American Girl Cooking: Recipes for Delicious Snacks, Meals & MoreFall 2016 Doing & Learning
There are a lot of cookbooks for kids, but most include recipes that are either too complicated, lack nutrition, or just don't hold much appeal for the intended audience.
The first thing that struck me when opened the Williams Sonoma American Girl Cooking cookbook is how yummy (and healthy!) all the offerings looked in the photos; my daughters couldn't wait to get into the kitchen.
Once we got started they didn't need my help for most of the steps, so they really had a chance to make the dishes themselves and not just "help" by watching me do most of the work (conveniently, the steps where an adult is needed are marked so you can spot them right away). Snacks like the Guacamole and Star Chips introduce kids to basic recipes with a little kid-friendly flair (the tortillas are cut into whimsical star shapes before they're baked), while main meals like the Baked Penne with Spinach and Cheese encourage turning this classic family dish vegetarian. As an added bonus, they were also both delicious! The "small sides" section also includes some delicious takes on veggies without being too over the top-roasted cauliflower gets a sprinkle of fresh lemon zest, toasted almonds are added to green beans (another hit at our house), and oven-baked carrots are spiced with brown sugar and ginger.
Overall, I think the book is best suited for the tween set, but my younger daughter had plenty of opportunity to pitch in too. This is a good choice for young chefs-in-training who'd like to learn about working in the kitchen and the delicious pleasure of making their own meals.