Monday, May 9, 2011

Kids in the Kitchen

My kids love to help me in the kitchen. The problem is, I am usually in a hurry to get dinner on the table and would rather do it quickly and quietly by myself. However, I really do want them to know their way around the kitchen and I envision assigning them a night of being completely in charge of making dinner eventually and how is that going to work if I don't train them? On a recent Sunday I decided to have Teshome help me make lunch in order to have some special time with just him. That began my new plan of having two kitchen helpers each day. I have to have a schedule because everyone wants to help and I do not want 6 "helpers" in the kitchen at a time! So, kitchen duty was born. My challenge is to see it as an opportunity to spend time with my children and prepare them for life, rather than a time to just quickly get dinner made. Family Fun magazine recently had a great article about kids in the kitchen that I am going to add to my plan. It included helpful tips on age appropriate tasks and lots of rules to share with the kids in order to teach them how to be safe in the kitchen.

One thing that I think will be helpful to our cooking endeavors is to continue to have a rotating weekly meal schedule. That will ensure that after several months each of my children will have had many experiences with the same meals and will hopefully be able to take these meals on as a team- without me!
These are the things we typically include in our rotation and then I usually try to do something new and different once or twice a week:

Mexican- tacos, enchiladas, burritos, chalupa...
Pasta- regular old spaghetti, penne with grilled chicken sausage...
Breakfast- pancakes, egg casserole...
Baked potatoes- with diced ham or chili and broccoli
Soup- especially in the winter
Stir Fry- make it interesting by switching up the meat, veggies, or sauces

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