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Foods to Feel Like a Kid Again

Simple, nostalgia-inducing recipes your kids will love.

Some moments in time make us instantly feel like kids again.

I remember when my kids were finally old enough to swing themselves on the swing set. I sat in the swing next to them, the four of us pushing our feet against the smooth, worn dirt and flying to the clouds. At first I pushed gently, feeling the butterflies in my stomach as I swung up and down. And then I remembered how high I would swing as a kid, and I pointed my toes to the sky, feeling that wide-open feeling of childhood.

Once my kids learned to ride bikes, I dusted off an old bike in the garage so I could ride with them. With the first pedal, I remembered exactly how I felt learning to ride a bike when I was 7 years old. I relived that stumble-lurch-here-we-go-whee! feeling.

It’s great to have those experiences that put us in our kids’ shoes. I’ve had the same feelings in less adventurous settings, but that nonetheless took me back to childhood. Icing and decorating cookies will take you there. Helping a child frost a cupcake will take you there. Even eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and potato chips can make you feel like you’re 10 years old again.

Here are some recipes to make with or for your kids that will make you feel like a kid again.

There are no special ingredients in this milkshake. It’s the plain jane, but delicious, shake of childhood.

Classic Chocolate Milkshake

Makes 2 servings

  • 4 scoops vanilla or chocolate ice cream (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup cold milk
  • 1/4 cup Hershey’s chocolate syrup
  1. Place ice cream, milk and syrup in blender. Cover, and blend until smooth. Serve in frosty mugs.

A friend told me this recipe is her go-to comfort food. It was what her Iranian grandmother made for her when she was a kid.

Chicken and Rice with Dried Fruit and Saffron

Makes 4 to 6 servings

  • 3 pounds chicken, skin on (you can use breasts, thighs or whatever you like)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1⁄2 stick butter
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1⁄2 cup dried apricots, chopped
  • 1⁄2 cup raisins
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1⁄4 cup water or chicken broth
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon saffron thread
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 4 cups cooked jasmine or basmati rice
  1. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Brown the chicken in butter in a sauté pan. Set aside.
  2. Sauté the onion in remaining butter (or add olive oil to pan if dry) until onions are tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Add apricots and raisins, and cook 5 minutes. Stir in cinnamon and ¼ cup water or chicken broth, and gently scrape bottom of pan.
  3. Place half the cooked rice in a baking dish. Place the chicken on top, spread the apricot mixture over the chicken and top with remaining rice. Cover, and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked and tender.
  4. While the chicken is cooking add saffron to 2 tablespoons boiling water. Let steep for about 20 minutes.
  5. Before serving, pour saffron liquid over the top of the chicken and rice, and gently stir. Serve on a platter.

Feel like a kid again with these easy-to-make M&M bar cookies and a cold glass of milk.

M&M Bar Cookies

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 cups baking mix (such as Bisquick)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups M&M candies
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat an 8-by-8-inch baking dish with nonstick spray.
  2. Combine the brown sugar, baking mix, eggs, butter and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Stir until well blended. Stir in the M&Ms, reserving a couple of tablespoons to sprinkle on top.
  3. Pat the dough into the baking dish. Sprinkle remaining M&Ms on top. Bake 20 minutes or until lightly browned on top. Do not overbake. Allow to cool completely. Cut into bars.

This tastes like the soup many of us had on sick days home from school. It’s super simple to make and tastes much better than canned soup. Save this one for a “sick day” for yourself or your kiddos.

ABC Chicken Soup

Makes 4 servings

  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cups frozen mixed veggies (Fresh is great too. Use whatever you have on hand.)
  • 3/4 cup uncooked alphabet pasta
  • 2 cups chopped cooked chicken breast
  1. Heat broth, celery, onion and veggies to a boil. Add pasta, and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook 15 minutes. Stir in chicken and simmer until chicken is hot. 
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