Do you want your kids to grow up cooking healthy, delicious meals for their family and friends by cooking techniques?
Are you looking forward to the day when you can finally take a break from the dinner rotation and enjoy a meal prepared by your children?
Then it’s time to teach your child to make these five delicious, easy meals that combine healthy ingredients with important cooking techniques.
#1 The Omelet
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but omelets are also great lunches and dinners. As long as no one in your house is allergic to eggs, they’re a great way to get protein and vegetables into your family’s diet. Eggs are affordable, full of nutrients, and a great way to introduce kids to the stove.
In my classes, I teach students to make French and American-style omelets. These are a staple of hotel buffets and diners, and they’re a great way to let kids succeed in the kitchen while experimenting with new ingredients and flavors.
So, what makes a great omelet?
- Good Folding Technique. This makes the omelet pretty and takes it from good to great.
- Proper use of heat. You don’t want to let the eggs cook too quickly or too slowly.
- Interesting, fresh ingredients. Omelets are a great way to add vegetables, spices, and cheeses to a meal. Once a kid masters the basics, they can experiment with flavors from around the world.
- Practice, Practice, Practice. A great Omelet takes patience and practice. Luckily, eggs are fairly cheap, and a ‘bad omelet’ makes good scrambled eggs.
Mastering the omelet means that your child has a great recipe for home, college, or even camping out. They can scale up to feed friends after a slumber party, or just make themselves a healthy after-school snack.
Guacamole is a crowd-pleaser that sneaks vegetables into any party spread. It’s also a versatile condiment that you can use to dress up eggs, burgers, breakfast burritos, or tacos. Mastering a good guac recipe will make your child a hit at every potluck, barbeque, and tailgate for the rest of their life.
One great benefit of Guacamole is that it lets your child practice knife skills without pressure – there’s lots to chop, but at the end of the day, it will still taste good. In guacamole, kids learn cooking techniques:
- Dicing: Onions, tomatoes, and jalapenos
- Mincing: Garlic
- Chiffonading: Cilantro
One of the first things I teach kids is how to properly grip the knife. Guacamole lets them practice those skills so that they can use the knife well and prep food quickly. (Anyone who’s ever encountered a 30-minute recipe that takes much longer due to chopping will appreciate the importance of learning to dice quickly)
#3 Chicken Parmesan
This recipe is a crowd-pleaser that lets your child enjoy the success of serving a full meal. It can be served on a bun as a sandwich, or with pasta, salad, and garlic bread for an impressive family feast.
Chicken Parmesan pairs the fried chicken with tomato and mozzarella. Tomato is a great source of vitamin C, potassium, and lycopene. If you send your child off to college with this recipe under their belt, you won’t have to worry about scurvy! It’s also perfect comfort food. Parents love it when their kids master this recipe by this cooking techniques.
To master chicken parmesan, a child must learn to bread a raw piece of meat and pan-fry it. Learning this recipe means learning safe meat handling and how to control the heat so that the final product is crispy and cooked fully. It also means that a delicious entrée can get added to your menu rotation – and you won’t have to cook it.
#4 Chinese Beef and Broccoli
This is a great healthy recipe for growing kids by cooking techniques. Beef and broccoli are packed with protein, iron, calcium, and inflammation-fighting chemicals. It’s easy to make using gluten-free or allergy-free ingredients, and you can serve it with brown rice for extra nutrition.
Beef and broccoli is also a great way to introduce kids to new tastes and cuisines. It’s similar to foods they’ve had before, but the Asian spices and sauces open up a whole new part of the world to their tastebuds. I’ve known many finicky kids whose journey to an international palate begins with beef and broccoli.
Finally, if your family are already fans of Chinese food, this is a healthy alternative to takeout. You can get restaurant tastes without MSG or extra salt, and all in about 15 minutes.
To make great beef and broccoli your child will need to:
- Practice knife skills. More uniform cuts of beef make this recipe tastier
- Sautee. Sauteeing beef means controlling the heat and fat so that it’s neither over nor underdone.
- Stir Fry. Stir-frying takes a bit of practice, as there’s a temptation to ‘worry’ the vegetables. This recipe teaches your child to judge when the vegetables are done. And best of all, broccoli is fairly forgiving!
After your child has mastered this recipe, they can substitute pork or chicken, or they can change up the vegetables to create interesting new flavors.
#5 CHEWY CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
Don’t forget to save room for dessert! Everyone needs a good chocolate chip cookie recipe. Cookies are great for sharing with friends, giving as gifts, contributing to bake sales, or just making the house smell amazing when you have unexpected guests.
What does it take to make great cookies?
- A reliable recipe. This one is my favorite.
- Organization. To do a great job, you should preset and premeasure your ingredients. In professional kitchens, we call this mise en place.
- How to bake for your oven. Different ovens have different temperatures, even when their dials read the same. Perfecting a cookie recipe helps you get to know your personal oven.
- Measuring. Cookies are forgiving, but a perfect cookie demands perfect measurement. Kids also improve their math skills as they halve or double the recipe.
- Problem Solving. Why was the last batch of cookies over or underdone? When there’s a range of cooking times, which is right for your kitchen. Cookies teach young cooks not to panic when things don’t go exactly to plan.
With these five recipes, your child will be set for life. They’ll have a decent rotation of delicious meals that can be dressed up, dressed down, or changed around. They’ll have mastered basic kitchen skills so that they can learn new recipes. They’ll know how to incorporate fresh ingredients and interesting flavors into their diets. Best of all, they’ll be able to use food to build friendships, create community, and change the world.
When you give your child the gift of these 5 basic recipes, you give them a great future.