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Monday, March 13, 2017

Dinner Recipes for Kid Cooks

I've talked before about how I got my daughters started cooking dinner once a week. When it comes up every now and then in conversation, the first question I usually get (after the initial look of shock) is, "What do they make?". Of course every child will have different levels of experience, fine motor skill, attention span, interest, etc, but I thought I would share some of the meals my daughters often cook (and have been cooking since around the age of 4). If you're looking for some ways to get your kids involved in the kitchen, these meals are a great place to start!

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1. Tacos

Tacos are great because you can put almost anything in them, and the ingredients are easy to prepare. The girls put each ingredient in its own bowl and set everything out on the table so each person can make their own tacos. Add some tortillas and dinner is served!

Some of the ingredients my daughters often include:
Vegetables: avocado, carrots, spinach, bell pepper, canned corn, canned black beans
Meat: chicken (cut into bite size pieces and cook in a frying pan with some onion powder and/or salt), ground beef or pork (cook in frying pan with onion powder and/or salt), hot dogs (cut into bit size pieces and cook in a frying pan- yes this happened, and it wasn't as terrible as it sounds), shrimp (cooked in a frying pan- they only did this once but it was awesome)
Other: shredded cheese, salsa, cilantro

2. Sandwiches

The girls love making sandwiches to order- peanut butter and jelly, tuna salad, and ham and cheese are usually the choices, and they are easy for the girls to put together (once I open the can of tuna for them). They've recently started making grilled cheese as well! Usually the sandwiches are accompanied with some fruit and maybe a cooked vegetable too.

3. Macaroni and Cheese

Of course we can't forget the boxed mac and cheese dinners! There are some reasonably-healthy options out there now, so we stick to those brands, but the girls pretty much have this recipe memorized now and don't even need my help reading the directions on the box! This meal usually comes with a fruit and/or salad as well ;)

4. Meatballs

This recipe for baked meatballs is easy to put together- it's basically just meat, eggs, breadcrumbs, and seasoning. They love rolling the mixture into balls, and although they do need help getting them in and out of the oven, they can do the rest of the preparation themselves. These are usually served with dipping sauces (ketchup, bbq sauce, etc) and some sides.

5. Pizza

Although they can't quite get the dough stretched out enough on their own, the girls can do the rest of the pizza making on their own. This is another recipe where they can have fun with the toppings too, and a great way to get lots of vegetables in- the different colors from the vegetables make the pizzas more fun! ;)

Of course there are many other meals that they've made over the last couple of years, but these are some of their favorites that most kids can make (almost) all on their own! If you're looking for more kid-friendly recipes, my girls love this cookbook:

If you've never given your preschooler control of the kitchen, I highly recommend it. It's a great way to give young kids more independence and responsibility at home in a way that is fun and exciting! Read this post for more tips in getting started:

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