It is important that children learn how to be self-sufficient. Independence is a skill and it is vital that kids learn how to take care of themselves as they get older. At a certain age, this can come to mean brushing their teeth on their own or even feeding themselves, too. It is up to a parent to decide whether their child can use tools like the stove or oven, but with supervision kids can easily learn to handle these appliances safely and responsibly. Plus, recipes with healthy ingredients can have other benefits, too. Kids are more likely to try something new or eat something healthy if they have a part in preparing it.
Before your child has any ambitions of joining the kid’s version of Chopped, here are some quick and easy recipes for snacks, small meals, and appetizers that they can get started with.
Mini Pepper Pizzas
TOTAL TIME: 0:30
- 4 bell peppers, halved and cored
- 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 c. pizza sauce
- 2 c. shredded mozzarella
- 1/2 c. finely grated Parmesan
- 1/3 c. mini pepperoni
- 1 tbsp. chopped parsley
Preheat oven or toaster oven to 350°. On a sheet tray, drizzle peppers with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spoon sauce onto each pepper half. Sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan and top with pepperoni. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the peppers are crisp-tender and the cheese is melted. Garnish with parsley.
Chicken Avocado Roll-Ups
TOTAL TIME: 0:20
- 2 avocados, cubed
- Juice of 1 lime
- 2 c. Shredded chicken
- 1 bell peppers, seeds and cores removed, chopped
- 1/2 small red onion, chopped
- 1/2 c. Shredded Monterey Jack
- 1/2 c. shredded Cheddar
- 2 tbsp. sour cream
- 2 tbsp. finely chopped chives
- 4 large flour tortillas
In a medium bowl, combine avocado and lime juice and mash until only small chunks of avocado remain. Add chicken, bell pepper, red onion, Monterey Jack, cheddar, sour cream and chives and stir until evenly combined. Spread a thin layer of the chicken avocado mixture onto a large tortilla, leaving a small border around the edges. Roll the tortilla up tightly, then cut off the edges and slice into 1” rolls. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Serve cold or at room temperature.
TOTAL TIME: 0:20
YIELD: 20 COOKIES
- 1 bag sugar cookie mix, plus ingredients called for on package
- 6 drops each blue and green food coloring
Preheat oven to 375º and line two baking sheets with parchment. Prepare sugar cookie mix per package directions. Divide cookie dough into bowls and color one bowl with blue food coloring and the other with green food coloring. Pull out pieces from each color and start shaping into a ball, patching if necessary to create an Earth effect. Place cookie dough onto prepared baking sheets and bake 8 to 9 minutes (try to prevent browning).
TOTAL TIME: 0:15
- 12 oz. cream cheese, softened, cut into thirds
- 2 tsp. honey, divided
- 1/2 c. melted chocolate
- 1-2 drops pink food coloring
- 3 apples
- Assorted sprinkles, for decorating
Divide cream cheese among three small bowls. In one bowl, add 1 teaspoon honey. In another bowl, add melted chocolate. In the last bowl, add remaining teaspoon honey and pink food coloring. Stir each bowl together until combined. Slice apples and use a biscuit or cookie cutter to hollow out centers. Spread mixtures on apple slices and top with sprinkles.
Baked Parmesan Zucchini
SERVINGS PREP TIME: 10 MINUTES
COOK TIME: 20 MINUTES
TOTAL TIME: 30 MINUTES
- 4 zucchini, quartered lengthwise
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a cooling rack with nonstick spray and place on a baking sheet; set aside. In a small bowl, combine Parmesan, thyme, oregano, basil, garlic powder, salt and pepper, to taste. Place zucchini onto prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with Parmesan mixture. Place into oven and bake until tender, about 15 minutes. Then broil for 2-3 minutes, or until crisp and golden brown. Serve immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired.
Salad in a Jar
- Your choice of veggies, meats, fruits and cheeses
- Your choice of dressing
- Optional: crackers, crisps, etc.
- Mason Jar
For softer foods like the avocados and ham, you can show your child how to cut them up. The avocado was cut using a butter knife and ham with scissors. Tip: scissors work great for helping little hands “chop” up foods vs. using knives. Lay out all your ingredients on one large platter so they’ll be easier to layer. Ask your child to start layering (see steps above). You want to start with the dressing first so it doesn’t get the other foods too soggy. Add 2-3 tablespoons of dressing. Then start layering from the heaviest to lightest foods ending with the salad greens. Example layer from bottom to top: dressing, carrots, ham, peas, corn, avocados, strawberries, greens.
Salads can be refrigerated and kept till later, packed away in a bag for lunch or a snack, or eaten right away. Just shake to mix when you’re ready to eat!