Integrated Family Community Services 3370 South Irving Street, Englewood, CO 80110-1816 Ph: 303-789-0501

Moving Past the Play Kitchen: 4 Meals Your Kids Can Learn to Help Cook

Cooking is a great way for kids to chip in around the house and learn some helpful life skills. While you may worry that being in the kitchen too early will pose a threat to your child’s safety, there are many family-friendly recipes you can use to cook with kids and have a blast.

Teaching your children how to prepare meals early in life will help them make healthier eating choices as they grow up. It’s also a great opportunity to teach your kids simple measurements, the importance of cleaning up and organization, and the rewarding experience of making your own home-cooked meal.

Breakfast Tacos

Put those leftover taco shells from your family’s last taco kit to good use by whipping up some breakfast tacos. Many parents say there’s just no time in the morning to prepare a good breakfast, so have the kids help you with some early preparations the night before.

Dice two whole tomatoes and some iceberg lettuce, and in the morning, scramble some egg whites. Add the eggs to your shells, then top with the tomatoes and lettuce. You can also sprinkle them with some shredded Mexican cheese.

Spaghetti Squash with Marinara Sauce

Cut a spaghetti squash in half and bake it in the oven. Once it’s cool, let the kids scrape out all of the “noodles” into a bowl. Then, help them make some home-made marinara sauce by using one can of tomato paste, 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil and plenty of pepper, a dash of salt, garlic powder and Italian herbs seasoning.

The spaghetti squash is super easy to prepare and an excellent gluten-free alternative to pasta. It’s also a good way to get your kids in the habit of trying unfamiliar foods when their young.

Philly Cheesesteak French Bread

A quick and easy dinner, all you need is to cut a French baguette loaf in half, layer it with American cheese and put it in the oven to bake while you grill up some strips of beef and crispy green peppers. Kids can sprinkle on the cheese and help top off the loaf while you handle the stove-top cooking.

Easy Mac and Cheese

Cook a whole box of macaroni elbow noodles, then pour it back into the pot. Add a cup of whole milk, a tablespoon of butter, and a couple of handfuls of your kids’ favorite shredded cheese. This recipe can be whipped up in less than 30 minutes, and it makes double the amount of a box of instant macaroni and cheese. With kids who are a little older or more familiar with the process, you can let them experiment with adding different add-ins, like bacon, sausage, ham, broccoli, peas, and different spices.

Ask your kids what they’d like to eat, and come up with weekly menus your family can look forward to. Food is a wonderful past-time and tradition in many households, and cooking with your children will serve up wonderful memories you’ll cherish for life.

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