On Thanksgiving morning, it’s traditional in my home for the kids to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on television while my husband and I scramble around getting everything ready. This year, though, I think I might involve my pre-teens and teenager in the preparations. Even little kids like to help out in the kitchen, but kids of all ages tend to get in the way when you’re in a hurry, as we often are on Thanksgiving. The best recipes for the littler ones to help with are the ones that can be prepared in the days leading up to the holiday. Here are a few foods to consider letting your small ones (and your not-so-small ones) help with!
- Homemade Butter This is one that I have my kids do each year. Fill a plastic (this is important; don’t use glass!) sealable container about 3/4 of the way with heavy whipping cream. Add one or two marbles. Give the sealed container to your kids and have them shake, shake, shake it up. It will first turn into whipped cream, then eventually you’ll hear a “clunk!” That means that it has turned into butter. Open it, pour off the liquid, and rinse the butter with water. You’ll need to work it with a butter knife or spatula to get the rest of the liquid out, then rinse it again. Put it in a butter dish and you will have sweet homemade butter to put on your dinner rolls!
- Salad As long as your kids can safely use a knife, putting them to work making a tossed salad is a good way to keep them busy and get something done at the same time. Even if they’re too small to handle chopping carrots, they can still tear lettuce and use a butter knife to slice mushrooms and canned black olives. Set them up at a kid-sized table for this chore to keep them off of the counters, if you don’t have a lot of extra room on Thanksgiving morning.
- Deviled Eggs This is, hands down, my kids’ favorite holiday food to help with. You hard-boil the eggs and leave them in a bowl of cold water to let them cool. Once they are cool, show the kids how to tap them on the counter and roll them to break up the shells. Have them peel the shells and slice the eggs in half, lengthwise. Pop out the yolks and put them in a bowl along with some mayonnaise, mustard and garlic powder. Have your child mash the yolks with a fork, then spoon the mixture into a ziplock bag and seal. Snip off a bottom corner of the bag and squeeze the mixture down. Let your child “pipe” the mixture into each egg-white half, then sprinkle with paprika.
- Dessert While your kids are not likely to be able to whip up a meringue or bake a pumpkin pie from scratch, at least not on their own, they can certainly help with dessert. Most school-aged kids can follow a recipe for brownies or a simple sheet cake. Let little ones help crack eggs and mix batter. This is good because it can be done the day before Thanksgiving.
What are some foods that your kids like to help with around the holidays?