Cooking and kids go together; the idea of preparing something delicious by yourself and then getting to eat it appeals to kids of all ages. In addition to the entertainment value of making a fun recipe, taking part in cooking activities can encourage a child to sample foods she might not have otherwise tried. Gaining some kitchen skills can improve kids self esteem; some kids enjoy making edible gifts for their friends and relatives. All of the following recipes require minimum adult assistance.
Making a cheese ball is an activity for kids who like a real hands-on experience. Start by softening two 8 oz. packages of cream cheese. Kids can then mix a combination of ingredients (totaling 1 1/2 cups) into the softened cream cheese. They can use chopped pecans or peanuts, dried cranberries, crushed pineapple, coconut or ingredients of their own choosing. Roll the mixture into a ball. Serve with crackers.
Hot Chocolate Mix
Kids can make their own big batch of hot chocolate mix. This version has a little bite because of the 1 tbsp. of cinnamon and 3/4 tsp. of cloves they’ll add to the mix, which also includes 2 cups of sugar, 1 cup of powdered milk and 1 cup of cocoa. Store in an airtight container. Use 2 tbsp. of mix to one mug of hot water.
Strawberry Quick Bread
You will need two bowls for this recipe. In the first, mix together two beaten eggs, 1/2 cup oil and 1 cup of strawberries (fresh or frozen). In the other bowl mix the dry ingredients: 1 1/2 cups of flour, 1 cup of sugar, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. baking soda. Combine the strawberry mixture with the dry and stir well. Bake in a greased loaf pan in a 350-degree Fahrenheit oven for 50 to 60 minutes. Let cool, slice and serve with strawberry jam.
Generations of kids have enjoyed munching party mix with all kinds of variations. A basic mix that can be prepared in the microwave combines cereals with seasonings. Start by melting, in the microwave, a stick of margarine in a 9 by 13 inch glass pan. Add 1 tsp. of seasoned salt and 4 tsp. of Worcestershire sauce. Stir in 10 cups of assorted cereals and 1 cup of nuts, such as peanuts, cashews or mixed nuts. Microwave on high for five minutes. The kids might also like to mix in chocolate or butterscotch chips before serving.
With only an unpeeled orange and some sugar, kids can make a delicious spread that can also be spooned into small clean jars and presented as gifts. Younger children will need help using the food processor. To make microwave marmalade cut the orange into quarters, put into the processor and shred. Measure how much shredded orange you have and add that much sugar. Cook in the microwave on medium until slightly thickened (about five minutes), stirring occasionally. Let the marmalade chill and spoon into jars.