Those dreaded two words, often spoken by kids, that can inflict stress and eye rolls for parents. They tempt retorts like “back in my day…” or “go read a book…” They can be sparked by an only child and a gaggle of elementary and middle schoolers.
Yet they also invite creative solutions to entertainment. Including fun in the kitchen.
Whether your kids have always loved helping you in the kitchen or can’t quite recall the difference between a spatula and a whisk, they can make great teammates as you bake a treat or cook dinner. If they’re a little bit older, you might trust them to slice up some veggies. Or, stick with something more simple like stirring the batter for baking.
Either way, bringing your family together in the kitchen can spark some memorable times.
We know in the stress and craziness of life, it’s hard enough deciding what to make for dinner, nevermind finding ways to include your kids in the process. While kids certainly have the potential for cooking anything and everything they set their minds to, there may be some recipes that might be easier, especially if they’re new to the kitchen.
To help you get started planning your next family meal, we’re here to help. Next, we share some kid-friendly recipes to spark some creativity for your kids to join in the fun of cooking at home. And, be sure to check out this article for some other great ways to rediscover the joy of cooking at home with family.
If you take a poll of the average elementary school kid of their favorite foods, pizza is bound to make the list. With endless flavor and ingredient combinations and an easy assembly process, you can turn dinnertime into a family activity.
Make a few large pizzas with pre-made crusts or refrigerator dough, or have each person customize their own creation. Have your kids help you prepare ingredients like pepperoni, tomatoes and peppers. You might even be able to get your kids to eat some healthy vegetables like spinach or mushrooms if they’re part of their pizza creation. Try out some new cheese combinations to amp up the creativity and flavor. Use seasonings like Fustini’s Tuscan Spices and drizzle your crusts with flavorful olive oils like Tuscan Herb or Basil.
Use this grilled pizza recipe for some inspiration and spark your own creative ideas for crafting your own pizza.
Granola and snack bars can be another staple in a kid’s diet. But often, these individually packaged bars are filled with sugar and other preservatives. They may also include ingredients your kids can’t have like peanuts or other allergens. A fun solution? Making these no-bake bars at home.
Gather some common ingredients together to make your own granola bars or cereal bars with your kids. Find whatever you have in the house - small cereals, oats, peanut butter, nuts, seeds, honey and anything else your kids want to add into the mix. These bars can be customized based on exactly what your kids like and nothing that they don’t.
These bars can either be baked - such as these Oat and Date Bars - or mixed together and set before eating like these cereal bars from Taste of Home. With the convenience of making them and the creativity your kids bring, you can craft a variety of bars for any time of day.
Baking can be a fun activity that can take up some time on a rainy afternoon or early mornings. Following a recipe in baking encourages kids to pay attention to the types of ingredients and quantities needed to make it work. Who says you can’t incorporate learning in the fun of baking?
Making your own bread involves a bit more of an intensive process than stirring up some ingredients in a single bowl. Encourage your kids to try something new in seeing bread rise with activating the yeast in the recipe. Be sure to help in following the recipe and ensuring the bread rises and is ready for baking. Check out some of these some kid-friendly bread recipes:
Cinnamon Raisin Bread - a sweet morning treat that’s great in the toaster or with a sandwich, sweetened up with Cinnamon Pear Balsamic.
Focaccia - amp up the flavor in your lunchtime sandwich with this flavorful loaf made with flavorful EVOO
Vegetable Brioche - sneak in some veggies in this ingredient-packed loaf with Basil oil
Step outside the break and bake varieties at the store and encourage your kids’ creativity with recipes for cookies, cupcakes and other sweet treats. Whipping up a batch of these kinds of sweet treats can bring delight not only to your kids but also your friends and neighbors should you share your baking creations.
Often, cookie and cupcake recipes are fool-proof and encourage kids to follow a recipe and think through how ingredients work together to transform dough or batter into delightful treats. Here are a few ideas to get started in savoring something sweet:
With a classic staple like mac’n’cheese, you can’t go wrong with pasta dishes with your kids. Again, pastas welcome in creativity from your kids and how they can incorporate new ingredients into a dinnertime dish. Bring in different kinds of cheeses with a mac’n’cheese recipe. Add in roasted veggies with pasta. Make your own tomato sauce to slather on your noodles. Explore easy recipes like these that you can invite your kids into:
If cooking is something you enjoy, you can share that joy with your family. But even if cooking is something you just tend to tolerate, you can introduce the valuable skill of cooking and increasing their confidence in the kitchen. Not only is a great way to spend time together, it may also pave the way to them discovering a new favorite hobby they can continue for life.
Check out more recipes to spark family fun by visiting our extensive recipe and flavoring collection.
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