October 23, 2014

Recipes for Little Helpers Round Up

I've always figured that the kid friendliest recipes would be the ones that little hands could help out with. Kids can learn good kitchen etiquette, they get a sense of accomplishment from actually making the food they're going to eat, and Mom or Dad gets some help in the kitchen. Plus, food is fun, so everybody wins. So if you've got a little helper, I've done a round up of some of my recipes that fit this description: easy prep (and easy clean up), minimal use of sharp implements of doom, no mixer necessary, and many of them (with a few exceptions) are even safe for the littlest hands that have trouble staying out of their mouths. (I also had a little too much fun with the new "Comic Book Theme" on Picmonkey. :D)

Obviously, parents are the best judges of what their kids can help with, that should go without saying. I'm just trying to be helpful.


Gluten and egg free, can be made dairy free with the substitution of vegan chocolate hazelnut spread. Little ones can mash the bananas and mix the up the batter.

Dairy, gluten, and refined sugar free, this can be mixed right in the mug it's cooked in, and kids can watch it rise in the microwave. (Note: the mug can be very hot right out of the microwave)

One bowl, egg free muffins that include kid-friendly cereal

Peanut butter, banana, oats, and applesauce make them good for breakfast. Sugar makes them cookies. (Gluten and dairy free)

A homemade graham cracker crust is filled with canned peaches (peach pie filling also works) and topped with crisp mix (Egg free)

Lunch and Dinner

Great for a quick meal or a snack when making a whole pot of pasta isn't feasible. Older kids can learn to do this by themselves, and it's way better than Easy Mac. (Note: the bowl will be very hot straight out of the microwave.)

Kids can mix up this 5 ingredient meatloaf with their hands (always a fun time), and then shape it for the muffin tins

It's pizza and a waffle all in one. Pancake mix makes the batter a breeze to put together, and using the waffle iron means it cooks fast. It's a meal in itself or a fun alternative to breadsticks. (Egg free)

I loved Uncrustables as a kid, and it never occurred to me that I could make my own. Kids can make their own flavor combinations, and use pastry cutters to cut them into fun shapes. Plus, they can be adapted for different dietary needs (gluten free bread, nut free butter, etc.)

Peanut Butter Blondies

If kids are willing to sacrifice their Halloween candy, they can help make these blondies. The batter takes a little extra arm strength to whip up, but they can handle it.

I have a friend who makes this chocolate cake with her toddler's help (she even subs in grated zucchini for some of the oil), and uses the opportunity to talk about science (baking soda plus vinegar equals SCIENCE) and shapes. My addition was to use toasted marshmallows instead of frosting. (Egg and dairy free, vegan without the marshmallows)

I got this recipe originally from my middle school home ec class. Melted butter and instant pudding mix make these brownies super simple, and my public school curriculum agrees this is a good recipe for kids to make.

This barely counts as a recipe, and even the littlest can get involved by adding sprinkles or chopped nuts before they go in the freezer. (Gluten and egg free, use dairy free chocolate hazelnut spread for vegan)

The hardest part is shredding the zucchini. Bonus, it's a good way to sneak in some veggies (vegan)