Cooking Ideas For Kids From A Washington DC Chef

January 4, 2013 8:00 AM

(credit: Thinkstock)

(credit: Thinkstock)

(credit: Thinkstock)

Cooking with kids can be a great way to expose them to new cuisines, interesting ingredients and healthy food. These D.C. chefs are here to get you started with recipes perfect for any family. Get kids involved in the cooking process, whether it be for breakfast, lunch or dinner with fun, simple options from the minds of the city’s culinary geniuses.

Bircher Muesli
Breakfast by Chef Alex Jifar of Bread and Chocolate

611 King St.
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 548-0992

For a fun breakfast dish to make with kids, try Chef Jifar’s bircher muesli. Kids may participate by measuring, pouring and mixing the ingredients. Begin by mixing together two ounces of sugar, three ounces of orange juice, and three ounces of milk. Once the sugar dissolves, mix in four ounces of oats and three ounces each of cantaloupe, pears and grapes, all diced. Once all of the ingredients are mixed, put six ounces in a serving cup or a bowl, and sprinkle with walnuts and sliced strawberries to serve. Add a drizzle of strawberry paste for extra sweetness.

About Chef Alex Jifar

Jifar has been in the restaurant business for 14 years, working his way up to executive chef at Bread and Chocolate. He has worked in half a dozen restaurants and positions, and has certifications in pastry and baking. Bread and Chocolate has expanded to six locations in the Washington, D.C. area.

Vegetable Frittata
Lunch by Chef Dot Steck of Zest Bistro
735 8th St. SE
Washington, DC 20003
(202) 544-7171

For a light lunch, Chef Dot Steck recommends a vegetable frittata. Kids may take part in breaking the eggs, grating the cheese and mixing together all of the ingredients. To start, whisk together 12 eggs, two tablespoons of milk, one teaspoon of salt and a quarter teaspoon of pepper together in a large bowl. In a 10-inch, non-stick pan, over medium heat, melt one tablespoon of butter and sauté one finely diced onion and two finely diced bell peppers until they start to brown slightly. Pour the whisked egg mixture into the pan and, with a spatula, pull the egg mixture toward the center of the pan as it cooks. When the entire mixture has cooked until wiggly, sprinkle a half cup of cheddar cheese evenly across the top and press down into the frittata with the thin edge of the spatula. Put the pan in a 400-degree, pre-heated oven and cook for 10 minutes. The frittata is done when it feels firm but not dry. Let it cool in the pan for 10 more minutes, then flip pan over to release frittata. Slice and serve, topped with pico de gallo if desired.

About Chef Dot Steck
Steck began her culinary career more than 30 years ago and has worked at well-known D.C. establishments including Jaleo and Butterfield 9. For the last two years, she has served as an executive chef. She is currently helping to develop a new menu for the company’s next restaurant, which is slated to open in a few months.

Related: Best Bistros In D.C.

Pizza with Hidden Vegetable Pizza Sauce
Dinner by Chef Spike Mendelsohn of Good Stuff Eatery
303 Pennsylvania Ave. SE
Washington, DC 20003
(202) 543-8222

Chef Spike Mendelsohn recommends pizza making as a fun way to engage kids in cooking. Kids love pizza, and it’s a great way to sneak in lots of fresh veggies. The first step is to make the sauce for the pizza. Dice an onion, carrot, a cup of mushrooms, half of a red bell pepper, half of a yellow bell pepper, and half of a green bell pepper. Toss the veggies with two cloves of minced garlic, a tablespoon of olive oil, a teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of dried oregano. Roast the veggies in the oven for 20 minutes at 450 degrees. Puree the vegetables in a food processor, and then add a can of crushed tomatoes and a can of tomato paste. Make sure the sauce is blended smooth. Next, take 1.5 cups of warm water and mix with three tablespoons of vegetable oil. Add  3.75 cups of flour, then a teaspoon of salt, then two teaspoons of quick yeast and three teaspoons of sugar. Knead together, then let it sit for 20 minutes. After it rises, push it back down and allow it to rise again. Place the dough on a floured surface, and let it rest for five minutes. Roll it out until it is flat, and bake for 10 minutes in a 400-degree oven. Pour the sauce over it, and add herbs, cheese or any additional ingredients and bake for 20 more minutes.

About Chef Spike Mendelsohn

Mendelsohn is the proud owner of two popular D.C. restaurants, We the Pizza and Good Stuff Eatery. He is also a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and competed on Season 4 of the hit TV show “Top Chef.” He plans to open three new restaurants in the D.C. area within the next year.

Related: Best Brick Oven Pizzas In DC

Priya Konings is a freelance writer and restaurant critic in Washington D.C. Her work can be found at