My boys are now 8 and 9 years old. And it is my most fervent wish that when they grow up to be men, they know how to cook (and clean, and put washing on and generally fend for themselves!).
So the last year in particular, I’ve been really stretching their knowledge of ‘home’. They now know how to sort the washing and put the washing on (and NEVER to put towels in with smalls!).
Cooking has been a stop-start activity, because of knives…. Yes I let them use them, although it kills me. I’ve taught them the correct way, but we have also gone through quite a few boxes of bandaids!
We have cakes and biscuits down pat- but now it’s time to start them on basic meals. So here are some really simple to make recipes that we would eat nearly every week, and are certainly do-able for little hands (with Mum or Dad guiding them of course!).
Especially now that it is so hot (still) and the boys are staying inside to get away from the hot sun, it’s great to have that little bit of extra time together with the boys, and they do love getting in the kitchen (and making a huge mess!). Plus for Mums and Dads, it is a great experience to get kids and grown-ups all eating together – at a table….
- 74% of Families consider Family Meals to be a High-Quality Family Time activity
- 65% of Families think watching tv is high-quality family time
- Only 65% of families eat at least one meal together with their family every day, but 48% wish they could eat together more often!
Source: Steggles Quality Time Index
For Cooking Beginners:
Dino Snacks with Cheesy Mashed Potato
If you are what you eat, my boys are Dino Snacks…. For all the horrified mothers out there, well my kids and husband won’t eat seaweed and snot! When you have fussy eaters, who will go days and days without eating, I don’t care what they eat, as long as they do eat. And at least these have no artificial colours and flavours, unlike most chicken nuggets available. I must admit that I’m a tad addicted to Dino Snacks too… they make a great weekend easy lunch for the whole family. Actually, I don’t think I know anyone that hasn’t got a packet of these bad boys in their freezer – they are a firm staple in most households!
- 1 packet Dino Snacks
- 4 large potatoes, peeled and quartered
- 1 teaspoon butter
- pinch chicken salt
- 1 tablespoon Cheddar Cheese Spread
Get Mum or Dad to fill a medium sized pot 3/4 full, and put it on the stove to boil. Peel the potatoes and cut them into large quarters. Place into the boiling water with a lid on – and let them cook for about 20 – 25 minutes or until they are very soft. Remove them from the heat and drain.
In the meantime, preheat the oven to 220 degrees (fan-forced oven) or 200 degrees for a normal oven. Place a sheet of baking paper on a shallow tray, and lay out the Dino Snacks so they aren’t overlapping. Bake for 15 minutes (turning half way) or until golden brown.
Add the butter, chicken salt and cheddar cheese spread to the potato, and mash until smooth. Put a dollop on each plate, and put the Dino Snacks on top. Serve with some steamed veggies for an easy dinner the kids (and grown-ups) will love!
Honey Baked Chicken Pieces
I love this recipe – there are only four ingredients – it uses chicken pieces (which are much more inexpensive than breasts) and it is so easy for the kids to help put it together! Plus if you buy the Steggles chicken pieces, there is no cutting involved, just putting it together and baking – so a great introductory recipe for kids!
- 1kg Steggles Chicken Pieces
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 3/4 cup Chicken Stock or white wine
- 1 packet French Onion Soup Mix
Pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees (or 140 if your oven is fan-forced). Arrange the chicken pieces in a deep baking tray so they all fit without over-lapping. In a jug or small bowl, mix together the French Onion Soup Mix and the Chicken stock. Mix to combine. Pour the liquid over the chicken pieces, then cover the baking tray with aluminium foil.
Bake for one hour (set a timer so you don’t forget), then remove the foil (maybe get Mum to do this!), and brown for another 10 minutes at 200 degrees.
Serve your Honey Baked Chicken Pieces with Fried Rice or Steamed Asian Vegetables.
For Cooking Beginners:
Slow Cooker Apricot Chicken
This is another really easy one – and there isn’t a child on earth that doesn’t love Apricot Chicken, especially if they are going to help to cook it! The Slow Cooker is a great for kids because it is pretty hard to burn yourself, and good for Parents because it is so cheap to run, and doesn’t heat up the house in Summer! I use Steggles Lovely Legs for this recipe – they are delicious!
- 1 Packet French Onion Soup Mix
- 1 large tin (840 grams) Apricots in Syrup
- 1 large brown onion
- 1.5kg NEW Steggles Family Roast Thigh Cutlets
The Steggles Family Roast Thigh Cutlets are deliciously marinated so give this dish a bit of an extra ‘kick’. Carefully cut the onion into rings. Place the onion rings on the bottom of the Slow Cooker and lay the Steggles Lovely Legs on top. Pour over the French Onion Mix, and then pour the large tin of apricots (juice and all) over the top. Place the lid on the slow cooker and bake on LOW for four to five hours. Give it a stir with a wooden spoon every hour and a half or so.
Serve with rice and steamed vegetables!
HINT: If the kids are keen on curry, add a teaspoon of curry powder to the mix – it turns into Apricot Chicken Curry – delish!
Garnish with dried apricots, parsley leaves and some green pitted olives!
For Kids with Basic Cooking Skills:
Chicken Cordon Bleu
Sounds fancy huh! Well, what Chicken Cordon Bleu is a kids dream! A chicken breast cut in half, stuffed with ham and cheese, then rolled in fresh breadcrumbs and baked until golden! Yummmm. It’s great to get kids cooking this recipe, it is messy with crumbing and rolling and stuffing – they are going to get their hands dirty! But good fun! See their faces when they sit at the dinner table showing off how delicious their meal is!
- 4 Steggles Chicken Breasts (skin off)
- 4 teaspoons crushed garlic
- 4 slices tasty cheese
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup milk
- Salt & Pepper to season
- 1 large egg
- 8 slices fresh ham
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees (or 160 if your oven is fan-forced). Using a very sharp knife (and Mum’s supervision), cut the chicken breasts in half length-ways without cutting all the way through (so the chicken breast opens up like a book).
Spoon the crushed garlic over the four chicken breasts until it is all used.
Place a slice of ham on each of the chicken halves. Pop one slice of cheese on each chicken breast. Gently close the chicken breast up (tucking in the ingredients if they peek out). If the ham and cheese won’t stay in – then use a toothpick to seal.
In a shallow bowl, combine the egg and milk together and whisk until combined. Put the breadcrumbs on another plate, and season with the salt and pepper. Delicately roll the chicken breast in the milk and egg mixture until very wet, then roll in the breadcrumbs. Place on a plate. Do this with the remaining three chicken breasts.
Line a baking tray with bakig paper (so they don’t stick) and bake them for 35 to 45 minutes (depending on the size of the chicken breasts) or until golden and cooked through.
Serve with a fresh Greek Salad, or a baked potato and steamed vegetables.
These three recipes are great for getting in the kitchen with the kids, improving kids kitchen skills, and enjoying time together. If your child has mastered these three, maybe try the following recipes!
More Basic Chicken Recipes to Try:
- Chicken and Apple Croquettes
- Crunchy Nut Cornflake Chicken
Intermediate Chicken Recipes:
- Chicken & Spinach Meatloaf
- Lemon Chicken
- Chicken and Cauliflower Bake
What recipes do you like to cook with your kids?