Cooking with kids. Rewarding, enjoyable, humorous: check all of the above. But, it also takes time to figure out the dishes that kids can really make mostly on their own. Dishes that are pleasing to kids and also approved by parents. Something more than a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (an awarding winning meal in my book, but nothing to write home about in terms of culinary skill). Dishes that expose them to new things, with the hope that they will in fact like what they are trying and not feel turned off by ingredients that are too far outside their food comfort zone. Dishes that make them feel proud of their kitchen accomplishments and eager to have more culinary adventures!
I try to keep all of this in mind while I prep to teach a class of 12 year olds. Here’s what I’m thinking: individual omelets, guacamole, baked sweet potato fries, salad with classic French vinaigrette, lasagna roll-ups, and chocolate chip yogurt cake. While I was searching for additional inspiration, I came a cross a recipe from realsimple.com called Peanut Noodles with Chicken. I made it for dinner this evening and it’s a winner. The recipe is great the way it is. And easy! I added a bit of lime-juice, a few drops of Tabasco sauce, scallions, and some chopped peanuts. I also used Tamari instead of soy sauce to make this dish gluten free. I hope the kids in my class will have fun making this and enjoy the robust flavors. I’ll keep you posted . . .
1 8-oz. package rice noodles
1 store bought rotisserie chicken, shredded*
1 seedless cucumber
½ cup creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons Tamari
2 tablespoon fresh lime-juice
2-3 drops Tabasco sauce
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons peanuts, chopped (I put them in a ziplock bag and lightly bang them with a meat tenderizer or sharpening steel)
*Throw the chicken bones (discard the skin) into a stockpot with 1 onion (peeled and halved), 1 carrot, 1 piece of celery and a bay leaf. Cover the bones with water. Bring to a boil and simmer about 1 hour. Strain, season with salt and pepper and you’ll have a warm, satisfying chicken broth.
**Or omit the meat altogether for a vegetarian dinner.
Place the noodles in a large bowl and fill with very hot water. Let them soak for about 45 minutes or until soft. Drain well in a colander. Using a vegetable peeler, peel thin slices from both the carrot and cucumber. In a separate bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, Tamari, lime-juice and Tabasco sauce. The sauce will still be thick, but the extra water clinging to the noodles will thin it out. Mix the sauce with the noodles, vegetables, and shredded chicken. Divide among 4 bowls and top with chopped peanuts and scallions.