Here’s a new recipe from Stacie Dong and Simran Singh of A Little Yumminess that will get you cooking with kids and getting them trying new flavors.
Chicken curry may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think “kid food”, but this simple chicken curry will convert even the pickiest of eaters. Plus, the younger you start introducing kids to spices and unfamiliar foods, the easier it is to integrate new flavors, textures and tastes into your family eating repertoire.
If you’re not a curry maker, this is a great “curry starter” as it requires minimal spices, preparation, and cooking skill. It’s also a great recipe for kids to make. You can serve it with rice or store-bought naan bread. Add a dollop of yogurt to further “cool” the dish.
1 pound chicken thighs or breast cut into 1-inch cubes (save time by asking the butcher to do this for you)
2 cloves garlic minced (about 2 teaspoons)
1 inch piece ginger, finely minced (about 1 tablespoon)
1 cup Greek or other plain yogurt
1 tablespoon garam masala (see recipe below)
1 teaspoon ground coriander
pinch of chili flakes or powder (optional)
salt to taste
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (you can also use ghee or a combination of oil and ghee)
1 small onion, chopped finely
½ cup water or chicken stock
Marinate chicken in yogurt, garlic, ginger, garam masala, coriander powder, salt and chilli (if using). Marinate for a few hours or overnight.
Heat the oil in a pan and fry the onion over medium heat for about 4-5 minutes, or until onion is golden and softened.
Add the chicken with the marinade along with the water or chicken stock. Stir and continue cooking over medium heat for about 10 minutes.
Turn the heat to low, cover the pan with a lid and simmer for about 20-25 minutes till the sauce is thickened and the chicken is fork tender.
Simple Garam Masala Recipe
Many grocery stores these days carry spice blends, including garam masala. Pop into a local Indian market if you have one nearby as the spices are usually fresh and inexpensive.
If not, it’s easy to make your own garam masala for this and other Indian recipes by blending spices you may already have in your pantry. Whenever possible, grinding whole spices will yield the most flavorful, vibrant results. With fresh, fragrant garam masala on hand you can experiment by using it to season roast chicken, vegetables or even popcorn! Spice mixes also make wonderful teacher gifts, so consider making extra!
Neelam Patil’s Bliss Belly Kitchen takes a whole new approach to culinary skills. They not only offer eco-conscious and soul conscious cooking classes using farm fresh ingredients, but they also take the time out to use yoga and mindfulness to give children the best possible connection to themselves and to the land — the source of where their food comes from. At Bliss Belly Kitchen, a happy mind starts with a healthy belly.
Here, Chef Neelam shares a simple, fresh salad to add to your warm summer days that is perfect for outdoor parties or indoor family dinners.
The Culinary Dude‘s goal is simple and meaningful: Empower students with the culinary skills to become self-sufficient, and to make healthy choices for themselves, their families, and their future. Here, owner and chef, Scott Davis, shares with us a fresh and simple recipe to try along with your kids – the perfect summer salad for the pool or on the beach!
From ‘MasterChef Junior’ to ‘Chopped Teens’, more kids than ever are learning to navigate their way around the kitchen. Cooking with kids not only teaches them a valuable life skill, but encourages them to use math and critical thinking skills, gets them trying new foods, and provides plenty of opportunities to talk about making healthy food choices.
Here’s a recipe from Stacie Dong and Simran Singh of A Little Yumminess that will get you cooking with kids and getting them to try a few new flavors.
By varying the basic theme of “rice with toppings,” you can take your family on a world tour: from New Orleans-style red beans and rice to Japanese donburi, Puerto Rican arroz con gandules (pigeon peas), Hawaiian loco moco, to Korean bibimbap.
