Cooking Ideas For Kids From A Minnesota Chef

January 4, 2013 7:00 AM

(credit: Jupiter Images)

The winter nights are long and settling down after the big holiday season is upon us. It’s time to gather the family together in the kitchen on a weeknight or weekend and make something together. It has been said that food brings people together, so spend some quality time in front of the oven instead of the TV with cooking. Enjoy delicious meals with your kids with suggestions from head chef and CEO of Way-Cool Cooking School, Lynn Elliott. 

(credit: Jupiter Images)

(credit: Jupiter Images)

Way-Cool Cooking School
16544 W. 78th St.
Eden Prairie, MN 55346
(952) 949-6799

Way-Cool Cooking School, with head chef Lynn Elliott, has two locations; one in Eden Prairie and one in Savage. The school specializes in cooking classes for adults, kids or both. It’s a great way to explore a new hobby and teach kids the importance of nutrition, independence and self confidence. There are many classes offered at Way-Cool Cooking School. They vary from classes for parents and their kids ages three to six to adult cooking classes for party foods and everything in between. Here are some samples of recipes, suggested by Lynn Elliott, that you might find in one of Way-Cool’s classes.

Related: Best Chefs Heating Up The Culinary Scene In Minnesota

For Breakfast: Cinnamon Apple Puffy Pancakes


  • 2 Granny Smith apples; peeled, cored and chopped
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • Pinch of salt
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar (and more for sprinkling at the table when eating)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice


  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Using a hand mixer or wisk, beat the eggs and cinnamon in a small bowl. (This can be something the kids can do. Depending on their age, it might be better to use a wisk to hand mix it.)
  3. Next, lightly beat together the flour, milk, salt and egg mixture. If the batter is a little lumpy, that’s fine. It’s supposed to be that way.
  4. Melt the butter in a medium-sized skillet with a heat-proof handle. (The kids can do this, be sure to keep an eye on it so it doesn’t start to brown.)
  5. Once the butter is melted, add the apples and saute until they are tender. Next, turn the heat off under the pan and pour the batter over the apples.
  6. In the same skillet, bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until the pancake is fluffy and golden brown.
  7. Sprinkle with the 1/4 cup sugar and return to the oven for just a minute or two. (Sprinkling is a great task for the kids!) Then, carefully use a potholder to remove the pan from the oven.
  8. Sprinkle the pancake with lemon juice and serve immediately.
  9. Enjoy!

Related: Best Hot Drinks In Minnesota

For Dinner: Skillet Lasagna


  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves sliced garlic
  • 1.5 pounds diced tomatoes
  • 4 teaspoons chopped basil and/or parsley, plus more for garnish (the kids can tear up the herbs – a great job for little ones)
  • Kosher salt and ground pepper
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 6 sheets no-bake lasagna noodles
  • 1 carrot, peeled into ribbons
  • 1 zucchini, peeled into ribbons
  • 3.5 cups baby spinach
  • 1/3 pounds thinly sliced mozzarella cheese


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Then add the garlic and cook until golden.
  2. Add the tomatoes, 1 tablespoon of parsley/basil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Cook for about 5 minutes.
  3. Transfer to a blender and puree.
  4. Return 1 cup of the blended sauce mixture to the skillet and reduce the heat to low. Set the remaining sauce aside to save for later.
  5. Meanwhile, mix the ricotta, egg, Parmesan, remaining 3 tablespoons of parsley/basil and 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper (to taste) in a bowl (this is a great job for older kids to teach them measurements).
  6. Lay 2 of the lasagna noodles over the sauce in the skillet. Add half of the carrot and zucchini on top with a slight drizzle of olive oil. Cover with half of the spinach, half of the ricotta mixture, a few pieces of mozzarella and 3 tablespoons of the reserved tomato sauce. Repeat each layer in the same fashion using the rest of the noodles. Top with the remaining sauce and mozzarella.
  7. Next, cover and simmer for about 20-25 minutes or until the lasagna is cooked and the cheese is melty.
  8. Remove from heat and let the skillet rest for a few minutes before cutting pieces.

Amber Ranzau lives on the edge of Uptown in Minneapolis and is a gal about town. She frequents the local restaurant scene, loves to support new and local businesses, follows the latest and greatest fashion and design trends, and she does all of this while working as an interior designer, spending time with her man, The Specialist, and taking care of her two goldfish Felix and Petunia and their tankmate Huey the Snail. Her work can be found at

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