Cookin with Kids
Mother’s Day – Breakfast in Bed!
By Dennis Linden
Competing schedules in the day-to-day lives of a busy modern family make it difficult to share a home-cooked meal together, but not impossible. In fact, with a little planning, cooking together can become a fun family event and learning opportunity. This feature will focus on providing a child or a group of children, working together under the supervision of an adult, with one uncomplicated, healthy and delicious side dish recipe. The dishes will be centered on seasonal fresh produce items; the recipes will always contain tasks will allow even the youngest kitchen helper to contribute to the family meal. Parents should always read through each recipe carefully to judge the division of labor based on age and ability as well as to identify where adult attention might be especially needed.
Many of the recipes presented here will seem very basic -- this is by design. It is hoped that these simple preparations will provide the culinary foundation and confidence to inspire kids to try more challenging recipes as their experience in the kitchen develops. Melissa’s encourages parents to find the time to gather as a family unit at least once a week for a dinner that everyone pitches in to prepare. It’s a wonderful way to teach a child some basic culinary skills and, more importantly, cooking with your children will build memories in all of your hearts forever.
Though this blog promotes the practice of a family cooking together, this month mom is being kicked out of the kitchen in honor of Mother’s Day! A special breakfast-in-bed recipe is on the menu, prepared by mom’s young sous chefs--under the supervision of another adult, of course. I remember my siblings and I all pitching in to do this when I was a kid, though I am sure that the honoree was probably not grabbing a few extra winks, but rather anxiously sniffing for smoke and cringing with every clang of a pan emanating from the kitchen!
Actually this is a very simple egg dish recipe using a hollowed-out bagel and served with a fun-to-make edible fruit bouquet. The meal has tasks in it for varying ages of culinary skills and will definitely surprise mom with its attractive presentation. Plus the entire breakfast is designed to be eaten easily in bed, out of hand, no utensils (or clanging of pans) needed!
For the best mock “quiche” try to search out an extra-large bagel. My first attempt at this dish used a packaged bagel from the bread isle of a local grocery store; even hollowed out there just was not much room for the egg stuffing to make a satisfying meal. I found much larger bagels to work with at a bakery where the sizing was not cookie-cutter uniform, so I was able to pick out big ones. An older child with knife experience could do the initial slicing off of the “top” of the bagel as well as dicing the veggies for the egg mixture; a child of almost any age can then take over to pick out the bread inside as it’s the perfect task for small fingers!
The ingredient measures in the recipe below are for one bagel for mom. Of course the kitchen crew is going to want to try them too, so just adjust the measurements depending on number needed. Baking time will also vary slightly with the size of the bagel; same with the number of eggs needed to fill each one. In fact, after a blackened bagel on the first try lack of concentration!
, it was necessary to watch the baking process like a hawk during the second attempt as there is a temperature vs. time challenge of cooking the eggs through without burning the bagel. This might take an adult playing around with both.
Some fun arts & crafts are involved in the fruit “bouquet”. Again, an older child can be assigned to do the slicing of the fruit and snip the skewers to varying lengths with kitchen scissors or a wire cutter; while a younger child can have a great time using the smallest of cookie cutters to shape the fruit slices, use the melon baller and then creating each “stalk” for the fruit arrangement. The types of fruit in the ingredient list are suggestions – use mom’s favorites and pick fruit that is both colorful, easy to slice and will stay on the skewer. I still remember, and always will, the moment I carried the tray carefully down the hall and presented a breakfast in bed to my mom. I am sure this tasty meal will be enjoyed by mom and gobbled up by the rest of the family in a very short time; while the memories of this special morning will last a lifetime. Enjoy!
Quiche Bagel & Fruit Bouquet
1 bagel, plain, XL if possible
2 to 3 large eggs
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 TBS red bell pepper, diced small
1 TBS green onion, diced small
1 TBS crimini mushrooms, diced small
A generous sprinkle of cheddar cheese, grated
What the kids can do:
Laying the bagel flat on a cutting board, cut a thin cross-cut slice of crust to expose bread. Hollow out the bagel by gently pull the bread away from the crust. (Discard cuttings and bread or turn into breadcrumbs).
Whisk 2 eggs, add salt and pepper, then pour the eggs into the hollowed out bagel. Distribute diced veggies evenly throughout the egg mix, top with cheese. If the egg and vegetables do not fill the bagel completely, pour another whisked egg on top. Sprinkle with a few more green onions and red bells for color.
Wrap the bagel up the sides with foil sprayed with non-stick spray, but keep the top open to the heat of the oven. Bake at 350° for 10 to 12 minutes or until the egg is completely set. Watch carefully so as not to burn the bagel.
Fruit: choose a wide variety of mom’s favorites, like…
Pineapple – sliced, shaped with cookie cutter or melon baller
Kiwi – peeled, sliced, shaped
Pixie Tangerines – segmented, cleaned
Sweet Sapphire Grapes – separated from stem
Strawberries – sliced thick
Honeydew Melon – globes with melon baller
Banana – sliced into rounds
Small, shallow glass container/vase
Floral Foam or Styrofoam
Decorative Stones (to cover up foam)
Miniature cookie or cheese cutters of assorted shapes
What the kids can do:
Slice and shape the different kinds of fruit with cookie cutter and melon baller. Using a pair of kitchen shears also cut skewers to varying lengths.
Add fruit to the skewers to resemble flowers stalks. Push fruit skewers into the foam like a floral arrangement, placing the taller ones in the middle surround by shorter stalks. Cover the piece of foam with decorative stones. Serve on a tray with the hot bagel quiche immediately.
What the supervising adult should do:
As mentioned in the text, the trickiest part of this recipe is the balanced cooking of the bagel. Let the kids wrap the roll in foil and then take over from there. The fresh fruit arrangement could get messy considering the array of fruit used. To eliminate some of this, have an adult pre-prep the fruit for the kids as much as possible – slice open the melon, peel citrus and bananas, separate the grapes, etc. Also, sharp pointed bamboo skewers need VERY close adult supervision to avoid an accident. In the case of a very young child, arrange the skewers in the form yourself and help with the actual placement of the fruit.