3 Recipes Any Kid Can Master, According to Gaby Melian

Plus, the best chef's knife to buy the kid in your life that loves to cook.

Gaby Melian, Gaby's Latin American Kitchen cookbook, and arepas

Simply Recipes / Amando Rafael

What does trained chef and former Bon Appétit Test Kitchen manager Gaby Melian know about kids cooking? As much as your kids can learn from her new cookbook, "Gaby's Latin American Kitchen," a collection of recipes she made as a child growing up in Argentina and ones beloved by children across Latin America.

Before entering the professional kitchen, Gaby spent years teaching young children how to cook, and this cookbook encapsulates her approach to cooking with kids—fun trumps all, except safety always comes first. "Have your kid knee on a chair against the kitchen counter, and give them something to do with their hands," she says, like chopping fruit. (Psst! This the best knife that America's Test Kitchen, who collaborated on Gaby's cookbook, thinks is best for kids: Opinel Le Petit Chef Knife.)

Gaby recommends you start with these three cookbook recipes—from easiest to more challenging. Soon, your kid will take over making weeknight dinners for the family, and that's a huge kitchen win in our books!

BUY THE COOKBOOK: "Gaby's Latin American Kitchen"

1. Arepas for Little Hands

"Arepas are super simple, especially for younger children. There is no cutting involved, it's all done by hand, and they can be eaten right away—instant gratification is key for little ones! Make it your own by using your favorite melty cheese, or cut it in half and make a sandwich with eggs and more cheese. I include suggestions for different ways to serve arepas in the cookbook."

2. Arroz Con Leche for Family Game Night

"Arroz con leche (rice pudding) is easy to make, calls for ingredients you probably already have at home, and is perfect for planning ahead, like for a family game or movie night since it needs to chill for about eight hours before you can eat it. Arroz con leche is made slightly different in every country where it's popular—with cinnamon in Mexico and nutmeg in Costa Rica. We always use orange zest, vanilla, and cinnamon [in Argentina]. Flavor it however your family likes it!"

3. Buñuelos de Acelga Like My Abuela Made

"My abuela made buñuelos de acelga (Swiss chard fritters) with anything she had around, like onions and kale. I recommend Swiss chard or even spinach, but use any vegetables you have around. Our little secret was that we would dip day-old cold buñuelos in dulce de leche. Try them. They are amazing! These are seasoned only with salt, pepper, and a tiny bit of nutmeg, so they are basically like pancakes and the tastiest way to eat your greens. This recipe requires frying, so make sure an adult is there to keep a close eye."