Cooking with kids

The Easter holidays have come and gone, but just because the kids are back at school that doesn’t mean that the fun needs to stop.

Get them into the kitchen this weekend with one of our Kitchen Garden Project favourite meals: Crunchy chicken pieces with a minty yoghurt dip.

What a better way to get your kids cooking than to revamp a kid’s classic? This simple recipe for crunchy chicken pieces is a lighter spin on chicken tenders, and is packed with opportunities to introduce kids to great skills that they can do on their own. Plus, the homemade marinade gives the chicken extra flavour, and keeps the pieces nice and tender.

Start off your recipe by preparing your dip. Kids will be able to do this bit on mostly on their own (with a bit of supervision of course, especially when finely grating in the lemon zest). Try using a garlic crusher for your garlic instead of finely chopping with a knife so that it’s easier on your kids’ fingers and makes it a bit more fun. Finally, get your kids mixing, adding in the yoghurt with a pinch of salt and pepper and stirring everything together!

Take a taste and see what you think before adding your chicken – you can always add a bit more of any of the flavours! Not only is this a great marinade and dip for your chicken, but it’s also a simple, fresh dip for eating as an after-school snack with some lovely veggies.

Once the dip is out of the way, it’s time to prepare the chicken! Handling raw meat can be a big deal, so be sure to discuss it with your children before starting to make this recipe. Remember that chicken can contaminate, so always use a separate cutting board for any raw meat.  Also make sure you and your kids wash and dry your hands, equipment, and work surfaces thoroughly with warm soapy water immediately after handling raw chicken. We don’t want any chicken fingers going in your mouth, so washing your hands often in during this next bit is essential.

Cut the chicken into bite-sized, 2cm strips, and then add to half of your minty yoghurt dip. Save the other half for serving alongside your pieces! Make sure that your chicken is well coated, then cover and leave to marinate in the fridge.

While your chicken is hanging out in the fridge, prepare your crunchy coating of breadcrumbs, lemon, paprika, and a tiny pinch of salt and pepper. Making breadcrumbs from scratch is cheaper and tastier than buying ready-made breadcrumbs— plus it’s a great use for any bits of slightly stale bread you might have hanging out in the bread bin.

Now the kids can really shine, taking over the dipping, breading and shaking all on their own! Dip each piece one by one into the breadcrumbs and make sure that they are coated evenly. Shake off the excess bits and line the final products up on a tray for the oven.

Once they are done cooking, serve the chicken strips one a serving plate with a small bowl of the minty yoghurt from the half you saves earlier. Be sure to serve with a fresh green salad and jam jar dressing to brighten up your plates with a bit of veg!