City Lifestyle

Want to start a publication?

Learn More
Popcorn: Fun to make and fun to eat

Featured Article

It's About More than Just the Food

Chef Jackie Dodart offers guidelines for cooking with kids

Article by Jackie Dodart

Photography by Melanie Taylor, MS, RDN, CD Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Originally published in St George City Lifestyle

As a young mother, I taught my children the fragrances of exotic spices and how to grow garden herbs and use them in the foods we cooked. They learned the process of picking fresh peaches in the orchard and canning them, later to breathe in the pleasing aroma of an oven-baked pie. These experiences offered fun, quality time with my children—and taught them life lessons about the energy and effort involved in getting food from farm to table.

Cooking alongside a parent, guardian or loved one is usually where children’s cooking adventures begin. As they grow, we assign tasks such as cracking eggs, stirring (and licking the spoon), mixing, measuring, and baking cookies and other fun foods, which sets the stage for children learning how to cook. Teaching children how to cook ensures a healthier lifestyle.

When children have the skills to prepare food from fresh ingredients, oftentimes they learn to enjoy a wider variety of nutritious foods and build confidence in feeding themselves. They may also learn the social enjoyment of creating and sharing food, and in some cases, even train for a culinary career.

Six years ago, I launched Harmons Cooking School Kids in the Kitchen, and I have seen firsthand children that may be timid in the beginning, then gain knowledge, experience and confidence in the kitchen over time. Knife skills, food safety, herb identification, menu planning, cooking techniques and plating are just some of the skills we teach during our camp.   

Teaching children to be skillful in the kitchen prepares them not only to enjoy food—but instills skills that will serve them throughout their lives.

Contact Chef Jackie at

Eight Tips for Cooking with Kids

  1. Start with the child not being tired or hungry. 
  2. Involve kids in all aspects of the menu: planning, shopping and preparing.
  3. Keep it simple. Start with easy-to-complete recipes.
  4. Mise-en-place. Prep all ingredients before starting, including measuring so you know if you need additional items.
  5. Use child size tools: spatulas, knives, cutting boards and bowls.
  6. Teach cleaning as you go. Throw rubbish away and have a cleaning towel handy.
  7. Encourage and have a good time. 
  8. Create memories.

Pretzel Dog Bites

Serves 4


1-2 cups self-rising flour. Start with one cup and gradually add more as needed. Dough should not stick to hands.

1 cup plain, fat-free Greek yogurt

1 cup boiling water

2 tablespoons baking soda

¼ cup butter, melted

1 tablespoon pretzel salt (or Maldon Sea Salt Flakes)


Put the self-rising flour and plain, fat-free Greek yogurt in the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment.

Mix at low speed until combined, then, knead at medium speed for about 3 minutes until a ball forms. If the dough is too sticky, add more self-rising flour a little at a time.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Sprinkle the top with flour, knead a couple of times, and form the dough into a ball. Cut the dough ball into four wedges.

Roll each piece of dough into a long rope. Cut each rope into about 12 segments.

Dissolve baking soda in boiling water. Dip the dough segments into the baking soda mixture. Place on a parchment-covered baking sheet.

Bake at 425 degrees for 7-10 minutes, until golden brown.

Brush pretzel bites with melted butter and sprinkle with pretzel salt.

Egg Foo Young

(Makes six 5-inch pancakes)


3 eggs, well beaten

1 tablespoon soy sauce

½ cup shrimp or other meat

½ cup onion, chopped fine

½ cup shredded celery

½ cup bean sprouts

2 tablespoons flour

½ teaspoon salt

¼ cup vegetable oil


1 tablespoon corn starch

¼ cup soy sauce

¾ cup soup stock or water

sesame oil to taste

1 tablespoon sugar


Mix all ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl. Heat a large skillet and add oil. Drop about ¼ cup of the mixture at a time into the oil and fry until golden brown on both sides. Add oil after each batch is made in the skillet. If using nonstick skillet, use very little oil.

For the sauce, mix all ingredients together and cook over low heat.

If serving egg foo young as an entrée, drizzle sauce on top. If serving as an appetizer, serve the sauce on the side for dipping.

Chicken Pot Pie


1 diced peeled potato

1 diced carrot

2 tablespoons butter, cubed

2 chopped onions

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour                                    

1 teaspoon salt as needed

2 sprigs fresh minced thyme                

½ teaspoon pepper

1 cup chicken broth   

¼ cup cream

½ cup cubed cooked chicken

¼ cup frozen peas frozen

¼ cup frozen corn frozen

1 pie crust cut into rounds


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large skillet, heat butter over medium-high heat. Add onion; cook and stir until tender, then add the peas, carrot and potato. Stir in flour and seasonings until blended. Gradually stir in broth and milk. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly; cook and stir 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat.

Unroll a pie crust and cut into size of ramekins. Trim even with rims. Place the crusts atop the ramekins over filling. Trim, seal edges. Cut slits in tops.

Bake 35-40 minutes or until crust is lightly browned. Let stand 15 minutes before cutting.

  • The joys of food preparation create smiles
  • Popcorn: Fun to make and fun to eat
  • Many hands make light work
  • Learning Lab
  • Beautiful strawberries and chocolate
  • How to cut an onion
  • Cooking with a smile
  • Three is a team!
  • Dynamic duo
  • Pretzel Dog Bites
  • Chef Jackie Dodart alongside cooking school student, Ruben