Okay, so it’s Part 1 – maybe I should start with breakfast, right? But I discovered these great dinners that kids of all (well, most) ages can make by themselves, so I thought, hey, why not start there? This is a great way to get the kids to live the Gourmet Dad life… give them freedom in the kitchen! All recipes in this series are no-oven-required – which means minimal supervision from mom or dad and the opportunity for the kids to really take on a challenge. I know when my kids feel I’m ready and willing for them to take over on a project, it boosts their confidence. True, the kitchen may be a mess when they’re finished, but the good feeling they’ll gain is well worth it – well, unless they manage to get everything on the ceiling, too! They’ve done an awesome job cooking for Tori and me before.
Peanut Noodles with Chicken
- 1 package thin rice noodles or sticks (you can find these at Asian markets or in the “Asian/Ethnic” aisle of your local grocery store)
- 1 rotisserie chicken (buy this ready-made and bypass any cooking or oven-supervision!)
- 1 carrot
- 1 seedless cucumber
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
Place the noodles in a large bowl and cover with hot tap water. Let soak until soft, 25 to 30 minutes. Drain in a large strainer.
While the noodles are soaking, shred the chicken meat, discarding the skin and bones. Use a vegetable peeler to make long strips of carrot and cucumber.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, soy sauce, and 6 tablespoons water until smooth.
Divide the noodles, chicken, carrot, and cucumber among 4 bowls. Drizzle with the dressing. Enjoy!
Pinto Bean and Cheese Tacos
- 1 can pinto beans, rinsed
- 3/4 cup salsa (medium, mild or hot, whatever you like!)
- 1 heart of romaine or other greens
- 8 taco shells
- 1 cup shredded cheese
- 1 cup corn kernels (optional)
Combine the beans and ½ cup of the salsa. Microwave on high until hot, 1 to 2 minutes.
Tear the greens into bite-size pieces.
Divide the bean mixture among the taco shells and top with the lettuce, cheese, and remaining ¼ cup of salsa.
Shrimp, Artichoke, Olive Salad
- 8 ounces peeled, cooked and medium shrimp
- 2 heads lettuce or other greens
- 12 ounces cherry tomatoes
- 1 jar artichoke hearts, drained
- 1 can pitted black olives, drained
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup chili sauce (optional, depending on how hot you like it)
Place the shrimp in a colander or large strainer and run under cold water until thawed. Let drain.
Tear the greens into bite-size pieces. Divide the lettuce, shrimp, tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and olives among 4 bowls.
In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise and chili sauce until smooth. Drizzle over the salad.
What no-oven-required meals do you let your kids help with?