5 Tasty Treats to Make with Your Kids
Looking to add a dash of fun to your kitchen? We’ve cooked up the perfect plan for your clan. Start by designating a special time for “kids’ cuisine.” Then sit down with your child and create the day’s menu—designing menus using construction paper and markers or a computer is a fun activity that will keep little chefs occupied while their culinary creations are cooking.
After selecting your menu, place all of the ingredients on a countertop or table and talk about the importance of measuring ingredients and following a recipe very carefully. Use this time to teach your child about nutrition, too. You might say, “Now I’m going to add a cup of milk. Where does milk come from? Milk comes from cows and has lots of calcium, which builds bones and helps you grow big and strong.” This might be a good time for lots of moo-ing around the kitchen, too.
Be sure to let your child help with basic tasks, such as measuring ingredients and whisking eggs. After all, kids are much more likely to try new foods if they had a hand in making them, says the American Dietetic Association.
To get you started, here are 5 easy-to-make, delicious dishes that your child will love—really!
Banana Bonanza Shake (makes one eight-ounce serving)
Your kids will go ape for this delicious “Banana Bonanza Shake.” Best of all, it’s high in calcium (great for young bones and teeth) and easy to make (great for you).
4 ice cubes
1 ¼ cup low-fat chocolate milk
1 banana, peeled and cut into chunks
1 teaspoon wheat germ
Place the ice cubes, chocolate milk, banana chunks and wheat germ into a blender. Blend together on medium speed until smooth (about 20 seconds). Pour into a tall glass, and enjoy!
Crispy Cheesy Quesadillas (makes four servings)
Tired of serving the same old grilled cheese sandwich? Give your kitchen a Southwestern kick with these “Crispy Cheesy Quesadillas.”
4 flour tortillas, each 8 inches in diameter
1 cup of Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup of cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, cut into 4 equal pieces
1 jar of your favorite salsa
Lay the tortillas on a cutting board or waxed paper. Scatter one-quarter of the Monterey Jack and one-quarter of the cheddar cheese over half of each tortilla. Fold the uncovered half over the cheese, and press gently to form a quesadilla.
Add one piece of the butter or margarine to a frying pan or griddle, and set over medium heat. When the butter is melted, add one filled tortilla to the pan. Cook until the underside is golden brown, about two minutes. Turn the quesadilla over with a spatula. Continue to cook, until the bottom turns golden brown, about two minutes.
Using a spatula, place the quesadilla on a cutting board or waxed paper. Cut into four wedges and place on a plate. Repeat directions for the remaining tortillas. Top quesadillas with your favorite salsa (feel free to add avocado slices or diced fresh tomatoes), and serve.
Ants on a Log
It never fails. Come mid-afternoon, a couple of hours before dinnertime, your child complains that he’s hungry, sometimes even clutching his stomach and feigning a fainting spell for dramatic effect. To quell your little actor’s theatrics, offer him a tried a true treat: “Ants on a Log.” It takes just minutes to make—even for very young children—and won’t spoil your child’s appetite.
Wash the celery and cut it into approximately five-inch strips (the logs). Fill each celery strip’s “canal” with peanut butter. Press the raisins (the ants) into the peanut butter, and serve.
Chicken Greek (makes four servings)
It’s important to dine as a family, and yet most of us, due to work and inflexible schedules, find ourselves eating alone or on the go. Research has shown that having dinner with your family can significantly impact your child’s decisions concerning peer-pressure and even substance abuse, says the National Family Partnership. So make it a point to eat as a family—you can start by taking a taste bud tour of the Greek Isles with this tummy-tempting chicken dish.
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
nonstick cooking spray
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1½ teaspoons oregano
½ teaspoon black pepper
4 ounces feta cheese
2 tablespoons sliced black olives
Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Place chicken in a 9-inch-by-13-inch baking pan coated with nonstick spray. Drizzle the lemon juice over the chicken, and sprinkle with the oregano and black pepper. Top with feta cheese, and bake for 30 minutes. Serve chicken hot and garnish with olives. Note: this dish goes well with rice and green beans or broccoli.
Buried Treasure Cookies (makes 24 cookies)
A meal just isn’t complete without a delectable dessert. Cleanse your family’s palate with these simple and sumptuous cookies.
1 cup butter, softened
¾ cup sugar
2 cups flour
8-ounce bag of Hershey’s Kisses
Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Cream the butter and sugar together until smooth, then add the flour. Wrap the cookie dough in plastic, and refrigerate for half an hour. In the meantime, remove the foil from the chocolate kisses. When time is up, remove the dough from the refrigerator and shape it into one-inch balls. Insert a chocolate kiss into the center of each ball, making sure the chocolate is completely covered by the dough. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for 10 to 12 minutes. Sift powdered sugar over the top while still warm.