What's a good fun recipe for children ages 9 and older
This might help keep everyone occupied during a meal prep. Could be made more complicated, for older kids, by making more cuts. http://www.cutefoodforkids.com/2011/04/3-d-apple-puzzle.html
Pizzas. You can make or buy pizza dough beforehand, set out topping (like sauce, pesto,honey, mozz, ricotta, prosciutto, vegetables, olives, carmelized onions, etc), and let the kids get to work. Not really cooking, but fun and potentially healthy (if you use whole wheat dough and healthy toppings) for the kids.
Yes, I will second the pizza suggestion. What kid doesn't love pizza? You will have to stretch out the dough and fire up the oven but then they decorate and embellish.
Funfetti inspired sandwich cookies are great for any age!
Making granola can be fun. Put out lots of dried fruits, nuts, brown sugar, maple syrup etc and let each one try different combinations.
That's about the right age to learn to make soup. French onion soup is a good one. Or even a 'hamburger stew' thing.
Then you have the classics like "Toad the Hole" and Brownies.
Our current go to project is popsicles. And decorating cupcakes never fails...
Trifle seems to work well because the kids like working on the layers and making designs with sliced fruit around the sides. And who doesn't like whipped cream? You can make layers with just about anything - chocolate chips, crumbled brownies or cookies, cubed pound cake, pudding, jello, etc. Everybody gets a layer!
Potstickers! (dumplings). Just saw this recipe - looks good - and I'm sure there are other recipes on this site.
I think making "individual" things appeals to younger kids - they'll have fun with the "pleating" of the dumpling dough. And they'll love the food bling of dipping sauce. Obviously, all the vegetables need to be pre-chopped and ready to go. Having seen way too many knife accidents, I wouldn't let anyone under 18 handle a knife in my kitchen, unless you're a medical professional who can do suturing on site. That aside - cooking with kids is so much fun. They are so grateful for ANYTHING that turns out tasting reasonably good, that they made themselves.
Pancakes. Easy to mix, fun measuring. While the pan may be hot, they are easy to flip and cook. My kids love pancakes as do all kids, so they are fun to et also. Drop in blueberries, chocolate chips, sprinkles, bananas!
I agree about the dumplings - my daughter and I made big batches of potstickers and shu mai from the time she 7 or 8. She was far better than me at forming them. We also made gnocchi a lot - she'd roll out the ropes, cut them into pieces (really sharp knife not necessary) and press them against a fork to make ridges. Sometimes we'd make the ricotta for the gnocchi ourselves too, which is also fun.