Cooking with Kids

Letting Kids Help With: Cracking Eggs

Kids cracking eggs? Sure, why not?

Oh, right. The MESS. The shell in the bowl. And did I mention the mess?

On the first episode of the Kiddos in the Kitchen podcast, I asked Wendy McGowan, a professional cake decorator and baking instructor in Gilbert, Ariz., to share with us the proper way to crack an egg and I asked for some advice on how to prevent some of the smashing (and subsequent mess). Here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re teaching your kiddos how to crack an egg:

Letting Kids Help With: Pizza

shutterstock_627058199.jpg

In our house, we have lots of opinions on pizza—the crust, the type of cheese (or no cheese because of a dairy allergy), the size and spiciness of the pepperoni, how many vegetables, the sauce … there’s no limit to the opinions. There’s also seemingly no limit to how many nights a month my family would like to have pizza.

Every so often, we have “mommy pizza.” And look, I’d love to make the crust from scratch. The sauce too. But let’s be real; at this stage of life, that’s not very likely. But I still think there’s a real value of pulling my 5-year-old into the kitchen to help “make” the pizzas.

First of all, he gets a sense of the process—even if the crust is a purchased flatbread and the sauce is from a jar (for the record, I like Rao’s). It’s also an opportunity for him to see (and touch or even taste) the different toppings we all choose and consider trying something new on his own pizza. And it’s a quick and easy meal that we can do together any night of the week. (That’s the best part.)

My son loves tackling the following tasks:

  • Using a brush to paint olive oil onto the crusts

  • Spreading pizza sauce

  • Slicing (with kid-safe knives, of course) toppings

  • Taking orders restaurant-style

  • Putting toppings on the pizza

Someday we’ll make our own sauce or crust, but for now, this is just fine.

5 Tips from the Step Stool Chef for Happier Cooking with Kids

Toria Frederick — the fabulous mama of the amazing Julian, who together are behind the Step Stool Chef — offers some great advice for all of us to keep in mind.

“Part of what I’m trying to do is make cooking more approachable,” she says. Yes, please! She also has ideas to help make it less stressful for us parents.

Letting Kids Help With: Christmas Cookies

Christmas baking and kids might sound like an easy combination — I mean, c'mon, it's Christmas! And who likes cookies more than kids, right?!

But it's also sugar and flour and frosting EVERYWHERE, and you can kiss those perfectly iced sugar cookies goodbye (at least for a while). It's time to say hello to blue pine trees and red snowmen, people.

Letting Kids Help With: Banana Bread

Recently, I discovered a great banana bread mix — no eggs, no dairy. All I needed to add were the overripe bananas, oil and water. For a toddler with a short attention span, this was a great cooking project. And he was excited to help. 

Here are a few ideas for letting kiddos help with banana bread (whether you're cheating with a mix like us or baking from scratch).