FOOD

7 Easy And Delicious Recipes That Will Get Your Kids Cooking No Matter How Old They Are

by Stephanie Kaloi

Getting your kids cooking with you is truly the best of times … and sometimes the worst of times. As many a parent knows, inviting your kids into the kitchen also means inviting a whole lot of patience into yourself.

The thing about cooking with your kids that makes it all worth it is that it’s fun. Kids from 18 months to 18 years can help out, be it by stirring dough or pulling off the whole meal themselves.

The kitchen is also a great place for bonding, especially with your older kids. As a mom of a 10-year-old, I can attest that some of our biggest conversations over the years have taken place while we stir brownie batter or prep toppings for homemade pizza. There’s something about the easy distraction that food prep provides that allows both of you to let your guard down a bit.

These seven recipes all have one thing in common: They’re easy. This hopefully makes it even more likely you can convince that grouchy 15-year-old who lives with you to hop into the kitchen for a little bit.

1. Creamy Spinach Parmesan Orzo

creamy parmesan orzo pasta recipe for cooking with kids

This Creamy Spinach Parmesan Orzo from Sheelah Prakesh at The Kitchn can be all be cooked in one pot, which kind of makes it the most genius recipe ever. The ingredients list is a little long, but when you can throw it all in together at once, it’s worth it:

  • 2 tbsps. olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound dried orzo pasta (2 1/2 cups)
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups packed baby spinach, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper

You’ll begin by heating the oil in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium-high heat until it simmers. Then you start adding ingredients, sautéing the onion, garlic, and orzo (in that order).

Add in your broth, followed by the milk, and bring both to a boil. Cover and simmer until the orzo is al dente and all the liquid has formed the creamy sauce you’re after. This should take about 10 minutes.

Stir in your spinach and Parmesan, then season with salt and pepper after a minute. You’re done!

2. Bacon Potato Soup

bowls of potato soup for cooking with kids

Potato soup is a family favorite around here, especially in the cooler months. This recipe from The Kitchn calls for five ingredients, which is exactly my speed when cooking:

  • 4 slices bacon/vegetarian bacon, halved
  • 6 medium scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts separated
  • 2 pounds frozen hash browns or peeled and cubed Russet potatoes
  • 3 cups half-and-half or whole milk
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Whichever kind of bacon you’re using, you’ll want to begin by cooking it and letting it drain. Then, add the white parts of the scallions to your pot and sauté for about a minute. You’ll next add the potatoes and cook for five minutes, followed by the milk or half-and-half. Allow your potatoes to simmer in the milk mixture for about 10 minutes while you crumble your bacon.

Once you’re ready, begin mashing your potatoes until you’ve achieved the thickness you’re after. Sprinkle your cheese, scallion greens, and bacon on top. You can add salt and pepper to taste.

3. Broccoli Pasta

3. Broccoli Pasta

You can make this broccoli pasta recipe from BBC Good Food in about 20 minutes, and it’s so delicious that even the most broccoli-averse child might try it.

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of broccoli, chopped into florets
  • 1 garlic clove, unpeeled
  • 2 tbsps. olive oil
  • 1/2 pound pasta shells
  • 1/2 small pack parsley
  • 1/2 small pack basil
  • 1/2 lemon, zested and juiced
  • Parmesan cheese to top
  • Optional: handful of roasted pine nuts

Begin by preheating your oven to 400 degrees F. Add your oil, broccoli, and garlic to a baking dish, and roast in the oven for about 10 minutes. In the meantime, boil a pot of water and cook your pasta.

While your pasta cooks, toss the parsley, basil, pine nuts, lemon juice, and Parmesan into the blender.

When your broccoli is finished, remove a few small pieces and set aside. Add the garlic and the rest of the broccoli to the blender and pulse the mixture until it resembles pesto.

Drain your pasta, then toss the pesto mix in with it. Add the leftover broccoli, and top with Parmesan, lemon zest, and pepper to taste.

4. Banana Pancakes

a stack of banana pancakes

Every recipe doesn’t have to be for lunch or dinner! These Easy Banana Pancakes from BBC Good Food are deliiiiish, and making them is really straightforward. You’ll need:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 very ripe bananas
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup milk

If you’ve ever made pancakes, you know the process is usually pretty similar no matter what the ingredients are. You’ll begin by combining your flour, baking powder, and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. After that, mash your bananas in a separate bowl, and whisk the eggs, vanilla, and milk into the banana mash. Make a well in the middle of your dry ingredients, and add in the gooey banana mixture.

Heat your pan over medium-high heat, and add butter or cooking spray. Begin spooning your batter onto the pan, cook, and serve!

Tip: If you’re making a large batch of pancakes, go ahead and preheat your oven to the lowest setting. You can keep the cooked pancakes on a pan in the oven until everyone’s pancakes are ready at the same time.

5. Mini Pizza Quiches

mini pizza quiche on a plate

Pizza is almost always a universal crowd-pleaser, and your kids will probably be pretty into making these Mini Pizza Quiches from BBC Good Food. I mean, tiny pizza!

Supplies needed:

  • 2 large tortilla wraps
  • 4 eggs
  • Chopped veggies (your choice)
  • 6 slices salami (or whatever you want)
  • 3 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Handful of basil leaves

First, heat your oven to 350 degrees F. While it’s heating, cut six circles into each tortilla wrap, and then pop the circles into a muffin tin. Make sure you push the tortilla circles into the pan to make little tiny cases for your pizza.

Beat your eggs and pour them into the pizza cases. Add your veggies next, and top each pizza with salami and half a cherry tomato. Bake for 15 minutes, top with basil, and enjoy!

6. Apple Yogurt Parfaits

apple yogurt parfait for cooking with kids

Another kid-chef-friendly breakfast option is these Apple Yogurt Parfaits from Taste of Home: Doesn’t that just sound amazing? There are only *four* required ingredients:

  • 1 cup sweetened applesauce
  • Dash of ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup granola with raisins
  • 1 1/3 cups yogurt

Combine your applesauce and nutmeg, and then spoon a tablespoon of granola into each parfait glass. Layer each glass with 1/3 cup of yogurt and 1/4 cup of applesauce and top with the rest of your granola.

7. Super Cheesy Quesadillas

cheesy quesadillas for cooking with kids

If your tweens are taking their turn at playing chef, they might love the idea of making these cheesy quesadillas from The Kitchn for lunch (plus … then they’ll pack their own lunch). The beauty of this recipe is that it can be as basic as you want (just cheese!) or filled with veggies and beans and anything else you can think of. Here’s what this recipe calls for:

  • 2 to 3 cups of filling (vegetables, cheese, black beans, tofu, cooked meat, etc.)
  • 2 tsps. butter or vegetable oil, divided
  • 4 large tortillas
  • 2 cups shredded cheese

It’s easiest to begin by prepping your filling. If you want it to keep warm, mix everything in a bowl and then cover it with a lid (or my favorite easy option: a saucer).

Melt 1/2 tsp. butter OR oil in your skillet — just enough to coat the bottom of the pan. Less is more!

Add your tortilla to the pan, and then add your cheese. About 1/2 cup of your filling will go on top of the cheese and cook. Once your cheese begins to melt, fold your quesadilla on top of itself, transfer to a cutting board, and slice it up.