If you read my post about how children really can clean, you may have wondered why I didn’t mention cooking. My children really can cook and do it often, but I think they enjoy it much more than cleaning. I am actually quite amazed at how much my children cook and how helpful they are in meal preparation.
Seth, in particular, is very good at taking the time to teach our children life skills like cooking. Since our house is now gluten-free, sometimes I long for those days when we could just order a pizza if we were too busy to cook. Instead, I’ve had to come up with “quick meals” for those moments when I wish delivery was available. Some of the kids’ meals fall into this category.
As an added bonus, cooking allows so much great practical math since a family of six rarely ever makes a single batch of anything, right?
Here are the most frequent foods my children make:
- Gluten-free banana chocolate chip muffins. All the children can mash bananas. Ruthie can actually make this all the way up through mixing the batter. I just fill the muffin papers and put them in the oven. (By the way, this link is a guest post I wrote for Money Saving Mom.)
- Omelets. My oldest is only 8 but is 5 feet tall. He is easily tall enough for working at the stove. My husband taught him how to make omelets, and now he cooks them for the whole family with Ruthie assisting him in cheese grating, egg cracking and mixing, and finding toppings.
- Cheesy hashbrown casserole. The kids make this recipe using frozen shredded hash browns. (So skip the first few steps.) We add any kind of meat we might want to use up. So far, we’ve had it with turkey or ham lunch meat, sausage, ground beef, cut up chicken, and even pepperoni. This recipe was one that a child made with a big mistake in it – a 1/4 cup of salt instead of 1 teaspoon, but that was a great life lesson kind of mistake. The kids melt the margarine in the microwave and then just add it to the milk instead of using the stove top. They can pre-heat the oven and make the casserole. I do the “oven part”.
- Gluten-free pancakes. The kids are great at this recipe. The gf pancakes we make come from Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking. (This cookbook uses the same flour mix for all the recipes.) I love having a large electric skillet for cooking these since it is much safer than using the stove.
- Egg casserole. This one also uses frozen shredded hash browns. We’ve made it with ham, sausage, or bacon. We’ve also done this one without meat at all. If we don’t have quite enough cheese, it still turns out well. In spite of what the link says, my kids will gladly eat this as leftovers as well. Ruthie has been known to even take time to teach her youngest brother how to crack eggs while making this. This is another one where I do the oven part of the recipe.
- Chicken in the crockpot. This one is so easy for the kids. Frozen, boneless, skinless chicken breasts with either McCormick spices (like Montreal Steak or Montreal Chicken) and a little water or with barbecue sauce dumped over the top. The hardest part of this for my children is spraying the crockpot with cooking spray before adding the chicken. (We usually cook this for 8 hours on low or a few hours on high and then on low if we have less than 8 hours.)
- Rice or chicken in the electric pressure cooker. When I got an electric pressure cooker for Christmas, my husband and son cooked in it probably 6 or 8 times before I ever used it. By then, my oldest was proficient at making rice or chicken in it. (Rice following the directions that came with the pressure cooker and frozen boneless chicken with the McCormick spices mentioned above and at least 1 cup of water.) With the electric pressure cooker, the kids have us check everything before they turn it on – the pressure release valve being closed, that they didn’t forget water, and so on to keep everything safe.
There are also lots of recipes where the kids can do part while I do part. One example is apple crisp where I’m using the apple corer/peeler and my son is mixing the crumb topping. Another is energy bites where the kids can measure most of the ingredients and do the forming of the bites (note: use gluten free oats if you need these gluten free).
I am always looking for new ideas of recipes my children can cook. Any suggestions?