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A young boy chops vegetables while his father cooks them in a pan on the stove
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Simple and Scrumptious! Easy Recipes for Kids

Everyone has a favorite kitchen memory. Maybe it’s baking the perfect dinner with a loved one, or perhaps the batch of brownies that was accidentally made with salt instead of sugar and still makes everyone laugh. 

Preparing food feeds the heart, mind, and—of course—the body. Helping kids learn to navigate the kitchen teaches them a vital life skill and developing healthy eating habits promotes lifelong well-being. Creating a meal from fun and easy recipes is also an opportunity for bonding and discovery. With these ideas for easy recipes for kids, you can make moments that you and your young ones can cherish for years to come.

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Fast, Kid-Friendly Meals

One of the great things about cooking as a family is watching your young chefs’ confidence grow with every meal they help create. With some practice and encouragement, they’ll eventually want to take the lead! Here are a few simple recipes kids can make—with your assistance—once they feel at home in the kitchen.

Mini Taco Cups

Taco cups with sour cream served on a plate

Two things all but guarantee children will gobble up a meal: miniaturization and customization. These fun, cup-shaped tacos do both and are the perfect size for kid-sized hands. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pound ground beef, pork, or turkey, browned and drained
  • 15 ounces of canned refried beans
  • 15 ounces canned diced tomatoes, drained
  • ¾ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder 
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin or chili powder 
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 10 6-inch corn or flour tortillas

COOK THE FILLING: 

An adult should always manage activities that require the stove. Older children may be able to assist with close supervision.

  1. In a heated, oiled pan, an adult sautées ground beef, pork, or chicken, or a can of black beans over medium heat until thoroughly cooked at 160ºF (71ºC). If you choose beans, drain and rinse them before heating them in the frying pan. If you’re using beef, pork, or chicken, drain off any excess fat after the meat has been cooked through. 
  2. Next, your sous-chefs can add a combination of onion and garlic powder, cumin, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes to create depth of flavor. Alternatively, you can also use a store-bought taco mix if you prefer. 
  3. Have your assistants add a can of diced tomatoes and—if you’re cooking with meat—a can of refried beans into the mix. Stir to combine the contents of the skillet and heat everything through on the stove.

ASSEMBLE THE TACOS: 

  1. Working together with your kids, tuck small flour tortillas into 6 cups of a muffin tin to make a cup shape. You can also use corn tortillas or wonton wrappers to accommodate dietary needs. 
  2. Distribute the filling into the cups and top with shredded cheddar cheese.
  3. Bake at 350ºF (177ºC) until the cheese melts and the tortillas are crispy—about 8 to 10 minutes. 

SERVING IDEAS: Serve the tacos hot out of the oven with a side salad. Invite the kids to add a dollop of salsa and sour cream before customizing each cup with:

  • Chopped tomato, onion, cilantro, chives, or parsley
  • Sliced black olives
  • Guacamole

VARIATIONS: You don’t have to stick with tacos. If you want to try something different, use the filling to make other Mexican-inspired dinner ideas, like quesadillas, burritos, enchiladas, or nachos. Or if you’re in the mood for fusion, layer the filling with cheese between lasagna noodles. The possibilities are endless!

Banana Pancakes

Pancakes are great on a slow morning, but these three-ingredient wonders are also fast enough for a busy weekday.

You’ll want to take on the cooking duties, but young chefs can mash, stir, and serve these morning favorites.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 medium bananas, peeled and mashed 
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour

MAKE THE BATTER: 

  1. Your kids mash the bananas in a bowl using a fork or potato masher. 
  2. Next, they crack the eggs into the fruit and add the all-purpose flour.
  3. Kids stir the ingredients until they are combined.

FRY THE PANCAKES: 

An adult should always manage activities that require the stove. Older children may be able to assist in pouring and flipping the pancakes with close supervision.

  1. Heat a nonstick skillet that has been lightly coated with butter or cooking spray.
  2. Pour in ⅓ cup of batter for each pancake. Cook until the edges are firm, about 3 to 4 minutes. 
  3. Flip and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes until each pancake is golden brown.

ADD THE TOPPINGS: Let your children top their pancakes with maple syrup, blueberries, apple slices, whipped cream, chocolate chips, or whatever they come up with, and enjoy!

