. Vanilla
  4. 2 T. Raw Sugar
  5. Quart Size zip lock bag
  6. Gallon Size zip lock bag
  7. 6 C. Ice
  8. 1/4 C. Rock Salt
Instructions
  1. Wash hands and have kids wash theirs.
  2. Hold quart size bag open and let kids pour cream, milk, vanilla and sugar into bag.
  3. Zip bag tightly for each child.
  4. Let child place ice cream back into gallon sized bag.
  5. Let child add ice and rock salt to gallon bag.
  6. Zip gallon bag tightly for each child.
  7. Let them shake for 5 minutes vigorously until ice cream is firm.
  8. Remove quart bags from gallon bags carefully making sure not to spill salty liquid.
  9. Place quart bags in freezer until ready to eat.
  10. Snip bottom corner from bag with scissors and squeeze ice cream into dish.
  11. Eat and enjoy!
Little Sprouts Learning https://littlesproutslearning.co/
Whip up a batch of this super fun treat, or check out the blog for other great cooking with kids recipes and activities. Cooking is a wonderful way for kids to learn so many things including healthy eating, trying new foods, math, science, and reading skills and so much more. Get your kids in the kitchen today. Click here to see why it’s so important!

kids shaking ice cream in bags

Cooking with Kids-Spaghetti Pie

 

Using up leftovers can be boring sometimes. Having your leftovers a new way is a great way to make them seem appealing again. Leftover spaghetti makes an amazing spaghetti pie. I got this idea years ago from my friend Joyce and I don’t have her original recipe, but the idea is definitely hers. When I was a young cook, she helped me by sharing some of her tried and true favorite recipes with me and this was one thing she taught me to cook. All you need for a delicious new meal is some leftover spaghetti and some leftover noodles. Click here to check out how we make our own roasted tomato sauce from our garden tomatoes for our spaghetti sauce.

kids cooking spaghetti pie

The kids LOVE making and eating this because who doesn’t like pie? It’s a great way to serve them spaghetti that is not as messy as the loose noodles that fall all over the floor and everywhere. If you are a childcare provider or have a lot of kids, you know what I mean about how messy spaghetti is. We have spaghetti for dinner and then let the kids make it into spaghetti pie the next day for lunch so we can avoid a lot of that mess.

We use whole wheat pasta for an even healthier dish.  

cooking spaghetti pie with kids

The first thing you need to do is mix your leftover spaghetti noodles with one beaten egg, 2 tablespoons of melted butter, and a fourth of a cup of parmesean cheese. Then press the mixture into a pie shell. Next add some cottage cheese and then top with your leftover spaghetti sauce. Top with some grated mozzarella and parmesean cheese and toss it in the oven.

spaghetti pie shell

Now get out your leftovers and get to creating. Making leftovers into something new is an art, what do you transform?

 

making spaghetti pie with kids

Joyce's Spaghetti Pie
Cheesy, savory leftover transformation.
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Ingredients
  1. Leftover spaghetti noodles
  2. 1 beaten egg
  3. 2 T. melted butter
  4. 1/4 C shredded parmesean cheese
  5. 2/3 C cottage cheese
  6. Leftover spaghetti sauce
  7. 1 C shredded mozzarella
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Wash hands and have kids wash theirs
  3. Beat one egg
  4. Mix egg, butter, parmesean cheese and spaghetti noodles well.
  5. Press into 9 inch pie shell
  6. Top with cottage cheese
  7. Top with leftover spaghetti sauce
  8. Top with mozerella
  9. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until top is bubbly and slightly browned
  10. Cut into slices and serve
Adapted from Joyce McCroskey
Adapted from Joyce McCroskey
Little Sprouts Learning https://littlesproutslearning.co/

 

 

Cooking with Kids-Cat Eyes

Sometimes it’s hard to engage kids in activities and sometimes it’s even harder to encourage kids to eat healthy foods. I love how some recipes have healthy ingredients, like these cat eyes, but they are also irresistible to kids because they have a cool name. When I make smoothies for the kids, if I want them to drink a green one, I call it a Hulk smash smoothie. Well, who doesn’t want to be the Hulk? I know my kids do.

kid's cooking cat eyes

Cat eyes are fun, cute and irresistible with a name like cat eyes. Kids love animals, so any time you want them to eat something healthy, you just need to give it an animal name and it’s suddenly irresistible.

kids making cat eyes for snack

These cat eyes have several steps the kids can do on their own, and they are great for building fine motor skills. They even have ingredients kids love to eat, so it’s a win for everyone. These cat eyes are great for an after school snack, or any snack and the kids can do them on their own from start to finish. That’s the best kind of snack making to build self-esteem for the kids.

