Cooking for Kids Tips

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You Can Never Go Wrong With Trail Mix

Trail mix is good for a road trip, movie night, or a get together with friends. It only takes a few minutes to prepare and bag up for your kids which makes your job much easier. Decide what you want to include in your trail mix. Popular ingredients are Cheerios, small pretzels, popcorn, peanuts, raisins, sunflower seeds, Goldfish crackers, and Chex cereal. Mix the ingredients together and then coat with some garlic and onion powder. Toss again and then separate in to individual snack bags with a zipper seal. Now your kids can just grab a bag and go as needed.


Edible Tomato Bowls

Tomato bowls are a great way to dress up your veggies so that your children will want to eat them. Slice your tomato in half and then scoop out the insides. You can use the insides in a soup, on top of a salad, or to make homemade pasta sauce later on. Fill your half of a tomato with baby carrots and celery sticks. Add a little bit of fat free dressing to the bottom of the tomato bowl for dipping.

You can also chop up some cheddar cheese and pepperoni and throw that in the tomato instead of the veggies. Another option is to chop up some lettuce and make a small salad that can be eaten out of the tomato. Whatever you decide, your child can eat the tomato after they eat its contents. Just keep a little salt handy and you are good to go.


Yogurt Popsicles

During the summer months your children will need a treat that will cool them off. Why not make a healthy yogurt popsicle for them. Place a large container of your favorite yogurt flavor in a bowl. Add some small chunks of fruit. You may want to puree them in a blender if your child doesn't like chunks. Mix the ingredients together and pour in to small wax cups. Cover each cup with plastic wrap and then insert a popsicle stick in the middle. Set the cups in your freezer for a few hours before you need to serve them to the kids. If you have trouble removing the popsicle from the cup just run the bottom of the cup under some warm water for a few seconds. The yogurt popsicle will then slide right out.


Peanut Butter Balls

Peanut butter has plenty of protein in it which makes it perfect for using in a snack. It will help children stay full until dinner time. Place 1/3 of a cup of chunky peanut butter, 1/3 of a cup of honey, and 1 1/2 tablespoons of powdered milk in a bowl. Mix the ingredients together and then form it in to balls. Crush up some corn flakes and roll the balls in the corn flakes. Serve immediately or refrigerate on a sheet of parchment paper.

Tip: You can also add some mini chocolate chips to the peanut butter mix.


Fruit Kebobs

Serve your child a fruit snack in a fun and unique way. Purchase a set of skewers and cut your choice of fruit up in to cubes or chuncks. Slide two pieces of fruit on to the skewer and then add a marshmallow. Add two more pieces of fruit and then another marshmallow. Do this one final time and you have a snack your child won't be able to wait to eat. Fruits that are good for skewering are canteloupe, watermelon, honey dew melon, strawberries, bananas, and apples.


Delicious Pretzel Snacks

It's fun to make your child a special treat. This time you can create a delicious pretzel snack using small pretzels, a Hersheys chocolate bar, and some jimmies. Lay a sheet of parchment paper over your baking sheet. Set out some rows of small sized pretzels. In a bowl, break up your Hersheys chocolate bar. Set it in the microwave for one minute intervals, stirring in between each minute. When the chocolate has melted you have two options. You can drizzle one spoonful over each pretzel, or dip the pretzel in the chocolate to coat all sides. When all of the pretzels have been coated, you can sprinkle some jimmies over them. Set them in the refrigerator for 45 minutes so that they can harden.

Tip: You can also use dark or white chocolate if you prefer.


Build Your Own Pizza

Kids love pizza and it is much healthier if you make it at home. You can also customize the pizza to fit your child's taste buds. Just purchase a pre-made pizza crust. Pillsbury makes a good one. Smooth it out on a round pizza pan, and then cover with a layer of pasta sauce. Now comes the fun part. Add your child's favorite toppings. Most likely, you will throw on a layer of mozzarella cheese. Other toppings your child may like are pepperoni slices, chucks of sausage, meatball slices, olives, onions, and green peppers. You can also try pineapples, bacon, and ham. If you have more than one child, just divide the pizza up and allow each child to decorate his or her side of the pizza.


Add Cheese

When it comes to getting children to eat the food you cook, all you have to do is add the secret ingredient. That would be cheese. If you make pasta, sprinkle on some Parmesan cheese. If you are making broccoli, add some shredded cheddar cheese. Lay a slice of American cheese over a hamburger or hotdog. Cube some Monterey Jack or Colby cheese and add it to your salads. Finally, shred some mozzerella cheese and melt it over a baked chicken breast. When the kids see the cheese they will be more than willing to try the dish you created.


Homemade French Fries

Kids love french fries. Why not surprise them with a batch of homemade fries the next time you cook up a steak or meatloaf. Just wash the potatoes and cut them in to long strips. Leave the skin on because it has nutrients in it. Heat up some oil in a frying pan and set the fries in it. Watch for them to turn golden brown before removing. If your child uses ketchup, you don't have to add salt to the fries. If your child eats the french fries plain, however, sprinkle some salt over the fries.

Can I grill a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?

Grilled Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches

Peanut butter and jelly is a classic favorite of both kids and adults alike. But did you know you can grill them, too? Just like another favorite -- the grilled cheese -- this creation is perfect for a cold day.

Begin by buttering one side of two pieces of bread. Add peanut butter to the un-buttered side of one slice. Add jelly, in a flavor of your choice, to the other un-buttered side of the second slice.

Place the peanut butter slice with the butter side down in a heated skillet. Add the second piece, facing the jelly and peanut butter sides together. Once the buttered side has browned, flip the sandwich over and brown the other side. (This is the same process as a grilled cheese sandwich.) The peanut butter will be slightly melted into the jelly when done. Enjoy!


Making Homemade Chicken Baby Food

Place one cup of chicken pieces (minus the skin and bones) in a blender. Add 1/4 of a cup of water and press the puree button. Pour the baby food in to small jars and store in the refrigerator for up to one week.


Peanut Butter Tortillas

Some children are not fond of bread. This can limit your choices when making lunch. A great alternative is to use whole wheat tortillas. You can place a layer of peanut butter (either creamy or chunky) over one tortilla. Then add a layer of sliced bananas. Top with a second tortilla. Slice in to fours and serve. Some children may even enjoy this peanut butter tortilla hot. All you have to do is set it in a pan on the stove for two minutes on each side. This will crisp the outer layer, and melt the peanut butter and banana together.


Jazz Up Your Mac and Cheese

A popular favorite among children is macaroni and cheese. It can easily be made from scratch or out of a box. Often, it is served as a side dish. Why not add a few ingredients and turn it in to a meal that your children are going to rave about. Bake some chicken and then cut it up in to cubes. Add the chicken to your macaroni and cheese. Then open a can of peas and heat it up in your microwave (should only take two minutes). Drain the water from the can and add the peas. Mix the ingredients together and you have yourself a kid friendly dinner.

Tip: You can substitute chicken for almost any meat. Carrots can be substituted for the peas.

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Guru Spotlight
Alicia Bodine