Kid Friendly Recipes and Tips For The Holidays

katie workman

Now that Halloween is over my family is getting amped up for our next two big holidays, Thanksgiving and Hanukkah. Since I am in charge of cooking dinner on Hanukkah and bringing dessert on Thanksgiving, I am always open to finding new recipes.

Growing up my parents rarely cooked. We always went out to eat instead. My mom did not like to cook and when she did it was almost always  from a microwave. So, when I  got married I vowed that I would always cook nice dinners for my husband and so far I have done a pretty good job if it.. Then when I had children I vowed that I would find a way to incorporate a love for cooking into their lives. Now I have 3 children ages 11, 7 and 3.  They all love to eat but none of them love to cook so I when I came across Katie Workman’s blog called “The Mom 100” I immediately got excited.

Katie not only has a cookbook called The Mom 100 Cookbook  but she is also the founding Editor in Chief of, the website that shares tested, trusted recipes from cookbooks created by respected chefs and cookbook authors.  She has some really fabulous tips on her website and pictures are awesome. I am excited to try out some of her recipes and get my kids involved in cooking. The benefits and memories of getting their hands in making a family meal like Thanksgiving, Hanukkah are extraordinary.


 Below are some of Katie’s tips for getting kids involved in cooking as well as a few holiday meal recipes.

Kids 3-5:

  • Pour, dump, stir and sprinkle ingredients and spices you have gathered together.
  • Whisk the eggs for breakfast.
  • Wash the potatoes with a scrub bruch or scrub gloves for little fingers.
  • Take out the pots, pans, measuring cups, and bowls you need.

Kids 5-7:

  • Cut soft vegetables with kid-safe knives like ones from Zyliss or Curious Chef.
  • Knead bread or roll the dough for pie crust
  • Cut out cookies

Kids 7-9

  • Start working lessons on math and chemistry at this point.  And if you don’t know the answer to some questions – get them on the computer looking it up!  What does baking soda do to a recipe?  What is the difference between unsweetened and semi-sweet chocolate?  Why does flour thicken the gravy?

But if the idea of getting them in the kitchen during the thick of it is too much – there is a lot more they can do to help and get involved. 

  • Make a menu on an easel or for each place setting
  • Make a cornucopia for the table centerpiece
  • Take guests coats
  • Pass out canapes on a plastic tray
  • Take drink orders (they love this!)
  • Take photos – imagine the narrative your photos will tell when taken from their perspective!  It will be the best holiday recap you’ve had
  • And help with CLEAN UP!


1 6-pound pound turkey breast

Zest from one lemon

1 shallot

2 cloves garlic

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 teaspoon dried thyme


  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Rinse and dry the turkey breast.  Oil a roasting pan.
  2. In a small food processor, combine the lemon zest, shallot, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper and thyme.  Blend until it becomes a paste.
  3. Loosen the skin from the turkey breast, and using your hand rub the paste over and under the skin, covering the breast completely.
  4. Place the turkey breast in the roasting pan and roast for about 2 1/2 hours until nicely browned, and a meat thermometer shows an internal temperature of 160° F.  Let sit for 15 minutes for the juices to redistribute, and for the internal temperature to continue to rise to 165°F before slicing.


Potato Pancakes

What the Kids Can Do: If they are older, kids can peel and grate the potatoes with a handheld grater; frankly, this is one of the delightful benefits of having more mature children. “Ability to safely grate potatoes” should be listed as a milestone in child-rearing books, right up there with “first tooth” and “takes first step.” To prevent scraped knuckles tell your kids to stop grating before they get to the end of the potato. Of course, kids can crack the eggs, and they can mix up the potato mixture.

5 pounds baking potatoes, peeled

3 large eggs

1 large onion, finely minced

2 tablespoons matzoh meal or flour (optional)

Kosher or coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 to 11⁄2 cups olive oil

4 tablespoons (1⁄2 stick) unsalted butter (optional, but recommended)

Applesauce and sour cream, for serving


  1. Using a food processor or a handheld grater, grate the potatoes using the large-hole blade or side of the grater. Place the grated potatoes in a large bowl and let them sit while they release their liquid, about 10 minutes.
  2. In another large bowl, mix the eggs and onion. Using your hands, grab a handful of the grated potato and squeeze it over the bowl of potatoes, pressing out as much liquid as possible. Put the squeezed potatoes in the bowl with the egg mixture. Repeat until all of the potatoes have been squeezed and added to the bowl with the egg mixture.
  3. Stick your finger into the liquid left in the bowl that held the grated potatoes. You’ll feel a firm layer of potato starch at the bottom. What you need to do is carefully pour off the liquid from the starch and then scrape up all of that valuable starch from the bottom of the bowl and mix it well with the egg and potato mixture (best to use your hands). This natural starch helps bind the potatoes together. If there is only a tablespoon or two of the starch, you’ll also want to blend in the matzoh meal or flour. Season the potato mixture with salt and pepper to taste (be liberal, the pancakes will be quite bland without enough seasoning).
  4. Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and a teaspoon or so of butter, if using, in a large skillet (or use two large skillets to make the cooking go faster) over medium-high heat until the butter has melted and the fat is hot. Swirl the pan and then add spoonfuls of the potato mixture, as big or small as you wish, and gently press them into round flat shapes. Cook the potato pancakes until they are golden brown and crisp, 4 to 5 minutes on each side. You’ll need to keep a close eye on the heat; too low and the potato pancakes won’t brown properly, too high and the oil will start smoking. Adjust the heat as needed.
  5. Drain the potato pancakes briefly on paper towels and transfer them to a serving platter. Repeat with the remaining potato mixture, adding more oil and butter as necessary (you may want to dump out the pan, give it a quick wipe, and start over if you

