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Proper things to make with toddlers

(29 Posts)
PersisFord Sun 29-Jan-17 14:32:48

Hello, I'm after some ideas! I've got 3 kids (twins are 3.5, baby is nearly 2) and we really like cooking together. The thing is, I don't want to just make fairy cakes every day and I was wondering what else people make with young kids that would be a bit more useful for meals etc.

They are (relatively) sensible and will cut up mushrooms, apples, bananas etc using a table knife. The twins aren't ready for sharp knives and we have tried using scissors but the baby just goes crazy if he isn't allowed them. They are good at breaking eggs, mixing, etc....but my one foray into letting the girls help me fry pancakes ended with a bad burn so we are after oven recipes really.

Things we have made that worked well are:
Cornish pasties (I made filling, let it cool and we rolled pastry, filled and brushed with milk etc)
Pancakes (I have to cook them though)
Casseroles where they cut mushrooms while I do everything else.
Things like sandwiches and wraps that they make as they eat.

Also they need to be quite quick - my friend suggsted homemade pasta but they don't have the attention span!!


MrsMillions Sun 29-Jan-17 14:37:10

We like the I Can Cook Book. Portion sizes might actually be a bit small for you if you have 3 to feed but easy to multiply up. The baked risotto is a real favourite and great way to use up anything in the fridge! You might be able to get some recipes on the CBeebies grown ups website too.

PersisFord Sun 29-Jan-17 14:41:03

Brilliant, thanks! We don't watch much CBeebies (Netflix junkies) so hadn't thought of that!

AtleastitsnotMonday Sun 29-Jan-17 15:56:27

How about an oven baked fritata? They can chop softer veg, cooked potatoes and crack and beat eggs.
Chicken and veg kebabs, kids like threading things on sticks.
Meat balls, good little hands
Pies, make and roll pastry, decorate with cut out pastry shapes.

GeneralTFuckup Sun 29-Jan-17 16:03:50

My 3.5 yr old and I have just made pancakes, nigella recipe makes a big batch of dry ingredients then it's just butter and eggs to make the batter. Dd loved sieving the flour and whisking the batter. Can then make them savoury or sweet.

GeneralTFuckup Sun 29-Jan-17 16:05:00

Sorry, just seen that you have already tried pancakes! blush

PenguinRoar Sun 29-Jan-17 16:05:52

Love making homemade pizza and dough. We also make cheese straws and scones.

DS likes making the fillings for savoury pancakes too.

user1471495191 Sun 29-Jan-17 16:09:23

Dumplings, Yorkshire puddings, sausage rolls (my 20 month old loves rolling pastry and basting with egg), homemade pies (can cut out pastry shapes to decorate the top), gingerbread families, biscuit decorating

MiladyThesaurus Sun 29-Jan-17 16:15:24

Home made nuggets/bites. DS2 has always loved dipping chunks of stuff in flour, egg and breadcrumbs. You can go with classic chicken or all sorts of other things.

You can spray them with cooking spray and put them in the oven if you'd prefer not to deep fry them.

Mrstumbletap Sun 29-Jan-17 16:15:28

My toddler helps with pretty much every meal we make. So today he helped make a fish pie, put the veg in, poured in the milk, sprinkled in the parsley, put in grated cheese, spooned the mash on top, etc.

If it's not hot hot or sharp they can do it.

VolunteeringSucks Sun 29-Jan-17 16:17:42

I am a big fan of the slow cooker - because the ingredients are genuinely assembled cold (so they can see that they do it the same way as you - iyswim).

So, for example, I make vegetarian curry as a bag of frozen butternut squash, a tin of chickpeas and then a mystery selection of spices and sauces. You can chuck in any other veg you have (e.g. Courgette/cauliflower).

If you have left over bolignaise - get them to layer a lasagna?

VolunteeringSucks Sun 29-Jan-17 16:19:42

Fish en pappilotte (i.e. Baked wrapped in paper or foil) or in the slow cooker?

Frozen fish fillet and then I give the DC a plate with little piles of plausible seasonings (e.g. Parsley/onion granules/lemon slices). I find they can't do too much damage that way, and they're happier if I don't need to be too bossy!

