Group cooking classes are an excellent setting for children to learn about food, science, and yes, even math. The curriculum, however, should never be so complex or overwhelming that they get no fun out of it. They are after all, in a group of kids in their age range, and natural need to play is bound to emerge, no matter how serious they feel at the beginning of a class.
What we love at Junior Chef San Diego is to share our passion and develop children’s understanding and love of food while staying lighthearted and jolly.
Parents can also keep the budding chefs engaged at home, encouraging them to help prepare meals.
We’re sharing 3 easy kid recipes you can make together.
Appetizer: Smoked Salmon Pinwheels
Very easy to make, yet gorgeous, the pinwheels require only 4 ingredients (plus seasoning): tortillas, cream cheese (or sour cream), salmon, and lettuce. Depending on the child’s age, they can help spread the cream, wash and shred the lettuce, or assemble and cut.
This kid-friendly recipe is extremely versatile, and variations are nearly limitless: ham and cheese with spinach, bacon, and tomatoes, guacamole and cheddar cheese, tuna salad style, etc.
If you are more adventurous, you can make crêpes to replace the tortilla and open the door to sweet versions, like PB&J, chocolate sauce with sliced bananas, etc. Prepare the crêpe batter without sugar, and you can have a savory and delicious party!
Entrée: Meatballs and Zucchini Spaghettis
Many parents express their concern that their little ones don’t seem to like vegetables and would much prefer to dine on cookies and candy. One reason could be that veggies are not that exciting unless prepared and presented in a fun way.
But (besides sweets), kids LOVE pasta (adults do too, don’t they?). Zucchini noodles (zoodles) are fun to prepare, meatballs are clear winners any day of the week, and the combo swimming in tomato sauce and melting parmesan cheese is yummy.
If you don’t have a spiralizer, use a peeler to make tagliatelle. The meat is your choice. You can go the traditional Italian route with beef, or prefer white meat like chicken.
Dessert: Turkey Cupcakes
The most popular season for group cooking classes – adults and kids classes alike – is fall. There’s an abundance of themes to explore. Halloween and Thanksgiving are traditionally summoning images of bright orange colors, fun decorations, and ample opportunities to bake those sweets kids love.
The turkey cupcakes are a riot. The debate will certainly be whether one should eat the head or the fan-like tail first.
If piping is not your strong suit (or your child’s), you can spread as you please. Better yet, have the kids take care of it, letting their creativity decide of the color arrangement. For the turkey’s head, tail, wings, you can use Nutter Butters, corn candy, M&M’s, jelly beans, licorice, colored sprinkles, …
Ideally, the recipes should be prepared from scratch as much as possible, to make it more interesting for the kids, and more of an accomplishment. Any one of these (or all three for a special family dinner) makes a great weekend activity when fall weather is a little glum and outdoor fun is not an option.
We’ve entered the season of festivities, holidays, spooky nights… What better way to crank it up a notch than enroll your child in a group cooking class?
Our next event is the Halloween Cooking Party. Not only will the little chefs learn two easy kid recipes, they also get to dress up (so do you, if you’d like) and carve a pumpkin. And there will be magic!