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On Cooking With My Kids

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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?


by on Mar. 28, 2012 at 12:00 AM
Replies (21-30):
ceciliam
by on Mar. 28, 2012 at 1:47 PM

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....




Jerichos_Mommy
by Member on Mar. 28, 2012 at 1:56 PM

Here is Jericho learning with me to make won tons


Jerichos_Mommy
by Member on Mar. 28, 2012 at 2:43 PM

Jericho decorating a "kid's day" cake




Jerichos_Mommy
by Member on Mar. 28, 2012 at 3:12 PM

Here  is Jericho making Jello popcorn balls



Jerichos_Mommy
by Member on Mar. 28, 2012 at 3:13 PM

and making pizza




KristinRox
by on Mar. 28, 2012 at 3:36 PM

We make cookies and sometimes a sweet bread or two. As far as dinner goes the times that they have helped has been few and far between. I should allow them to "help" more often. 

KristinRox
by on Mar. 28, 2012 at 3:37 PM

Very cute.. thanks for sharing. 

Quoting Jerichos_Mommy:

Here  is Jericho making Jello popcorn balls



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KristinRox
by on Mar. 28, 2012 at 3:38 PM

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....





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KristinRox
by on Mar. 28, 2012 at 3:40 PM

Too cute, Carolyn. Looks like shes having fun. 

Quoting Mrs.Pool2Be:

This is her making cupcakes!!!


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copperswifey
by on Mar. 28, 2012 at 4:27 PM

Yes I do set aside time for my kids. My 4 year old and I are going to do Easter cupcakes for her school tomorrow morning. She is all excited. She loves being able to pour the ingredients in the bowl. She wants to do the eggs, but I'm not that brave yet to let her try that lol I let the 2 year old help pour things in. She loves to help out when she can.  They are always asking to help and I let them when I can. :)

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