Mom to Mom

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?


  • Jerichos_Mommy
    March 28, 2012 at 5:04 PM

    Go to and search Malena6913  I did a whole series of videos when I made them.  That was my first time ever.  You'll see how I used leftover roast beef for the filling ans step by step what I did in 6 or 7 videos.

    Quoting copperswifey:

    I need you to teach me how to make won tons. I didn't even know you could make them lol We use them all the time to make stuff. Jericho is a total cutie!! :)

    Quoting Jerichos_Mommy:

    Here is Jericho learning with me to make won tons

  • KristinRox
    March 28, 2012 at 9:46 PM

    Gotta love it when they find something that they enjoy. Its especially awesome when its something you do everyday. 

    Quoting ceciliam:

    Thank you! He really does enjoy it:)

    Quoting KristinRox:

    Awww what great pictures. Looks like your ds loves to cook. 

    Quoting ceciliam:

    My son has been helping me out in the kitchen since he was 3 years old. It's great bonding time:)

    Making Christmas cookies

    Making pierogies with my sister when she came to visit....

  • millerbunch
    March 28, 2012 at 10:08 PM

    not really.. if i am in the kitchen and they come in and offer to help i will try and find them something to do.

  • KristinRox
    March 28, 2012 at 10:09 PM

    Mine usually just want to play in the dishwater in the sink, when they come wandering in "wanting to help" LOL. 

    Quoting millerbunch:

    not really.. if i am in the kitchen and they come in and offer to help i will try and find them something to do.

  • Bmat
    by Bmat
    March 29, 2012 at 12:21 AM

    I don't put aside enough time to cook with the kids. Sometimes they help in the kitchen, but not often.

  • mommythree0508
    March 29, 2012 at 12:52 AM
    She'll probably grow out of it. My daughter went through that.

    Quoting goddess99:

    My dd has not interest in helping in the kitchen. I'm hoping it's just a phase. She used to love making lasagna and cookies but not any more =(

  • mommythree0508
    March 29, 2012 at 12:52 AM
    Can't wait for my kids to do that!

    Quoting daerca574:

     yes, I love to let my children help me cook.  my 15 year old loves to prepare an entire meal for us.  It is great!

  • mommythree0508
    March 29, 2012 at 12:53 AM

    Quoting lalasmama2007:

    My dd loves to helpin the kitchen. We just made whoopie pies last night.
  • mommythree0508
    March 29, 2012 at 12:54 AM
    That's a great way to teach her to be responsible for her health:)

    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

  • mommythree0508
    March 29, 2012 at 12:55 AM
    My oldest is 7 and still loves playing in the dish water. LOL

    Quoting KristinRox:

    Mine usually just want to play in the dishwater in the sink, when they come wandering in "wanting to help" LOL. 

    Quoting millerbunch:

    not really.. if i am in the kitchen and they come in and offer to help i will try and find them something to do.

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