Nyancat Sun 29-Jan-17 16:20:51

Our two love making pizza, great way of adding veg as they'll use corn, peppers, onion, mushrooms on it.
Meatballs are a fav for rolling, not great if they'll eat it raw though.
For stew they love washing the potatoes at the sink.

PersisFord Sun 29-Jan-17 16:27:38

These are great ideas!! I forgot mashed potato - they are enthusiastic mashers! Is oven baked frittata just cooked in a cake tin or something? Lasagna and fish pie are also good ideas - would probably take all morning which would save me a lot of paw patrol!

I get a bit twitched around raw meat as I can't guarantee that nobody will taste a bit or lick their fingers. What do you guys do about that? I guess raw fish is probably safe!

We use the food processor a lot for chopping and grating stuff as I feel it's safer and the baby can do it too.

1frenchfoodie Sun 29-Jan-17 16:30:38

You can cook mini omlettes in yorkshire pudding tins, just pop chopped whatever (mushrooms, tomato, ham etc) in the tin, pour on beaten egg and top with grated cheese. About 12 min cooking and ready to go.

Pizza great as others have said.

Veg kebabs and fruit kebabs great too.

Lakeland do a mini cornish pasty press that the littlest one could close over fillings the others have made.

PersisFord Sun 29-Jan-17 16:33:35

He would LOVE that pastry thing!!

Mrscog Sun 29-Jan-17 16:33:46

I just made bread and butter pudding with my nearly 5 year old but it would work with preschoolers too, toddler could do the sprinkling of raisins and your twins could do bread buttering etc.

1frenchfoodie Sun 29-Jan-17 16:36:03

Doh, just seen you have already done cornish pasties. Filo pastry is also good layered with/wrapped around spinach (cooked and very well drained) and feta. Jamie oliver does brie, cranberries and walnuts blitzed then used as filling - sort of like a flat sausage roll. possibly very messy with such young ones but good fun. You fry in dry pan, takes abou 10 -12 mins.

We tend to do sweet filled filo rolls at the same time- mixed fruit doked overnight in tea, drained and blitzed with whatever nuts you have plus some cinnamon.

seefeld Sun 29-Jan-17 16:36:33

My son was given the Tickle Fingers cookbook for Christmas and it has some great recipes in it - vegetable samosas, pies, tomato bruschetta, baked fish parcels, salmon fish cakes plus loads more. I've only recently started cooking with DS so I've found it really helpful to have simple step by step instructions on how to do it. It sounds like you've had loads more experience cooking with toddlers than me though!

The author also has a blog with more recipes here: Tickle Fingers

PersisFord Sun 29-Jan-17 16:37:10

Great idea! Although raisins are like crack for him, we would have to start with many more than we're needed for the final pudding grin

PersisFord Sun 29-Jan-17 16:39:54

We did make apple strudel today - our first foray into filo pastry. Worked pretty well, although there was a lot of attrition on the apples!

I'll look at that blog, thanks! And I've ordered the book mentioned by MrsMillions

I don't mind it being messy, or time consuming! So long as it's not dangerous and we end up with something edible (and I am relaxed about things like eggshell and glitter in my food!!)

Sugarandsalt Tue 31-Jan-17 12:02:21

Following here for ideas!

My DD loves to help in the kitchen- we do a lot of fairy cakes/healthy flapjacks. Inspired now to try more simple savoury stuff with her!

Cookingongas Wed 01-Feb-17 07:44:27

Cheese and thyme muffins
These are great and you can use any filling- pesto,
Goats cheese and tomatoes being a fave here

Pizza is a step away from calzones

If you have a food processor that slices in discs then potato bake is great fun for kids- give them a bowl of potatoes, onions, parsley, garlic, cheese, and bacon and let them layer it all in an oven dish - once finished you pour in 100ml stock mixed with 100ml cream- top with more cheese and bake for 45-1hr. Online recipes all seem to say cook the potatoes and onion first- but I never have and it comes out tasty.

Cookingongas Wed 01-Feb-17 07:46:19

If you have time to make a risotto and let it cool- arancini can be baked and are universally loved by children!

DeliveredByKiki Fri 03-Feb-17 23:21:32

Second the I Can Cook Cookbook!

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