Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Easy Stovetop Recipes for Kids

Once your kids get used to using a small knife, it's time to graduate them to the stove. This can be scary for kids (and parents) because it's the first time they'll be working with fire.

WARNING: Getting burned is no fun. Make sure your kids know at least some of the kitchen safety rule, those dealing with hot things, anyway. Don't let very young ones try these recipes, either. If you do, just have them help with the parts that don't require them to be near the heat.

An easy first recipe to introduce kids to the stove might be Eggs Over Easy (the Easy Way) or simple boiled eggs.

A grilled cheese sandwich might be a good second choice.

Take two slices of bread and spread salad dressing or mayo on one side of each slice. Mustard is a nice addition, if you're kids like mustard. Put a slice of cheese (cheddar is my kid's favorite) between each slice. Make sure the mayo and mustard are on the inside of the sandwich, okay? (Yes, I know. You already knew that. I was just seeing if you were paying attention.)

Spread butter over both sides of the bread, on the outside. (At this point, some people start arguing about whether to put butter in the pan, or on the outside of the bread. I don't like arguing so I do both.)

Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Melt about a teaspoon of butter in the pan until it stops foaming. Place the sandwich in the pan and cover with a lid (this helps make sure the cheese melts properly). Cook for a minute or two until the bread is nice and toasty brown. You can lift up a corner of the sandwich with a spatula to check. Turn over and repeat the process on the other side.

If you don't want to mess up your counter, butter only one side of the bread before putting it in the skillet, buttered side down. Then you can butter the other side once it's in the pan. Don't let your kids do this, though. Let's not risk them getting burned.

Sometimes I'll put ham (or bologna – hat tip to tkangaroo!) in with the cheese. It gives the sandwich more body. Unfortunately, sandwiches like this also gives me more body.

Another easy stove top recipe is Fruity French toast.

Beat together two eggs, two tablespoons of milk, a tablespoon of your favorite jam, a quarter teaspoon of ground nutmeg or cinnamon, and a dash of salt, in a bowl. Dip slices of bread into the mixture, both sides please.

Cook the egged bread in a buttered pan over medium heat until golden brown (about two minutes). Turn over and cook it on the other side. Don't let it get too hot or it will burn the jam.

If the jam in French toast is a hit, why not try it with pancakes? Add a tablespoon or two or your favorite jam to the batter before you start cooking. Again, don't let it get too hot so you don't burn the jam.

Be creative! The point is to have fun in the kitchen, and help the kids enjoy it, too. Now it's your turn. Do you have any simple recipes you'd like to share?


Cody Robert said...

Good thoughts. I wouldn't have thought about eggs as a first recipe, but it's a very good choice!

I'm under the belief that while we're teaching the kids new techniques, we might as well let them actually learn what hot is.

Yes! Definitely tell them that the stove is hot, but let them do it on their own. If they get burnt, it might as well be now so they learn early on.

They're not going to get anything more than a slight braise, and that's the best lesson you can give them.

tkangaroo said...

Thanks for the hat tip! I read you pretty steadily, but I lurk more than comment. As a single gal, I am not sure my comments have practical use, but I do remember cooking a lot as a kid (which is why I cook a lot now), though somehow it missed my two youngest siblings. I have, however, sent your posts along to friends and family who are always saying, "I need to learn to cook better." Keep up the fantastic work!