Cooking for Kids

Fruity-licious Fun


Fruit & Jell-O Salad Fruit & Cheese Kabobs Fruit Salad
Ambrosia Salad Fruity Waldorf Salad Baked Apples

Easter Bunny Salad




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 Baked Apples

A simple but classy desert that just about everyone loves!   You can lighten the recipe up by using reduced fat margarine, and by substituting the new Splenda Brown Sugar for regular brown sugar (it mixes half sugar and Splenda, with all the brown sugar richness).

You'll need:

6 apples

3/4 brown sugar

3 tsp cinnamon

6 tablespoons butter

To start, preheat the oven to 350 F.  If you have an apple coring tool, use this to remove the center of the apple, leaving it whole.  Or you could just roughly cut it out with a knife.  Then let the children pack each apple with about 1 tablespoon of butter and 2 tablespoons of brown sugar.    (You can cut the butter into 1 tbsp pats and let them use measuring spoons to scoop the sugar.  Don't worry, it doesn't have to be precise!)

You can either sprinkle the cinnamon over the apples just before baking, or premix it into the sugar before the kids stuff the apples.  Or both!

Now place all the apples together in the baking dish (the kids can work on wax paper or small plates).  And bake for 15 minutes.   (If your apples are extra large they will need extra cooking time.)







Fruit & Cheese Kabobs

This is a simple "cooking" activity that kids love to eat as much as they love making it.   You'll need:

cheese cubes
green seedless grapes
cantaloupe chunks
small wooden or plastic skewers (about 6 to 8 inches long)

You can vary the fruit a bit, but it must be cut into thick enough slices or chunks that it will stay on the kabob stick after being skewered.  Crispy tart fruit like apples and grapes make a better complement to the cheese than soft bananas -- but whatever the kids would like to eat is fine.

The important thing in making the kabobs is that the sharp tips of the skewers be snipped off with kitchen shears so that there is no chance of children impaling themselves with the skewers.  For safety, don't give preschoolers more than one skewer to work with at a time and monitor them at all times.   Even a trimmed skewer can cause injury to eyes, lips, nose, etc.   So be sure to go over the rules about "no poking".

Have the children thread the fruit chunks onto the skewers (older kids can also help cut the fruit with plain table knives).  Let them fill up the whole skewer, alternating the fruit and cheese. You may want to have them work on patterns with this activity:  

cheese cube/grape/cantaloupe/cheese cube/grape/cantaloupe...






Fruit Salad

Fruit salad is one of those things that some people find easy and others find hard.  Which fruits should you use?  Which ones shouldn't be used together?  How big should I cut the pieces, and so on.

But with a few simple guidelines anyone can make a tasty fruit salad.  The most important thing is to select good quality ripe fruit.  If the fruit is under-ripe, or bruised and over-ripe, the result will not be as good. 

Next, cut the fruit into bite sized slices or chunks.   Of course when kids are doing the cutting, they will need to see some examples of appropriate sized pieces.  (Note that preschoolers can cut with plastic knives (disposable picnic-ware) and older children can use ordinary table knives if not too sharp).  Note that very young children can best cut bananas, and if an adult quarters the apples, removes the seeds, then slices the apple, the children can also chop the slices into chunks to toss in the bowl.  Little ones can also help by pulling the pre-rinsed seedless grapes off the bunch.  Make sure they check to see that all bits of the stem are removed.

Try to choose 3-5 different types of fruit for your salad.  You will want to vary both the colors and textures of the fruits.  As for color, you might pick quite different colors, such as a red fruit, a green fruit, and a white fruit (such as strawberries, bananas, and green grapes).   Or you might choose different shades of a similar color (for example: oranges, cantaloupe, and peaches).   When it comes to texture, try to combine soft fruits with crunchy ones, dry fruits with juicer fruits.  This makes the salad tastier and more interesting.  

Finally, you can jazz your fruit salad up even more by adding nuts, raisins, or sweetened yogurt

An attractive bowl or container can make it even more appealing.   For a really festive container, make your own watermelon bowl or basket.  First cut open the top of the watermelon.  Use a melon-baller scoop to remove the watermelon fruit from the rind.  Place it aside in a large bowl or in ziploc storage bags.  Once the fruit is removed, use a small knife to cut the edges of the hollow watermelon in a decorative pattern (optional).   Now cut up your other fruits and toss your salad together.   Transfer the fruit salad into the watermelon "bowl".  You're done!

Note:  don't forget that some fruits, such as apples, and bananas turn brown after peeling and cutting.  So either sprinkle them with Fruit Fresh, dip them in lemon juice or salt water, or simply wait until the last minute to cut them up.






Ambrosia Salad

For some reason, adults like to make this creamy fruit salad using sour cream.  Most young children meanwhile think sour cream "tastes funny".   Not to mention they find the entire idea of "sour" cream repulsive.  After all, they reason, why would you want to let yummy delicious whipped cream go sour -- like milk gone bad?  So our recipe below calls for Cool Whip instead of the more traditional sour cream.   Whipped Cream will work as well, but generally speaking it will separate and start to lose its consistency if it sits for too long in the refrigerator.  Plus, Cool Whip is perfect for those kids who are lactose intolerant.   (Be aware it is made from soy however, in case you have a child who is allergic to legumes -- as is becoming more common for some reason.)

You'll need:

1/2 to 1 cup Cool Whip  (You'll be adding this last, so you can decide how creamy to go.)

3/4 cup of fresh cut up orange segments (you can use the more traditional mandarin orange segments, drained, if you prefer)

1/2 cup canned pineapple tidbits, drained

3/4 cup seedless grapes, red or green

1/2 cup to 1 cup mini marshmallows


Mix all the fruit together with the marshmallow and add in Cool Whip.  Gently stir until well mixed.



Optional:  Add in 1/2 to 1 cup dried and sweetened coconut flakes.  A traditional ingredient of ambrosia salad.  (Note that not all children enjoy the coconut however.  Plus, if you add the coconut, plan to let the salad sit in the refrigerator overnight, so that the dried coconut can absorb moisture and soften.)

Other options:     You can also add 1/2 of chopped pecans or walnuts into the salad.   Many folks enjoy adding about 1/4 of maraschino cherries, a food most kids do enjoy.  And of course, if you don't have exactly the fruits listed above, you can substitute in some canned fruit cocktail.

To add a little zip to your salad, substitute some flavored yogurt (such as cherry or strawberry) for part of the Cool Whip.  Blend together then add to fruit.

For sour cream lovers:   if you simply must be traditional, substitute about 3/4 sour cream for the Cool Whip.  Sweeten if desired with 1 tablespoon sugar.  Be sure to let salad sit overnight if using sour cream, so that the marshmallows and coconut can blend with the sour cream, mellowing its zesty flavor.





Easter Bunny Fruit Salad

You'll need:

  • Canned or fresh pear halves
  • 1, 10oz. bag of regular size marshmallows  (can use cottage cheese instead)
  • Raisins
  • Apples, quartered and then sliced into thin slivers
  • Pink jelly bean (Optional)

For this tasty salad, let kids lay pear half flat side down on a plate.  (For more color and interest, lay a lettuce leaf on the plate first!)  Use raisins for eyes, and a raisin or jelly bean for nose.  Use apples slivers for long ears.  For the tail, use either a large marshmallow or a similar sized blob of cottage cheese.


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