10 Easy Mom-Approved Recipes to Cook With Kids

chloecooking2_crop_sharpLooking for something to do with the kids over a long  holiday weekend? Cooking together encourages kids to try new foods, follow instructions, and learn math skills—plus it’s fun! We asked local mamas on our Facebook page to share their favorite recipes to cook with their kids to inspire you to get into the kitchen with your little ones. Have recipes that you want to share? join the conversation on Facebook and share your tips.

1. Greek Spinach Pie

“I love to make spanakopita, Greek spinach pie, with my daughter, just like my grandmother and mother taught me how to make it. We use my grandmother’s recipe, but this one on Lerios is similar.”Emily, mom of Chloe, 4, Astoria

2. Homemade Pancakes

“My Stand-By Pancakes… The recipe originally called for white flour and a tablespoon of sugar, but I’ve made it more healthy with little adverse effects on taste. The kids like it—albeit drenched with pancake syrup. It also works for waffles. —Victoria, mom to Tessa, 7, and Julian, 4, Jackson Heights

Recipe: Victoria’s Stand-By Pancakes

1½ cups instant oatmeal
2 cups milk
¾ cup whole wheat flour
2½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
2 eggs
¼ cup oil

Soak instant oatmeal in milk. In another bowl, sift together whole wheat flour, baking powder, and salt. Add dry ingredients to the oatmeal, and then mix in eggs and oil. Stir until blended. (You can also add anything else healthy—flaxseed, frozen blueberries, wheat germ.) Pour three tablespoons of batter into a frying pan coated with non-stick spray or butter and cook until golden.

3. Homemade Pizza

“My favorite thing to make with Zach is pizza with dough from Fresh Direct. He can play with the dough a little, roll it out, put the pizza sauce on it, and then make pizza faces with mozzarella, steamed broccoli, red pepper, pepperoni, olives, etc. I use not-too-cheap slow-cooked marinara sauce and, on our side of the pizza, Kalamata olives—that way the pizza also tastes good for the grown ups.” —Julia, mom to Zach, 5, and Anna, 7 months, Park Slope

“We make semi homemade pizza using a Boboli-style crust. It’s easy for them to help spread the cheese shreds and pepperoni, and they’re always excited about eating it.” —Erika, mom to Jackson, 7, and Wylie, 2, Jackson Heights 

4. Zucchini Nut Bread

“My favorite recipe to make with my son is my mom’s Zucchini Nut Bread. This recipe was passed down from generations and handwritten for me in a cookbook my mom gave me before she passed. She passed when I was 18 and never got to meet my son, so we make this bread a couple times a month, and my son loves to help. It helps us to honor her and keep her traditions as part of our lives. We also make extra to give out to family and neighbors and we love to see the happy look on everyone’s faces. Plus, my husband and son love it and there’s an actual vegetable as one of the main ingredients!” —Eryn, mom of John, 3, Astoria

Recipe: Eryn’s Zucchini Nut Bread

2 cups wheat flour
1 cup white flour
1½ tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. baking powder
3 eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp. vanilla
2 cups grated unpared (unskinned) zucchini
½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)

In a large bowl, place flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and baking powder and toss lightly with a fork to mix. In a medium bowl, beat eggs well, and gradually add sugar and oil, mixing well. Add vanilla and dry ingredients. Stir well and add zucchini and walnuts. Spread batter into two well-buttered metal loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 60 minutes until bread is done. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then remove from pan and place on rack to cool completely.

5. Carrot Creations

“Carrot juice and carrot cake or muffins. My boys are carrot crazy.” —Darleen, mom of  four boys, Richmond Hill

6. Peach and Blueberry Cobbler

“My favorite thing to make with the kids is Peach and Blueberry Cobbler. It can survive any number of catastrophes. It needs to have two kinds of fruit so each of my kids can each be in charge of one fruit. My two year old is very enthusiastic about washing things, and my four year old loves slicing peaches with a butter knife. I also don’t mind them sneaking bites of fruit when they think I’m not paying attention. The cobbler topping always turns out well despite the pool of milk on the floor and the flour covering everything else. There’s no pressure because fruit cobbler is dessert. We’re not depending on it for a meal and if it ever turns out badly—it never has—it could be doctored with ice cream or be quietly disposed of.” —Joan, mom of Malcolm, 4, and Clementine, 2, Woodside

Recipe: Joan’s Peach and Blueberry Cobbler

8 cups fruit
¾ cups sugar
Juice from half a lemon
Few tablespoons of cornstarch
Drop biscuit dough

Mixed all ingredients into a rectangular Pyrex baking pan. Then spoon drop biscuit dough on top. Bake at 375 degrees for about 50 minutes to an hour.

7. Juice

“I enjoy making juice with my daughter. Every day she helps me juice a green smoothie for the family with green apples, celery, cucumber, kale, lemon, and ginger. She loves to help me make it and then makes sure she says, ‘Cheers!’” —Ana, mom to Victoria, 32 months, Corona

8. Gluten-Free, Casein-Free Banana Pancakes

Gluten-Free, Casein-Free Banana Pancakes are our favorite recipe for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Bea has endless food sensitivities, so we have to come up with nutrient-dense food without dairy, gluten, sugar, soy, corn, eggs—the list is endless! This is one of the easiest to make and covers the food groups.” —Lisa, mom of Beatrice, 4, Jackson Heights

Recipe: Lisa’s Gluten-Free, Casein-Free Banana Pancakes

2 ripe bananas (or 1 steamed butternut squash)
3 tbsp. flax seeds
1 tsp. eggshell calcium
1½ to 2 cups gluten free oats
½ cup rice or tapioca flour
Chicken or beef stock (enough to create a pancake batter consistency)
Flax seed oil or ghee
Cinnamon
Maple syrup

Blend all ingredients. Cook on a hot griddle with ghee or coconut oil. They’re easiest to flip as silver-dollar size discs.

9. Pillsbury Dough Apple Pie

Pillsbury Dough Apple Pie because it doesn’t taste too sweet or too tart. It has just the right balance.”Lisa, mom of Nicole, 4, and Jennifer, 2, Queens

10. Sugar Cookies

” We get in the holiday spirit by baking decorating sugar cookies. They are easy to make and the kids have a blast creating all sorts of art on their baked cookies.” Leni, mom of Roxy and Max, Queens

Ellen Sturm Niz is an editor and writer working, parenting, and living in Jackson Heights. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Google+.

Photo: Xavier W. Niz