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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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?
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