3 Kitchen Projects with Kids
Posted on January 10, 2014
While the kids may be thrilled to spend the weekend in front of the TV, playing video games or curled up with their favorite digital device, we all know that there are healthier options. For instance, try cooking with your kids. Not only is spending time in the kitchen a great all-family activity but it teaches the kids practical skills that they’ll certainly use later in life. Of course, the right kitchen activities have lots of simple steps, a variety of techniques and ideally taste delicious for all participants. (On that note, you’ll find that if your child has had a hand in it, he’ll be much more likely to taste the finished dish!) Here are three ideas for your next big snow day, rainstorm or sleepy Sunday when you’re stuck inside with the whole family.
Stone Soup: Have you ever read the story Stone Soup? Well, I won’t give it away, but the gist is that you can make soup out of just about anything–and you don’t even need a stone to get you started. First, go on a scavenger hunt in your fridge, freezer and cupboards with the kids. Pull out all of the ingredients that may make it into your soup. Then, trim back to feature your favorite items. Help the kids, wash, peel and chop vegetables. Depending on your kids ages, you may want to sauté chicken or veggies in a large soup pot or simply watch over them, while they carefully brown the ingredients. Allow younger kids to measure out stock and seasonings, while the older kids pour them into the pot and carefully stir. Allow your soup to simmer while playing some Monopoly, Go Fish or working on that jigsaw puzzle you got for Christmas.
Scratch Pasta: Unlike store bought pasta, homemade pasta brings something special to the plate every time. That said, it’s just as versatile as the packaged version. Your kids will love measuring and mixing flour, salt and eggs to create a smooth pasta dough. Of course, the fun part comes when cranking it through the pasta maker just like play-dough into thinner and thinner sheets. Choose between your setting options to make linguini, fettuccini or spaghetti and continue to take turns rolling and cutting pasta until the dough is all used up. Before cooking the pasta, prepare a great sauce like braised chicken with mushrooms, fresh pesto or a classic pomadoro. Just before you’re ready to eat, cook your fresh pasta and allow the kids to spoon on their favorite sauce and grate a little parmesan on top of each plate.
Simplified Potstickers: With just one chicken breast and a couple of kid friendly flavors, potsticker filling is a fun and easy mixture to prepare. Coarsely chop the chicken breast on a clean cutting board and drop into a food processor. Allow the kids to take turns pulsing the processor until chicken is fully ground. Then, everyone can help measuring ingredients and pouring them into the ground chicken mixture. Again, let the kids pulverize the mixture in the food processor until it’s well mixed. Once the filling is prepared, lay wonton wrappers on a clean surface and kids will enjoy brushing and egg wash onto each one. It’s best for an adult to be in charge of filling the center with a dollop of ground chicken and enclosing the filling, but then hand it over to the kids to crimp the edges together in a wonton press (also known as a wonton maker). Done right, this assembly line will make great use of little hands and you’ll enjoy a delicious dinner or afternoon snack if they turn out way too good to wait!
Easy Chicken Potstickers
8 oz. FreeBird boneless, skinless chicken breast, coarsely chopped
2 Tbsp. chopped green onion
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. minced ginger
24 wonton wrappers
1 egg, beaten
Pulse chicken breast in the bowl of a food processor. Add green onions, soy sauce, 2 teaspoons of sesame oil and ginger to the chicken and pulse until mixed thoroughly and set aside. Line up wonton wrappers on a clean surface and brush each with egg wash (you may do this in batches). Spoon a rounded teaspoon or two of filling into the center of each wonton and fold wrapper dough over to enclose. Press to secure in a wonton press. Once potstickers are shaped, cook in batches.
To cook, heat 1-2 teaspoons of sesame oil over medium-high heat in a large sauté pan. Add about 8-12 potstickers to the pan (depending on the pan size) and cook for about 2 minutes. Add just enough water to cover the bottom of the pan, cover and simmer on low for 5 minutes. Repeat with remaining potstickers. Makes 2 dozen.