One of the many great things my parents taught me was how to cook. From the age of 11, once a week I was responsible for finding a recipe, ensuring we had all the ingredients (and adding them to our weekly grocery list if we didn’t), cooking the meal, and cleaning up afterwards.
I remember being in that kitchen, feeling like Cinderella and my parents were the meanest parents in the land.
Fast forward 30 years and I’m fully on board with my kids making meals. I want to teach them their way around the kitchen, the proper use of kitchen tools and appliances, the difference between slicing and chopping, and most importantly, I want to teach them how to make meals for me instead of me always making meals for them.
At Casa DeVellis, Sunday is our crazy day. I am in arenas from 11:00am until 5:20pm which means I either have to start dinner in the morning or enlist some help.
Enter Chef Adam. Adam loves to tinker in the kitchen and even makes bread for us twice a week. This past Sunday he decided to tackle dinner for our entire family and chose to make this Cheesy Egg-In-A-Bowl recipe. It was a good beginner recipe because it's easy to make, would be on the table quickly, and also...cheese! In our family, cheese is right up there with bacon in the It-Makes-Everything-Better category.
Note: I kid you not about the cheese. One of my boys’ favourite side dishes is lima beans baked in the oven sprinkled with Tex Mex shredded cheese. Lima beans! And they love them!
If you’re a time-strapped mom maybe it’s time to stop racing around and enlist your kids’ help in the kitchen. Here are a few tips to get you started.
Even toddlers can help you wash strawberries, measure ingredients, and learn how to put utensils and plates into a dishwasher. Yes, everything you do will take longer and you'll have more mess but over time they'll be able to take on kitchen prep by themselves. This is a good thing.
Adam chose this recipe because the instructions were simple and he would be able to prepare the entire meal by himself. Choosing a recipe that is within your child's capabilities helps build confidence now and will encourage him to tackle harder recipes later on.
Every mom knows that nothing can ruin a mood faster than having someone say they dislike the meal you just slaved over. The same goes for your kids, so try to choose a recipe you know the siblings will also enjoy.
While Adam was capable of making the entire recipe, I helped him cook the bacon beforehand so I didn’t have to worry about any grease burns. I also taught him the proper knife to use when cutting bread—I cut the first one, he cut the rest.
Cooking is all about trying new things, so give your kids room to experiment—you may be surprised at the outcome. The Cheesy Egg-In-A-Bowl recipe called for Velveeta slices. Instead, Adam chose to use a combination of Tex Mex shredded cheese and grated parmesan. The end result was delicious.
I know I already said this but it's worth repeating. Teaching your kids how to cook is about so much more than food. You're instilling in them a love of fresh food and giving them a skill that will take them through life.
Plus, you don't ever want to miss out on the moment when they proudly present you with the finished dish.
P.S. Next week Adam will be making us these Creamy Taco Unstuffed Shells and guess who won't be stressing about getting dinner on the table?
That would be me!
Melted. Grated. Shaved. Baked. No matter what you do with cheese, it makes everything taste better.
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