Healthy Family Meals

Home Cooking Lessons for Kids

When teaching kids to cook, the best possible advice is to let them get involved with any safe, simple tasks they’re likely to enjoy.

It probably goes without saying, but cooking lessons for kids should always directly involve them as much as possible. The more hands-on they get with the food, the more excited they’ll be about the process of cooking, and the more likely they’ll be to get inspired with their own culinary ideas in due course.

With that in mind, here are two incredibly simple recipes that can serve as introductory home cooking lessons for kids. Both are quick and easy to make, and children from ages 6 and up can directly (and safely) help you out while preparing them. Better yet, they can’t really go too far wrong with either of them, so you’ll all enjoy sampling the results!

French Bread Pesto Chicken ‘Pizzas’

French Bread Pesto Chicken Pizzas

These are more like hot open sandwiches than pizzas per se, but they have a distinct pizza flavour thanks to the tomatoes, mozzarella and pesto/olive oil combination. Moreover, they’re fun and easy for kids to assemble on their own before baking, and you don’t need to go to the trouble of making a dough for the bases. A win-win!

Makes enough for 4 people. Serve with a small green side salad for extra vitamins.

Ingredients

  • 1 large (or 2 small) baguette or French stick
  • 1-2 skinless chicken breast fillets (about 250g), diced into bite-size pieces
  • ½ jar green pesto
  • 12-16 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 150g grated mozzarella
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • A pinch of salt and pepper
  • Optional: dried or fresh Parmesan and basil leaves, to serve

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 C (400 F, Gas Mark 6). For fan-assisted ovens, drop the temperature by 10 degrees or so.
  2. In a large frying pan, heat the oil over a medium-high hob, then add your diced chicken breast with a little salt. Stir occasionally for about 10min or until cooked through and just starting to brown at the edges. Set aside and leave to cool slightly, until safe to handle.
  3. Slice your bread(s) in half lengthways through the middle, making two long shallow slices from each loaf. Arrange these on a baking tray or rack, ready for topping, and lightly drizzle each with a little olive oil.
  4. Let the kids assemble their own, starting with a good smear of pesto on the bread, followed by half of the cooked chicken and sliced cherry tomatoes. Top with a layer of grated cheese, then add the rest of the chicken and tomatoes. Add a final drizzle of olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper, and place on the middle oven shelf.
  5. Bake for about 10min or until the cheese has thoroughly melted and just started to bubble. If you’re topping with Parmesan and basil, do so as they come out of the oven. Either way, leave the pizza baguettes to cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes before slicing each one in half crossways for serving.

Oven-baked Healthier Fish & Chips

Oven-baked Healthier Fish & Chips

Few kids (or adults, for that matter!) will turn their noses up at fish and chips - and they’re likely to be even more keen if they can pitch in with helping to make it. This is a pleasingly messy one to assemble, so have a roll of kitchen paper at the ready, and let them enjoy dunking and coating their own fish fillets ready to bake.

Makes enough for 2-4 people, depending on required portion size.

Ingredients

  • 2 large potatoes, good for roasting or chipping - Maris Piper or Russet work great
  • 2-4 white fish fillets, depending on size, divided into portions (cod, haddock, pollock or basa all work well - if using frozen, thaw completely in the fridge beforehand)
  • 150g panko breadcrumbs
  • 150g plain flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 C (400 F, Gas Mark 6). For fan-assisted ovens, drop the temperature by 10 degrees or so.
  2. Slice each spud into 16 thick wedges (quarters, eighths, then sixteenths), and place on a large roasting tray lined with baking paper. Rub with 1tbsp olive oil and a few pinches of the dry spices, and bake for around 20-25min, until just starting to crisp slightly. Remove the tray from the oven and set aside, but leave the oven on.
  3. Meanwhile, pat the fish fillets dry with paper towels, and set out three wide shallow bowls. Into one, place your panko breadcrumbs, plus any additional dry seasonings you’d like. In the second, whisk up the eggs until well mixed. Your flour goes in the third.
  4. Get the kids to dip their fish fillet portions into the egg, then the flour, then the egg again, and finally the panko. Keep an eye on them to make sure they’re getting a good coating of each - getting the breadcrumbs to stick may take a bit of patting and shaping, but it’s not difficult and they’ll enjoy getting their hands mucky! (You can coat the whole fish fillet, or just press them into the various mixtures on one side - up to you.)
  5. Arrange the coated fish fillets (coating side up if you’ve only done one side) on the baking tray you used for the wedges, laying down a new sheet of baking paper first if necessary. Leave space next to them for the wedges, which you’ll now tip back onto the tray alongside the fish.
  6. Return the tray to the middle oven shelf and bake both fish and chips together for about 15-20 minutes. The fish should be flaky and the chips nicely crisp. Serve with mushy peas, or salad and lemon wedges.

Range Cookers

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