teaching kids to cook and instantly oatty

When a friend who works as Director of a local cooking school asked me to teach a class on cooking with kids, I thought it sounded like fun. When she asked if I’d bring my 10-year-old daughter on board to “assist,” the deal got even sweeter. I loved the idea of sharing deLizious with my kids.

In planning the class, I thought about foods that were winners with my girls as well as dishes they might have a hand in preparing. In the end, the menu featured one recipe for each mealtime (breakfast, lunch, supper) with the lunch dish able to play snack role as well.

First up: Fast Food-Style Chicken Tenders, seen here before at foodforfun. Next was Asian Noodle Bowl, made from cooked whole wheat spaghetti tossed with an Asian dressing (6 Tbsp orange juice, 3 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce, 1 Tbsp brown sugar, 1 1/2 tsp sesame oil, 3/4 tsp grated fresh gingerroot for 8 ounces dried pasta).

Students, ranging in age from 4ish to 10ish along with accompanying adults, took bowls of dressed noodles and tossed in favorite veggies from a colorful produce buffet that had been prepped before class. Whether tossing in snowpeas, broccoli, and bell pepper or just carrots (that would be my girl), kids were adding veggies they’d eat and making a (healthy) dish they were excited about. Besides this being a do-able lunch for school, it could also be packed as snack.

With supper and lunch/snack down, we moved on to breakfast. I’d found a fun recipe in ChopChop magazine (loving CC–a cooking mag for kids that keeps things simple without dumbing down) for DIY Instant Oats that struck me as brilliance. With all the other make-a-mixes out there, why not one for instant oats? True, old-fashioned rolled oats don’t take terribly long to cook: A hot bowl of steaming oats is never more than 20 minutes away and setting them up in a slow cooker the night before makes mornings even easier.

But how about this: Grind a cup of oats along with a handful of dried fruit, tablespoon or so of brown sugar, and small amounts of ground cinnamon and salt to powder in a blender or food processor, then add another 2 cups oats for a quick pulse. The result? A shelf-stable mix you combine 1:1 1/2 with boiling water (1/2 cup oat mixture to 3/4 cup water) for a quick-fix breakfast. It tastes way better than packaged with hearty, fresh, real flavors and has a great chew. The bowl of oats you want to fill your kid’s (or your own) tummy with in the morn? Just seconds away if you have this mix in your cupboard. And as with the noodle bowls, there was a topping buffet for this recipe, too: unsweetened baking cocoa, nuts, dried and fresh fruit, yogurt, nut butters, honey, maple syrup. (“Kid like choices, mom” was one sage bit of advice my daughter had given me as we planned this class.)

Class ended and we were on our way home before I realized I’d taken no photos. My mind had been on wanting the class to go well and not so much on capturing the food on camera. To rectify, I made myself a batch of DIY oats today, snapping photos as I went. I’d like to write that my daughters helped me, but reality had them working on homework and cleaning their room instead. But it’s good to know I have recipes to share for those times when we all have time to play together in the kitchen. And even if they didn’t have a hand in making this batch of DIY oats, they’ll be enjoying them for many breakfasts to come.

ingredients in the food processor, ready to rock

ready to rock

ground to a powder

ground to a powder

more oats added, pulsed

more oats added, pulsed

containered up, ready for action

containered up, ready for action

clockwise l to r dreamy instant oatmeal toppings: raspberries, cocoa powder, honey, mini 'mallows, almonds, maple syrup, chia seeds, coconut

dreamy instant oatmeal toppings clockwise l to r : raspberries, cocoa powder, honey, mini ‘mallows, almonds, maple syrup, milk, chia seeds, coconut

13 thoughts on “teaching kids to cook and instantly oatty

    • Thanks, Mary. It’s healthy stuff 🙂 My daughter convinced me to cut back on the ginger in class, but I left it as-is in the original recipe. Am thinking you’d like it with the 3/4 as you like fresh ginger, yes? I’m still in awe of the brilliant oat idea. Those ChopChop people are on their game!

  1. Oatmeal with chocolate and marshmallow topping sounds like the perfect breakfast to me! Think I’ll make up a batch of this instant oatmeal over the long weekend … anything that saves time and makes me less of a hot mess in the mornings is a good thing, and if it tastes amazing, so much the better! 🙂

    • I did mention toppings other than chocolate and marshmallows, amb, but I’m glad you picked up on those first 😉 I do indeed highly recommend making a batch to have on hand. Eating a bowl right now, in fact 🙂 Happy Monday and thanks for coming by!

    • Thanks, Elise. The next night I taught a similar class to my 10-year-old’s girl scout troop, and those photos are posted at deLiz facebook. Love that you play in the kitchen with your nieces. They have a very cool aunt!

    • easy peasy 🙂 I like that you can mix it up with whatever dried fruits you like best and also adjust the brown sugar amount. Thanks for coming by!

    • Thanks, Dave. Would love to have you over for a meal 🙂 You could meet my family (my daughters would adore you, I bet) and we could discuss physics 🙂 Sent you a facebook shoutout a while back asking if you had any layperson quantum physics book recommends. ??

      • That’s right. I forgot about that. Honestly, I try to avoid physics as much as possible (except when I’m tutoring people in it), so I don’t have any book recommendations, sorry 😦 I’ll let you know if I hear of one!

  2. Pingback: proving the pudding…is delish | food for fun

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