Cooking Ideas For Kids From A Cleveland Chef

January 4, 2013 8:00 AM

(credit: Thinkstock)

Cooking together is an enjoyable activity for children and their parents or grandparents. It encourages kids to try new foods, and helps them with their reading, math and time-management skills. Cooking is also a great way to promote creativity in children. Chef Ben Bebenroth, owner of Spice Kitchen+Bar, is also a father of two young children. So grab a kid and get cooking with these mouthwatering recipes from one of Cleveland’s very own top chefs.

Ben Bebenroth
Spice Kitchen+Bar

5800 Detroit Ave.

Cleveland, OH 44102
(216) 961-9637

Bebenroth, fine tuned his culinary skills at Johnson and Wales University where he graduated in the top 10 of his class. In 2004, Bebenroth won the school’s national Taste Down Under cooking competition with his recipes for pistachio-crusted lamb, sake corn-stuffed bok choy, carrot ginger puree and pistachio confit. Two years later, Bebenroth founded Spice of Life Catering Company with a devotion to source all of the ingredients from sustainable family farms within a 100-mile radius of Cleveland. He has spent the majority of his career building relationships with local producers so he could understand how to balance customer demand with seasonal offerings. In 2012, Bebenroth extended his catering company and opened up a restaurant, Spice Kitchen+Bar, with the same commitment he has for his catering company. He even went a step further and added an outdoor garden to the restaurant, so many of the ingredients grow right there. Bebenroth also has his own 10,000-square-foot garden at his home, and uses that produce at his restaurant and catering company. Enjoy his favorite kid-friendly recipes for a day full of the family’s new favorites. 
Mom’s Pop-Over Pancakes “Panakuken”

6 eggs whipped
1.5 cup flour
1.5 cup milk
1 stick butter
Pinch of salt
Pinch of nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, whip eggs for at least five minutes until they are frothy. Add all of the dry ingredients to the eggs and mix until it is stretchy. Add the milk and mix until smooth. Brown the butter in a skillet. Pour the mix into the hot skillet and bake for 40 minutes. Bebenroth said he loves to make this with is kids. “It’s super fun to watch your kids watch the pancake blow up like a balloon inside the oven. My son Burke calls em ‘Big Guys’,” he said.

Peanut Stir Fry Sauce
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 heaping tablespoons of peanut butter
6 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 lime, juiced
1/4 cup minced ginger
1 teaspoon corn starch
1/4 cup cilantro stems
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce

Place all of the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth, pouring over your favorite rice noodles and steamed vegetables. “It’s fun to have your kids help you measure it all out and then they can be in charge of the blender,” Bebenroth said.

Related: Best Pumpkin Dishes in Cleveland

Ben’s Hummus
1 can chickpeas, drained
1 lemon, juiced
4 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 shakes of Chalula hot sauce
1/3 cup tahini
1/3 cup water

Place the garlic cloves, salt, lemon juice and Chalula in a food processor. Pulse for 30 seconds. Add the drained (but not rinsed) chic peas and pulse for another 30 seconds. Turn on the food processor, drizzle water and allow it to run until smooth, for approximately one minute. Refrigerate over night and serve the next day at room temperature with paprika and extra virgin olive oil garnish. Serve with pita and veggies.

Related: Holiday Recipes from Cleveland Chefs

Amanda Keeler is a freelance writer and Social Media Director, living in the Cleveland, Ohio area. She has a B.A. from The Ohio State University in Public Relations. Her work can be found on