Archives for posts with tag: cooking with kids

Almost any homemade pizza dough recipe article will say that their pizza dough recipe is easier than ordering pizza delivery. Few things in this world are easier than calling and ordering a pizza — I am not going to lie. However, this pizza dough recipe I got from Mark Bittman’s The Food Matters Cookbook is very easy and fun for kids.

You need 5 ingredients:
2 cups of white whole wheat flour
1 cup of all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon of instant yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups of water
Olive oil for greasing the pan
Toppings of choice

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1. Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Slowly add water to the dry ingredients and mix with a big spoon until incorporated with the dry ingredients. Don’t over mix and don’t knead the dough. You just need to form a ragged mass shaped like a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for at least three hours or up to 12 hours.

2. When you are ready, heat the oven to 500 degrees. Oil a rimmed baking pan or iron skillet. Stretch or roll out the dough and press it in the pan or skillet and add toppings. Bake for 10 minutes in the oven.

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Homemade Mac and Cheese is a bit time-consuming; so, you have to plan ahead. But, it is really easy to make and really delicious.

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a casserole dish or other large baking vessel with butter.

2. Grate 2 1/2 to 3 cups or so of your favorite cheese (the more cheese the cheesier your mac and cheese will be) — cheddar, jack, mozzarella are all good choices. Feel free to use a combination of cheeses.

3. Fill a pot with water and some salt. Boil water. Add about a pound of your favorite pasta. Cook according to instructions on the pasta box. Drain pasta and set aside.

4. While to pasta cooks, add 2 tablespoons of butter to a medium-sized saucepan. When it melts, add 2 tablespoons of flour. Cook the flour on medium-low heat for a few minutes. Add 2 cups of non fat or whole milk. Simmer for 15 minutes. Take off heat and add 2/3 of the grated cheese.

5. Combine cheese sauce and pasta in the a large bowl or the pot you used to boil the pasta. Add half the mixture to you baking dish. Sprinkle some grated cheese on it. Add the rest of the pasta and cheese mixture. Sprinkle remaining grated cheese on top. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.

My son isn’t a very good eater.  I read this article in the New York Times about this woman who lets her sons pick a dish to cook once a week.  I thought that might be a good way to get him to eat more.  I was reading Food 52 digest and I came across a recipe for baked pasta with cheese and tomatoes.  I modified the recipe to make it more pleasing to a young palate  — I took out the gorgonzola and added more mozzarella cheese so it would be gooier.  I discussed the recipe with my young chef and he approved.

The other thing I liked about this recipe is that children can make most of this dish with a bit of adult help. First, we boiled 1/2 pound of penne — any other short noodles would work. I drained the pasta. Meanwhile, the Junior Chef mixed a cup of cream, 1 cup of chopped canned tomatoes, 1/2 bag of Trader Joe’s Quattro Formaggio mix which equals 6 ounces of a mix of shredded parmesan, asiago, fontina, and provolone), 1/4 pound of thinly sliced mozzarella cheese, and a pinch of salt.  We poured the mixture into a small baking pan and let it cook at 500 degrees for 10-12 minutes.  Junior Chef dotted the top with some butter and a bit more sliced mozzarella.

I took it out of the oven after the cheese looked bubbly and light brown.

The Chef was very pleased with his work.

I really enjoyed cooking with my son.  It was nice for him to have something to do while I was making dinner.  And, he was very proud that he could make dinner.  I may make this a weekly event.  Maybe next week, I can convince him to put some more vegetables into the lasagna — maybe some spinach or broccoli.  We’ll see.

Crazy Mixed-Up Lasagna

Adapted from Food 52 — Al Forno’s Penne with Tomato,Cream & Five Cheeses

Serves 4 (can easily be doubled)

Ingredients

1 cup of heavy cream

1 cup of chopped canned tomatoes in heavy puree

6 ounces of a mixture of shredded asiago, fontina, provolone (like Quattro Formaggio from Trader Joe’s)

2 tablespoons of ricotta cheese

1/4 pound thinly sliced mozzarella cheese

a pinch of kosher salt

1/2 pound penne

2 tablespoons of butter, sliced thinly

1.  Heat oven to 500 degrees.

2.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

3.  In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except the pasta and butter.  Reserve a few slices of mozzarella.  Stir well to combine.

4.  Cook the pasta according to instructions on the box.  Drain the pasta and add it to the mixing bowl, toss to combine.

