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Cooking Ideas for Kids from a Pittsburgh Chef

January 4, 2013 6:00 AM

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(photo credit: Thinkstock)

(photo credit: Thinkstock)

(photo credit: Thinkstock)

(photo credit: Thinkstock)

Spending time in the kitchen is a great way to bond with kids. It encourages creativity and helps to develop math skills and dexterity. Here are some easy meals that, with a little bit of supervision, you can make with your kids. Chef Kate Cunning understands cooking for kids, so much so that she teaches it. “I love cooking and want to show people of all ages what fun it can be,” she said. “At my cooking demonstrations, I always strive to show recipes that families can enjoy making together.” Here she’s done just that with three easy recipes for you and your family to enjoy any time.

Breakfast
Toad-in-a-hole

by Chef Kate Cunning
www.eastcoastwinegeeks.com

Ingredients
1 slice of bread for each serving
One egg
Butter

Have the kids butter both sides of the bread slice, which may be white or whole wheat depending on your preference, and cut a hole out of the center using a juice glass or a round cookie cutter. Place the bread in a skillet on medium heat. Crack an egg into the hole in the toast. Kids may do this part with supervision, though they may need help if they are younger. Let the bread and egg cook until the egg turns white. Explain to the kids that the egg will start to turn white as it cooks. Turn the toast over with a spatula. You should do this part as it can be tricky, even for adults. Give the egg time to cook through and the bread time to brown on the other side. Let the kids decide if they want to cook the egg yolk all the way through, like a fried egg, or leave it sunny side up. Serve on a plate with a little salt and pepper, jam or ketchup. .

Lunch
Double-Decker Bus Sandwiches

Ingredients
3 slices of your favorite bread
Sandwich fillings

Let kids pick the filling for the sandwich. Some suggestions are peanut butter and jelly, roast beef and cheddar cheese, or mixed veggies and avocado spread. Place the meat on the first slice and the spread or topping on the second slice. Layer the slices. Cut the crusts off of the sandwiches and cut them into thirds so they resemble double-decker buses.

Related: Best Cookbooks Pertaining to Pittsburgh

Dinner
No-fry Chicken Fingers

Ingredients
1 package pre-cut chicken breast tenderloins
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
2 eggs

For the bread crumbs
1 package of saltine crackers
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of onion powder
1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Next, to make the bread crumbs have kids crumble one package of saltines into a bowl, then measure a teaspoon of garlic powder, a teaspoon of onion powder, a quarter cup of parmesan cheese, and a dash of salt and pepper. This is a good time to show kids what the teaspoon looks like compared to the tablespoon and which measuring up is the quarter cup. Ask them questions to help with their math skills such as “If we have a big family and have to make double this recipe, how many cups of parmesan cheese will we need? How can we measure that?” Set the bowl of bread crumbs aside. Have the kids crack the eggs into a second bowl, and use a whisk to beat them. Have them wash their hands, and then show them how to bread the chicken tenders by dipping them into the egg mixture and then the bread crumbs. Then place each one in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Have the kids repeat all of the steps until the chicken fingers are all breaded. Make sure they wash their hands well when they are finished handling the chicken. Place the cookie sheet in the oven and let the chicken bake until it’s golden brown and cooked through, about 30 minutes. Let the kids pick which sauce they will use for dipping. Some suggestions are ketchup, honey mustard or barbecue sauce.

About Chef Kate Cunning:

Chef Kate Cunning is a graduate of the Le Cordon Bleu Institute of Culinary Arts in Pittsburgh, specializing in pastries. After serving her internship at Heyholde in Moon Township, Cunning worked as the pastry chef for the Priory in Pittsburgh’s Northside. She now serves as a private chef, cooking demonstrator and consultant. She gives frequent cooking demonstrations at IKEA Pittsburgh as well as giving weekly wine pairing suggestions on the East Coast Wine Geeks Podcast.

Related: Best Chefs Heating up the Culinary Scene in Pittsburgh

Jennifer Stockdale is a native of the greater Pittsburgh, PA area. She is a restaurant marketer and wine enthusiast and one of the hosts of the East Coast Wine Geeks Podcast. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.

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