Most families today manage a very busy schedule, to say the least. Between school, work, errands, carpooling, and soccer practice; sometimes cooking dinner can be the last thing on your mind. It can be easy to order a pizza or stop for fast food, but is that always the best option?
Although this is consistent with many families today, it can be doing a disservice to your family’s health and prevents children from taking an interest in learning how to cook from a young age and eating healthy.
Teaching your children how to cook is great for a number of reasons. It helps educate kids on the importance of kitchen safety, health, initiates a sense of responsibility in taking care of themselves and is an activity to do together as a family.
French Bread Pizzas– Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice French bread in half and cut into sections. Drizzle with olive oil and top with sauce, cheese, and various toppings that you enjoy. Showing young ones how to properly slice bread and cheese using the proper tools is important. Have them watch and learn until they are ready to use a knife themselves makes the transition easier. Experiment with toppings such as basil, pepperoni, tomato, mushrooms, and ricotta or your favorite pizza topping.
Sugar Cookies– This is another great treat for kids to display their creativity because sugary toppings come in a variety of fun shapes and colors. Preheat oven to 375 degrees, then cream together 1cup butter, 1 tsp baking soda, ½ tsp baking powder, 2 ¾ all purpose flour, 1 ½ cups of sugar, 1 egg and 1tsp vanilla. This is a great way to teach kids how to use an electric mixer. Start at a lower speed and explain the importance of being safe when using electrical appliances. Once all the ingredients are blended roll out the dough into balls or use cookie cutters for other fun shapes, then add sprinkles or other toppings to help them be creative.
Salad in a Jar– This recipe doubles as a healthy lunch and a great way to allow kids to mix and match their own salads. Take a trip to the grocery store and talk to your kids on the best way to pick fresh fruits and vegetables. Ask them to choose their favorite add ins. Hint: this is a great way to secretly introduce new vegetables to picky eaters.
Loaded Quesadillas– This one is perfect for a quick after school snack kids can assemble by themselves. Utilize leftovers by encouraging your kids to top their tortillas with chicken, shrimp, or any meat you may have used for dinner. Layer with cheese and other veggies. Instead of using an oven, have your little ones pop this in the microwave until the cheese has melted and make sure they know to wait until it’s cooled before eating.
Easy Peasy Pancakes– This classic may require a bit of a assistance but can be a great dish in a pinch on busy school nights. Mix together 1 egg, ¾ cup of milk, 2 tbsp butter, 1 tbsp sugar, 1tsp of baking soda, and 1 tsp salt. Blend well and pour into empty squeeze bottle so kids can have their own fun creating silly shapes and designs to enjoy. Top with berries or chocolate chips for some tasty variety!
They say the heart of the home always lies in the kitchen and cooking is a great way to strengthen the connection between you and your family. Designate a family cooking night to enjoy each other’s company and experiment with new and innovative recipes. Your kids will always remember growing up in the kitchen and may end up pursuing their culinary abilities in the future. Happy cooking!