With the pandemic looming every bit as large as it was a few months ago, we are very possibly looking at more time quarantined at home with our families. And whether you’ve enjoyed having your loved ones close to you in your safe little bubble or you are counting the minutes to when things return to some semblance of normal, some things remain the same. Eating, for example -- is something that is inevitable, right? One way or another, we have to either obtain or prepare food for ourselves and the family. With everyone home for every meal, it only makes sense to involve them all in the process of putting those meals on the table, somehow. The beautiful part of doing this is that engaging children in mastering tasks in the kitchen translates to learning things like math, science, health, vocabulary, and more. Perhaps the biggest plus of all is that when kids get involved in the cooking process (including grocery shopping and taste testing), they’re not just learning an essential life skill, they are also creating meaningful memories with you.
The thing is, it’s not always clear how to include kids in the kitchen. It may even seem easier to put on a movie for them while you rush through meal making. However, there are activities for kids at every age and early learning is always preferable. Of course the older they get, the more they can do, but even toddlers can participate while learning the basics of food and cooking.
These days, you’re probably avoiding trips to the grocery store yourself let alone dragging the kids along. Use putting the groceries away as a good time to share what you purchased and discuss how these products and food items will be used, why you selected them, and even things like budge, cost, and value. Turn your shopping and cooking efforts into a conversation. This is a good time to give kids a food vocabulary – teaching them about sweet, salty, sour, and even spicy tastes, and crunchy, smooth, and tender textures. Providing kids with exposure and the skills to make good food is also the best way to raise healthy eaters.
If the kids helping in the kitchen isn’t part of your current family culture, there’s no better time to get started than the present! Today, sit down with the kids, and ask them to help find a recipe they would be excited to prepare over the up-coming weekend. Involve them in every part of the process -- from selecting ingredients to preparing the dish. Letting children be "in charge" of details like making the shopping list or how to set the table can help them feel invested in mealtime.
Over many years, cooking as a family will help develop a happy, adventurous eater with some pretty valuable life skills—and plenty of happy memories in the kitchen. With enough practice, your child will someday be able to cook YOU a delicious meal!
This recipe teaches kids about using a hot stove, handling meat, and patience when waiting for food to brown and melt. The whole family will love this activity & who doesn't love a quesadilla.
Balsamic & White Cheddar Chicken Quesadilla's
2 Flour Tortillas
1 cup White Cheddar Cheese
4 tablespoons Bellisari’s Balsamic, Shallot & Black Garlic Spread
1 cup shredded Chicken
2 tablespoons butter
Spread two tablespoons of Bellisari’s Balsamic, Shallot & Black Garlic Spread on flour tortilla. In a hot pan melt one tablespoon of butter and place the tortilla inside spread side up. On top of the spread add 1/2 cup of white cheddar cheese, and 1/2 cup of chicken. Fold the tortilla in half, once the cheese begins to melt and the bottom part of the tortilla is golden brown, flip and toast the top side until it is golden brown also.