5 Italian kid friendly recipes you can cook with your children
If you think that family meal time is consuming food together, you are definitely wrong. There’s so much more than the simple act of eating, especially when kids are involved: sharing a meal is a good way to learn more about each other, to spend quality time together and – for kids - to learn to appreciate different dishes.
For that reason, they shouldn't be left out of the preparation process. Younger kids can help gather ingredients, while preschooler can already help measure and pour. Depending on kids, six or seven-year-olds can dice, zest, mince and slice with parental supervision. And as children grow old, they can use basic kitchen tools, such as a can opener or electric mixer, or even the stove, with parental supervision. When children are actively involved in preparing the main course, they're more inclined to try their creation.
So, if you have fussy little eaters around, try to get them into the kitchen and turn them into your personal sous-chef. With delightfully simple and still incredibly flavorful recipes, Italian recipes are perfect to start cooking all together. Here are five ideas you can copy!
1. A Kids' Favorite: Pizza
If your children love Pizza – somebody doesn’t? – it is a great way to tempt them into the kitchen to begin cooking. For this kid friendly recipe, we suggest preparing the dough in advance so as to leave it rise for the required times. Kids will definitely have fun while kneading!
Once the dough is ready, they can use the rolling pin (maybe with the help of an adult if they are not yet strong enough) and start creating the base with tomato sauce.
Then, provide them with a variety of colorful, possible topping and let have them decide how to create their own personal pizza. You could help them make good pairings and encourage them to "add a rainbow of colors" to their pizza. Of course, this would help your children become more familiar with various foods and to try something new.
2. Mediterranean Salad: healthy and colorful
Mediterranean Salad is a great way to get kids into the Mediterranean Diet: they are colorful and can be customized according to each kid’s taste. They contain the perfect mix of vitamin, proteins and carbs, so they are also super-healthy! Last but not least, they are so quick and require minimum efforts and almost any knives, nor stove, so they are a perfect kid friendly recipe even for younger children.
Kids can help you washing the salad and drying it with the salad spinner (one of their favorite kitchen tools!). Then, junior sous-chefs can prep a variety of ingredients, which you can delegate based on age. Very young children can tear spinach leaves or pull apart olives. Older children can shred fresh mozzarella or canned tuna or dice tomatoes and other toppings.
Place individual ingredients in bowls, arranging a sort of buffet. Then encourage children to move their bowl of salad through the line, adding as many - or as few – ingredients as they'd like. For extra fun, kids can pretend to be wait staff by taking orders, and then preparing and delivering salad dishes to their customers. Are you holding a party and some of the guests are vegetarian? Transform a corner of your house – or garden – into a Mediterranean salad place and lets each person, kids or adult, mix and match their favorite ingredients!
3. Tiramisu, for children of all ages
Tiramisu needs any knives or fire so it’s the perfect dessert you can prepare together with your kids! Young children can help breaking the eggs and separating them (it’s easier than it seems!) while older kids can whisk them with the electric mixer. Dipping Ladyfingers in the coffee, lay them in a dish and cover with cream is something that children of all ages can do!
The Espresso Coffee of the original recipe may be not really suitable for kids but don’t worry. You can add just a few tablespoon of Coffee to a syrup made with water and sugar or you can replace it with hot cocoa: using water instead of milk and using 1 ½ the amount of hot chocolate powder you would normally use to make a cup for drinking.
Every kid loves chocolate and with this ingredient swap Tiramisu will become your favorite kid friendly recipe for dessert! Quick, easy and fun!
4. Fresh Pasta, better than Play-Doh
Some parents may be scared at the simplest idea of cooking Fresh Pasta from the scratch with kids around but the truth is, it is a real kid friendly recipe! First: even the fussiest eater loves Pasta. Second: Pasta recipes are surprisingly simple and are practically built for fun. Everything you need to do is simply mix flour, water, olive oil and a pinch of salt until it reaches the consistency of Play-Doh.
Children can roll and shape the dough to their hearts' content. Once the dough is sufficiently elastic, children can use a rolling pin to spread it across a floured surface. Help cut the dough into strips or quirky shapes with a butter knife or pizza wheel and tagliatelle are done! If you want to give extra fun, Pici are perfect: once you cut the strips, children have to roll them to create “dough worm”…
At the end of everything the kitchen could actually be a bit messy, but your kids will definitely be amused! When the pasta will be cooked, we suggest quick and easy condiments such as a simple tomato sauce or simply extra virgin olive oil with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.
5. Cookies all year round
Cookies make a lovely, gentle introduction to baking with kids, helping them to practice their shaping, rolling, measuring and counting skills as they bake.
There are countless cookies recipe you can try: with lemon or orange jam, chocolate chips, icing… Just choose your kids’ favorite one (or two or three) and let their creativity run free with shapes and decoration!
A Kid friendly recipeperfect for Christmas, or for any time of the year, when you are looking for a sweet treat to make with the kids.