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    • MSE Tine
    • By MSE Tine 16th Oct 19, 8:31 PM
    • 219Posts
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    MSE Tine
    Meals that can be cooked by kids!
    • #1
    • 16th Oct 19, 8:31 PM
    Meals that can be cooked by kids! 16th Oct 19 at 8:31 PM
    Old Stylers - I need your help!
    My DD is 10 and despite my extreme reluctance to hand over ANY control of my pride and joy (the kitchen in this case, not my car or motorbike ) I accept that I need to allow her to learn to cook *gulp*
    So first meal ideas that will require minimal interference from me (happy to supervise use of hob and oven obviously!) so she can gain some confidence

    Please hit me with ideas! (Pretty please!?)
    Last edited by MSE Tine; 18-10-2019 at 10:48 AM. Reason: Because I apparently can't spell hob... honestly!
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    • Misslayed
    • By Misslayed 16th Oct 19, 8:37 PM
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    • #2
    • 16th Oct 19, 8:37 PM
    • #2
    • 16th Oct 19, 8:37 PM
    Pizza base, jar of red sauce, selection of pizza toppings. It's more assembling than cooking, but requires a degree of slicing, chopping and maybe grating. My grephew (great nephew) enjoyed that, he used to 'talk to camera' as he worked, as if he was on the telly!
    Hi. Martin has asked me to tell you I'm a (novice) Board Guide on the Competitions, Site Feedback and Campaigns boards. I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly. Board guides are not moderators and don't read every post. If you spot an abusive or illegal post then please report it to (it's not part of my role to deal with abuse). Any views are mine and not the official line of
    • littlegreenparrot
    • By littlegreenparrot 16th Oct 19, 9:04 PM
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    • #3
    • 16th Oct 19, 9:04 PM
    • #3
    • 16th Oct 19, 9:04 PM
    I remember we started with eggs, scrambled and omelets.

    Moved into simple grill things, sausages, bacon.

    Cakes/ biscuits that we would then have in lunchboxes. Flapjack, shortbread, cupcakes, simple loaf cakes.

    Bread is fun, good on a rainy weekend morning, then make soup to have with it.

    If you're brave enough you could look for children's cook books in the library and let her choose
    • MSE Tine
    • By MSE Tine 16th Oct 19, 9:05 PM
    • 219 Posts
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    MSE Tine
    • #4
    • 16th Oct 19, 9:05 PM
    • #4
    • 16th Oct 19, 9:05 PM
    If you're brave enough you could look for children's cook books in the library and let her choose
    Originally posted by littlegreenparrot
    Brave enough? Iím petrified 🤣🤣🤣
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    • caronc
    • By caronc 16th Oct 19, 9:13 PM
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    • #5
    • 16th Oct 19, 9:13 PM
    • #5
    • 16th Oct 19, 9:13 PM
    If you set some "Golden rules" mine were "clean hands, listen to me, clean up afterwards and try what you make" then even kids much younger than yours can and will quickly learn and enjoy doing cooking and preparing.

    Certainly a good place to start is simple things that are more assembling rather than cooking but good things to do after that are "boiled egg & soldiers" , pasta and simple homemade tomato sauce or macaroni cheese. A roast chicken dinner is pretty easy if you roast the veg in with the chicken and pretty much looks after itself once the oven and can feel like a huge success for a youngster. I started mine as "kitchen assistants" at around 6 and found a two handled herb chopper was much loved but kept small hands away from the sharp bits. Progression to "chef" meant showing they could be responsible and follow the "rules". Bread and anything that involves a bit of kneading or rolling out was always really well received as was anything that involved a bit of whisking like marinades or dips or stirring like rissotto.
    Let her loose with your supervison - just remember to breathe when she's using a sharp knife.

    • Socajam
    • By Socajam 16th Oct 19, 9:14 PM
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    • #6
    • 16th Oct 19, 9:14 PM
    • #6
    • 16th Oct 19, 9:14 PM
    Shepherd's pie
    Macaroni cheese
    Burgers or hot dogs with oven chips
    • monnagran
    • By monnagran 16th Oct 19, 9:46 PM
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    • #7
    • 16th Oct 19, 9:46 PM
    • #7
    • 16th Oct 19, 9:46 PM
    How much has she done in the kitchen so far? If very little, cooking together is a good way to start. Not her as your assistant but both doing things together so that she gets experience of various techniques, grilling, creaming, whisking.

    Then you can progress to grilling sausages and mashing potatoes, making Yorkshire puddings, toad in the hole, Jacket potatoes with various fillings. It will grow from there once she has the confidence in her own ability. Getting a children's cookbook is an excellent idea.

    By the time my sons were 12 they could both turn out a decent roast dinner. Nothing to do with cooking, but my eldest once got a star for doing the best hemming in the class.
    My name was mud when I told this story in front of his friends. It did his street-cred no good at all.

    When they married they both had to teach their wives to cook.

