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Kid Chef: The Foodie Kids Cookbook: Healthy Recipes and Culinary Skills for the New Cook in the Kitchen Paperback – April 5, 2016
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From the Publisher
Sample Recipe: Butternut Mac ’n’ Cheese
Prep time: 20 minutes / Cook time: 50 minutes / Serves 4
1. Butter 4 ramekins, and set aside on a baking sheet.
2. Toast the bread. Place the bread onto a toaster oven tray. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter, and drizzle the butter over the bread, stirring the pieces around the tray to coat. Toast the croutons until lightly crispy, about 5 minutes, and set aside.
3. Cook the pasta. Set a large pot filled with water over high heat, and bring to a rolling boil. Add a hefty pinch of salt, then the pasta, and cook until 3 minutes less than the package instructions say, so that the pasta exterior is cooked and the inside is underdone. Transfer the pasta to a colander, and shake it a few times to drain well. Rinse the pasta briefly to stop it from cooking further, and set aside.
4. Steam the squash. Fill a medium saucepan that a steamer basket fits into with about an inch of water. Put a steamer basket in the sauce pan, and steam the squash pieces until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Use tongs to remove the squash from the basket, and set aside.
5. Make the béchamel. In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, warm the milk. In the same pot you used for cooking the pasta, over medium heat, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter. When the butter foams, add the flour. Whisk the flour into the butter, stirring to fully combine.
6. Continue whisking. Gradually pour in the hot milk. After pouring half in, whisk until the mixture has no lumps, then slowly add the remainder. Whisk constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick, 8 to 10 minutes.
7. Combine the ingredients for baking. Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in the salt, nutmeg, black pepper, cayenne pepper, 1 cup of Cheddar cheese, and ½ cup of Gruyère.
8. Stir the cooked pasta and steamed squash into the cheesy béchamel sauce. Ladle the mixture into the ramekins. Sprinkle the remaining ½ cup of Cheddar cheese and ½ cup of Gruyère over the tops, then arrange the toasted croutons on top. Bake until the surfaces are golden, about 25 minutes.
Transfer the casseroles to a wire cooling rack, and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Serve the little mac and cheese ramekins warm on large plates.
Tools / Equipment:
Microplane, Box grater, 4 ramekins, Toaster oven, Small saucepan, Large pot, Colander, 2 medium saucepans, Steamer basket, Tongs, Whisk, Baking sheet, Ladle, Wire cooling rack.
- 4 tablespoons butter, divided, plus more for greasing ramekins
- 2 thick slices rustic bread, crusts removed and torn bite-size pieces
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus a hefty pinch
- 12 ounces macaroni
- ½ butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and sliced into 2-inch-long by ½-inch-wide pieces
- 2 cups milk
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon dried cayenne pepper
- 1½ cups grated sharp white Cheddar cheese, divided
- 1 cup grated Gruyère cheese, divided
"There may be no better way to instill a love of good food in your kids than by having them learn to cook. Kid Chef helps them develop fundamental skills, harness their curiosity, and turn out tasty, family-friendly dishes."
―Cooking Light Magazine
"I am excited to see a book for children focused on technique and healthy cooking. No more food cut-outs and cute gimmicks. Kid Chef empowers children and teaches them one of the best skills they will need: feeding themselves and the ones they love."―Aran Goyoaga, author of Cannelle et Vanille food blog and Small Plates & Sweet Treats: My Family's Journey to Gluten-Free Cooking
What kid wouldn't want to don an apron, gain a little know-how, star in their own kitchen and spread the love?―Betty Fussell, award-winning food historian and author of Raising Steaks: The Life and Times of American Beef
Melina has written the cooking-with-kids book that we have needed for a long time. She brings everything front and center: the heat, the anchovies, the knife skills. I would recommend this spectacular book to both kids and grownups alike.―Phyllis Grant, author of the Dash and Bella blog
"The clear and concise recipes are great for novice cooks of any age and keep with Melina’s dedication to eating in season, and with flavor." -- Design Sponge
"I am excited that all kids and their caretakers will have access to such an important tool for teaching children the joy of cooking. This book will equip children to make tasty, from-scratch meals for themselves now and well into the future, when they are living on their own." - Bryant Terry, 2015 James Beard Foundation Leadership Award-winning chef
[Kid Chef] is packed with all kinds of healthy recipes and culinary skills for the kid who’s trying to take over mealtime. While geared towards the younger ones, these recipes are for anyone wanting easy to prepare, nutritious recipes. Miso Grilled Shrimp Skewers, Pulled Pork Sliders and Easy Tzatziki were a few that Chloe asked to make as she flipped through the pages. That’s a pretty good sign of this books success!―Weelicious
This fabulous cookbook treats kids like real home cooks―just ones who are starting at the beginning. Packed with bright, beautiful photography and cooking facts, like quick and easy instructions on how to read a recipe and prep ingredients, this is a book that can truly help your aspiring cook thrive in the kitchen. The recipes are fabulous, from a simple but totally impressive Potato-Gruyère Tart to easy tutorials on how to make basics like garlic bread. ―Cook Mom Picks
Because Melina’s food is centered around fresh, good eating, the dishes will satisfy grownup palates just as much as adventuresome kids. ―Milkbottle
About the Author
Melina Hammer is a photographer, food stylist, recipe developer, and cook. A regular contributor to the New York Times Food section, Melina also writes for Where Women Cook, Sweet Paul, and Food52. You can learn more about Melina’s passion for good food on her blog lickingtheplate.com and @melinahammer on Instagram.
