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A Summer Birthday to Remember– Cooking with kids!

October 14, 2010 by Betty Zlatchin Catering

My grandaugher, Ava, turned 8 years of age this August. When asked what she wanted to do for her birthday, she said, “I want a party…. at Dad’s Kitchen!” She began planning it way back in April. Her guest list was made, her food choices were decided (lots of chocolate). The surprise was, she told me, she wanted to cook it all, with her girlfriends.

So, David and I began to put together the dreams of her special day.

AVA’ S BIRTHDAY MENU

Sushi Maki Rolls,
with cucumber and avocado

Chicken Nuggets
made with Goldfish bunnies and ranch dressing

Mini Beef Burgers & Tuna Burgers

David’s Special Asian Three Color Slaw

“Bugs on a Log”
(cream cheese or peanut butter filled celery sticks topped with raisins or with chocolate chips)

Long stemmed Strawberries
dipped in warm dark chocolate
&
The Birthday Cup Cakes
36 Chocolate Cup Cakes,
decorated by all the girls, with 10 beautiful colors
of buttercream icing , in piping bags for the girls to use
&
One Very Special Large Cupcake with 8 candles,
decorated by Mom, Tiana.

The Nitty Gritty
We divided the kitchen into station sections to handle the various tasks. We invited family members to supervise the girls and assist if needed. We gave instructions on kitchen safety procedures ( no running in a kitchen, pick up and clean up all spills to avoid slippage, sharp objects are pointed down toward the floor when walking to the dishwashing station, our chefs will handle all knives and cutting, and we will show you how to safely cut a piece of celery or sushi, using the back side of fork tines — any variation of the above rules and you are on KP duty :) .

Each little girl got to dress in white chef coats, aprons and “work” each station , rotating around as they wanted. Due top popular demand, we saved the dessert station until the end…

What was amazing to us was our group of girls really got into doing their jobs, so much so that they wanted to keep on doing the sushi rolls, to perfect them, or forming the burgers “ just so,” or crush with the rolling pins the cheddar goldfish duckies and bunnies to fine crumbs, or dipping the strawberries into warm chocolate so that the chocolate was smooth and only half way onto the berries.

At long last, the cupcakes were decorated. They placed them on the three-tier etagere
and Ava’s special cupcake was placed at the very top.

We gathered the girls, applauded our new chefs,
and everyone chowed down, loving the buffet created by Ava and her friends.

It will be a birthday for sure that we will always remember. I think Ava and her lucky friends will remember it too!

***

RECIPE FOR CHICKEN NUGGETS

2 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
1 package Goldfish bunnies or duckies
1 bottle storebought Ranch dressing

Directions: preheat oven to 400 degrees
crush goldfish into cracker meal,
cut chicken breasts into 6-8 slices each, depending on size of chicken breast
pound chicken breast pieces to thin slices ( about 3/8 inch thick ) between 2 pieces of wax paper
dip pounded chicken into ranch dressing, then into the goldfish cracker meal.

place chicken pieces on sheet pan or baking sheet lined with parchment.
bake 8-10 minutes until cooked through

That’s it : Kids and adults loved it . The moms & dads present asked for the recipe, which could be simpler. Be sure to offer a favorite vegetable or salad with this dish, as you will feel better about serving it and maybe the kids will surprise you and eat their broccoli or spinach…yah right!