Cat eyes are also made with simple ingredients you probably already have around the house. Banana slicing is a great self-esteem builder and fine motor skill builder, so get out those butter knives and give your kids a delicious job to do. They will love it.

cat eyes for snack

Cat Eyes
Yummy snack for kids to make themselves.
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Ingredients
  1. Ritz Crackers
  2. Peanut Butter
  3. Bananas to slice
  4. Raisins
Instructions
  1. Wash hands and have kids wash theirs
  2. Spread peanut butter on crackers
  3. Place a banana slice on each cracker
  4. Top with a raisin
Notes
  1. If you have children with nut allergies, you could easily substitute sun butter for the peanut butter.
Little Sprouts Learning https://littlesproutslearning.co/
If you want to check out some great reasons to cook with your kids, click here. If you want to get a bunch of other great recipes to cook with kids, check out other recipes on the blog or this cool book from my favorite magazine, Chop Chop. Just click on the picture to view it on Amazon. This post contains affiliate links.

Cooking with Kids-Homemade Pretzels

Cooking with kids has some wonderful fundamental benefits and making homemade pretzels has the added benefit of being super fun! Any kind of dough the kids can work with is a wonderful way to build fine motor skills, coordination, and other skills kids need for success. Working with dough is one of the best activities to improve penmanship skills for children. Making up some pretzel dough for the kids to manipulate is a wonderful way to build their self esteem while they are having fun. Rolling out “snakes” of any kind of dough is a hoot, don’t you remember doing it with play dough when you were a kid? I do, and that was oh, so long ago.

kids rolling homemade pretzles

Cooking with kids helps them be more involved with their food and in turn helps them want to try a wider variety of things. Kids are 80% more likely to try something they helped make. It’s a great way to open up new flavors for kids. Click here to see some of the other benefits of cooking with kids.

making pretzles with kids

Pretzel dough is simple to make and the kids can work it for a few minutes or an hour, whatever feels right for them. It doesn’t matter that much to the pretzel. Once the kids roll out all the snakes, you can let them form them into whatever shaped pretzels they want. It’s art and food, two for one special.

homemade pretzles-cooking with kids

Be sure when you are cooking with kids, to get your ingredients ready ahead of time. You can let the kids pour the ingredients in the bowl for this dough, or you can make the dough yourself and let them use it already made. Either way is a winner and you need to do what works for you. Making your life easier should be the goal of every activity you do with your children. Childcare of any kind can become overwhelming if you don’t take care of yourself as well.

I make my pretzels out of some whole wheat flour and some white. You can make yours with whatever combination you chose. Try not to make cooking with kids too complicated. All you need is a little flour, salt, and yeast to get some yummy pretzels going.

Homemade Pretzels
Simple pretzel dough.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 3/4 C. warm water
  2. 1 T. yeast
  3. 2 T. sugar
  4. 1 tsp. salt
  5. 1 C. wheat flour
  6. 3 C. white flour
Instructions
  1. Wash your hands and have the kids wash theirs.
  2. Place yeast in water, stir and set aside.
  3. Mix salt and flours together.
  4. Blend in yeast.
  5. Cover and let rise 30 minutes.
  6. Here is the fun part, form into pretzels.
  7. Brush with egg white and add salt to top.
  8. Bake at 450 for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
Little Sprouts Learning https://littlesproutslearning.co/

 

 

 

 

Cooking with Kids-Lotsa Pasta

Cooking with kids is fun and rewarding! This recipe for Lotsa Pasta was a huge hit here at Little Sprouts. The possibilities of what you could add to it are endless. Don’t you just LOVE a recipe that is versatile? I also love that you can use your leftovers up in this dish. Whatever you have lying around your fridge that’s boring and needs a new life could be perked up with this dish. Easy, inexpensive, and something that’s great fun to cook with the kidlets. What could be better?

