Cooking with Kids

Cooking with kids is a lot of fun!

My grandmother and my father are both great cooks. I remember being in the kitchen with them when I was a child, watching them chop and stir and fry and bake. I was always so fascinated and eager to help. My dad let my sister and me help make dinner every night; around the holidays, Grandma always asked us to come over and help her bake Christmas cookies and pies.

Next time you’re cooking, have your child measure out ingredients like flour, sugar, milk, and butter. Younger children can count out the correct amount of eggs. Put your son or daughter in charge of the kitchen timer. These are great ways for kids to practice their counting and math skills.

Put your child in charge of getting all of the necessary ingredients out of the cupboards and onto the counters. Have smaller children add room temperature ingredients to a bowl and stir them together. Allow older children to grate cheese or carrots, or slice (very closely supervised, of course) strawberries or bananas.

Teaching Kitchen Safety

Cooking occasions are also a great time to teach your kids kitchen safety. Teach older kids the importance of always using oven mitts near a hot stove or while handling hot dishes; explain to them the dangers of using knives and other sharp utensils unsupervised.

Younger kids can learn the do’s and don’ts of the kitchen while cooking with you as well. Remind them to always keep away from a hot stove, to never touch a knife or grater.

Best Part of Cooking with Kids
The best part about cooking with your kids will be the memories that will be made in the process. Your child will remember all the fun they had when they helped mom or dad cook. These are memories that will last a lifetime.

Your child may become fascinated with the cooking process (I know I did!), and probably cook you a few meals when they get older. Who knows…maybe they’ll be the next Rachael Ray or Emeril!

A Recipe Just for Kids

I’ve never met a kid that doesn’t love macaroni and cheese; here’s a great recipe for baked macaroni and cheese that my niece and nephews love. Your kids will love to help put together and love to eat too!

• 1 (12 ounce) package macaroni
• 1 egg
• 2 cups milk
• 2 tablespoons butter, melted
• 2 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
• salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 2-quart baking dish.
2. In a large pot of salted water, lightly boil the macaroni for about 5 minutes until half-cooked.
3. Whisk the egg and milk together in a small bowl. Add butter and cheese to the egg and milk. Stir well.
4. Place the lightly cooked macaroni in the prepared baking dish. Pour the egg and cheese liquid over the macaroni, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and stir well. Press the mixture evenly around the baking dish.
5. Bake uncovered for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the top is brown.