Korean bibimbap, which means ‘mixed rice’, is one of our favorite global rice bowl variations. It’s a feast for the eyes, as well as the taste buds. Traditionally, it combines a variety of fresh and cooked seasoned vegetables, as well as small portions of marinated meat, egg, or tofu (sometimes all three). You can keep things simple by choosing just a few toppings, or go all out with six or seven. In any case, it’s always fun to use bibimbap as an opportunity to try out a new ingredient or flavor alongside more familiar ones.
Another reason we love bibimbap is because it’s a great example of the vivid flavor and color combinations you’ll find throughout Korean cuisine. In fact, a guiding principle of Korean cooking is to bring together five colors (red, yellow, white, green and black) and five flavors (sweet, spicy, salty, sour and bitter). Kids will love the chance to go on a culinary scavenger hunt, looking for these colors and flavors in their own unique bowls.
Looking to put some “spring” into your home cooking routine? We asked the head chef at a kids’ cooking school to share handy tips and a delicious recipe.
By Wendy Chou
Cooking for kids can feel like a thankless task. When kids reject new foods and haven’t got a clue how much effort went into prepping a meal, it’s easy to get frustrated. Now consider cooking with kids. Having your kid help in the kitchen can break down some of their prejudices and teach them to appreciate where real food comes from. ActivityHero talked with Chef Cindy Roberts of the popular Bay Area-based “La Toque De Cindy” cooking school to hear how an expert helps kids learn to cook.
Cooking is Fun… and Practical
Each of Roberts’ weekly summer camps showcases a different type of cooking: chocolate, world cuisine, and handmade pizzas and pastas are just some of the tempting offerings this year. She likes to emphasize the joy and creativity inherent in cooking. Cindy Roberts started cooking at the age of 3 and believes cooking can inspire as well as educate. “I focus on the “fun” aspect of cooking,” Roberts points out, “but it’s my sneaky way to teach them the health, cost and taste benefits of home cooking.”
Getting Kids to Try New Things
Roberts knows one way parents can broaden the palette of picky eaters: give them a say. “Have them taste test something… and suggest improvements,” advises Roberts. In her cooking classes, asking the kids to experiment directly with ingredients “gets even the most finicky eaters trying out what we made and giving it a second chance.” In other words, the more they know about how a dish is put together, the more they can keep an open mind, even about foods they weren’t keen on at the outset.
When asked what the kids in her classes find most surprising about cooking, Roberts says that young chefs are completely “surprised at how easy it is to make some of the products they buy packaged at the grocery store,” including basics like chicken stock and mayonnaise. The homemade versions wind up being fresher and better-tasting. Empowerment and self-confidence: these two ingredients are welcome on any family menu.
Try It at Home
Here’s a savory spring-inspired recipe for you to try at home with your kids. The kid chefs at La Toque loved it (and ate their vegetables)!
Leek and Olive Tart
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Adapted by Cindy Roberts from Field of Greens cookbook
1 cup all purpose flour
2/3 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 ½ tablespoons vegetable shortening
2 ½ – 3 tablespoons cold water
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 medium sized leeks, white part only, cut in half then thinly sliced
salt and pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
8 small whole olives, pitted and chopped
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped Italian parsley
3 or 4 eggs (use fewer if using jumbo eggs)
1 ½ cup half and half
½ teaspoon minced lemon zest (optional)
2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese, about 2/3 cup
MAKE THE SHELL: Mix flour, salt, butter and shortening until mixture has the appearance of small peas.
Add water a little at a time until dough holds together. Press into greased quiche pan (or pie pan).
MAKE THE FILLING: Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan. Saute the leeks for a few minutes until starting to wilt with ½ teaspoon salt and a few pinches of pepper. Add the garlic, cover and sweat for about 7 minutes. Remove the lid and sauté 2 minutes more.
Mix leeks in a bowl with olives, thyme and parsley.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Beat the eggs with the half and half. Add ½ teaspoon salt, a pinch of pepper and optional lemon zest.
Spread the cheese over the bottom of the tart dough, followed by the leek mixture. Pour the cream mixture over. Bake for 40 minutes until set.