Top customer reviews
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This cookbook is designed for kids who have a very "adult" palate who take their culinary skills very seriously. Overall, it just made me feel like an unrefined backwoods hillbilly or something. My kids do not eat the stuff in there. I don't eat the stuff in there. I don't even know what half the ingredients are or where I'd find them. We don't have a "mortar and pestle" in our kitchen.
When I was first flipping through the cookbook, the lesson I saw was "how to make a fried egg". Bingo. That's exactly the cookbook I've been looking for for my teenagers, who are just looking to learn basic food preparation skills for basic foods with basic ingredients. But then I continued on to see recipes such as:
-bacon herb frittata sandwich
-ginger-lemon green juice
-crispy sesame seaweed
-minty lamb burgers
-strawberry-rhubarb mini tarts
When I was a kid I had a kid's cookbook that I absolutely loved. I used that thing to death. I would come home from school, open my kid's cookbook, and whip up a batch of lemon bars or chocolate chip cookies. It was all basic, easy to follow directions that used ingredients we already had in the house. I could make all of it myself without any help from my mother. I was hoping for a cookbook like that for my own kids, but this just isn't the right one for us. We aren't fancy enough people and I don't have the time/money to buy all the special ingredients these recipes call for.
I would not recommend this book for kids. I would recommend it for adults who are not picky eaters and want to learn advanced techniques for making healthy dishes.
I do have to give some credit where it's due though. The photography in this book is gorgeous. The text is easy to read and nicely laid out. Whoever put it together had a nice eye for photography and graphic design. The directions are also thorough. It's almost like a culinary textbook. I am sure if you went through the whole thing start to finish you would come out a better cook. But I'm speaking to adults here. This is advertised as a kid's cookbook and I just can't see it as really being that.
This book is exactly what I hoped it would be. For 'special' cooking. I gave it to my son for his 9th birthday. He is very independent in the kitchen for someone his age. However, these recipes still involve alot of adult guidance or assistance (some more than others). My son spent the first couple days just reading through the recipes, bookmarking the ones he wanted to try first. He was very excited. We planned a grocery trip and bought the ingredients. Many ingredients are not on-hand in your pantry. (I'm fairly adventurous, but we still live on a budget lol). So, for example, I have cumin and coriander, but not in seed form. I don't have a mortar and pestle, though I'm definitely getting one now. I don't know what Maldon flake salt is, so we used table salt instead. I love the use of fresh ingredients throughout.
Now for the recipes we made so far:
Salsa - Soo delicious and flavorful! Tomatoes, cilantro, lime, jalapeno, red onion, cumin, pepper. Alot of chopping, so this is mostly an adult-recipe. Recipe calls for "2 large tomatoes." Is that 2 cups? 1 cup? It didn't give guidance on how much salt, either. You learn to trust your taste buds, but at the same time, a beginner might not know to add a lot (I used to add too little salt). It turned out amazing, and my son proudly served it to his friends with tortilla chips for movie-time.
**I wish the reason to wear gloves was given. We found out the hard way when my son rubbed his eyes while handling jalapeno. It sounds obvious now, but I had no experience with hot peppers. Further, this is a child's book.
Fruit smoothies - another fantastic recipe! This one is special because when I told my kids they could add honey if they wanted, they opted not to. Here is the beauty of this book, as a presentation. My kids normally take sugar whenever they can get it, but at this moment, they both (age 6 & 9) wanted to taste the flavors of the different fruits and not mask it. and it was actually sweet enough with this particular blend. (we used a couple fresh mangos, frozen blueberries, whole fat greek yogurt and one banana. Omitted flax meal).
Pulled Pork - Here's my negative critique. Recipe calls for cooking it at 325 degrees, uncovered, no liquid. I would think to cook much lower, with liquid and covered. but maybe dry-roasting is good, I don't know, so the only change I made was to cook it at 300, but otherwise, I followed the recipe. It was okay, but it could be better. Next time, I'm going to cook at 225, cover, and add liquid. The dry rub was good. We toasted and ground cumin seed and coriander seed. The aroma of toasted coriander is amazing! My son kept saying it smelled like tea. My 6 yo rubbed it onto the raw pork shoulder. *We did not make the sauce or slaw.
Ricotta cheese & jam toast - The magic ingredient was lemon zest. My son made this recipe by himself right away (we happened to have the ingredients). He was so proud, and amazed how a little lemon zest complimented and transformed the taste.
Roasted rosemary carrots - very good recipe, made by my son with no help from me.
Coconut-lime popsicles - An inedible, curdled disaster. I have no idea how to avoid the curdling.
Banana 'Ice Cream' - We are going to try this one next. The recipe only calls for bananas and salt. I said to my kids, 'You realize it is only going to taste like frozen, mushed up bananas?' They said yes, and they are really excited to try it. and that is why I love this book.