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The Goof has always loved helping out in the kitchen, but over the last year he has been wanting to do more and more of the meal prep, and over the last 6 months or so he has started making different dishes on his own, from desserts to snacks and even a few dinners.Teaching him to cook has been fun, but it has also had some very frustrating moments. Maybe it is because he is so stubborn, maybe it is because I need to practice patience a bit more, but there were times I just wanted to throw my hands up in the air. Today I want to share with you some tips for teaching kids to cook, so maybe you can enjoy time in the kitchen with your little ones, and hopefully not have some of the same frustrations we dealt with. I also have an Easy Peasy Chicken Quesadilla Recipe to share with you that you can make with your kids.
Tips For Teaching Kids To Cook
- Start letting your kids play in the kitchen at a young age. The Goof was one of those children that always had to be busy, so from an early age I had him help me in the kitchen (or un-help was more like it). This was more so I could actually get stuff done, but it did help him learn where things are in the kitchen. It also helped him learn some basic rules of the kitchen like “Don’t touch sharp knives” as he helped put dishes away. I also let him play with measuring cups from about age 18 months (give or take). I would put beans in a bowl, give him some measuring cups, and a second empty bowl and let him use the measuring cups to pour beans from one bowl to the other.
- Let them start helping with meal prep. Starting around age 2 there are several small tasks that kids can do to help with meal prep. Maybe it is putting plates on the table. Maybe it is helping “wash” produce. Start finding little tasks that your kids can do to help out. HEADS UP: Plan on dinner prep taking a little longer when little hands are helping. You may have to redo the tasks your little one has done, so plan a little extra time for preparing your meals.
- Start with simple, no-cook, no measuring required items. Around 3 1/2 or 4 The Goof was ready to start making some foods on his own. One thing we found was that he actually just wanted to feel like he had made something on his own, but he didn’t have the patience to help make a full meal. We found letting him make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, ants on a log, or other simple items gave him a great sense of accomplishment.
- When they are ready for more – Start with some simple, no-cook dishes. The Goof loved learning to make pudding (just the instant kind) and it gave him a chance to work on measuring and mixing things together. He also began making things like toast, tuna fish sandwiches, and other similar items that required no use of the stove or oven. The toaster and microwave were able to be used with some mild supervision and it gave him a wider variety of items he could make.
- Cooking their first “real meal” – When it comes time to let them cook their first real meal, find a simple recipe (like the one below) that doesn’t involve much prep work and where stove or oven usage is minimal (or done by mom or dad). If you are letting them use the stove or oven, be sure to supervise them and teach them about stove/oven safety.
When your kid is ready to start making a meal, quesadillas are a great option. If they aren’t ready to use the oven yet, you can always let them use the microwave (though it won’t give you quite as crisp a tortilla). The Goof had a lot of fun making these Easy Peasy Quesadillas so I am excited to share our recipe with you!
Easy Peasy Quesadilla Recipe
These are so yummy and easy to make and kids love them. All it takes is tortillas, shredded cheese and chicken. We also like to use salsa on the side of ours. If you don’t want to let your kids use the oven you can either do that part or you can have them heat them up in the microwave (though the oven version tastes way better in my opinion).
For each quesadilla you want to make you will need 1/3 cup shredded cheese (of your choosing), 1/3 cup shredded chicken, and 2 tortillas. (Notice how you can make a hidden Mickey with the ingredients)
TIP: If you don’t have your own shredded chicken (once a week I cook chicken breasts in the crock pot and then shred them for salads, quesadillas, etc) you can purchase a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store and shred it up.
Preheat your oven to 425° F
Lightly spray both sides of the bottom tortilla.
Spread half of your cheese over the tortilla.
Spread chicken over entire tortilla.
Spread remainder of cheese over tortilla.
Spray both sides of second tortilla and place on top.
Heat in oven for 10 minutes or until tortillas start to turn golden brown.
Serve with a side of salsa if desired.
See? Super easy. The hardest part was that the Goof kept sneaking some of the food while we were prepping them so they weren’t as filled as we normally like them.