Chef Cindy’s Tip:
The amount of participation is easy to modify depending on age. “Kids as young as 4 could assemble. At age 8, kids could make the crust themselves. By age 10 they could make it all on their own!”
Ready to explore more cooking? Find cooking camps and classes near you by visiting ActivityHero.com.
Have a budding chef in your house? Or maybe you’re a foodie who would love to impart your knowledge of unique cuisines to your kids? Letting kids sample some cooking-themed media will provide them with information on kitchen gadgets and techniques that can prep them for one day donning the chef’s hat (or at least the sous chef’s hat) in your kitchen. Below is a list of kids’ cooking TV shows, apps, movies, and books that are wholesome and delicious.
This popular app combines creativity, fine motor skills, and lots of sugar! Kids mix dough, roll it out, then cut out cookies, and finally, decorate them.
Dr. Panda Restaurant Asia
Role playing as chef in their own restaurant is great fun for children using this app. Kids choose their kitchen tools and food. No keeping score; just fun and creativity in the virtual kitchen.
Movies for Kids Who Love to Cook
“Friendly rat as high-end French chef” is this Pixar gem in a nutshell. As a bonus, parents and kids alike will enjoy this film.
Hard work and a positive attitude are served up in this fascinating documentary about a group of Philadelphia high school students who are challenged all year in a high-end cooking class. The ultimate reward is competing for a culinary scholarship and a chance for a college education.
Food-meets-science-meets-humor in this kid-friendly series. A different technique or ingredient is showcased each episode, with food facts, history, and general goofiness in equal parts.
Creative competition is the focus in this series. Talented kid chefs inspire, create, and ultimately impress.
No Kitchen Required
World-class chefs compete in foreign locales, featuring native ingredients, traditional recipes, and a tough set of critics … the local residents.
Disgusting recipes are a win-win: You show kids some valuable life skills in the kitchen, and they get to gross you out! Check out these delicious, disgusting offerings from some of our favorite bloggers.
By Jillian Chamberlain
What is it with kids and poop? They think it’s hilarious and they love talking about it, usually at the most inappropriate times. (Like, for instance, at the dinner table!) Well, why not use their propensity to be entertained by all things disgusting to get them into the kitchen and interested in food! (If it makes you feel better, cooking with kids is a great way to reinforce math skills, thanks to all of the measuring — and it’s great quality time for both of you!)
I have searched the internet to compile a truly gross recipe roundup for kids from some creative bloggers.
For all of the feline-loving fans out there, Kitty Litter Cake is sure to be a hit! There are many recipes out there for Kitty Litter Cake; however, I happen to think that this presentation from Katherine Marie Photography is one of the best looking! WARNING: Make sure you use a NEW kitty litter box and a NEW kitty poop scoop. Or, if that’s too gross for you: Use a baking pan and slotted spatula!
“Used Band-Aid” Snacks
Katherine Marie Photography seems to have the market cornered on beautiful photography of truly nasty snacks! Cinnamon graham crackers, frosting and a strawberry jelly is all you need to make these snacks. I would even try swapping out the frosting for cream cheese, if your kids are into that. These Used Band-Aid snacks are easy to make and sure to please.
Encouraging your child to develop healthy eating habits is not an easy task. Throw in a few busy schedules, after school activities, and fussy eaters and you’ve got your work cut out for you. With childhood obesity and diabetes on the rise, instilling healthy habits in your child are more important than ever. Here are a few things you can do to help your child have a healthy future.
1. Try as many new foods as possible. If kids are used to a regular regimen of chicken nuggets, hot dogs, and French fries, they’ll grow to expect that and become picky eaters. In order for their taste buds to develop, they have to try new things. Keep your kids guessing at dinner time and it will be exciting for everyone. Try to have a few side dishes with every entrée so that if they don’t like one thing they won’t go to bed hungry. Once you discover some favorites, you can create a dinner rotation filled with tried and true meals as well as new recipes.