Mac and Cheese

Did you know you can make a delicious, creamy macaroni-and-cheese casserole in a slow cooker? Because there’s no stove or oven involved, kids can take the lead in preparing this dish. It’s the perfect start-and-forget dinner for busy days.

This recipe uses elbow macaroni, but you and your kids can experiment with different pasta shapes, like ziti, rigatoni, or shells. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 ounces of uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 5 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 12 ounces of canned evaporated milk
  • 1½ cups milk
  • ¼ cup of butter, melted 
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • Dash of ground black pepper
  • Dash of paprika

FILL THE SLOW COOKER: 

  1. Help your children grease the slow cooker with cooking spray.
  2. Shred the cheddar cheese. We suggest the adult perform this step to keep kids’ fingers away from the grater.
  3. Kids pour the uncooked elbow pasta into the slow cooker and mix in the shredded cheese, butter, salt, pepper, and paprika. 
  4. They stir in the evaporated milk and regular milk. Mix until combined.

COOK: An adult covers the pot and sets it to cook on the low setting for about 3 hours and 15 minutes, or until the pasta is fork tender. It’s tempting, but don’t lift the lid to check on the casserole’s progress until time’s up. Doing so allows the heat to escape, adding more minutes to the cooking time.

SERVE AND ENJOY: Mac and cheese is a complete meal on its own, but you can add to the cheesy goodness with:

  • Roast turkey, chicken, or beef
  • Salsa, chili, or baked beans
  • Fried bacon or ham
  • Caramelized onions
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Don’t Forget Dessert

Four ice cream sandwiches made with chocolate chip cookies

Most kids love it when dinner ends with a tasty treat to polish off the meal. Turn your kitchen into a bakery by working with your kids to create a yummy dessert to end suppertime on a sweet note. 

Here are some kid-friendly dessert recipes you can try with your kids.

Ice Cream Sandwiches

Some days, it’s difficult to decide between cookies or ice cream. With this easy and fun recipe, there’s no need to compromise—you can have both! Adults manage the oven while assistant bakers of all ages can help with the rest—stirring, ice cream scooping, and forming the dough balls.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 18.25 ounces boxed chocolate cake mix
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup butterscotch chips
  • ½ gallon vanilla ice cream, softened

BAKE THE COOKIES: 

Keep children away from the oven when an adult puts in and removes the cookies and sets them on a rack to cool. Young chefs can help with mixing and shaping the dough.

  1. An adult preheats the oven to 350ºF (177ºC). 
  2. In a large mixing bowl, kids combine the chocolate cake mix, softened butter, vanilla, eggs, semisweet chocolate chips, and butterscotch chips and mix the dough until it becomes firm.
  3. They roll the batter into 2-inch balls and place them on a parchment paper-lined sheet pan.
  4. An adult puts the cookies in the oven to bake for 10 minutes. The cookies should be firm but still soft.
  5. An adult removes them from the pan and places them on wire racks to cool.

SANDWICH ASSEMBLY: 

  1. While the cookies are cooling, take the vanilla ice cream out of the freezer to soften. 
  2. Once the cookies reach room temperature, help kids place a scoop of ice cream between two cookies and gently—but firmly—squish them together. 
  3. Smooth the ice cream edges with a spoon and return your creations to the freezer to harden. If you’re eager to snack on them right away, we recommend letting them chill for 10 minutes so they firm up first. 

The ice cream sandwiches will keep for a week in the freezer when stored in a freezer-safe bag or container—that is, if no one eats them first!

Three-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cups

For many people, the combination of peanut butter and chocolate is downright irresistible. The peanut butter in this fun recipe can easily be substituted with a nut-free alternative like peabutter. You’ll have to take care of melting the chocolate, but your kids can do the rest.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1½ cups chocolate chips
  • 6 tablespoons coconut oil, divided
  • 1 cup creamy all-natural peanut butter

PREPARE THE PAN: Work together to line a pair of 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners.

FIRST LAYER: 

  1. An adult melts the chocolate chips with 3 tablespoons of the coconut oil in the microwave by heating for 30 seconds.
  2. Kids help by stirring until the mixture is completely liquid.
  3. Spoon 1 teaspoon of the liquid into the bottom of the muffin tin cups and spread the chocolate up the sides of the liner. Be sure to save a bit to use later on.
  4. Place the tins in the freezer until the chocolate has set, which should take about 5 minutes.

