Kids consider cooking as playtime in the kitchen. They are a joy to work with because they remind you of when cooking was fun, not a chore. The younger the child, the less complicated the recipe should be. Of course, always supervise children when using knives or around the stove or oven.
Most kids love pudding and they like individual servings rather than sharing from a big bowl. Help them mix up a batch of your favorite custard. An easy recipe is 1 cup of half and half, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 tsp. of vanilla and two eggs. Beat well with a whisk in a big bowl so any splashes stay inside and not on the kitchen counter. Pour the mixture into a cup with a spout. Wash off small pumpkins, one for each serving. Scoop out the seeds. Kids either love getting that stringy, goopy, seedy mess out of the pumpkin or hate it.
Place the hollowed-out pumpkins in a roasting pan filled with 1 inch of water. Fill the pumpkins with the custard mixture. If the child misses the pumpkin and gets a bit of the filling in the water, it's not a big deal. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes.
Roasted Fall Vegetables
Have the children scrub a variety of fall vegetables that are all about the same size. Use a rough kitchen sponge or a scrub brush--only used for food. If the scrubbing is thorough, and the vegetables fresh, you don't have to peel the vegeatables. Good choices are carrots, potatoes, beets, turnips, parsnips and rutabagas. Drizzle with olive oil. Drizzle the oil yourself to avoid an excess in the pan. Have the children toss the vegetables with their hands to coat the vegetables with the oil. Bake at 350 degrees F until the vegetables are soft. Most children like roasted vegetables because roasting concentrates the sugars and makes the vegetables sweeter. All the vegetables mentioned, with the exception of potatoes and rutabagas, are on the sweet side to begin with.
Bread is not difficult to make, it just seems that way because of all the mumbo jumbo terminology. Kids like it because they can manipulate the dough by kneading it. It's a good cooking lesson because the bread will most likely turn out well. The only tricky part is making sure the yeast is still alive to raise the bread. All you have to do is put the yeast in a cup of warm water with a 1/2 tsp. of sugar and stir. The yeast will start to bubble up and foam in less than five minutes. If it does, you know it's still alive and good to use. Bread sticks are fun because he child can roll the dough with the palms of their hands like making a clay snake. Add a harvest touch to the bread by incorporating diced apples, raisins, cinnamon and nuts in the bread