Lifestyle

Top 5 Tips for Cooking With Kids

October 25, 2016  —  Written by Julia Marcum 

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This post is sponsored by Blue Apron

While Chris cooks 99.9% of all the meals around here, he doesn’t always do it alone. A lot of Sundays, when we all want time to go a little slower, he enlists Greta as his “sous chef” (tiny chef!) and they make the meal together. This past Sunday, it was our Butternut Squash and Fontina Calzones from our long-time sponsor, Blue Apron. The meal, from prepping to licking their plates clean, was a huge hit. Since sometimes cooking with kids can be an exercise in extreme patience, today, we wanted to share a few tips on cooking with kids to make the experience more enjoyable for everyone.

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1. Let them be involved in the meal planning. Whether they are going to help cook the food or not, we’ve learned pretty early on that if our girls are invested in what we’re having for dinner (or any other meal of the day!), they are 100% of the time more likely to eat it. We are on Blue Apron‘s family plan (they also have a 2-person plan) which means we get 2 meals a week that feed a family of 4–although we always have leftovers. There are 4 meal options every week to choose from and it’s fun to sign onto our account and have Greta pick what looks good to her or what meal she’d like to learn how to make. Blue Apron offers a large selection of recipes and is always adding new dishes to their menu every week–we’ve never had the same thing twice!

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2. Set aside extra time. Cooking with kids WILL take more time, so plan for it. Don’t have a soccer game schedule in an hour on the same night your 6 year old is planning on helping with dinner. Although all of Blue Apron‘s meals take 40 minutes or less to prepare, the calzones took this duo about an hour because Chris loves to treat this time as a little bonding cooking class.

3. Talk about, touch and taste ingredients along the way. One thing that has hooked us on Blue Apron (going on 2 years now!) is the ingredients. They are farm-fresh and often times new-to-us things we can’t find in our grocery store, or something we wouldn’t have tried before. Like a proper cook, Greta is encouraged to taste everything and she takes her job seriously. Sunday, I overheard them talking about fontina cheese and Greta was describing the taste as “melty.” Ha!

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4. Give them age-appropriate assignments. While Chris still does all the knife work, there are lots of cooking assignments that kids can do. Rolling out dough, stirring ingredients on the cooktop, measuring ingredients, taking the kale leaves off the stem, cracking eggs, using the garlic press, etc. Even Faye, at 2, will stir any bowl you put in front of her.

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5. Have Fun. There was a time on Sunday when dough was flying through the air from both Chris and Greta. They were laughing hysterically–we all were. Cooking with kids has to be made fun, somehow. I think it helps them develop a positive relationship to food and a healthy appetite for learning. Stepping outside of the checklist to be a little silly will only enhance the whole experience.

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The proudest girl and the most delicious calzone and arugula salad–really! Is cooking with kids something that happens in your home? Any tips or experiences you’d add?

We want everyone to try Blue Apron, so the first 50 readers will get three free meals on their first Blue Apron order! Just click here.

What do you think?

  1. Katie says:

    Where are the hanging pots from in the corner of this kitchen? I have seen them show up a few times on your feed but cannot find a source…thinking that’s for a reason but thought I would ask as I am looking over past recipes. Thank you.

  2. Sara says:

    I have wanted to try them for so long! My son has a serious nut allergy and they can’t accommodate allergies at this time. It does seem so fun though.

  3. Jennifer says:

    I’ve always wanted to try Blue Apron, but I have one question: how is it shipped? That may sound like a weird question, but we used to get food shipped in huge styrofoam boxes and it was so hard to dispose of, since we can’t recycle it. Thank you for the post and the offer!

    • Julia says:

      Blue Apron recipes are delivered in a refrigerated box so ingredients will stay fresh even if you’re not at home when your package arrives And they now offer a recycling program! You can either use the recycling locator to find recycling options in your community or return your packaging for free to Blue Apron via USPS. Learn more about it here.

  4. Erin says:

    Family cooking is so much fun, and so good for the soul. I cook with my 2 year old daughter all the time and just last night when cooking dinner she described the raw celery she sampled as “crunchy alligator”. It is so sweet (and hilarious) to see our little ones learning and exploring in these ways. I would have her next to my side making a huge mess and having fun while cooking as my “Tiny Chef” anytime, afterall we did name her Remy ;) She can stir, wash veggies, sprinkle seasoning (AFTER amounts have been measured out) get out bowls and mixing utensils and help wash dishes. Do you know if Blue Apron offers many gluten free options? I didn’t see anything on their website offering allergy information or details for some of the processed ingredients.

  5. Nadia says:

    Just FYI, according to the FTC rules your sponsorship disclosure needs to be at the beginning of the post.

  6. Bethany says:

    I want to try it, and your code sounds like a perfect way to do just that! But when I use the code, it says that the first time discount is “30” but the recurring weekly total is “59.94” which makes the total for the first week “29.94.” So is the first week (first three meals) not actually free, after all?

    • Julia says:

      That’s correct! The “thee free meals” is actually a discount. If you get the 2-person plan, you get 6 meals (3 recipes for 2 servings), so that would be a 50% discount.

  7. Kristen says:

    Great post! I’m curious – where do you get your Edison bulb lights? They don’t give off the typical Edison bulb yellow light!

    • Alex says:

      I want to know this too! My husband loves Edison bulbs, buy I loathe the orangey light they give off!

      • Julia says:

        Look for an Edison bulb with a higher Kelvin number. A lot of them are around 2200–which is really orange. 2700K is just right I think.

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