Lotsa Pasta-Cooking with Kids

There are many great reasons to let your kids get their hands on the fun in the kitchen. I had kids as young as one helping dump stuff in the skillet on the stove for this dish. As long as you watch them closely, kids can do many of the steps. If you’re worried about them getting burned, you can let them stay at the table with the ingredients and just bring the skillet to them to dump in the ingredients. Then you can just carry the skillet back to the stove for cooking.

 

Kids cooking lotsa pasta

Click here to see some of the benefits of cooking with kids.

Kids Cooking-Lotsa Pasta

Lotsa Pasta
Veggie pasta packed with flavor.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 lb. Whole Wheat Pasta
  2. 4 Slices Bacon
  3. 1/2 C. Chopped Onion
  4. 1/4 C. Water
  5. Assorted Chopped Veggies
  6. Salt and Pepper to Taste
  7. 1 Clove Crushed Garlic
  8. 1 tsp. Thyme
Instructions
  1. Wash hands and have kids wash theirs
  2. Cook pasta and drain
  3. Saute bacon and onion until bacon is crisp and onion is tender
  4. Add veggies and cook to desired doneness
  5. Add seasonings and water
  6. Add pasta and mix well
Notes
  1. Leftover meat could be cubed or shredded and added to this dish as well.
Little Sprouts Learning https://littlesproutslearning.co/

Fun Fruit Pizza-Cooking with Kids

If you’re looking for a super easy activity for the kids, you can let them make their own mini fruit pizzas. These pizzas are super simple because they use a graham cracker for the crust, easy peasy. You make some pizza sauce and add toppings, what could be easier. Kids LOVE to spread their own stuff and slice their own stuff. They love working with food.

Cooking fruit pizza with kids

Cutting and spreading are great fine motor skill builders, but kids will just think they are having fun. Guess what? They are! You can give them a butter knife to spread the cream with and they can use the same knife to slice bananas, grapes, and cut apple slices into smaller pieces. It’s great for kids to be able to do things on their own. This snack even allows for them to be creative in how they want it to look and taste. Who knows when you may be teaching the next great chef? One of your kiddos might end up on Iron Chef America some day and they will remember you letting them use a butter knife in preschool!

fruit pizza

There are a ton of reasons to let you kids cook. It’s an activity that is oozing with benefits. Click here to check some of them out!

What kid doesn’t want to eat something called a fruit pizza? I don’t know many.

fruit pizza-cooking with kids

Fun Fruit Pizza
Yummy and easy snack for kids made from healthy foods.
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Ingredients
  1. Graham crackers
  2. 8 oz. cream cheese
  3. 2 T. maple syrup
  4. Assorted sliced fruits
Instructions
  1. Wash hands and have kids wash theirs.
  2. Mix cream cheese and maple syrup. (you could substitute yogurt for this sauce)
  3. Spread sauce on graham cracker
  4. Top with assorted "pizza" toppings, (sliced fruits)
Little Sprouts Learning https://littlesproutslearning.co/

Cooking with Kids-Broccoli Salad

Kids LOVE cooking. My kids LOVE broccoli, so any recipe I can find with broccoli in it, we are willing to try. It’s definitely the favorite veggie here at Little Sprouts. If you have trouble getting your kids to each healthy food, click here to check out how I do it. The main key in changing eating habits for anyone is not to give up!

Broccoli salad, cooking with kids

 

Why should we cook with kids? Why go to all the trouble. Kids are 80% more likely to want to try healthy food, if they help prepare it. Cooking also has so many other benefits. Click here and here to see a few of them.

making broccoli salad with kids

As a rule, my kids would rather have broccoli roasted than any other way. They usually aren’t big fans of eating it raw. This recipe was a big hit because it had other things in it they like. Give it a try with your broccoli eaters and see what happens. I bet they’ll like it more than you think. I have a saying that if you don’t like a healthy food its because you haven’t tried it the WAY you like it yet. Preparing foods in many different ways helps you discover the one that you absolutely LOVE! Variety is the spice of life!

