In the same way you should put them to use shucking corn in the summertime, kids can help save Thanksgiving. Really. There’s something to a child unveiling a pecan-pumpkin quick bread of fluffy bowls of mashed potatoes they have made themselves. Kid contribution in the kitchen offers them a chance at some well-deserved kudos. Your little helpers will also be more inclined to eat what they cook and offer to help next time. Win – win – win.
Sometimes it’s as simple as having them whisk, press a button on a gadget, or spoon a teaspoon of baking soda into a bowl. Bigger kids can do bigger tasks, perhaps even cautiously mincing veggies for stuffing using our amazing (no cut fingers!) veggie-chopping time-savers. Here are the recipes they’ll love (that won’t drive you bananas to make with them in tow), plus the products that will make the work a snap.
1. Pumpkin Loaf in a Pumpkin Pan
“Add egg, oil and water” are magical words for grownups. So it makes sense that kids would see their allure too, right? Easy baking mixes are the ABCs of cooking—and the gateway to traditional baking, if you will—for littles. Pumpkin loaf in a pumpkin pan is no exception. Employing our fantastic, pecan-laden, spiced pumpkin quick bread mix, two eggs, a stick of butter, and water, it’s just the thing for a kid to bake. Pour it into the ornate pan seen here, and it comes out looking (and tasting) like a million bucks.
One of those sometimes-makes-a-cameo-on-the-Thanksgiving-table (and everyone always exhales with joy), cornbread can be the MVP of the day. With a similarly simple mix as its base, it looks glorious plated any number of ways. But we’re especially partial to cooking it up in a pretty Staub skillet. (Little hands can do the whisking—and look how gorgeous this purple one is!)
3. Easy, Cheesy Macaroni
Speaking of whisking, if kids are old enough to do more than use a Snoopy spatula, big wooden spoon, or whisk, and can handle being near a heat source, there’s a whole new world available to them. Consider letting them help use those same tools near not-too-hot dishes like this luxe mac ‘n cheese. We wrote the directions specifically for big kids.
4. Classic Mashed Potatoes
In the same vein, potato mashers for making classic mashed potatoes sure are fun. Even better, in our opinion, are potato ricers, which create the fluffiest results. Bigger kids can (carefully!) handle either. If you’re having a garlicky mash, little kids can roll the garlic right out of its skin or wield the delightful garlic “rocker.”
5. Bacon, Mushroom and Sage “Stuffins”
Let big kids do the portioning and pressing portion of this cute “stuffin” activity, in which they can make tons of mini stuffing cups packed with bacon, mushrooms and sage. (Everyone’s favorite bit is the crispy bit, right?) Stuffing muffins emerge extra-awesome in our Goldtouch® Pro Nonstick Muffin Pan, which will ensure the muffins slip out of the pan without a hitch.
6. Rustic Cheesy Pinwheels
Skip the appetizers and expect a mutiny, especially if you have lots of ravenous tots floating about. Give kids their favorite “food groups”—cheese and pastry—via these charming cheddar pinwheels, which adults also love. They’re mercifully simple, with just three ingredients (including pre-made frozen puff pastry!) plus salt.
7. Baked Brie and Cranberry Relish Puff Pastry Bites
Give the mini muffin pan a workout this Thanksgiving season! Its petite volume is just the thing for not denting appetites overmuch before the main event. Tykes love helping make and helping eat these wonderful cranberry-and-Brie puff pastry bites, redolent of honey and rosemary. They’re as delicious as they are beautiful.
8. Green Bean Bundles With Bacon and Brown Sugar
Much as egg-oil-and-water mixes can charm young bakers, more elegant dishes can cement a love of cooking in older kids. Enter: this stunning, fabulous side dish of green bean-bacon bundles sparkling with brown sugar. They’ll learn how to wield a nonstick frying pan with skill, how to roast, and how to impress the heck out of guests!