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Cooking With Children: How to Make an Easy Three-Course Meal
Need more children’s cooking ideas? If your kids are already getting confident with cooking single meals and desserts, then it may be a fun challenge to put it all together and get them to cook their first three-course meal for the family. Cooking an entire meal will give kids confidence and a sense of accomplishment. And if you’re worried about a huge mess resulting from cooking three courses with children, then don’t. The trick to cooking with children is to keep it simple, and to prepare food in advance so that kids aren’t cooking for three hours straight before meal time.

Kids can prepare a simple appetizer, main and dessert well ahead of time. They can also set the table well in advance, too – show them how to smooth out a table cloth, set out cutlery for all the courses, decorate the table with a vase of flowers, and even prepare a menu. Cooking a three-course meal teaches kids important life skills in planning, preparation, timing, scheduling, and organization. Here’s how to do it.

1. Appetizer – Simple, pretty and healthy is the key when it comes to children’s cooking appetizers. Stuffed celery is nourishing, and it looks gourmet. Get your kids to mix together a packet of cream cheese, ¼ cup sour cream, and a large handful of pimento green olives (chopped). Then, spoon the mixture into bite-size pieces of celery. Encourage kids to lay out the celery sticks in a fan shape or other attractive way on the serving plate. Show them how a sprig of mint or basil on top of the platter can make it look like it has come straight from the kitchen of a restaurant.

2. Main – Pizza, of course. Pizza is one of the easiest main courses you can make, so it’s perfect for cooking with children. The great thing about pizza is that your kids can get their protein, carbohydrates, and vegetables all in one easy recipe. For a healthy twist, use whole wheat pita bread for the base, and top it with a generous smear of tomato paste, grated cheese, and your kids’ favorite toppings: think pepperoni slices, olives, mushrooms, ham, pineapple, or broccoli, if you can manage to sneak it in. Show your kids how it’s important to keep an eye on the pizzas to prevent them from browning too much – cooking is about intuition as well as science, after all!

3. Dessert – There are countless easy desserts to choose from which are perfect for cooking with children, but since your kids are preparing a three-course meal, it’s nice to make something a bit special. Cannoli is a Sicilian pastry consisting of a light, fried tube of dough filled with a sweet, ricotta cheese-based filling. To simplify it for cooking with children, get your kids to combine 15 oz ricotta cheese, 2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar, ½ teaspoon grated orange peel and ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, and blend until smooth. Then, add two tablespoons of chocolate chips. Refrigerate the mixture for 30 minutes, then pipe the mixture into ice cream cones and serve.

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