Holiday Recipes Perfect for the Kiddos
By Susan Iovenitti
As the holiday season approaches, so does the beginning of cooking and baking season in my household.
This year, I have an extra pair of eager hands in the kitchen courtesy of my 3-year-old daughter. She’s as excited as I am to roll up her sleeves and crank out recipe after recipe, and I value the extra time that we are spending with each other away from the numerous screens in our home.
As a first-time parent, I have been challenged to get a little creative in the “tasks” that I assign her to do in the kitchen to ensure her safety. It’s always important to take precautions when cooking and not put your child in harm’s way, and I’ve found simple things like measuring, pouring, stirring and mashing are safe and easy for her to do.
I’ve also noticed that she likes to be a part of the food buying process, so whenever I head out to the local farmer’s market to do a little shopping, I bring her along so she knows where we get our “special” ingredients.
Here are five fun holiday recipes that satisfy my seasonal urge to cook and my daughter’s excitement for cooking with me. Invite your little elves to the kitchen and get cooking!
- Apples are currently in season in my area, and this homemade applesauce from Sing for Your Supper blog is a quick and easy dish to make with your child. I’ve found giving my daughter a small plastic knife to cut up peeled apples is a good way to get her involved in the preparation process. Once the cooking is done, I also let her mash the apples up in a separate cool bowl (never the hot pan!) with a potato masher. With this recipe, you can also make a big batch and can jars of it to give as holiday gifts to family, friends and teachers.
- Pumpkins are also everywhere this time of year — and pumpkin cupcakes are right up my daughter’s alley. I like to measure out all of the ingredients in advance and have my daughter pour them into the bowl while I tell her the name of each ingredient. If you have an older child, have them measure out some of the dry ingredients on their own. For a little extra fun, throw in a ½ cup of raisins into the batter and top the cupcakes with a cream cheese frosting. (Recipes courtesy marthastewart.com and foodnetwork.com)
- Have sweet potatoes leftover from Thanksgiving? Try these tasty baked sweet potato fries . I find it fun to have my daughter combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix them around with her own (clean) hands and then arrange them on a baking sheet. (Recipe courtesy tastykitchen.com)
- Pizza is always a big hit with kids. I like to make my own pizza dough (and use store bought when I don’t have time) and give my daughter a small ball of her own for kneading and rolling. It’s fun for the two of us to gather a bunch of seasonal ingredients like broccoli, mushrooms and roasted winter squashes to create a season-inspired pizza. (Thinly sliced pears also make for a wonderful dessert pizza!) (Recipe courtesy annamariavolpi.com)
- And, while you’re cooking, it’s always important to have a little snack around! I have tried this delicious taco popcorn from PBS Kids CafeZOOM – it’s quick, easy and lots of fun to make.
I hope you’ll take these ideas, grab your kid(s), start cooking and create some of your own holiday season traditions.
Photo © Susan Iovenitti