Cooking is fun for kids and they can learn all kinds of skills as they cook. Cooking can also inspire your kids to try new foods. However, kids are not always tall enough or skilled enough to use the stove. Fortunately, the handy dandy microwave comes to the rescue with these simple, microwave dishes kids can do basically by themselves.
Easy Cheesy Dip
This quick and tasty dip is a great after school snack to share with friends.
- Four ounces of cream cheese
- One-half cup grated cheddar cheese
- One tablespoon sweet chilli sauce
- Raw vegetables to serve (such as carrots, celery, tomatoes and cucumbers)
- Place the cream cheese and the grated cheese in a microwave-proof bowl and cook on the "low" or "melt" setting for one minute.
- Stir the cheeses. If the grated cheese is not fully melted, cook for another 30 seconds.
- Add the chilli sauce and stir thoroughly.
- Cut the vegetables into sticks or slice thinly then cut shapes using a cookie cutter.
- Dip the vegetables to serve. You can also spread the dip on crackers or toast.
Corny Baked Potato
A warm and hearty lunch or dinner, ready in a few minutes.
- One medium or large potato
- Two tablespoons grated cheese
- One-third cup finely chopped or sliced vegetables (carrot, onion, or bell pepper)
- One tablespoon corn kernels
- Two tablespoons sour cream, mayonnaise or yogurt
- Rub the potato in a little oil and salt and prick it all over with a fork.
- Place the potato in a microwave-proof bowl and cook for five minutes on high.
- Push a knife into the potato to check if it is soft. If it is not soft, turn it over in the bowl and cook for another minute on high, then check again. Keep cooking and checking until it is soft throughout.
- Cut the potato into quarters, but don't cut through the skin at the bottom, so it stays together.
- Sprinkle a little of the cheese on the bottom, then add the vegetables and corn.
- Place the sour cream or mayonnaise on top with the rest of the cheese.
Star Burst Nachos
These chips are a colorful twist on a favorite snack or light meal.
- Four ounces corn tortilla chips
- One-half cup salsa
- Colourful toppings such as baby spinach leaves, red kidney beans, corn kernels, cherry tomatoes, and sliced bell peppers
One cup of grated cheddar or jack cheese
- Arrange the corn chips on a microwave proof plate. Make the outside chips point outwards to make a star shape.
- Spread the salsa over the corn chips.
- Arrange the spinach, beans, corn, tomatoes and peppers in a pattern of your choice.
- Sprinkle the cheese over.
- Microwave on high for one and a half minutes until the cheese is melted.
You can dip these into guacamole, sour cream or extra salsa.
Double Choc Mug Cake
This treat is the perfect answer to a sweet tooth craving on a cold day.
- Two tablespoons of oil plus a little extra
- Two tablespoons sugar
- One egg
- Two tablespoons self-rising flour
- One teaspoon cocoa
- Two tablespoons chocolate chips and a few extra to serve
- Cream or ice cream and icing sugar to serve
- Get a large microwave proof mug and wipe all around the inside with a little oil.
- Break the egg into the mug.
- Add the oil and sugar.
- Mix with a fork until smooth.
- Add the flour and cocoa and mix again until smooth.
- Place the chocolate chips in the cup on the top of the mixture.
- Microwave on high for one minute. Watch as your cake rises to the top of the mug. The choc chips will sink to the middle.
- Carefully remove from the oven.
- Sprinkle with a little icing sugar and add cream or ice cream and a few more choc chips to serve.
Using the Microwave Safely
When cooking and using a microwave always remember:
- Parents should supervise children until you are confident they can cook safely.
- Children should ask an adult for help when using sharp knives and graters.
- Only use microwave-safe plates and dishes. These are glass, ceramic or those marked microwave safe.
- Remind your kids food can be hot and give off steam in the microwave. Wait a few minutes after cooking before removing the food from the oven.
- Always use heat proof gloves or pot holders to remove things from the microwave.
- Apply first aid immediately for any accidents or burns.
If your child enjoys cooking with the microwave, there are many ways to explore new recipes and ideas. There are many children's cooking ideas online or you could borrow some children's cookbooks from your local library. As well as being a fun activity, cooking can help your child explore a wider range of foods, help develop math and reading abilities and build a useful skill for the future.