They say that many hands make light work, and when it comes to holiday cooking, we’d like the work to be as light as possible. However, sometimes having extra hands in the kitchen can be extra work, especially if those hands are attached to young cooks who are still honing their skills.
We still believe that there are plenty of ways kids can help cook for the upcoming holidays. Below are some of our favorite Thanksgiving side dishes that everyone in the family can help prepare.
This year, let kids pick out one of these recipes and make it for the big meal. It might not make the work as light, but if kids start cooking now, in a few years, they’ll be able to make these dishes on their own. And that’s something to be thankful for.
This soup is a fall favorite. We don’t usually recommend using vegetables that are pre-cut, but for butternut squash, we make an exception: winter squash can be hard to peel and cut, and ready-to-use squash is available in many grocery stores. Plus it will be much easier for kids to cook if this step is done. Young kids can help count, measure, and blend. Older kids can help at the stove. (No squash? No problem. We have a Carrot Apple Soup, too.)
This is a classic fall treat. We’ve found that kids really love the mashing step in applesauce. (It’s fun and can get a little messy.) A potato masher works perfectly for this and is a safe tool for young kids. Applesauce is great for a dessert or a side with your main dishes. Use leftovers to top yogurt or pack with lunch.
Sweet potatoes are a great fall side dish that basically has four steps: poke, bake, mash, eat. There’s a lot of fork-poking required for this, which is a fun task for kids. You can also make mashed sweet potatoes and let kids take a turn with a potato masher, but there’s enough to do with the baked potatoes to make it a fun family recipe.
Over the years, we have found time and time again that when kids take part in cooking a meal, they are more excited about it and more willing to try new foods, even vegetables they don’t usually like. Use that to your advantage for dinners all year ‘round but especially during the holidays. Older kids can practice knife skills by cutting up vegetables. Younger kids can help mix the vegetables and spices and lay them on a tray before roasting.
This pie-in-a-glass is a great alternative to making a pie if you’re cooking with young kids. They can help measure and throw everything in the blender. We’ve found that some kids really like pushing the button and watching the blender and others shy away from the noise. Either way, there are lots of ways to help and the whole recipe takes 10 minutes. (Try this Apple Pie Smoothie, too.)
Since your oven will be filled with turkey and side dishes, these no-bake cookies don’t need too much space or oven time and are a great way for kids to contribute to dessert. The cookies will need some room in the fridge, so keep that in mind when planning.
We hope these recipes will get you and your family cooking together this fall. These are just a few of the great recipes we have. For more inspiration, take a look at our Recipes page. It’s filled with recipes from our ChopChop Magazine that kids can make and enjoy. Share your ChopChop creations on social media and be sure to tag us in the posts or email us at [email protected].