Broccoli Salad
Delicious salad of raw broccoli, raisins, onions, and other flavors.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 Head Broccoli, chopped
  2. 1 C. Toasted Sunflower Seeds
  3. 1 C. Grated Cheddar Cheese
  4. 1 Red Onion, chopped
  5. 1 C. Raisins or Dried Cranberries
  6. 1 C. Mayo
  7. 2 T. Vinegar
  8. 1/4 C. Sugar
Instructions
  1. Wash hands and have kids wash their hands.
  2. Mix mayo, vinegar, and sugar.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and stir well.
Little Sprouts Learning https://littlesproutslearning.co/
 What-Kids-Eat-Wednesday

Cooking with Kids-Blueberry Peach Smoothie

Smoothies are delicious and fun to make. They can be made with a multitude of different ingredients. They are a great place to hide a few veggies as well, if you have picky kids who may not get enough good nutrition in their diets. Most kids like fruit, so the smoothie is the perfect vehicle to add a punch of health to their diet in a tasty way. Try your hand at creating your own smoothie recipe and you might be surprised what you end up loving.

kids making smoothies

These blueberry peach smoothies are always a big hit with my kids. They LOVE eating stuff they make themselves. It’s a pretty low maintenance recipe for the adults in charge, and that’s always a plus in my book. Simplify! That’s my motto. Anything you can do that the kids enjoy that puts little pressure on you, is a winner.

We used frozen fruit for these smoothies since berries were long out of season and we had some tasty ones in the freezer from our summer food preservation efforts. Blueberries are packed with antioxidants, tons of vitamin c and other nutrients, and peaches are as well of course.

Other great smoothie ingredients include: Spinach, kale, apples, bananas, any kind of berry, pears, pineapple, pineapple juice, apple juice, and the list goes on and on. Use your imagination!

Peach Blueberry Smoothie

You could substitute any healthy fruits and veggies you have on hand and make a wonderfully wonderful treat for the kids or you any time. Give it a try.

Click here to see why it’s important to get kids in the kitchen! Bring your kids in the kitchen with you and build some wonderful memories and get them to try some new things. They will be proud they made it and much more willing to try it. I promise, you’ll be amazed!

Blueberry Peach Smoothie
A refreshing, healthy smoothie for kids and grown ups alike.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 C. frozen blueberries
  2. 4 C. frozen peaches
  3. 1 C. yogurt
  4. 2 C. milk
  5. 1 C. raw sugar (you could use honey as well)
  6. 2 C. ice
Instructions
  1. Wash hands and have kids wash theirs.
  2. Dump all ingredients in blender.
  3. Blend.
  4. Pour into cups and enjoy!
Little Sprouts Learning https://littlesproutslearning.co/

Cooking with Kids-Healthy Egg and Veggie Breakfast Casserole

Cooking with kids is great fun and there are so many things kids can learn. Math, science, motor skills, cooperation, taking turns, and so many other things about cooking are beneficial to kids. In addition, kids are 80% more likely to try new foods if they helped prepare them. Click here to see more reasons why you should cook with kids!

Remember to be patient with cooking with kids. They will make mistakes, but it’s okay, that’s how they learn. I have been cooking for over 30 years and I still make mistakes. Make sure you get all the ingredients prepared and out before you invite the kids to the activity to prevent disaster when they get bored. This casserole is teeming with great nutrition for kid’s growing bodies. My kids love egg casserole and so do I. Yum yum.

“Popping” eggs as my kids call it, or one boy always said “hatching” them, is a great motor skill for kids to learn. It’s hard to crack an egg successfully and early learning helps develop great skills for later in life. This egg casserole had a lot of eggs, so it was a great opportunity for each child to get to try more than once. Some of them didn’t want to after the first smashed egg flew all over the table, but that’s okay too. They don’t have to do it if they don’t want to.

kids cracking eggs

kids cracking eggs to make egg casseroleKids cooking egg casseroleDumping ingredients into bowls helps even one year olds learn to control their fine motor skills and helps them build their confidence.

cooking egg casserole with kidsThis breakfast casserole has several servings of vegetables in it as well as nutritious eggs, cheese, and tortillas. All of the ingredients are dumped into a bowl and mixed, then poured into a casserole dish, so most of the steps can be done by the children without much assistance, which helps build their confidence levels in cooking.

vegetable and egg casserole, cooking with kids

kids cooking egg and veggie casserole

Notice in this picture, you see my food mover. I used this tool to help scrape the whole eggs that fell on the table so they wouldn’t be wasted. Being prepared for the cooking disasters is 9/10 of the way to success with the kids.

