Karmel's Kid Favorites

Boost the nutrition without losing the kid-friendly taste in these family classics. Plus: cupcakes for dessert!
Feb 06, 2013



Feb 06, 2013

Almost every child likes hamburgers, pasta, and of course, cupcakes. Try these favorites served in a delicious new way, with recipes from family-meal expert and award-winning chef Annabel Karmel. Both the burgers and the veggie sauce are suitable for freezing, too.


Beef Burgers
Forget storebought, frozen patties — why not make your own healthy burgers using good quality minced meat and no nasties? This delicious burger recipe can be made with beef, lamb, or chicken. You can serve the burgers in a toasted bun, with extras like lettuce, pickled cucumber, sliced tomato, thinly sliced sautéed onion, and maybe a little ketchup or mustard.


What you need:

  • 1 lb lean minced beef or lamb
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3½ oz. chopped red pepper
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley (optional)
  • 1 beef stock cube, finely grated
  • ½ lightly beaten egg
  • 2 oz. fresh breadcrumbs
  • ½ tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • a little flour
  • vegetable oil for frying, or brushing a griddle pan

What to do:
Fry the onion and red pepper in the vegetable oil for about 5 minutes or until softened. In a mixing bowl, combine the sautéed onion together with all the other ingredients. With floured hands, form 10 burgers.

Fry the burgers in a little hot oil in a large shallow frying pan on a high heat to brown and seal, then lower the heat and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Alternatively, brush the griddle and cook for about 4 minutes each side or until browned and cooked through. Repeat with the remaining burgers.


Hidden Vegetable Sauce
There are four vegetables blended into this tomato sauce. What kids can't see, they can't pick out! Use this to top any pasta shapes.


What to do:

  • 1 tbsp light olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 small carrot, chopped
  • ½ stick celery, chopped
  • 2 oz. zucchini, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 15 oz. crushed tomatoes
  • 5 tbsp vegetable stock

What to do:
Heat the oil in a pan. Add the onion, carrot and celery and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the zucchini and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add the crushed garlic and cook for one minute.

Stir in the tomato purée, crushed tomatoes, and vegetable stock. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes. Puree with an electric hand blender.

Cook the pasta in boiling water according to the instructions on the package, then drain and stir into the sauce. Makes 4 servings.


Puppy Dog Cupcakes
Children love making cupcakes. This cupcake recipe is easy to make and the cakes look wonderful when decorated to look like animals. You can buy vanilla frosting in tubs if you don't want to make your own buttercream.


What you need:

For the cupcakes:

  • 4 oz soft margarine
  • 4 oz superfine sugar
  • 4 oz self-raising flour
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla

For the buttercream:

  • 4 oz butter, softened
  • 8 oz icing sugar, sieved
  • 1 tbsp water

For decoration:

  • Small, flat cookies
  • Brown and yellow M & M's
  • Giant chocolate buttons
  • Tube of black writing Icing

What to do:
Preheat the over to 350F. Cream the margarine and sugar together until light and fluffy, then beat in the eggs one at a time with 1 tablespoon of the flour. Add the vanilla and fold in the remaining flour. Line a muffin tin with 8 paper liners and half fill each with the mixture.

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes until well risen and the cakes spring back when you press them with your fingertips. Leave to cool for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire cooling rack.

To make the buttercream, sift the icing sugar into a bowl. Beat the butter until creamy in an electric mixer. Gradually add the icing sugar to the butter, beating until smooth. Finally, beat in the water.

Once the cakes are completely cool, spread a layer of buttercream over the cupcakes using a palette knife.

Stick on cookie ears and add sweets for the eyes and noses. Draw pupils on the eyes and mouths for the puppies using the writing icing. Makes 8 cupcakes.

Raising Kids
Age 7
Age 6