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Metaliablog
On Cooking With My Kids
March 28, 2012 at 12:00 AM

Most nights, by the time my husband and I get home, our top priority is hanging out with our kids, not dinner. I mean, we all EAT dinner, and, you know, like food, and all, but whipping up elaborate meals is definitely on the backburner. (SEE WHAT I DID THERE?) We're more about what we can get done quickly and with some redeeming nutritional value that - most importantly - the kids will eat. Stir frys get a lot of play in our kitchen, as do roasted vegetables with chicken, and I will fully admit that there are occasional nights where my husband and I walk in, have no desire to cook, and totally order pizza. (It's for the lycopene and calcium, I tell you!)

I recently read --with complete and utter awe -- a post about a mom who prepares 46 freeze-ahead meals in four hours. I know. I KNOW. I was amazed, too.  I am nowhere near that organized, nor do I have the freezer space, but the post got me thinking. My mom taught me how to cook at a very young age, and aside from the occasional foray into cookie making, my kids don't have anything to do with what goes on in the kitchen. Granted, they're only three and five, but it's never too early to start. Right?



In the past, I have tried (and failed) at meal planning for the week, but what about on a much smaller scale? And what if I got the kids involved? I decided to make lasagna with their help. Lasagna is easy, it's very forgiving/flexible (like if someone, let's say my son, got a little aggressive with the garlic), and it's actually fun to make, what with all the layering. What's more, my kids ADORE lasagna. How much more would they love it if they helped to make it? (And...doubled the recipe so we could stick one in the freezer?)

I put this to the test one recent Sunday. The kids were thrilled to help out, each fighting for a turn with the mixing bowl. The beauty and ease of making a dish like this with kids is in its imprecision. No 1/8 teaspoon measurements, no egg separating...just simplicity. I was even able to mix in a full package of frozen chopped spinach into the cheese mixture, and they barely even noticed.  They did a great job, and helped me to layer it all together, bouncing up and down with excitement about "their" lasagna.

As you could imagine, they were thrilled when it came out of the oven.  They pronounced it to be the "best ever," and went back for more, so proud of what they had helped to make. And of course, we have our extra one (cut into smaller, more defrosting-friendly sections, and carefully wrapped and  tucked into the freezer), too. A success all around, I would say.

What about you? Do you put aside time to cook with your kids?


Replies

  • MamaBear2cubs
    March 28, 2012 at 11:00 AM

    I like to let the kids help in the kitchen!

  • jessicasmom1
    March 28, 2012 at 11:16 AM

    awesome, Yes I teach DD how to be in the kitchen and I find her making food herself now she is 12 years old and can make somethings with out my help, She is allergic to Red Dye #40 and when we grocery shop she looks at the labels and it helps me out a great deal , plus making dinner she will measure things out, mix things .. a great helper

  • dusky_rose
    March 28, 2012 at 11:22 AM

    My youngest son loves to help me in the kitchen. He likes to add ingredients to the bowl and help me stir. He is only 4, so I don't let him near the stove yet though. He'd like to stir what is cooking on the stove.

  • Rushn311
    March 28, 2012 at 11:56 AM

    My kids like to help me bake cookies or cupcakes. They love to help!

  • momkaribg
    March 28, 2012 at 12:20 PM

     My oldest Son loves to help me cook.

  • momkaribg
    March 28, 2012 at 12:20 PM

     Adorable.

    Quoting Mrs.Pool2Be:

    This is her making cupcakes!!!

     

  • momkaribg
    March 28, 2012 at 12:21 PM

     My Son has adhd and acts much worse when he eats anything with red dye. We are trying to eleminate everything with it also.

    Quoting jessicasmom1:

    awesome, Yes I teach DD how to be in the kitchen and I find her making food herself now she is 12 years old and can make somethings with out my help, She is allergic to Red Dye #40 and when we grocery shop she looks at the labels and it helps me out a great deal , plus making dinner she will measure things out, mix things .. a great helper

     

  • Kmakksmom
    March 28, 2012 at 12:42 PM

    Oh absolutely!  My kids love helping out in the kitchen.

  • Jerichos_Mommy
    March 28, 2012 at 1:10 PM

    My 5 yo loves to help in te kitcen

  • MamaMandee
    March 28, 2012 at 1:17 PM

    All 3 of my kids start helping my hubby and I in the kitchen as soon as they are able to reach the island with a stool. I constantly stress to other parents the important of having kids help you in the kitchen. There are so many skills they can learn from helping!! Plus I have found kids are WAY more likely to try something new if they helped make it!! 

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