At a recent “Kids Cook Monday” cooking class, my daughter and I were joined by a room full of parent and child(ren) cooking teams. We had a great time and cooked a fabulous meal together. At the end of the class, the tables in the back of the cooking classroom were pushed together, and were beautifully set by a group of children complete with improvised folded napkins, and the nineteen of us sat down to a nourishing meal of kale and collard chips, Pad Thai-inspired rice noodles with tofu and vegetables*, followed by a dessert of fried bananas with shaved chocolate and shredded coconut*.
Initiatives such as The Family Dinner Project and The Kids Cook Monday Campaign are actively promoting eating (and cooking) meals together as a family for a list of results which resemble a parent’s dream come true (from life-long healthy eating habits, to an expanded vocabulary, improved conversation skills, boosted self-esteem and better grades in school). Studies have also shown that children are more likely to try new foods, expand their palate and choose healthier options when they have been involved in the growing, selection and/or preparation of a meal.
So today, we’re skipping the more familiar frozen peas and corn, and giving our young cooks large dark green kale and collard leaves to make an appetizer (fancy word for after school snack). Some were familiar with kale chips, and all had the chance to build on the basic recipe and adapt it to other greens.
Vermont Maple-Mustard Kale/Collard Chips
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- ½ tablespoon maple syrup
- ½ tablespoon mustard
- 1 large bunch of fresh kale or collard greens
- salt & pepper to taste
- 2-3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
- red pepper flakes (optional)
Basic Kale/Collard Chips
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 bunch greens
- salt to taste
- Preheat oven to 350˚.
- Wash and dry green leaves with kitchen towel or a salad spinner.
- Cut or rip leaves into chip size pieces.
- Mix oil, vinegar, maple syrup and mustard in a large bowl.
- Add leaves to bowl and coat thoroughly (using hands works well).
- Line cookie sheets with parchment paper (not necessary but makes for an easy clean-up), and arrange leaves in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and/or Parmesan or chili flakes.
- Bake in oven for 8-12 minutes, watching them closely since they go from perfect to burned quickly.
- in place of packaged chips
- as a garnish on soups, such as potato-leek or squash soups
- as a topping on mashed potatoes
- grind several chips as a popcorn topping
- create hors d’oeuvre in kale chips used as edible serving cups
- experiment with any greens you have.
For additional recipes for green leafy vegetables, I recommend the following excellent vegetable cookbooks:
For more ideas, inspiration and multi-generational cooking tips, you’ll find plenty of food for thought on The Kids Cook Monday site.
If you would like to join us for our next “Kids Cook Monday” cooking class, click here for more information and to register. Classes are held at Champlain Valley Union High School in Hinesburg, Vermont.
* These recipes coming soon in the “Kids Cook Monday” series.