Maia Filar is passionate about giving kids a proper foundation in culinary skills. She starts off a new video series where she will share her tips for starting them out with a few simple recipes. She then shares her mom’s delicious, and easy, schnitzel recipe.
Getting Started: Kids and the Kitchen are a Natural Fit
by Maia Filar
Cooking with kids is not only a great way to spend time together as a family, it will give your kids a say in what they are eating, encourage them to try new things, give them a sense of accomplishment and start a dialogue about food. Only thing is, not all kids will take to cooking, so it’s good to start small. Here are some pointers on how to get your kids into the kitchen to see if they are budding young chefs.
– Create a space that is just for them in the kitchen with their own non-slip cutting boards and knife/scissors/mixing bowl and anything else they might need.
– Start them off with smaller tasks to help build their confidence in the kitchen. If you are making pasta sauce, have them portion the already cut vegetables and dump them in when needed. If you are making casserole, have them assemble the already cooked ingredients in the baking dish and top with grated cheese. Cooking is all about having fun, learning new things and being adventurous. In order to make them feel like they are accomplishing something, trust that they can slowly learn to do everything you would.
– Stick to recipes with fewer ingredients that are more assembly based. Baking is great for this, but there are plenty of other family meals that are a combination of simple ingredients that are kid fool proof. We are going to start with the first thing I ever cooked with my mother, and loved doing it: Chicken Schnitzel.
Esti’s Chicken Schnitzel Recipe
6 skinless breasts
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, plus more for seasoning
1 cup flour, divided
2 tablespoons of sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup oil, for frying
This recipe is so much fun for kids because the prep is essentially an assembly line that allows them to get their hands messy.
- Start with breasts on a cutting board, loosely covered in plastic wrap. With a mean mallet, get your kids to flatten the breasts until they are a quarter of an inch thick.
- In a clean dish or pie pan, put a ¼ cup of flour. Combine the rest with salt, pepper and sesame seeds in a Ziploc and transfer to a separate dish. Make an assembly line that has the flattened chicken, plain flour, beaten eggs, seasoned flour, and a clean plate for the breaded chicken. Dredge the breast lightly in the first flour, then in the egg, and then get a nice thick coating of seasoned flour on there.
- You, the adult, can heat the oil over medium high heat until hot but not smoking, and fry the chicken in batches. Cook until underside is golden brown and flip, cooking for another 2 to 3 minutes. Drain on paper towel and serve with fresh lemon and extra salt to taste.
- Or, you can bake them on a rack over a parchment lined cookie sheet (the rack keeps them from getting soggy), at 350 for 10-15 minutes until chicken is fully cooked.
- serve with green salad and potato dumplings.