From Michelle Obama’s popular garden at the White House and ‘Let’s Move’ initiative to fight childhood obesity, to Jamie Oliver’s TV show “Food Revolution“, to Guy Fieri’s proposed legislation to recognize the 2nd Saturday of May as “Cook With Your Kids Day” in California, there seems to be a rising wave of genuine interest in teaching our children about where food comes from, eating healthier, and cooking at home.
With summer vacation fast approaching, Moms everywhere are busily reading up on summer camps and activities, juggling dates to plan summer vacations, and trying to figure out how to keep their children busy and engaged during summer vacation. With celebrity endorsements like those above, I feel in excellent company when I suggest that you look no further than your own kitchen – for at least a few hours a week!
Cooking doesn’t have to be a chore! For kids, preparing dinner can be fun and rewarding – and seeing your “Mini-me” beaming as they present their winning dish, I just bet you’ll feel a tinge of pride. And if you don’t cook, this could be your chance to learn along with your kids – what could be more precious?
When my daughter was younger – she’s now 18 years old and is the official “chief baker” in our family, I subscribed to Family Fun magazine which was packed with fun food ideas and kid-friendly recipes. One of the recipes I saved from 2001 😮 is their Crunchy Cornflake Chicken. It is simple, finger-lickin’ delicious, and has the necessary fun factor of smashing cornflakes for the coating 🙂 Give it a shot and let me know if cooking with your kids could become habit forming!
Crunchy Cornflake Chicken
Coated with a homemade “shake and bake” mix made from cornflakes and seasonings, this oven-baked chicken tastes as good as fried chicken – without all the fat! Kids love crushing the cornflakes and shaking the chicken pieces to coat them with topping.
3 cups cornflakes
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon ground sage
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup milk
2 1/2 pounds skinless, bone-in chicken breasts, wings, drumsticks, thighs
1. Heat the oven to 375º. To make the coating, pour the cornflakes into a sealable gallon-size plastic bag and use a rolling pin (or your palms) to crush the cereal. Open the bag and add the flour, paprika, onion powder, and sage. Shake salt and pepper (about 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of each, depending on your family’s taste) into the bag, reseal, and shake until well combined.
2. Pour the milk into a shallow bowl. Rinse the chicken pieces. Dip one piece in the milk, drop it in the bag of cornflake mix, and shake until the chicken is thoroughly coated. Place on a rimmed cookie sheet covered with aluminum foil (easier cleanup) lightly sprayed with canola oil. Repeat until all the pieces are coated. Discard any leftover coating, and wash your hands thoroughly after handling the raw chicken.
3. Bake for 50 minutes or until done. ♦
Serves 4 to 6.
♦ Kid’s Cooking Skills: An opportunity to teach kids how to season and bread chicken and how to test chicken for doneness.
TIP To test chicken for doneness, slice into the center of the thickest part of the piece down to the bone. It’s done if the meat juice is clear and the meat is no longer pink.
Shown served with our family favorite: Annie’s Cornbread and shiny, slightly sweet Glazed Carrots. Family Fun’s “Carrot Coins” recipe can be found on their website, but really, you don’t need a recipe, its so easy to make: peel and cut a pound of carrots, steam in a microwave safe container for 3 minutes, transfer to a skillet heated over med-high heat, sauté with one tablespoon butter and sprinkle a tablespoon of brown sugar. ♦
♦ Cooking Skills: an opportunity to teach your child how to peel and slice carrots, use a microwave, and make a glaze.