SECOND LAYER: 

  1. Blend the peanut butter (or the substitute of your choice) with the remaining 3 tablespoons of coconut oil. 
  2. Kids then spoon 2–3 teaspoons of the peanut butter mixture into the frozen chocolate shells. Show them how to smooth out the top.

THIRD LAYER: 

  1. If the extra chocolate has hardened, adults microwave it again for 15 seconds until it has melted. 
  2. Add another teaspoon of chocolate to the top of the peanut butter and spread it to the edges of the paper liner with the back of the spoon. 
  3. Freeze for about 30 minutes and your chocolate peanut butter cups are ready to snack on.
A wide variety of vegetables, including peppers, carrots, cauliflower, and squash

Healthy Can Be Fun

While many kids might think tasty cuisine doesn’t go beyond hot dogs or chicken nuggets, most grown-ups know that isn’t the case. There are plenty of healthy recipes for kids that are a joy to cook and enjoyable to eat too! These are fun meals to make with kids. They’re loaded with nutrients and so delicious your family won’t know they’re good for them.

Chicken Popovers

The miniatures are back! Adults will need to handle the oven and the stovetop, but your children can act as your assistants, measuring and mixing ingredients, spooning the filling into the popovers, and even cutting the parsley garnish with clean safety scissors.

INGREDIENTS:

Popovers:

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Dash of kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder

Filling:

  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup frozen peas and carrots 
  • ½ rotisserie chicken, skin discarded, and white and dark meat shredded (about 3 cups)
  • ¼ cup loosely packed flat-leaf parsley, chopped, for garnish

MAKE THE POPOVERS: 

  1. An adult preheats the oven to 400ºF (204ºC) and sprays a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray.
  2. Kids whisk together the milk, all-purpose flour, eggs, vanilla extract, kosher salt, melted butter, and baking powder.
  3. They stir the ingredients until smooth, then divide the mixture evenly between the 12 muffin cups.
  4. An adult bakes the popovers until they’re puffed and golden (about 20-25 minutes), rotating the pan at the midway mark to ensure even cooking.

COOK THE FILLING: 

An adult performs this step, as it involves the stove. Kids can add ingredients with careful supervision.

  1. In a saucepan, blend the all-purpose flour with the low-sodium chicken broth and whisk until smooth. 
  2. An adult brings the mixture to a boil on medium heat and cooks it until it’s thickened to the consistency of gravy, about 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. Reduce the heat and work together to add 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan cheese, the salt, and the pepper. 
  4. Once combined, kids add the frozen peas and carrots and the shredded rotisserie chicken meat. Adults keep the mixture warm until the popovers are ready to come out of the oven.

SERVE: Immediately after the popovers finish baking, help your kids safely remove them from the muffin tin and place two on each plate. Young helpers spoon the chicken filling over the popovers and then garnish with the remaining 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese and the snipped parsley.

Easy Veggie Pasta

A cheese sauce can make almost any healthy meal taste better. Elevate your next vitamin-packed dinner by mixing a creamy, cheesy sauce with fresh veggies and kid-favorite pasta. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 10 ounces of uncooked pasta
  • 1 small head of broccoli, chopped
  • ½ red or green pepper, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed 
  • 4 ounces of cream cheese
  • 6 tablespoons of olive oil

COOK THE PASTA AND VEGGIES: 

An adult should always manage activities that require the stove. Older children may be able to assist with close supervision.

  1. An adult cooks the pasta per the package instructions.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, you and your young chefs team up to peel carrots. Adults thinly slice the carrots and chop broccoli florets and green or red peppers.
  3. Once the pasta has finished cooking, drain in a colander and return the pasta to the pot. Kids add the veggies and stir.

MAKE THE SAUCE: 

  1. An adult returns the pot to the stove and, over low heat, stirs in the garlic, cream cheese, and olive oil.
  2. Cook until the cream cheese melts, and the pasta is thoroughly coated and warmed.

These recipes are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to culinary explorations. Your child can broaden their palette while discovering the culinary traditions of Eid al Fitr or diving into the joys of pizza making. If they prefer baking, introduce them to pastries by whipping up one of these delicious variations of the classic cherry pie.

Your young chefs’ love of food will eventually introduce them to other cultures, places, and experiences. Encourage that curiosity with a subscription to our World Edition subscription box. Your children will forge new connections with the world through hands-on activities, stories, and new recipes to try from countries around the world.

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