Kids in the Kitchen
Christopher Smith

Kids in the kitchen

Desert Companion

Your little chefs will enjoy eating these recipes as much as they’ll enjoy making them (with a little help from you)

European-style muesli with oats, yogurt, jam and trail mix

This healthy and delicious breakfast doesn’t require any heavy-duty cookware — and not a single trip to the stove. Let the kids make it for you, and then praise them on their mastery. They’ll love being creative with the varieties of yogurt, jam and trail mix they can use — and you’ll love having a morning of pure leisure.

Makes 1 bowl


3/4 cup oats

1/2 cup milk, or more to taste

2 tablespoons yogurt

1 tablespoon jam

1 tablespoon dried fruit trail mix



1. In a small bowl, pour milk over oats, making sure the milk doesn’t cover the oats, as you want them to thicken.

2. Let stand for 3 minutes until the oats absorb most of the milk.

3. Add two dollops of yogurt and a tablespoon of jam.

4. Sprinkle with the trail mix and enjoy.


These breakfast waffle sandwiches are loaded with the sweet, fruity goodness kids adore — and they’re a breeze to make. Experimenting with different types of fruit combinations and peanut butter is encouraged. So is finger-licking. Just remember to have plenty of napkins around, because things are bound to get messy.

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Serves 4


8 frozen waffles

1-2 apples, thinly sliced

4 tablespoons peanut butter (or more to taste)

1-2 bananas, thinly sliced




1. Heat waffles according to the directions.

2. Spread peanut butter on top of each waffle.

3. Layer four waffles with apples and bananas, and drizzle with honey.

4. Cover with the remaining waffles to make 4 sandwiches.


Russian kotleti (open-faced hamburgers)

Hands down, kotleti is the best European hamburger this side of the ocean. These meat patties are delightfully moist on the inside and crispy on the outside. And they’re full of flavor, so much of it that you’ll prefer eating them without buns or condiments, which kind of makes them a healthier alternative to the old-fashioned hamburger. Traditionally, kotleti are served open-faced with a side of mashed potatoes and veggies.

Makes 12 patties


 1 thick slice of French bread

 milk for soaking

 1-1/2 pounds ground beef (best fresh)

 1-1/2 pounds ground pork (best fresh)

 1 small potato, grated

 1 small onion, grated

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup unsalted butter

4 tablespoons olive oil, or more to taste



1. Soak the bread in the milk for 5 minutes. Squeeze the bread to remove any excess milk. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, combine beef, pork, onion, potato, bread, salt and pepper. Knead until well mixed.

3. Heat butter and oil in a large skillet on medium-low heat.

4. Meanwhile, form the mixture into 4-inch oval patties. You’ll make about 12 patties.

5. When the oil and butter mixture starts to foam, turn up the heat to medium.

6. Layer the skillet with kotleti and fry until richly browned on both sides, about 5 minutes on each side.

7. Heat a small stew pot with a lid over low heat.

8. Add the prepared kotleti to the stew pot and cover to keep warm. (Don’t skip this step. It helps the patties to become moist and flavorful.)

9. Cook kotleti in batches, adding oil as needed.

10. Serve on a bun, slice of bread or enjoy by itself.


European style muesli with oats, yogurt, jam and trail mix
Christopher Smith

European style muesli with oats, yogurt, jam and trail mix


Waffle-honey- apple-PB-bananwich
Christopher Smith



Russian kotleti (open-faced hamburgers) and paprika skillet fries
Christopher Smith

Russian kotleti (open-faced hamburgers) and paprika skillet fries

Paprika skillet fries

The secret to this scrumptious recipe is the deep-frying process that makes fries so flavorful: by frying the potatoes in a single layer in super-hot oil. Sweet potatoes also work wonderfully well instead of conventional potatoes. Serve with a side of fruit for an easy and delicious lunch.

Serves 4


4 medium Idaho potatoes

2 teaspoons paprika

garlic salt to taste

12 tablespoons olive oil

4 tablespoons butter



1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil and butter over low heat.

2. Meanwhile, cut the potatoes into fries. Make sure they’re not too thin.

3. In a large bowl, toss the fries to coat with paprika and garlic salt.

4. Turn the heat to medium-high. Oil and butter should be very hot.

5. Fry the potatoes in a single layer until golden brown on all sides, about 7-10 minutes.

6. Drain on a paper napkin and serve at once.

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