Saturday, March 31, 2012

Little Easter Eggs Hiding in the Grass...

All righty... the Easter Bunny is just around the corner and the blessed day of Easter is fast approaching!

If there's a lot of cooking going on at your house during this Holy week, the kids are going to want to help and you're going to want to keep it simple. So let them stir this up and be a part of the celebration.

Oh... I forgot to tell you... this is a pudding ice cream dessert... might be nice if you knew what the kids are going to be stirring up!

Here's what you'll need:
1 4-serving-size package instant chocolate pudding
2 cups milk (make sure the milk is extra cold!)
1 pint mint chocolate chip ice cream, softened
1 cup miniature marshmallows... get the pastel ones so they look like Easter eggs!
Flake Coconut (optional)
Green food coloring (optional)
8x8x2-inch pan

Measure out the ice cream and put it on the counter to soften.

Place the pudding mix in a large bowl and let the kids stir, stir, stir until the pudding begins to set up. Now add the softened ice cream. Teach the kids how to "fold in" on this one... yes,they will simply stir it! The end result will be the same... :-)

Put the pudding mixture in the pan. If you want to get fancy, using a little jar, place some coconut in the jar and a drop or two or green food coloring. Let the kids shake, shake, shake the jar and they will have green Easter grass! Voila!

Sprinkle the "green coconut" on top of the pudding and then sprinkle the marshmallows on top. It looks like little Easter eggs hiding in the grass!

Now pop this creation into the freezer. When serving, let it stand for about 15 minutes before cutting into squares. The kids are gonna love it!

Get Kids Cooking!
Jan McCracken, Culinary Coach for Kids

Thursday, March 22, 2012

It's National Chocolate Week... Chocolate Lava Muffins!

Hey all my little foodies... I know Spring is here and we'll be doing some really fun things for Spring... however, it's National Chocolate Week and we can't pass up an opportunity like this to INDULGE, now can we? 

So let's celebrate!

Here's an easy little chocolate delight that I think you're going to love, love, love... It's like those ooey gooey chocolate lava cakes but it's muffins! So here we go to Chocolate-Land!

Chocolate Lava Muffins

Here’s what you’ll need…
8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
1 stick butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
Aluminum foil cupcake liners
Ice Cream (optional) 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
Melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave. Stir in vanilla.

Use a large mixing bowl and combine sugar, flour and salt. Then sift these dry ingredients into the chocolate. Mix well with electric hand mixer with an adult helper.

Add eggs one at time. Beat at high until batter... let the adult helper do this and you watch as the batter changes... it will get creamy and lightens in color (mix about 4 minutes). Chill mixture.

Spoon mixture into pan using a scoop. Bake for 10 to 11 minutes. Outsides should be cake-like and centers should be gooey.

If you want this dessert to be over the top, then serve it warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side OR take the cupcake liner off and put the lava muffin in a big bowl and put the ice cream on top. YUMMY!

Happy Cooking with Kids in the Kitchen,
Jan McCracken, Culinary Chef

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Spring is Coming!

Are you counting the days until Spring is really here? I am because that means you'll find me in the garden... I love gardening!

Come back and check in often because I've got some really fun things for the kids to have their own little gardens. If you live in the city, no worries... we'll do some "windowsill gardening!" It's important that kids know "where their food comes from"... and, I don't mean the grocery store!

Just wanted to give you a heads up as to what's coming for Spring.  It's going to be an exciting Spring!

Meanwhile, keep those kids in the kitchen cooking up a storm :-)
Happy Cooking,
Jan McCracken, Culinary Coach

Saturday, March 17, 2012

St. Patrick's Day Sea Foam Punch!

Top 'O the Mornin' to all of my little foodies on St. Patrick's Day! With a name like McCracken, I just gotta give you something GREEN to drink today :-)

This would be a special treat... it's GREEN and it's foamy... FUN for St. Patrick's Day!