5.  Place mixture in a small baking dish.  Dot with butter and the reserved mozzarella, and bake until brown and bubbly on top, 10-12 minutes.  Keep on an eye on this while it is baking; because, baking times may vary.

This week the Edamamemonster visited a local preschool to do some cooking with a classroom of 2-3 year olds.  I tried to find a good recipe; but, it is hard to find a recipe that children this young can do by themselves.  So, I invented fruit pizza.  The idea is to spread some low-fat cream cheese on a tortilla, add some finely chopped fruit, and sprinkle with shredded coconut and/or sesame seeds.  Then, a grown up helper can cut the pizza into slices.

I used low-fat cream cheese (you could also use strawberry cream cheese or other flavors to add flavor and color).  I finely chopped strawberries, grapes, and watermelon.  I also put out blueberries.  The kids had a lot of fun!  They were really proud that they could make a pizza all by themselves.

The fruit pizza can easily become a fruit burrito by rolling it up.  This is a fun and safe activity for preschoolers.  I think older kids would also have fun making this healthy snack.

Fruit Pizza

Ingredients

Finely chopped fruit

Shredded coconut

Sesame seeds

Tortillas

Cream Cheese

Materials

Paper plates

Plastic knives

Saran wrap

Masking tape or stickers (to write names on)

Permanent Marker

Knife

1.  Put the cream cheese containers on a table with a plastic knife in each container.  Put the fruit into bowls and put them on the table.  Put the shredded coconut into bowls.  Put spoons in all the bowls so that the children can take the fruit, coconut, etc out and put it on their pizza.  Put a paper plate on the table for each children.  Place a tortilla on each paper plate.

2.  Let the children put the cream cheese on their tortillas and put fruit, coconut, and sesame seeds on their “pizza.”    Take a knife and cut the pizza into slices.  Put the child’s name on a sticker or masking tape on his/her plate.  Cover with Saran Wrap.

I took a cooking class when I was in elementary school and the only recipe I remember from that class was the apple crisp.  It was so good!  Apple crisp is really the lazy person’s pie.  I am all for being lazy in this case; because, making a pie crust is extra work and adds a lot of extra fat and calories that aren’t really necessary to make this a delicious dessert.  In addition, taking the pie crust out of the recipe makes it very easy for kids to make the whole recipe by themselves (with their own little hands) with just a bit of adult supervision.

I got this recipe from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.  I like this recipe because it works for many different kinds of fruit.  The book includes modifications to the recipe for stone fruit and berries.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Then, add 6 tablespoons of butter (cut into cubes), 3/4 cup of brown sugar, 2/3 cup of flour, 1/2 cup of rolled oats, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg, and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon in a medium-sized bowl to make the topping.  My daughter mixed the ingredients with a metal pastry blender.  You can also use two knives to break up the butter; or, put the topping in a food processor.  You want the butter to be the size of a pea and incorporated into the other ingredients.

Then, you put your thinly sliced apples and pears in a bowl.  I kept the skin on; but, you can peel them.  Add a bit of lemon juice, grated lemon zest, sugar, cinnamon, and ground ginger to the fruit.

Put the fruit in your pie plate.  Or, if you have a toddler helping you, they can throw the ingredients in the pie plate (as long as most of the fruit ends up in the pie plate).

Crumble the topping evenly over the fruit.  Bake for about an hour and ten minutes.

I put the baked crisp into ramekins to make it look fancy.  You could add a bit of whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, or frozen yogurt on top.

Then, feel free to attack it.

Apple Pear Crisp (or Lazy Person’s Pie)

Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison

Ingredients for Crisp Topping

6 tablespoons of butter, cut into 1/2 inch chunks

3/4 cup of brown sugar

2/3 cup of flour

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/4 cup of sugar

1/2 teaspoon of grated nutmeg

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon of salt

Fruit

2 1/2 pounds of fruit — apples or pears thinly sliced (you can peel them if you like)

Ingredients for coating the fruit

1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon of grated lemon zest

1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons of sugar

a pinch of ground ginger

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Use your fingers or a food processor to work the butter into the rest of the ingredients, so that each piece is coated and you have a coarse, crumbly mixture.  The butter should be the size of a pea.  Do not work the butter too long; because, you don’t want it to melt.

2.  Toss the apples and/or pears with the rest of the ingredients listed under “ingredients for coating the fruit.”  Put the fruit in a pie pan and top with crisp topping.  Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes.  Serve in small ramekins topped with whipped cream, ice cream, or frozen yogurt.