Some kids gravitate towards helping in the kitchen more than others, but it is a life skill that benefits all. Those kids who enjoy cooking may experiment with flavours, changing recipes, making up dishes, etc., but any child can learn to follow a recipe and directions!
Even being able to boil water and open a package of noodles and a jar of sauce gives a child the ability to help out when mom is sick or when they are old enough to be home alone. When our kids are little, we give them tasks like cutting cucumbers, washing fruit, buttering bread, etc. If you need some ideas on helpful tasks for your kids in the kitchen, check out these age appropriate suggestions. As they grow, we can start them out on some basic recipes to widen their culinary options.
- ½ c. uncooked rice
- 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1 (14.5-oz.) can diced tomatoes
- 1½ tsp. dried oregano
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 6 bell peppers, tops and cores removed
- 1 c. shredded cheese (Monterey Jack is best.)
Preheat the oven to 400°. In a small saucepan (or rice cooker), prepare rice according to package instructions.
Chop the onion.
In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the oil. Cook the onion until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute more. Add the ground beef and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until it is no longer pink, about 6 minutes.
Stir in the cooked rice and diced tomatoes. Season with oregano, salt, and pepper. Let simmer until the liquid has reduced slightly, about 5 minutes.
Cut off the tops of the peppers. Cut them in half and use a spoon or ice cream scoop to scoop out the seeds and cores.
Place peppers cut side-up in a 9x13 baking dish and drizzle with oil. Spoon the beef mixture into each pepper and top with cheese, then cover the baking dish with foil.
Bake until peppers are tender, about 35 minutes. Uncover and bake until the cheese is bubbly, 10 minutes more.
Top with sour cream or avocado and enjoy!
Tasty Tex Mex Taco Salad
- ½ lb. ground beef
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 head of lettuce, chopped or shredded
- 2 tomatoes, chopped
- 1 cup of cheese, grated
- 1 10 oz. package of tortilla chips or Doritos, crumbled
- 1 can kidney beans, drained (optional)
- French salad dressing
In a large skillet, cook the beef with chili powder, stirring until browned. Drain grease and sprinkle the beef with salt. Allow to cool.
Chop the tomatoes and lettuce and shred the cheese while the beef cools.
In a salad bowl, combine lettuce, tomato, cheese, and chips. Then toss in the beef and beans, once the beef has cooled.
Sprinkle it with salad dressing and mix it in.
This may be an easier option for kids who aren't quite ready to do many prep steps or use the burners on the stovetop. Though it may seem easy, pair this with some raw veggies, and you've got a good meal made by your kiddo!
- Plain bagels
- Tomato sauce or pizza sauce
- Pizza toppings (pepperoni, hot dogs, mushroom, peppers, ham, pineapple, etc.)
Toast your bagels for a few minutes while you chop toppings and shred cheese.
Place your bagels on a microwavable plate and spread sauce on top.
Add the toppings and cheese just how you like it.
Put your pizza bagels in the microwave for 20-30 seconds to melt the cheese.
You could do this on a cookie sheet in the oven at 350 degrees if you don’t have a microwave or are making a large amount.
Smoothies are another great option kids can make themselves without using the stove or oven. Check out some of our favourite shake and smoothie recipes.
If your child is feeling inspired and wants to continue their culinary journey, there are so many great ideas out there such as these ones.
This likely goes without saying, but make sure your children have practiced these skills like using a knife and using the oven and stove top with your supervision numerous times before moving on to doing it independently. Cuts and burns can be serious injuries, and we want to take all necessary precautions to help our kids practice their culinary skills safely.
You’ll want to make sure they know how to use a knife properly without getting their fingers in the way, as well as which knives to use for different tasks. You will also want to make sure they know how to turn the oven and stove on and off and how to locate and use oven mitts.
Make sure supplies they need are located where they can reach them so they don’t need to climb up OR take them down onto the counter for them before they start.
Once you’ve got those all covered, get those kids in the kitchen and enjoy the fruits of their labour!
This article has been written by homeschooling staff writers of The Canadian Schoolhouse (TCS). Enjoy more of our content from TCS contributors and staff writers by visiting our themes page that has a new theme topic added every month!