Dining Features

Foodie for Thought: Cooking for Your Kids, with Your Kids

Growing up in a household where food was always a main attraction, it’s no wonder that I developed a love for food and a passion for cooking. These days, it’s all about teaching my nephew how to cook and I find that the more we involve him in the meals we make, the more excited he is about eating.

Cooking with kids also teaches them about good nutrition and the value of eating fresh, wholesome foods. Too many kids today think “fast food” when asked what they want to eat, and it is important for adults to teach younger generations about eating a healthy, balanced diet with fresh ingredients, prepared at home.

The earlier you begin cooking with your kids, the better. It teaches them skills they need throughout their lives, and teaches them responsibility, as well—There’s no reason why kids can’t help with the dishes, too!

Below is a fun and delicious breakfast (or brunch) meal that all kids, big or small, will love!

Crunchy French Toast for little (and big!) kids

1 loaf Challah bread, slice into 1–2 inch thick slices
6 eggs
1/2 cup half and half
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3-4 cups sweetened crushed flake cereal
butter for sautéing

1. Grab your favorite large, non-stick skillet and put it over medium-high heat and add enough butter to coast the bottom of your skillet. Preheat your oven to 20°, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. You can keep your French toast warm in the oven as you cook the slices so everyone can eat together.

2. In a shallow bowl, combine eggs, half and half, vanilla, cinnamon and salt until all ingredients are well blended.

3. Take a plastic food storage bag and put your sweetened flake cereal inside. This is the time to get your kids, grandkids, nieces and/or nephews in the kitchen. Once your little ones have washed their hands and donned their favorite apron, have them help crush the cereal. They can use their hands, a cup, a plate, a rolling pin—whatever you have on hand to make this job even more fun! The crumbs can be  made as fine or as coarse as you would like. Place crushed cereal into a shallow dish, similar to the one you have your egg mixture in.

4. Working near the hot skillet, dip your bread slices, one by one, into the egg mixture, pressing lightly on each side so the bread will absorb a good amount of it. Place directly into the crushed cereal, again pressing lightly on each side so the cereal adheres well to the bread. Then put the coated bread into the hot, buttered skillet. Cook about 5 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Place on baking sheet in your preheated oven. Work in batches until you are done!

5. Serve warm with syrup and your favorite berries!

Quick Skillet Hash browns

1/2 lb bacon, cut into pieces
1 small red onion, finely diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
3 large Yukon gold potatoes, cut into a small dice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

1. In a medium-sized cast iron skillet over medium heat, brown the bacon pieces. Once done, take out of the pan and drain on a paper towel-covered plate.

2. Pour out all but 1 tablespoon of bacon fat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the cast iron skillet. Add your onion, red pepper flakes if you are using them, a pinch of salt and some pepper to taste, and let cook for 5–7 minutes, until onions become translucent.

3. Next, add in your potatoes and season with more salt and pepper, and cinnamon if you are using it. Let potatoes cook for about 20–25 minutes, stirring frequently, until potatoes are brown on the outside and soft on the inside. Taste for seasoning and adjust as you see fit. Serve alongside French toast, or make it a meal and fry two eggs and put them on top. Either way, these hash browns are
super delicious!

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