    Good on you for starting now.
    I believe that friends are quiet angels
    Who lift us to our feet when our wings
    Have trouble remembering how to fly.
    • suki1964
    • By suki1964 16th Oct 19, 10:37 PM
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    • #8
    • 16th Oct 19, 10:37 PM
    • #8
    • 16th Oct 19, 10:37 PM
    At that age, I could make 'on toast' - (cheese, beans, eggs ) do jacket spuds , sausages, bacon, crispy pancakes ( showing my age ) toasted sandwiches etc

    By time I was 13 I cooked full Christmas dinner for 10

    Have her in the kitchen with you when cooking so she gets to learn the basics, know how big to cut potatoes for the boil, knowing when they are cooked, cutting the veg, making the gravy, weighing out, turning the chops, etc. Thats how I learned. Even if she's just sitting up on a stool talking about her day whilst watching you, she will absorb it
    if you lend someone £20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it
    • trailingspouse
    • By trailingspouse 17th Oct 19, 7:40 AM
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    • #9
    • 17th Oct 19, 7:40 AM
    • #9
    • 17th Oct 19, 7:40 AM
    Teach them how to use a knife correctly. I did this with my kids as soon as they were tall enough to do it (didn't like the idea of them standing on a stool with a sharp knife in their hand...) I started with a table knife and soft things like bananas, but once they'd got the idea we progressed to a proper kitchen knife and slightly tougher things (mushrooms, cheese, carrots, apples). Using the stove is also dependent on their height - they need to be able to see into the pan.

    Things to make -

    - fruit kebabs (no cooking required)

    - a tin of soup (using a tin opener is a life skill!! Also, good practice for stirring over a hot stove and not wandering off and forgetting about it...)
    - toast in the toaster
    - a mug of tea (make sure they're strong enough to lift the kettle safely)

    They could also do part of the process even if they can't do the whole thing - mashing the potatoes after they've boiled, mixing the pasta and the sauce together, rolling out the pastry.

    Agree with caronc about rules. Wash hands before and after, clear up spills on the floor immediately, wipe down surfaces afterwards. I'm sure you can think of more.

    When my son was 6 we all went camping, and we took it in turns to cook the evening meal. OH did a barbecue when it was his turn, the 12 year old gave us Pot Noodles, when it was my turn I produced something healthy and nutritious - and when it was my son's turn we'd planned to go out for a meal. But he insisted he wanted his turn cooking. With my help he gave us tinned soup followed by tinned peaches (I helped him open the tins, and supervised while he stirred the soup over the camping stove. He ladled the soup into the bowls, and he divided the fruit up between us.) They're never too young to start.
    • PollyWollyDoodle
    • By PollyWollyDoodle 17th Oct 19, 8:24 AM
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    Great idea about learning knife skills from trailingspouse. I think watching you and listening is equally as important as doing stuff - explain why/what as you go along - but she will want to get hands-on. If she can cope with pasta, jacket spuds etc then you can move on.

    Learning to read a recipe is a skill - understanding the importance of reading right to the end (something I still fail to do!) and the difference between tsp and tbsp.

    I would have been around that age when my mum taught me how to make a basic roux sauce, an invaluable skill. Batter for toad-in-the-hole or pancakes would be good, too. I'd just involve her in whatever you are planning to cook for the family meal, and she'll learn as she goes along.
    "Inconceivable". "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."
    • maman
    • By maman 17th Oct 19, 9:25 AM
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    I agree. I don't think you can 'let her loose' in the kitchen until she has learned some skills particularly health and safety type skills.

    I'd suggest you explain how chefs learn by starting at the bottom and progressing to sous chef before being in charge of the whole meal. She needs to be your assistant first.

    It's hard to know what she can do already At her age some will have done some cooking at primary school others perhaps in the Brownies. She could do worse than start by making tea and toast!
    • Working Mum
    • By Working Mum 17th Oct 19, 12:33 PM
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    Working Mum
    My children shadowed me from a very early age - helped cutting up onions, veggies etc for family meals I was making. I asked them what they wanted to eat/ learn to cook and we did it! I didn't do anything special just because they were young - we just did it together and then they picked it up.

    They were kitchen rules and they obeyed them - maybe not so much now as they're grotty teens!!

    My daughter has dyslexia and following a recipe is a good exercise to undertake - great food and helps with brain sequencing too! There have been times we removed cakes from ovens because she has forgotten something!

    Both my kids now feed themselves fresh healthy food everyday.

    It's been a joy to see them progress to cooking for us to cooking for friends.

    I feel cooking and eating meals properly is such an underrated skill - we fall in love over food, do business deals over food, get to know pals and commiserate over food. We still sit at our battered kitchen table and make food together and eat meals together. I love it and treasure it right now as they're on the cusp of flying the nest :-(
    • buildersdaughter
    • By buildersdaughter 18th Oct 19, 9:32 AM
    • 428 Posts
    • 1,397 Thanks
    Such wonderful ideas, I echo them all.I have produced 3 excellent cooks and one decent 'sous-chef'! O agree about bread: when my grandchildren stay, we make bread dough, use some for pizza for lunch and then maybe chilli in the evening.
    Something else we have done is to make chicken kebabs - experiment with tasting marinades, then cook the kebabs and notice how the taste changes.
    Risotto is quite good as well (apologies to purists) but tasting the bits to go in and stirring all together is fun.
    • Prinzessilein
    • By Prinzessilein 18th Oct 19, 9:56 AM
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    Cooking has to be a TOP skill to learn!...and how much did I learn by scrambling onto a stool and watching Mum!

