Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Kid Cooking - Part 1

I've read and heard that having kids get involved in cooking will help them to be more willing eaters. My kids are pretty decent eaters, but I figure it is good for them to see how food makes it to their plates. I want my kids to have an appreciation of food being made, and helping to cook it might give them a sense of the effort that goes into putting food on their plates.

When we returned from some quick morning errands, I announced that the kids would be helping to make their lunches today. Caleb squealed with delight, which Ellie then echoed. Much cheering and joy in the kitchen, so much that it needed to be tempered with jobs. Although I don't have a pictorial version of this, I bet your imaginations will do the trick. :)

I gave Caleb the task of cutting the banana. Each kid took a turn mashing the banana. We count to 3 for each kid's turn so it seems fair. Of course, the kids try to count for me, and they are learning that counting generally doesn't apply to Mom. I cut up the cream cheese to help mix it better (see Notes/Changes in recipe below). The kids again took turns stirring. Before opening the dinner roll dough, I remembered how much I loved doing that as a kid. So I started the tab but gave the job to Caleb. I used a serrated knife to separate the dough and let each kid smush the dough into thin circles. I went back over their work with the hope of making slightly more consistent and thinner circles. They of course argued a bit about who got to push which dough circle, and Caleb and I had an argument about his need to wash his hands after scratching/picking/playing with his nose. Then I gave Caleb a spoon, and we each scooped some of the banana-cheese goo into each dough circle. He tried to fold the circles around the goo, but this was a messy difficult task even for me.

Banana Rolls
From Highlights High Five magazine, Dec. 2010

1 banana
4 oz. (1/2 c) cream cheese, softened
dinner roll dough (the pre-made stuff you find in the refrigerated section of a supermarket)

Preheat oven to 375.

Peel the banana and cut it into chunks. Mash chunks in a small bowl. Add 1/2 c. of cream cheese and stir well.

Separate the dough into 8 sections. Press down on each section until it is a thin circle.

Add a spoonful of the banana-cheese mixture. Fold up the edges to cover the mixture. Place the rolls upside down (seam side down) on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake rolls for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown. Let them cool for 5-10 minutes.

I probably did not stir well enough since some of the cream cheese seemed to be missing a banana flavor. I did grease the cookie sheet because the dough instructions said to do this. I recommend greasing lightly so that you can get the rolls off when done.

I thought these were quite tasty, but the kids seemed indifferent at best. Caleb thought they were too creamy, which is his usual complaint for dairy foods. With this feedback, I suggested other filling combinations which might be more appetizing to him. Strawberry or raspberry-banana, mango, peach, etc. I think the banana could do the job of making another fruit creamy without the dairy. I also think this basic recipe could be used as a way to introduce new or difficult to accept vegetables.

The second part of their lunch was mac-and-cheese "muffins." I had my doubts about this recipe again because of the dairy, but the process was fun enough to report. It's coming up in the next post!

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