Tag Archive for cooking with kids

How to Make Refrigerator Dill Pickles with Kids

How to Make Refrigerator Dill Pickles with Kids

Have you ever made pickles and just didn’t like the way they turned out? I have and boy it’s disappointing. I hate a soggy pickle that doesn’t have a yummy flavor. We have tons of cucumbers in the garden, so we’ve been making refrigerator dill pickles and they are awesome. I love them and the kids love them. Even my picky husband loves them. Making refrigerator dill pickles is a super fun, simple activity any age child can help with.

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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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  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
  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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  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
  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/



How to be Inspired Like Julia Child in the Kitchen

Do you feel like a failure in the kitchen or a super star? Do you wish you knew more about the art of cooking? Growing up, I got a ton of inspiration from watching Julia Child with my Mom and Sister on Saturday mornings. My Aunt Chelle, Sister Lisa and I even make a Julia Child cooking show and forced all the grown-ups to watch us. It was great fun. I loved her madly from the first time I saw her.

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Her shrill voice and careless way made me chuckle. She wasn’t breathtakingly beautiful, or young or anything like most stars you would see on TV, but even though she wasn’t as drop dead gorgeous as Lynda Carter on Wonder Woman, and oh, she STILL has those LIPS, she was a wonder woman of her own. Click here to learn more about her.

She encouraged me as a little girl to be creative, and to be okay with making mistakes. She knew so much, but was never perfect. She allowed people to feel like imperfections could be endearing instead of deal breakers.

Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.

Julia Child

I loved cooking with the grown-ups in my life. I loved making candies to give for Christmas with my Mom or tasting cocoa powder plain with my Grandma, and then laughing and laughing because we both thought it was so yucky. Grandma knew good and well that was going to be nasty, but she not only let me taste it anyway, she did it with me. It made me love cooking all the more.

Better HOmes and Garden cookbook, inspiration for cooking, cooking with kids.

From the time I was fairly young, I loved to take the red and white checkered Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook and crack it open and make something from it. We made pancakes quite a bit and it’s still the recipe I use for the pancakes I make for my kids (although I have made a few healthier substitutions) It’s the first cook book I always grab. I was even mad when my Mom gave it away. Heartbroken, actually, so much so that she bought another one to have at home. Guess what she gave me when I moved out on my own? Yup, the checkered cookbook and guess what I bought my daughter before she left home? The same one.

I was not a good cook at all until I was well into my 30’s. I spent all of my 20’s and part of my 30’s feeling like a total failure in the kitchen with just 3 or 4 stand by recipes. I wanted to cook delicious things, but I had lost sight of that magic that food can be. That’s when I turned back to the ole checkered cookbook. I was interested in making my family really healthy, chemical free meals. It was tough without much culinary skill, but my old faithful cookbook was the beginning of my new start.

It has the basics of everything you need. If you aren’t an expert cook with seasoning or measurements, it’s definitely the best way to learn. Everything in it is simple, nothing too fancy or too complicated, and it has your basic staples to make a wonder repertoire of your own.

Let’s get back to Julia. Each day when I was learning to cook on my own and needed to create a meal, I would channel my inner Julia. I would allow myself to make mistakes, and I would feel like a superstar world famous cook as I cranked out dish after not so great dish and learned to feed my little family. Little by little my cooking improved. I still think of Mom, Grandma, and Julia when I make something amazing. I love to nourish people with my food.

Non-cooks think it’s silly to invest two hours’ work in two minutes’ enjoyment; but if cooking is evanescent, so is the ballet.

Julia Child

Julia Child inspiration cooking

Julia inspired me to keep trying. I love her books, and after watching the movie Julie and Julia, that inspiration was fueled more than ever before. The love for Julia was reborn inside me. I love her. I really wanted her book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I just had to have it. My sweet daughter tracked it down and bought it for me. I was thrilled. I don’t cook a ton of French food, but I have a big ole place in my heart for it and I will always love Julia and her ways. I do use my checkered cookbook a lot more than my French cookbook, but I cherish them both and always will.

Think about the impact adults had on your view of cooking. Like me, the grown-ups gave you a good picture or a bad one. It’s important to get those kids in the kitchen as much as you can. I know it’s hard, and I know they make a big mess. Believe me, I KNOW it. We all learned by making mistakes. When my daughter was young, I expected too much, but it taught me to be more patient with my kidlets now. Click here to see some of the benefits of getting your kids in the kitchen.

Making fruit dip with kids

If you are learning basic cooking skills, there are many simple recipes on the blog to help you produce very healthy food for your family, or grab a copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking or my favorite Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook for yourself and get cooking. You can click on the pictures below to check them out on Amazon.


If you think you can’t cook, think again. Julia says anyone can learn to cook!

 “This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook- try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun!” – Julia Child

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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  1. Ritz Crackers
  2. Peanut Butter
  3. Bananas to slice
  4. Raisins
  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
  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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  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
  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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  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
  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
  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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  1. Graham crackers
  2. 8 oz. cream cheese
  3. 2 T. maple syrup
  4. Assorted sliced fruits
  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/
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