Photo Credit:Todd Coleman

Potato Pancakes


What the Kids Can Do: Measure the streusel ingredients and, if you choose to make the streusel topping by hand, kids can help with that or—with supervision—help pulse the streusel in the food processor. If they are old enough, they can peel the apples. They can make the custard and help whip the cream.

For the streusel topping

1⁄3 cup granulated sugar

1⁄4 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar

1⁄2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1⁄2 teaspoon ground ginger

1⁄2 teaspoon kosher or coarse salt

8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

For the pie filling

6 large Granny Smith apples, or a mixture of Granny Smith and any other firm baking apple, peeled, cored, and sliced about 1⁄2-inch thick

1 unbaked 9-inch deep-dish pie shell

1 cup granulated sugar

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1⁄4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 large egg

1 cup heavy (whipping) cream

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Whipped cream (see the Cooking Tip on page 318) or vanilla ice cream (optional, but well worth it), for serving


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Make the streusel topping: Combine the 1⁄3 cup of granulated sugar, the brown sugar, 1⁄2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of flour, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, the ginger, and salt in a food processor and give it a good whirl. Add the pieces of butter and pulse until the butter is incorporated and the mixture is crumbly. Do not overprocess; you don’t want a paste (see Cooking Tip #1). Set the streusel topping aside.
  3. Make the pie: Put the apples in the pie shell.
  4. Combine the 1 cup of granulated sugar and the 3 tablespoons of flour, the 1⁄2 teaspoon of cinnamon, and the cloves in a small bowl.
  5. Beat the egg in a large bowl, then add the cream and vanilla and blend well. Add the sugar mixture to the egg mixture and stir to blend. Pour the custard mixture over the apples; if the mixture comes more than three quarters of the way up the side of the crust, stop pouring so it won’t bubble up and overflow.
  6. Place the pie on a baking sheet in the oven (see Cooking Tip #2) and bake it for 20 minutes. Carefully remove the pie from the oven, making sure the custard mixture doesn’t pour over the side. Evenly and carefully (take your time) distribute the streusel topping over the top of the pie. Carefully (again) return it to the oven and bake until the top is browned and a knife inserted into the pie ensures that the apples are cooked through, about 50 minutes longer.
  7. Let the pie cool on a wire rack for at least 20 to 30 minutes, then serve it warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, if desired (and who wouldn’t desire that?).

Photo Credit:Todd Coleman

apple pie



What the Kids Can Do: They can help put together pretty much the whole French toast, although you’ll have to decide if they are old enough to help slice the bread. Kids can also pick and choose whatever dried fruits or nuts they like to go in the casserole.

Butter or nonstick cooking spray, for greasing the baking dish

4 cups milk

6 large eggs

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 tablespoons maple syrup, plus more maple syrup for serving (optional)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1⁄2 teaspoon kosher or coarse salt

1 large loaf challah bread, preferably slightly stale, sliced 3⁄4 to 1 inch thick (see the Cooking Tip)

3⁄4 cup whole raisins, chopped dried fruit, or chopped nuts (optional)

Fresh fruit such as berries, sliced peaches or pears, and/or confectioners’ sugar, for serving


  1. Grease a 13 by 9–inch baking dish with butter or spray it with cooking spray.
  2. Place the milk, eggs, sugar, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt in a medium-size bowl and whisk to mix well. Set the milk mixture aside.
  3. Arrange half of the slices of bread in the prepared baking dish, cutting the bread so that it fits in a solid layer. Pour half of the milk mixture over the bread, then evenly distribute about half of any dried fruit or nuts, if using, on top.
  4. Repeat, creating a second layer of bread and then pouring the rest of the milk mixture on top and distributing the rest of the fruit or nuts over the bread. Lightly press the bread down into the liquid.
  5. Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate it overnight. The bread will have absorbed almost all of the milk mixture. Uncover the baking dish and if there are dryer looking pieces on top, take them off and carefully tuck them underneath the bread on the bottom so that the more milk-soaked pieces are now on top (this is messy but it all works out in the baking). Note that any dried fruit sitting on the top of the French toast will get pretty chewy when baked and nuts on top will get toasty; the fruit and nuts that are tucked into the French toast will be softer, so disperse the fruit and nuts as you see fit.
  6. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  7. Bake the French toast, uncovered, until it is puffed and golden, 30 to 35 minutes.
  8. Let the French toast sit for 5 minutes to firm up a bit,
    then cut it into squares and serve it hot with your choice
    of maple syrup, fresh fruit, and/or confectioners’ sugar.

Photo Credit:Todd Coleman

french toast

You can find Katie on Facebook and on Twitter.

Sharing is caring!

2 thoughts on “Kid Friendly Recipes and Tips For The Holidays”

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

%d bloggers like this: