food fun for young children

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Serving up quick, healthy meal & snack ideas for younger children

Cowboy Cookies

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Article written by Sara Brozek, UNL Dietetic Intern.  Questions?? - Contact Cami Wells, MS, RD

Having kids in the kitchen doesn't create a recipe for disaster! There are many good reasons for involving young children in food preparation such as enjoying quality time together and providing the opportunity for children to learn about and develop an appreciation for cooking.  Just remember to have plenty of patience and expect messes!  Here is a great recipe to make with your kids. 

• ½ cup butter or margarine, softenedcookies
• 1 egg
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• ½ cup granulated sugar
• ½ cup brown sugar
• 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• 1 1/3 cups old-fashioned oats
• ¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
• 1/3 cup chopped pecans


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, mix together butter, egg and vanilla.
  3. Add remaining ingredients. Stir together until mixture is well blended.  (Note: you may need to use your hands to finish mixing dough.)
  4. Shape the dough into walnut-sized balls.
  5. Grease a cookie sheet, placing dough balls 2 inches apart.
  6. Bake cookies for 11 to 13 minutes. Once done, cool on a wire rack.

Be Creative!  This is a fun recipe to have kids adapt and create something new.  Try adding different types of dried fruit, nuts or flavors of baking chips.  Here are a few additional ideas to get you started:

  • Peanut butter (½ cup)
  • Peanuts (1 cup, chopped)
  • Cinnamon (? teaspoon)
  • Flaked coconut (½ cup)


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