Cooking with Kids: 5 Easy Recipes

For me, cooking is a very “zen” activity. Low stress, deeply fulfilling, highly sensory. Because I love to cook, and show my love by cooking, I want to teach my kids how to cook. However, cooking with kids can raise stress levels through the roof, negating the fulfillment and overrunning all the good sights and scents and feels.

So, how do we teach a necessary skill, without losing our ever-loving, highly efficient, minds?

Two words:

Simple. Recipes.

Cooking with kids can be fun, and relatively stress-free, if we lower the complication bar, and keep things simple. Simple…like 3 ingredients. Or 5 ingredients. 3-5 steps. Keeping chopping to a minimum.

Cooking with Kids: How?

Which begs the question: how do you actually cook with kids?

  1. Measure ingredients, and
  2. Pour in when it’s time.
  3. Stirring-whether in a bowl, or on the stove (slightly older kids. But always supervised.)
  4. Handle ingredients…like passing you the bacon strips. Or rolling the chicken in the crumbs.

Cooking with Kids: 5 Easy Recipes

Here are five simple recipes, with short ingredient lists, that will encourage you to try cooking with your kids.

Easy Chicken Enchiladas

Prep time: 15 minutes, Cook time: 30 minutes, Total time: 45 minutes

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1-1/2 to 2 cups chunky salsa
  • 2 cups (8 oz) shredded yellow cheese
  • 10 to 12 (10”) flour tortillas
  • sour cream and additional salsa for serving
  1. Cut raw chicken into 1/2″ cubes, and sauté  in a large skillet with a bit of oil until cooked through. Drain off any liquid. Add the salsa. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add 1 to 1-1/2 cups of cheese-making it cheesy according to your preference. 
  2. Place approximately 1/2 cup of filling on each tortilla. Tuck in ends, and roll up. Place in a greased 9×13” pan. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheese. 
  3. Bake at 350 degrees until the cheese melts, about 15 minutes. Serve with carrots and celery sticks.

Browned Butter Alfredo

Prep/cook time: 30 minutes

  • 16 ounces bow tie pasta
  • 5 spicy sausage links (20 oz)
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • 1 stick butter
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 cups (8 oz) grated Romano/parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • parsley for garnish, opt
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, mince garlic.
  3. Remove sausage from its casings, and brown in a large cast iron skillet oven medium high heat. Remove from skillet, and drain grease. Set aside.
  4. Place the iron skillet back on the stove, and add butter. Cook for 1-2 minutes until brown. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. Stir in the heavy cream and cheese, then add the cooked sausage. Season with salt and pepper as desired. Serve over pasta, garnished with parsley if desired. Serve with a lettuce salad and French baguette.

Cheesy Chicken Breasts

Prep time: 15 minutes, Cook time: 1 hour, Total time: 1-1/4 hour

  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 8 to 12 slices bacon
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1-1/2 cup herb stuffing crumbs
  • 1/2 pound Velveeta, sliced
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Crush stuffing crumbs with a rolling pin to make finer.
  3. Place egg in a shallow dish and beat lightly. Place crumbs in another shallow dish. Lightly grease a 9×13” baking dish.
  4. Cut the chicken into a total of 4 to 6 pieces. Wrap each chicken breast with 2 slices of bacon.
  5. Dip each piece of chicken in egg and then in stuffing crumbs. Lay each coated piece in the pan without them touching each other. 
  6. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Top each breast half with a slice of cheese. Continue baking for 10-20 minutes or until the chicken is brown and the cheese has melted. Serve with a fresh salad and bread.

Depression Meatloaf

Prep time: 20 minutes, Cook time: 1 hour, Total time: 1-1/4 hours

  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 5 slices bread
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1-1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 3 slices bacon
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, pour milk over bread. Let stand until milk in absorbed.
  3. Add onion, salt and pepper to the bread and stir with a fork until the bread softens and is light and fluffy. Mix in ground beef.
  4. Place meat mixture into a lightly greased loaf pan. Top with ketchup and/or bacon strips-halved length-wise and criss-crossed over top, if desired. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.
  5. Slice meat loaf and serve with mashed potatoes and a hot vegetable.

Curry Honey Mustard Chicken

Prep time: 10 minutes, Cook time: 60-75 minutes, Total time: 1-1/2 hours

  • 6 to 8 chicken thighs
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Wash and skin the chicken thighs. Place in a 9×13” pan.
  3. Melt the butter. Whisk in the honey, mustard, and curry powder. Pour over the chicken.
  4. Bake at 375 degrees for 60-75 minutes, until the juices run clear. Serve with rice and a salad.

Well, there are five easy recipes to cook with your kids. I hope you give them a try.

Cooking with Kids: Tips & Tricks

A couple things to remember when cooking with kids:

  • Keep it fun
  • Wash hands before you begin and often during the process.
  • Plan extra time because it will certainly take longer than when you do it yourself.

Also, most of the She Plans Dinner menus will have at least one recipe that is simple enough for cooking with kids. Look for the ones that have either fewer ingredients or have a short “total time.” Also look for recipes that basically “dump” all the ingredients into one bowl or pan, and let it go town. (crock pot recipes are good examples of this.)

Cooking is a great skill to impart. Cooking with kids is a great tradition to add to your daily repertoire.

For a simple dessert to bake with your kids, check out this brownie recipe. Yum!