Meal Inspiration: Easy Ways to Involve Your Kids in the Kitchen - NYCM Insurance Blog

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Apr 6, 2020

Meal Inspiration: Easy Ways to Involve Your Kids in the Kitchen


Getting kids involved in the kitchen has many advantages. Aside from being a creative outlet, cooking allows children to learn basic math skills through measuring and can give them an appreciation for the work that goes into the food that they eat. Not to mention it’s a great way to spend time together!

If you’re looking for more ways to get your budding chefs involved in the kitchen, check out some simple dinner ideas below along with suggestions on how your kids can contribute to each.


Tacos

Who doesn’t love tacos? Aside from being tasty, they’re also customizable which makes them the perfect family meal - Dad loves tomatoes but junior isn’t a fan? No problem. To get your Tex-Mex inspired meal going, start with hard taco shells or flour tortillas and gather a variety of toppings. Here are some of our favorites: Ground beef, beans, lettuce, sour cream, salsa, avocados, cheddar cheese, tomatoes and onions.

How to get the kids involved:
       Do you have an older child who is comfortable using the stove? Allow them to brown the beef, constantly breaking it up and stirring it with a spatula.
       Ask your kids to shred the cheese. Just be sure to remind them that graters are sharp and can cut you if you’re not careful!
       If you have an older child, let them help you cut up the lettuce, tomatoes and onions. This is a great opportunity to teach them knife safety and the importance of avoiding cross contamination.


Spaghetti and Meatballs

A classic dish! And one that is enjoyed by diners of all ages. Grab your favorite sauce and a box of spaghetti and get ready to get cooking. Don’t have a meatball recipe that you love? Making classic Italian meatballs is relatively simple. Spruce up your ground beef with egg, parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, parsley, garlic, salt and pepper. Consistency is key - the beef should be moist and moldable without being too wet.

How to get the kids involved:
       Once you have your meatball mix made up, ask the kids to help you form the meat into meatballs.
       As your spaghetti gets close to cooked, involve the kids by asking them to test the pasta for doneness. Explain to them the difference between cooked and uncooked pasta. If you’re feeling up to it, you can even throw al dente into the educational mix!
       If you have older kids at home, allow them to help you spice up your sauce by chopping up some fresh garlic and parsley.
Have older children slice up Italian bread. Kids of all ages can spread the bread with butter, garlic powder and mozzarella cheese to make garlic bread before placing it in the oven



Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Sliders

What’s simpler than a crock pot meal? Making buffalo chicken sliders together is a great way to teach kids the magic of the slow cooker. To make buffalo chicken in the slow cooker, simply cook chicken breast in the slow cooker on low for 7 to 8 hours. Once the chicken is cooked, pull it out and shred it apart before returning to the slow cooker and covering with buffalo sauce.

How to get the kids involved:
       Have them put the chicken in the slower cooker and teach them the importance of food safety. Make sure they wash their hands really well before and after!
       Is the chicken done and ready to be shredded? Give them a couple of forks and let them go to town!
Equip them with coleslaw mix, mayo, vinegar and sugar and teach them how to make coleslaw. If they’re too young to follow measurements, measure everything out for them and let them do the mixing.


Pancakes

Pancakes are not only a perfect choice for breakfast, but can also make for a fun family dinner (brinner, anyone?). Whether you’re making your griddle cakes from a prepared mix or have a homemade recipe that you cherish, there are many cooking lessons that can be learned from this breakfast staple. Tip: Pair your pancakes with fresh berries and fruit for some added nutrients for growing chefs.

How to get the kids involved:
       Allow your kids to help you measure out all of the ingredients - math lesson, check!
       Teach your kids how to crack an egg - just make sure they practice into a bowl separate from your pancake mix.
       Mix it up! Give your kids a whisk and show them why it’s the perfect tool for pancake batter.
       If you have older children, allow them to help you flip the pancakes on the griddle. Show them that the perfect flipping time comes when the batter begins to bubble.

Don’t forget prep and clean up!
Aside from getting your kids involved in the cooking, it’s beneficial for both of you if they are also involved in the before and after meal processes. Cooking is just one small part of the meal prepping experience, afterall! Here are some other ways you can involve the kids at meal time:

       Encourage your child to look through your favorite cookbook and pick out something they want to make. Have them help you make a list for the grocery store to involve them in the entire meal journey.
       Have your kids help you set the table. This is a simple one to add to the chore list and can be a big help to you!
       Once dinner is done, ask your children to help you store leftovers in containers and baggies.
       Time to do the dishes! Ask older children to help you load and unload the dishwasher or wash and dry the dishes by hand.

Use these tips to spend quality family time together in the kitchen. Who knows? You might just inspire a lifelong passion for cooking and the culinary arts.



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