It happens every year. Summer wraps up, and before you know it, the holiday season is around the corner, and we’re all working on planning our gatherings and festive family celebrations. Getting your kiddos involved with prep in the kitchen is a great way to keep them occupied and feeling like they’re a part of the holiday magic. Older toddlers (think 3-5-year-olds) can help mix simple ingredients, press cookie cutters, or tear and snap the ends of veggies. The 6-9-year-olds can do various helpful tasks like cracking eggs, measuring ingredients, prepping fruits and vegetables, and even juicing citrus. At the same time, the big kids (10+) can sauté, slice, chop, and even use the oven. Try some of these simply delicious recipes for the holiday season, from brekky bakes to crafty confectionery and twists on traditional dishes.
Whip Up This Festive Breakfast Bake to Feed the Whole Family
During the holidays, no one wants to feel like a short-order cook in the morning, especially if you have family visiting and a few extra mouths to feed. We’re big fans of the ease of a large format breakfast casserole, and this colorful and delicious Breakfast Strata is a surefire hit. It’s packed with veggies (hello, spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms, and fresh basil) and has sausage, too, for a protein boost. Your mini culinary crew can help crack and whisk eggs, tear or cube the bread, and then help to pour the ingredients into a baking dish ready for the oven.
Photo Credit: PARKER FEIERBACH | Delish
Dig Into a Decadent Casserole You Can Prep the Night Before
French toast fans are in for a treat as this delicious family-style Raspberry-Croissant French Toast Casserole combines buttery store-bought croissants with fresh berries and a cream cheese filling. Gather your little helpers the night before and prep your layers of pastry and raspberries before soaking it all in an egg, milk, honey, vanilla, and salt mixture. Pop the entire dish in the fridge overnight and then bake in the oven as everyone is rising for holiday festivities in the morning. It’s a simple dish that more than delivers on presentation and oh-so-good flavor.
Try This Kid-Friendly Twist on a Classic Holiday Side
Feast on The Salad That’s Almost too Pretty to EatIt’s true when they say you eat with your eyes first, and this stunning Pomegranate, Pear & Arugula Salad is a feast for all the senses. Gone are the days when salad on the holiday table meant boring, wilted, and sad. With seasonal crunch from apples, pears, and walnuts paired alongside the juicy red pop of pomegranate arils—this is a salad that you can share as one of the stars of the feast. Have your little kitchen helpers slicing, sprinkling, and drizzling the dressing, and you’ll have this side on the table in no time.
Roll Up the Bird for a Stress-Free Main CourseFor a lot of us, hosting a large group and making a giant turkey for the holidays still may not be a reality this year. That’s why the genius of a Turkey Roulade saves the day for a stress-free (and dare we say, seriously delicious) main course. Turkey lovers still get their tradition, and you can roast up this dish in a couple of hours vs. the all-day affair of a bigger bird. Little helpers can stir and combine the stuffing (soaked figs, cranberries, sausage, and breadcrumbs), while the big kids can try their hand at rolling the turkey breast before it hits the oven.
The Oh-So-Cheesy Side Dish Even the Pickiest Eaters Will LoveBrussels sprouts? Yes. Hear us out. This delicious Cheesy Brussels Sprouts side dish combines the umami goodness of sautéed and slightly caramelized sprouts with smoky bacon and a heaping of creamy, cheesy goodness. Something about all these flavors combined makes it a side dish that folks of all ages will come back for seconds of. Older kids can help prep in the kitchen by halving the sprouts and chopping the bacon, while the littles can get involved in sprinkling cheese over the top before baking.
These Mini Christmas Trees Are Not Your Average Rice Krispie TreatIf you’re looking for an activity that feels like crafting but just happens also to be edible, then you’re in luck with these Marshmallow Krispie-Christmas Trees. Prep a table or kitchen island with your ingredients and let the fam get creative with decorating. The rice Krispie mixture receives a few drops of green food dye, and the kids can help mold it into cone-shaped trees. Then, with the help of frosting and candies, you’ll add the final touches of garland, lights, and a chocolate trunk. If you plan on gifting these in cellophane bags tied with twine, be sure to let the frosting fully dry for 2-3 hours first.
Break Up a Classic After (Holiday) Dinner TreatEvery year we always find ourselves with more candy canes than we know what to do with! Now we’ve found this recipe for Peppermint Bark, we’ll make sure they go to good use. It’s a hard-to-resist sweet treat with its combo of dark and white chocolate and minty candy canes, making it a classy way to finish off the holiday meal or a lovely gift for guests to take home. Kids will love helping spread out the melted chocolate onto a foil-covered baking tray and using a rolling pin to break up the candy canes to sprinkle over the top of the bark.
These Make-In-Bulk Candies Are Perfect for Holiday GiftingIf you’re not confident in the baking department (or honestly just don’t have the time), these sweet little M&M Pretzel Hugs are seriously easy with only three ingredients. They’re delightfully Christmassy and make a wonderful gift for friends, family, or your kiddo’s teachers. Your littles can lay out the pretzels in lines on a large baking sheet, and then, once the Hershey kisses are slightly soft from 2-3 mins in the oven, can gently press in the M&M’s in the center for the final touch. Don’t forget to pop the trays into the fridge so they can harden before you box them up.
This Easy-To-Make Rocky Road Is a Festive HitIf you find yourself with an afternoon free and kiddos to entertain, whipping up this delicious Tim Tam Rocky Road could be a perfect way to enjoy some holiday kitchen time. With only five ingredients, it’s an excellent no-bake sweet treat for holiday gifting or indulging in while watching festive movies all together at home. Trade secret: This recipe uses a famous Australian chocolate cookie called Tim Tams but lucky for us, they’re available here in the US.