No one wants to isolate themselves in the kitchen, slaving over a hot stove and missing out on family time. Instead of turning cooking into a chore, create a weeknight routine that the kiddos help out with. Start with some basic kitchen safety, helping your littles to understand what is and isn’t okay to do when cooking. Instead of just lecturing the kids, have them tell you what they think the rules of the kitchen are. And then ask them to draw a picture of the list.
Give each child a job, such as measuring or mixing, and ask for everyone’s input when it comes to which dishes you’ll prepare and how they’re presented. The kids can pick out the table décor, and do the set up — with your help of course. And don’t forget to snap some pics of each menu item. When dinner is done, turn the pictures into a family recipe photo book to look back on now, next week and for years to come.
What recipes are easy enough for a weeknight meal, and for the kids to help cook?
This is an easy one — especially if you want the kids to stay far, far away from any type of heat source. Your junior chefs can tear apart lettuce, add all kinds of veggies and mix the salad up. Go a step farther and help them to make their own salad dressing to sprinkle on top.
From mixing the ingredients to stretching the dough, there’s plenty for the kids to prep when you’re making pizza. If a homemade dough isn’t the way you want to go, defrost the frozen version and use that instead. Here’s where the true fun comes in. Set up a buffet of toppings, different types of cheese and sauces. Let the kids mix and match their own individual pizza pairings.
Your preschooler love, love, loves PB&J. But your toddler will only eat bread if it has cheese on it. If everyone has a different idea when it comes to what makes a sandwich “the best,” let them show what they think shines. Create sandwich stations, providing the kids with different types of bread, veggies, cheese, spreads and anything else that they could possibly use to get creative.
If bread isn’t your kiddo’s thing, try a roll instead. No, not a bun — a roll. Use tortillas, large pitas or another similar wrap to create rolled sandwiches. The kids can slather on hummus, or another spread, add vegetables and roll up a tasty treat.
Or taco Wednesdays, Thursdays or any other day of the week. Start by browning some ground beef and add your favorite taco seasoning mix or grill strips of chicken. Now it’s time for the kids to help out. They can stuff taco shells with shredded lettuce, cheese, meat, beans and sour cream. Switch things up and have the kids make your tacos as you stuff shells for them.
Cook plenty of pasta for the whole family and put it in the fridge. As the pasta cools, slice some veggies. The kids can help to toss the veggies in with the chilled noodles. Next, add dressing. Before you know it, the kids have helped to create a super supper pasta salad. Yum!
have a totally backward day and cook breakfast for dinner. The kids can measure and mix pancake mix or spread jam over pieces of whole wheat toast. Make waffles, eggs, pancakes, muffins and anything else that the family wants for a nighttime breakfast meal.
Don’t forget to snap some photos of the cooking process to capture funny moments you can cherish later. Even make your own cookbook with you and you’re little ones as the stars! We hope these fun and easy recipes will bring some excitement to your weekly routine. We are sure your kids will love helping you in the kitchen.