    I am a great believer in learning 'proper' cooking....tasty food for the whole family!

    Using a slow-cooker is a good learn useful knife skills whilst prepping the veg - and then once the cooker is filled it is pretty much job-done!....and you can then add 'extras'....learn how to make dumplings for a slow-cooked stew...learn how to cook rice for a slow cooked curry...learn how to make creamy mash for slow cooked beef....learn how to bake a simple loaf of bread for mopping up all those yummy juices.

    Never underestimate a well cooked family pud!...A crumble is easy enough for a start...and perfect for these colder nights....and face it, who doesn't love crumble and custard!(instant custard made with hot water will do if the pud is home made!)

    And with Christmas coming up soon, the newly acquired skills can be used in making sweets and cake and biscuits and mince pies!

    Make sure any 'help' is acknowledged ...letting the family know that she made the dumplings to night is a great confidence boost (and might even encourage others to have a go!)

    And also...a vital lesson ….cooking dinner includes clearing up!!!!
    • MSE Tine
    • By MSE Tine 18th Oct 19, 10:44 AM
    • 219 Posts
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    MSE Tine
    I'm pleased to say she can make toast (and basic sarnies) as well as make a passable cup of tea They did some food classes after school a few years ago, but in all honesty it's a tiny school and the facilities were so limited that I really think other than learning about the basics such as cleaning and washing up she didn't take much away with her...

    I think I may start with something like the chicken skewers - possibly with some veg snuck on there too
    She loves fajitas so making fajita skewers and home made salsa might be on the menu this sunday! (I'd say tonight but it's Secondary Transfer test results day where we are and I don't think it's the right time to try and enthuse her about cooking )

    Some spiffing ideas though - will definitely give some of them a go in the next few weeks and let you know how she does!
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    • GreenQueen
    • By GreenQueen 18th Oct 19, 10:51 AM
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    Another good rule, "Only cook when there is an adult in the house" - to be reviewed as they get older. This comes in when they are old enough to be in the house for an hour or so on their own and they get peckish or decide to do some baking.

    Had a couple of near-disasters with my DD and after-school cheese on toast! At early secondary age, they can cope pretty well with anything while it is going well, but not so good with handling accidents/unforeseen situations.

    Oh, just thought as well "let somebody know which ingredients you have used" - the number of times I've gone to the cupboard and found an empty box that used to have icing sugar, no eggs, etc
    2020 - banish the clutter - 8/2020
    • sooty&sweep
    • By sooty&sweep 18th Oct 19, 8:09 PM
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    Ask her what she'd like to cook ! It's got to be something that she wants to make & eat.
    My daughter is nearly 14 now and she enjoys cooking but is a bit sporadic.
    She loves making cookies & cakes but she also makes a great paella ! Pancakes are another favourite.
    Encourage her to help menu plan & then help you in the kitchen.
    For me it's about giving them the confidence in the kitchen to say use a sharp knife or fry an egg ! But also how to do it safely !
    • ChasingButterflies
    • By ChasingButterflies 21st Oct 19, 4:23 AM
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    If your DD likes Mexican food how about potato wedges from scratch? Washing and chopping potatoes, then combining oil and seasoning to coat chopped potatoes, then onto a baking tray and into oven?

    Same goes for nachos can all be ďassembledĒ with cold ingredients and then popped in and out of oven by an adult (and they get the satisfaction of contributing to part of dinner!)

    Also making meatballs and a tomato pasta sauce is relatively simple (I brown them at that age) but they can assemble the meatballs and then make the sauce before they go into a dish in the oven.
    • DigForVictory
    • By DigForVictory 21st Oct 19, 6:37 AM
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    Please teach knife skills, but please make sure they are seriously sharp first. The most avoidable kitchen accident is a bad cut from a blunt knife.

    In the summer holidays, mum set up a rota for who “cooked” the evening meal. My 4 year old sister instructed dad on which breads & charcuterie she wanted (& we all happily made our own open sandwiches) followed by “pud” of mars bars. My slightly older sister could do more & within 3 years it was getting competitive - menus, flowers on the table, a choice of drinks & baby sis still played a winning hand of sandwiches & mars bars as she’d figured the Signature Dish...
    The rota included washing up usually by the cook the previous night. We all flinched from washing up after dad cooked - it was delicious but he managed to use Every Pan in the kitchen!
    • bouicca21
    • By bouicca21 21st Oct 19, 9:34 AM
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    Mine were cooking with me from about the age of 5, maybe a bit earlier. Quite apart from cooking skills, itís excellent for literacy and numeracy. I cooked with mum too, and my first cookery lesson at school at the age of 11 in the dim and distant past was making a beef stew. OHís family made it a rule that they cooked their own supper on Saturdays.

    Ask her what she wants to make, and then just get on with it!
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