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ATK Kids

I’m an Adult. Here’s Why I Love Cooking from Kids’ Cookbooks

Kids’ cookbooks are perfect for weeknight meals and more.
By Published July 7, 2022

When I’m looking for a simple, last-minute weeknight dinner recipe, I inevitably end up reaching for one of my most trusted resources: a kids’ cookbook.

I don’t use only kids’ cookbooks, but there are a few things about them that make cooking a tad easier. 

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1. The ingredient lists and equipment lists are more explicit.

I am occasionally a bit too eager and start cooking before I realize I have to get out my food processor or another large piece of equipment. This isn’t horrible, but it’s definitely annoying when I think I’m getting away with having to wash only two pans max. In a kids’ cookbook, both the ingredients AND equipment are listed clearly.

2. The recipe steps are shorter.

There may be a higher number of total steps, but the steps themselves are shorter. That helps me (and kids) keep track of what’s going on.

3. Potentially confusing actions are explained clearly.

If you, like David from Schitt’s Creek, have ever been baffled by a directive such as “fold in the cheese,” you need to try cooking from a kids’ cookbook. It will clearly and concisely explain how to mince, core, fold—basically how to do absolutely everything. 

4. The recipes still taste really great.

At least with America’s Test Kitchen Kids cookbooks, there’s no assumption that kids eat only chicken nuggets and mac and cheese (delicious though they are). I make the Stir-Fried Tofu with Green Beans from The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs about once a month, and the One-Pot Garlicky Shrimp Pasta from Kids Can Cook Anything! (available this fall) satisfies all my weeknight needs: It gets as few dishes dirty as possible, takes less than an hour to make from start to finish, and is both filling and tasty.

Here are some of my favorite ATK Kids cookbooks to cook from.

Click on the free recipe links below for complete step-by-step instructions on Stir-Fried Tofu with Green Beans and One-Pot Garlicky Shrimp Pasta.

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