2. Avoid saying “you wouldn’t like this.” First impressions are everything. Once kids have an idea in their head that they don’t like something, they are not likely to forget it. If they’re not allowed to try your spinach, they may write spinach off altogether and refuse to eat it. Let your child explore and be their own judge of what they do and do not like. You may be surprised!
3. Educate your child about their food. Did you know that carrots used to be purple before the 17th century? What do you think a purple carrot would taste like? What animal is famous for loving carrots? What do they look like when they eat their carrots? Ask your kids questions and learn some fun facts about food to encourage curiosity and eagerness to try new things. If kids insist they don’t like something that they’ve never tried before, such as carrots, ask them to show you how a rabbit would eat a carrot. Think Randy’s piggy mashed potatoes from “A Christmas Story,” only less messy. They may just find out that they have loved carrots all along!
4. Lead by example. Most kids are more willing to try foods if they see their parents enjoying them. Don’t be afraid to let the “mmm’s” and “ahh’s” flow at the dinner table to encourage your kids try the dreaded broccoli. Try to bring as many new tastes into the home as possible and let your child observe you enjoying them. Liking the same foods can create a bond that only you and your child can share. Perhaps everyone in your house hates kiwis, but you and your daughter love them. You can share your love of kiwis by creating recipes together and finding out what other tastes you have in common.
5. Grow a garden. A garden is a labor of love and a great learning experience for any child. Once kids see how much effort goes into growing a garden, they’ll be less likely to waste their food. They’ll also learn responsibility and how much a garden is affected if not watered for just one day. If your family lives in an urban setting where gardening is not an option, try growing herbs in pots. Most herbs can easily be grown inside and will open your child up to new tastes.
6. Let kids help in the kitchen. The more involved that kids are with the cooking process, the more excited they will be to indulge in their finished product. If kids are presented with a mystery dish again and again, they’ll be quicker to turn it away or pick apart the pieces that they don’t like. Encourage your child to help prepare dinner by doing simple and safe tasks like washing vegetables and measuring ingredients. If they’re interested, allow them to taste each piece that goes into the meal before it’s a finished product to appreciate every aspect of it. Try a sweet pea before it goes into a shepherd’s pie or a bit of green pepper before tossing it into the pot of chili.
7. Don’t use negative reinforcement with food. “If you don’t finish your vegetables, you won’t get dessert.” How many times have we heard this phrase? Forcing kids to clear their plates can result in overeating. If they are constantly rewarded for eating everything in front of them no matter how hungry they are, they’ll stop paying attention to the voice in their head that tells them to stop when they’re full. In addition, your child may begin to dread meal time and see it as a punishment if they simply aren’t hungry.
8. Start with small portions to avoid waste. We’ve all heard the phrase, “your eyes are bigger than your stomach.” This is especially true for kids. Serve small portions of meals with equal amounts of each dish on the plate to begin with. If they decide they’d like more of something, they can take more once they’ve finished their portion. This reduces the amount of wasted food and encourages kids to clear their plate without using negative reinforcement.
9. Create a good balance. According to the USDA, a meal should consist of almost equal portions of vegetables, grains, proteins, and fruits with a smaller portion of dairy. Try to include as many healthy and diverse options in every meal as possible. Even pizza night can get a healthy makeover with some diced broccoli and peppers. The more kids are used to seeing different food groups the more willing they will be to clear their plate.
10. Try to make family dinner time as regular as possible. With varying work schedules and after school activities, most families have very diverse schedules making family dinner time a thing of the past. When everyone eats at different times, it often results in too much snacking and not eating a full balanced meal. Try to clear your schedules to arrange a time that your entire family can sit down together for a meal. Even if it’s only once per week, family dinner time is sometimes the only time that the entire family can be in the same room and have a conversation. Kids may even look forward to the structured bonding time.