4 Simple Recipes Kids Can Cook

January 10, 2010

scone prep1The great thing about serving simple, yet delicious, recipes is that kids not only enjoy eating them, they also enjoy helping in the preparation.

They can help wash, peel, mash, cut, dice, knead, mix, toss, marinade and even stir-fry standing on a stool (note: close supervision probably best for this last one).

Cooking can be a fun project, a ‘thing to do’ when there is nothing to do.

The secret to keeping it fun is to be relaxed about the mess and to clean up after, not during, the cooking session.

Break the whole process down into several small tasks that you know the children will be able to handle easily.

Here are four delicious child-friendly recipes:

Bangers and mash

4 medium potatoes
10 g butter
pinch of salt
2 sausages

mash dishPeel and cube the potatoes. Boil till soft in a saucepan of water. When potatoes are done, pour out the water and keep aside. We’ll need that water again later.

Now here’s the part that most kids will enjoy. Let them mash the potatoes with a potato masher. I tend to put the saucepan on the floor because children need their body weight to help them do the job, and standing on a stool while trying to mash on our adult-height tabletops just doesn’t work well.

After all the mashing is done – the excitement worn down and siblings are friends again, melt the butter on low heat in another saucepan. When the butter is melted, scoop in all the mashed potatoes. Add a ladle-full of the water that was used to boil the potatoes. Add salt to taste and stir well.

For a fluffier mash, add more water and stir well again.

Meanwhile, pop the sausages into an oven toaster for about 8-10 minutes, or fry them up with a little oil in a frying pan.

Cut the sausages in half cross-wise and stick them into a large dollop of mash to serve.

Tuna pasta salad

3-4 cups of any pasta shape
1 tin of tuna
2 sticks celery
half a capsicum
olive oil
salt to taste

pasta dishBoil the pasta until al dente. Drain and cool.

Sometimes, for the fun of it, I mix different types of pasta together in the salad – elbows, fusili, penne, shells. Beware though, that this will multiply your workload because different pastas have different boiling times.

Meanwhile, get the kids into high gear by having them dice the capsicum into a large bowl. When my kids first started doing this, I let them use a butter knife. It was hell for them cutting through the veggie fibres but I could relax knowing that they would finish with all their fingers still attached to their hands.

Use red, yellow, green, orange or purple capsicum, either individually or together, to add colour to the dish. Then get the kids to cut the celery cross-wise into bite sizes and add to mixing bowl.

You might also want to add other types of veggies, for example zucchini, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli; or pulses like kidney beans or pinto beans.

Add the cooked pasta and the tuna. Add some olive oil and salt to taste and get the kids to toss it all up.

Grilled chicken wings, broccoli and multi-grain rice

4 chicken wings

Marinate with
light soya sauce
dark soya sauce
chinese wine
sesame oil

1 small head of broccoli
1 clove garlic
olive oil
1 cup multi-grain rice

chicken dishMarinating is something that most children will enjoy, so throw all the marinade ingredients over the chicken wings and let the little fingers do their work. When they are satisfied with the result, leave the wings aside to sit in the marinade for a couple of hours.

Then grill the wings in an oven toaster for about 20 minutes.

Cut the broccoli into little florets and wash. Peel and smash the garlic. Stir fry the garlic in olive oil over high heat; throw in the broccoli and some salt to taste.

Wash the multi-grain rice and cook in a rice cooker. We mix our own grains so that we can vary the proportions to our liking. Wild rice, red rice, brown rice, rye grain, barley and millet will all work well.

Multi-grain is full of vitamins and minerals, but if your children are new to it and find the taste a little too strong, start off by mixing in 50 per cent white rice. Then slowly reduce the percentage of white rice over time.


2 1/2 cups or 375 g self-raising flour
30 g butter (use more if you like it buttery)
1 tablespoon caster sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

scone dishThis is very much a kid’s D-I-Y recipe. A standby adult supervisor is, however, recommended. That way the children don’t get their fingers singed on the oven and we get to feel useful.

Get the kids to lightly grease a cake pan.

Help them measure out the flour, sugar and salt into a colander and sift into a large bowl. Cut the butter into knobs and have them rub it into the flour with their fingertips. When the flour is clumpy and yellowy, pour in the milk, a little at a time, all the while folding the mixture with a knife.

When you get a soft, sticky dough, turn it onto a lightly floured surface and knead. This is the part where kids can really have fun. It’s like playing with play dough.

When dough is smooth, press it out to an even 2 cm thickness. Cut into 5 cm rounds for traditional looking scones; or use cookie cutters to get different shapes. Place in greased pan and bake in very hot oven, about 225 deg C, for about 15 minutes or till brown.


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