Cooking Tasks for Kids on Thanksgiving

During the hustle and bustle of preparing the Thanksgiving meal, letting the kids in the kitchen to “help” may be the last thing you want to do. But if you plan ahead and select age-appropriate tasks, helping in the kitchen can mean a feast of benefits. Besides learning cooking skills, including math and fine motor skills, engaging kids in the kitchen, especially during the holidays, is a chance to include your child in multigenerational fun and make them a part of the festivities.

FoodNetwork.com shared with us a great, age-appropriate guide to things the kids can do that will really help out with the Thanksgiving meal. Just think of the pride they’ll feel as everyone ooo’s and ahhh’s over their tasty work. Just don’t let the learning opportunities end with Thanksgiving Day. Find ways to encourage their culinary interests throughout the year.

Click HERE for age-level suggestions for how the kids can help.

Foodnetwork.com

Smashing and mashing potatoes for Thanksgiving is an ideal task for 3-5 year-olds. Read FoodNetwork.com’s other tips for age-appropriate tasks in the kitchen. Photo courtesy FoodNetwork.com.

As a bonus, here’s a tasty-sounding recipe for Apple Pie With Cheddar Cheese Crust from the “How To Get  The Kids Involved” gallery.

 

FoodNetwork.com

The best of two worlds, in one dessert that kids ages 8-10 can help make. It’s Apple Pie with Cheddar Cheese Crust. Photo courtesy FoodNetwork.com

 

 

 

No Fooling! 3 Thanksgiving Side Dishes in One

Every April Fool’s, there are always a bunch of recipes meant to trick people into thinking what looks like dessert is really an entree. Take, for instance, a thick slab of meatloaf, topped with mashed potatoes meant to look like a brownie with whipped cream. Or the hamburger that’s really a cake. Funny stuff! That was the first thing I thought when I saw this clever recipe. It’s totally practical and quite impressive as a way to serve three side dishes together. But it’s also a hoot because it looks like a cake, with frosting and a pretty glaze. Involve the kids in making this dish. They’ll have fun freaking out Aunt Mary!

FoodNetwork.com has some great Thanksgiving recipes and tips. Check out the recipe below for Stuffing in a Bundt Pan! Watch the video for a hunger-inducing tutorial.

Prep Time:45 min               Cook Time:30 min

Stuffing in a Bundt Pan from FoodNetwork.com.

Stuffing in a Bundt Pan from FoodNetwork.com.

Level: Easy                           Serves: 8 to 12 servings

Ingredients
Stuffing:
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups minced yellow onion
1 cup minced carrots
1 cup minced celery
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Pinch red pepper flakes
1 1/2 pounds loose sausage
Three 6-ounce boxes stove top stuffing
Chicken stock, as needed per stuffing directions
Cooking spray
3 eggs, lightly beaten with salt and pepper

Creamy Mashed Potatoes:
4 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
Kosher salt
3 cups heavy cream, heated
Freshly ground pepper
2 to 3 tablespoons butter

Cranberry Sauce:
One 8-ounce frozen package cranberries, thawed
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 orange, zested and juiced
Kosher salt
Fried onions, for garnish
Chopped chives, for garnish
Prepared gravy, for serving

Directions
For the stuffing: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Add the butter to a large saute pan and allow to melt over medium heat. Once melted, add the onions, carrots and celery. Season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes and stir to combine. Allow the vegetables to saute until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the sausage, sprinkle again with salt and pepper and break up the sausage with a wooden spoon while it browns, 7 to 10 minutes. Once the sausage is cooked through, turn off the heat.

While the sausage is cooking, prepare the stove top stuffing according to package directions. Turn off the heat and set aside to cool slightly.

Spray a bundt pan with cooking spray and set aside.

Add the stuffing to a large bowl. Add the sauteed veg and the lightly beaten eggs to the stuffing and toss to combine. Evenly pour the stuffing into the prepared pan and press down.

Bake until browned on top, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool briefly.

For the creamy mashed potatoes: Add the potatoes to a pot and cover with water. Season with salt and turn the heat to high. Once the potatoes come to a boil, cook until fork tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and pass the potatoes through a potato ricer into a bowl. Stir in some of the heated cream until the consistency is thick, creamy and pourable, adding cream as needed. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the butter.

For the cranberry sauce: Add the cranberries, sugar, orange zest and orange juice to a saucepan. Turn the heat to medium and cook until the cranberries have burst and the sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. Season with salt, remove from the heat, strain and set aside.

To serve: Loosen the stuffing from the sides of the pan with a butter knife. Top the pan with a cake stand and flip to invert. Remove the pan. Garnish with the creamy mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, fried onions and chives. Slice, plate and drizzle with gravy.

For more Thanksgiving recipes and tips, visit FoodNetwork.com!

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Halloween-Themed Recipes By Edan Goode

The treats of Halloween don’t have to be limited to what you hand out at the front door. Make these fun cupcakes from FoodNetwork.com for upcoming Halloween parties or just for fun.

Wicked Cupcakes photo provided by FoodNetwork.com.
Wicked Cupcakes photo provided by FoodNetwork.com.

Wicked Cupcakes

Prep Time: 45 min.
Inactive Pre Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 25 min.
Level: Intermediate
Serves: 12 cupcakes, 2 cups frosting

Ingredients
Cupcakes:

1 1/2 ounces fine-quality semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup prune juice
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoons salt
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1/3 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Frosting:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup peanut butter (smooth or chunky)
4-ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 drop food coloring (green), optional
Chocolate wafer cookies
Licorice strips
Toasted coconut
Small candies

Special equipment: 12 (1/2-cup) muffin cups with paper liners.

Directions:
For the cupcakes: Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 300 degrees F. Set liners in muffin cups.

Put the chocolate and prune juice in a microwave safe bowl. Heat in the microwave on low power, stirring occasionally, until completely melted.

Whisk the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. In another bowl, beat the egg and yolk with an electric hand mixer at high speed until slightly thick and lemon colored, about 3 minutes. Slowly add buttermilk, oil, vanilla, and melted chocolate mixture to eggs, beating until thoroughly combined. Add the flour mixture and beat until just combined.

Divide the batter among muffin tins, filling them 1/2 of the way. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean and the tops spring back when pressed gently, about 25 minutes. Cool the cupcakes in the tin on a rack for 10 minutes then remove from the tin and cool completely.

For the frosting: Beat the butter, peanut butter, and cream cheese in a large bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar and milk mixing until the frosting is smooth. Add food coloring as desired. Refrigerate the frosting until firm.

To decorate the cakes: For the witches hat, score a circle in the middle of a cupcake. Cut a deep cone-like shape with a knife held at an angle. Rotate the cupcake to complete the circle and remove the center. Repeat with all the cupcakes. Generously scoop or pipe enough frosting into the center of each cupcake to fill the hole and to come over the cake to make a face. Top with a chocolate wafer cookie. Put a dot of frosting in the middle of the wafer cookie and invert the cone-shaped piece of cake on top to make a witches hat. Use skinny licorice, toasted coconut or cereal flakes for hair and candies for eyes and/or nose. Refrigerate for up to 30 minutes before serving.

Visit FoodNetwork.com for more fun Halloween-themed recipes.

Come! E.A.T. with us! 

Twitter: @CoParentEATblog

Facebook: www.facebook.com/COParentEATblog

Read our “big sister” blog of news and reviews
of restaurants, theater, movies and travel:
www.InGoodTasteDenver.com.

Email: ingoodtastedenver@gmail.com