Egg and Veggie Casserole

This casserole tasted amazing! I recommend you get in the kitchen with our kids and make this or some other recipe as soon as you can.

Healthy Breakfast Casserole
Breakfast casserole made with healthy ingredients.
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Ingredients
  1. Dozen Eggs
  2. 2 C. Milk
  3. Salt and Pepper to taste
  4. Minced veggies of your choice (we used broccoli and kale)
  5. 2 C. Shredded cheese of your choice (we used mozerella)
  6. 12 chopped corn tortillas
Instructions
  1. Wash hands and have kids wash theirs.
  2. Mix eggs and milk and beat well.
  3. Add seasoning, veggies and cheese.
  4. Mix well.
  5. Bake at 350 for about one hour or until egg is set in the center.
Notes
  1. Breakfast meats such as cooked bacon, cooked sausage or ham could be added as well.
Little Sprouts Learning https://littlesproutslearning.co/
What do your kids like to cook?

 

 

Cooking with Kids-Cowboy Cookies

Cooking with kids is super important for their learning AND your relationship with them. These cowboy cookies are a great recipe full of healthy ingredients and they are super fun to make! Click here to see why you should be cooking with your kids.

These cookies are super soft and moist, plus they have fruit and whole grains that make them a winning choice for snacks for you and your kids to share. And who doesn’t want to eat cowboy cookies?

Each year, I make a cookbook full of recipes I make with the kids and it shows pictures of them cooking them. I give it to the parents for Christmas. I think it’s a wonderful gift! Click here to check them out.

When cooking with kids, I always have everyone wash their hands first thing. We need to be relentless about not spreading germs and about teaching kids how to prevent that.

Once their hands are clean (and ours are too) let them peel the sticks of butter and add them to the recipe.

cowboy cookie making with kids

Next they can add sugar and applesauce.

Cooking cowboy cookies with kids

Then they can add the eggs and vanilla and mix it up well.

Making cookies with kidsmaking cookies with kids-cooking with kids

When I cook with my kids I measure everything out ahead of time and have it ready in containers. It depends on the age of the kids whether this can be done by them or you. Baking does require fairly exact measurements, so if they are young, it’s best to make sure the measurements are accurate for them. When cooking, I tend to let them have more of artistic decisions in the amounts.

Cooking with kids-making cowboy cookies

Once the wet ingredients are well incorporated, add the dry ingredients to the recipe. Mix well and then add the chocolate chips and coconut. Stirring is a great step that gives all the kids a chance to take a turn if you have multiple children you are working with.

cowboy cookies-cooking with children

Once the cookies are mixed well, let the kids drop them by spoonful onto a cookie sheet and get them in the oven. I use a cookie scoop with my kids which is also great for building motor muscles in their hands. Plus they are so darned cute doing it!

Get in the kitchen with your kids today! You’ll love the time you spend together.

Cowboy Cookies
Soft, moist whole grain cookies.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 C. Butter
  2. 1 C. Sugar
  3. 1 C. Applesauce
  4. 2 Eggs
  5. 1 tsp. Vanilla
  6. 2 C. Wheat Flour
  7. 1 tsp. Baking Soda
  8. 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
  9. 2 C. Oats
  10. 1 C. Chocolate Chips
  11. 3/4 C. Coconut
Instructions
  1. Wash hands.
  2. Preheat oven to 350.
  3. Mix butter, sugar, applesauce, eggs, and vanilla.
  4. Mix well.
  5. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
  6. Drop by tablespoons full onto ungreased cookie sheet.
  7. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.
Little Sprouts Learning https://littlesproutslearning.co/
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