Here's what you'll need:
1 package of lemon-lime Kool-Aid
1 cup sugar
4 cups milk
1 (17-ounce) bottle of lemon-lime soda (chilled)
1 pint vanilla ice cream

Something else FUN for this punch... do you have one of those plastic "black pots" from Halloween? You can use it for St. Paddy's Day too... instead of a "cauldron" today it's a Pot of Gold... :-)

Okay, let's mix it up! You can mix this all together right in your punch bowl... First, dissolve the Kool-Aid and sugar in the milk. Stir it until it's all dissolved.

Add the cold soda and stir it in. And now for the fun part... Use an ice cream scoop and float scoops of vanilla ice cream in the punch.

Yummmy green stuff!
Happy St. Patrick's Day,
Jan McCracken with the KidsCooking411

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Rice Krispie Treats Gone GREEN!

It's easy being GREEN... especially on St. Patrick's Day! Rice Krispie Treats have been a long standing fave so let's put a little Irish in 'em!

Head the kids to the kitchen and grab your heart shaped cookie cutters... yep, stick 'em together and they make shamrocks... Voila!

Here's what you need and a look at the pic should put you in busy and all of sudden all of those little eyes are Irish and they be smilin' :-)... When Irish are smilin'... la la la ... Here  ya' go...
1/4  cup butter
1 (10-ounce) package marshmallows
1 (2-ounce) jar green sugar candy sprinkles
6 cups Rice Krispies

The adult helper needs to do this part please: In a large saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add the marshmallows and continue to stir until the marshmallows have completely melted. (Depending on the age of the child (or children) that you’re cooking with, they do love to STIR!)

Add the green sprinkles, stir well. Remove from heat.

Stir in the Rice Krispies cereal coating them well with the melted marshmallow mixture.

Using a buttered or silicone spatula, press the mixture evenly into a 13 x 9 x 2 inch pan which has been buttered or sprayed with non-stick spray or lined with wax paper.

Note:  The kids love doing this with little “buttered hands”… just make sure the mixture is not too hot to burn their hands! You can spread it with the spatula in the pan while it’s hot and then let them press the mixture down with their little hands! FUN!

When the mixture cools to touch, turn out on a cutting board and cut into heart shapes. Let the kids stick ‘em together and add a stick! Note:  You can use Popsicle sticks, chopsticks from the dollar store or the paper ones from the bakery aisle. The stick size you will need to hold it will depend on the size of your cookie cutter!

Happy Cooking with Kids!
Jan McCracken, Culinary Coach

Monday, March 5, 2012

Shake it Up GREEN!

Everyone claims to be a "bit" Irish on St. Patrick's Day!

This quick and easy recipe to celebrate the "Wearin' of the Green" can be a "to go" fun thing for the kids with your play groups, pre-school kids or even an after school enrichment program for the younger kids.

Here's what you'll need:
Instant Pistachio Pudding
Milk (very cold)
Zippy plastic bags (sandwich size works!)

So each child is "in charge" of their preparation, you might want to dump the pudding into a small plastic bowl (or large, depending on the numbers you're working with). Have several measuring spoons that are equal to 1 Tablespoon measurement.

Go to each child and have them measure out their pudding and dump it into their plastic bag. Since they're in charge and you're the "adult helper"... ask the kids to take both of their hands and hold the bag open for you so you can dump their milk into the bag... here's the easy recipe and then back for the real fun!

1 Tablespoon Pistachio Pudding Mix
1/2 cup milk

Make sure the milk is extra cold (pop it in the freezer for a little while)... it will make the pudding set up really quickly.

Have an adult help each child make sure their zippy bag is closed tightly. Now for the fun... each child shakes the bags, turns them and can gently squeeze them until the pudding is mixed.

You can even do this outside at the park! If you want to make super sure that the pudding is totally set up you could take a small cooler of ice along and have each child put their name on their zippy bag. If you're in a classroom setting... you can use the refrigerator.

Make the "Green Pudding" the activity and then chill it and it can be saved for snack time. Whatever you decide to do... have fun! The kids love doing this... just remember... St. Patrick's Day is a day for the "wearin' of the green"... but I didn't say the kids should "wear" this green pudding!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Getting Kids into the Kitchen,
Jan McCracken, Culinary Coach