5 Summer Recipes to Get Your Kids Interested in Cooking

5 Summer Recipes To Get Your Kids Interested in CookingAs a mom, I really enjoy seeing my boys’ little personalities emerge more and more every day. My oldest, Jake, is at that age where he loves to question everything and soaks up learning something new every chance he gets. While I love watching their different interests develop, selfishly I get a little giddy when they take an interest in something that I love. Come on, I know you’ve felt this too!

One thing I love to do in my spare time (because I have so much of it) is cooking and experimenting with recipes. Along with being inquisitive, Jake also loves to help out with projects and chores around the house – cooking included! Being a self-proclaimed foodie, I’ll admit that I like to try complicated recipes and often times am not satisfied with basic or repetitive meals. BUT, now that Jake is loving to help out in the kitchen, I love going back to the basics to introduce him to cooking!

Here are five simple, fun, beat-the-heat summer recipes to try with your kids. Not only will it nurture their curiosity in learning about cooking, but they are great for keeping them occupied this summer!

Grilled Pizza

Skip turning on the stove for this classic, fun family meal and turn on the grill instead. Almost any pizza dough can be taken out to the grill rather than baked in the oven. I love making my own pizza crust, but when life gets crazy you can buy a refrigerated pizza dough at almost any grocery store.

Homemade Pizza Dough or Store Bought Refrigerated Dough
Sauce (tomato, white, pesto, etc…)
Cheese (mozzarella, parmesan, etc…)
Desired toppings (meat, veggies, etc…)

Roll out the pizza dough as you normally would, to your desired size. Rather than putting it on a pizza pan or stone to go in the oven, place it on a low to medium heated, greased grill. Let one side of the crust grill until it’s cooked and has grill marks. Remove it from the grill and spread pizza sauce, cheese and your desired toppings on the cooked side of the crust. Place the pizza back on the grill, until the cheese is melty and crust is cooked.

WHAT MAKES IT INTERACTIVE FOR THE KIDS

You can make mini pizzas, and put out all sorts of toppings for the kids to make their own pizza! Some suggestions are pepperoni, sausage, crumbled bacon, sauteed onions, sweet peppers, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, tomato sauce, alfredo/white sauce, and any other toppings your kids may be interested in. You could even get wacky and pull out some not-so-traditional toppings and let the kids experiment with food combinations to figure out for themselves what tastes good and what doesn’t!

Smoothies

We have some smoothie-lovin’ kids in this house, let me tell you. And often times it’s the only way I can get them to eat their fruit! At least twice a week we make smoothies for a dinner accompaniment or for breakfast. This smoothie recipe is delicious, easy, and healthy!

1 can full-fat coconut milk
2 cups frozen fruit (a favorite of ours is a mixture of strawberries and peaches)
1 TBLS honey (or other sweetener)
1 tsp cinnamon
Pineapple Juice (juice from canned pineapple in 100% pineapple juice)

Place the coconut milk, fruit, honey, and cinnamon in a blender. Blend until it starts to come together. It will be very thick at this point. Slowly add enough pineapple juice to get your desired thickness. And that’s it!

WHAT MAKES IT INTERACTIVE FOR THE KIDS

Have the kids place the ingredients in the blender for you. The kids also love picking which fruit to use. We usually keep a variety of frozen fruit to pick from. If your kids are ok with the loud sound of the blender, they will love to see the smoothie ingredients swirling around!

Sun Tea

One thing I vividly remember from growing up is my mom making sun tea during the summer. It was so fun to watch the tea get darker and darker as the warmth from the sun increasingly heated the water and steeped the tea. It’s so easy to make and is a refreshing summer drink! We recently made this with Peach Passion Fruit tea, and it was so good. We like our tea unsweetened, (I know, blasphemy in the South!) but feel free to add as much sweetener to taste as you like!

6–8 tea bags
optional sweetener of your choice

Fill a glass container or pitcher with water. Be sure to measure how much water you put in because you will add 1 tea bag for every 1 cup of water. Add your tea bags, and be sure to immerse them in the water. If using a glass container with a lid, place the lid on. If using a glass pitcher, cover tightly with plastic wrap. Place the container outside on a table or surface that won’t be bothered, and will get direct sunlight for at least 2 hours. Let the tea steep to your desired darkness (2-3 hours in direct sunlight should do it). Just like making tea inside, the longer the tea bags are steeped, the deeper the flavor. If you are using a sweetener, be sure to add it once the tea is done, but before you put it in the refrigerator. The sweetener will dissolve better when the tea is warm. Refrigerate until cold and enjoy!

WHAT MAKES IT INTERACTIVE FOR THE KIDS

If you have a variety of teas, let the kids pick which ones to use! Try out different combos and make notes of what you like and don’t like. Also, try out different sweeteners. Sugar, honey, and agave nectar are all good options that provide different flavors to the tea as well as sweetening it.

Sugar Cookies

Your favorite sugar cookie recipe or store bought sugar cookie dough
Frosting, sprinkles, food coloring, nuts, candies, and any other desired toppings

WHAT MAKES IT INTERACTIVE FOR THE KIDS

This sounds plain, but make it into a fun summer art project! Either make homemade sugar cookies or buy refrigerated cookie dough. Let the kids cut them into fun shapes. Once they are baked, cover your table with wax paper or aluminum foil and let the kids go crazy decorating! They will be so proud of their work, and it’s fun to see them pick which one to eat and how they remember each one they so meticulously decorated!

Trail Mix

This makes a great take-along snack for the kids during the summer! Experiment with ingredients and make note of your favorite combos!

Dried Fruit (cranberries, raisins, pineapple, apple, apricots, bananas, etc…)
Nuts (almonds, peanuts, pecans, hazelnuts, etc…)
Candy (chocolate chips, m&ms, or other small candies)
Crunchy Carb (pretzels, cereal, small crackers, etc…)

Mix your chosen ingredients together in plastic bags, and you’ve got an instant, fun snack!

WHAT MAKES IT INTERACTIVE FOR THE KIDS

Give the kids their own plastic bag and put the ingredients out on the table. Let them pick which ingredients they want in their trail mix, and encourage them to try different combinations! They can taste along the way to figure out what they like and don’t like – this is also a fun way to introduce them to foods and flavors they may have never tried before.

Happy eating and creating! What are your favorite interactive, kid-friendly summer recipes?

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3 Responses to 5 Summer Recipes to Get Your Kids Interested in Cooking

  1. Jennifer
    Jennifer August 4, 2016 at 9:05 am #

    Such fun ideas! I don’t know why I haven’t made sun tea before… my parents made it too and it was so fun to watch it happen!

    • Ashley August 6, 2016 at 10:01 pm #

      LOVE sun tea, but like you, I never make it. I only get to drink it at my parents’ house. I’ll have to remedy that. : )

  2. Ashley August 6, 2016 at 10:00 pm #

    We LOVE making smoothies and pizza. Great idea for trail mix! That’s a fun, easy one that I never would have thought of!