In an all-out effort to flatten the curve with the spread of the coronavirus, parents and children have been advised to stay home when possible. While schoolchildren rejoice at the thought of being away from school, parents groan in frustration, not knowing what else they can do to keep their kids busy.
How about some family bonding time through cooking and baking? Children love to be involved in group activities and the kitchen is full of curious things to play with. Cooking with your kids also educates them on healthy food choices and introduces them to food preparation, so that they may grow up to be independent adults.
Here are 5 easy recipes loved by parents and children alike.
Honey-glazed chicken wings
These sweet and sticky chicken wings are baked in the oven and are a less fatty alternative to fried wings. The honey marinade takes just minutes to prepare and is made with kitchen staples, so you don’t have to make the trip down to the supermarket.
Smaller wingettes and drumettes soak up the marinade better and they are well-suited to children’s hands. Get your kids to lay the marinated wings onto the oven baking sheet and brush the honey glaze on them before putting them in the oven.
Makes 4 servings
- 1 kg chicken drumettes and wingettes
- 3 tablespoon soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons honey
- Extra honey for glazing
- 1 clove of garlic, crushed
- pinch of salt
- Optional: sesame seeds and chopped spring onions to sprinkle
- Mix soy sauce, honey, garlic and salt into a large bowl. Add chicken wings and cover wings with the marinade thoroughly. Cover and leave for at least 2 hours, or overnight in the refrigerator.
- Preheat the oven to 230 degrees celsius. While waiting for the oven to preheat, lay the wings on an aluminium foil-lined baking sheet with about 2 inches of space between each wing. Brush on the honey glaze and pop the sheet into the oven.
- Bake for 10 minutes until the top of the wings is golden brown. Turn over the wings and brush on more glaze. Do not involve the kids in this as the oven is hot!
- Bake for another 10 minutes until both sides of the wings are golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Sprinkle sesame seeds and chopped spring onions before serving.
Mini beef burgers
Also known as sliders, these beef burgers are fun and easy to make. Your kids can help by shaping the beef patties. Use dinner rolls as mini burger buns, and add minced carrot or celery to the burger patties to get your kids eating their veggies!
Makes 6 to 8 burgers
For burger patties
- 180g of ground lean beef
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
- 1 teaspoon of thyme, dried or fresh
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/2 finely chopped white onion
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped carrot or celery
- Olive oil for cooking
- 1 head of butterhead lettuce, or the equivalent amount of any kind of leafy greens (arugula works well too!)
- 1 medium tomato, sliced thinly
- 6 to 8 slices of mild cheese, such as Gruyere or Gouda (optional)
- Caramelised onions or sliced pickles (optional)
- Tomato sauce and mustard (optional)
- In a large bowl, mix beef, salt, black pepper, thyme, onion and carrot or celery. Mix well with hands and shape the beef into round patties of about 3 inches wide.
- Heat a pan to medium heat and add cooking oil. Cook the patties at 3 minutes on each side, or longer if you want them well-done.
- When the patties are cooked, place a slice of cheese on each patty and cover the pan for 2 minutes on low heat, or until the cheese has melted. Skip this step if you don’t want cheese on your burgers.
- Remove from heat. Toast dinner rolls with a toaster or on a pan. Stack patties and toppings on to the sliced rolls. Mash the burger down lightly so it stands. Serve with tomato sauce and mustard.
The oval-shaped black beauty eggplant works best for this sumptuous side dish. Its wide shape means it can hold all the gooey cheesy goodness of the melted Parmesan. The stringy cheese bits make it fun a meal for the kids. If you are short on time, you can use store-bought tomato and basil pasta sauce as a sauce base.
Makes 4 to 6 servings
- 3 black beauty eggplants, sliced lengthwise into 1cm thick slices
- 200 grams of shredded parmesan cheese
For the sauce
- 1 28 oz can of chopped tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
- 1 large sprig of fresh basil (remove and finely chopped leaves)
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 large garlic clove
- Salt, sugar and black pepper to taste
- Olive oil for cooking
- Preheat the oven to 230-degree celsius. To make the sauce, fry onions and garlic on medium heat till soft and translucent. Add the dried oregano. Add chopped tomatoes and tomato paste.
- Simmer on low heat for 10 minutes. Add basil, salt and pepper to taste. Stir in a pinch of sugar to balance out the sour taste.
- Place the sliced eggplant on a foil-lined baking sheet. Brush with olive oil, top with salt and pepper.
- Place eggplant in the oven. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes on each side.
- Reduce oven temperature to 190 degrees celsius. Spread a generous amount of tomato sauce on the bottom of a casserole dish. Next, layer the eggplant slices and top with shredded parmesan. Repeat until the casserole dish is three-quarters full.
- Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes to 45 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly. Let cool and serve.
Tip: You can use the leftover sauce from this recipe to make wraps, as detailed in the following recipe.
Get your kids in on the action by arranging the ingredients on the tortilla wrap. Mix it up with any vegetable and leafy greens of your choice.
Makes 6 servings
- 3 semi-ripe avocados, deseeded and sliced into wedges
- 1 red and 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced thinly
- 1 medium red onion
- 1 Japanese cucumber, sliced into matchsticks
- 1 sprig of cilantro, chopped
- 1 large tomato, chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Tomato sauce as topping
- 4 to 6 tortilla wraps
- Optional: Cooked chicken breast, fried cubed tofu or feta cheese as extra fillings
- Warm up the tortilla wraps on low heat on a pan.
- Arrange the ingredients onto the wrap. Top with one to two teaspoons of tomato sauce. Do not overfill the wrap.
- Roll the ingredients up by folding in the sides first then wrap them up by rolling the tortilla wrap away from you.
Looking for a sweet treat but don’t want to overindulge with sugar-loaded cupcakes and sinful ice-creams? Make some moist banana cake with overripe bananas in a simple recipe with just 6 ingredients. You don’t even need a stand mixer. The sweetness of the bananas gives it pretty much all its flavour, so make sure they are overripe and good to go.
Get your kids to mash the banana and whisk the eggs. Do not skip any steps or you’ll end up with a sub-par result! The eggs must be room temperature and the butter must be softened but not melted into a liquid.
You can refrigerate these cakes for later consumption. Some say they taste even better cold.
Makes 4 to 6 servings
- 2 large overripe bananas
- 100 g of butter, softened
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 120 g self-raising flour (add 1 teaspoon of baking powder if using all-purpose flour)
- 100 g of powdered sugar
- Preheat the oven to 190-degree celsius. Grease an 8 to 9-inch cake tin with butter and line with baking paper.
- Mash overripe bananas in a bowl with a fork and set aside. Sift self-raising flour and baking powder.
- Whisk eggs until foamy. Add sugar and continue whisking hard for 1 to 2 minutes. The sugar and egg mixture should be a pale yellow colour with lots of small bubbles. Mix in bananas well with a spatula.
- Add half of the butter into the flour and baking powder mixture. Add the rest into egg and banana mixture. Don’t over mix the butter into both mixtures. Don’t worry if they appear lumpy – the lumps will melt into the batter during baking.
- Add the egg and banana mixture to the flour and baking powder. Fold gently with a spatula until well incorporated.
- Pour cake batter into the tin. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes on the middle rack of the oven. It is baked thoroughly when a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.