Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Let Them Cook For You Once In A While

Guest Writer: Amy Hamblin

I remember back when I was in fourth grade:  It seems like the world was a different place then, or  maybe it was just my world because of the situation that we lived in.  With a single Mom and 4 or 5 kids still at home everyone had no choice but to do their part.  I do not regret the experience though because I learned so many amazing skills at such a young age. 

By the time I was nine one of my responsibilities was to cook dinner for our family about once a week.  My Mom did not just say go for it, we always had a menu on our fridge and we followed it pretty religiously.  Mom left all the ingredients out on the table before she left for work in the morning along with the recipe.  There were a variety of things that I was expected to make and now I have those family recipes memorized.  That is something that I have learned to appreciate as a Mom now myself.

I also remember coming home and making treats with my little sister.  We would make frosting (from scratch) and crackers, cookies, grilled cheese and even a cake (from scratch) on occasion.  I realized a short time ago that my fourth grade daughter could not do any of these things.  Since I had this major epiphany I have tried to course correct.  She now has the responsibility of dinner helper and often I make her the one in charge…with supervision.  I am not as brave as my mother was.

Here are some ideas for easy dinners that kids can make on their own…maybe with supervision depending on the kid:

  • Grilled Cheese and Top Ramen
    • This will help them learn to use the stove top and a griddle.
  • Rice and veggies
    • If you have a rice cooker this is so easy and a good way for them to get to know how to use it.  They can pop some frozen veggies in the microwave and the mix it all together.
  • Pancakes
    • This is a big one in our house.  Easy to throw together and it can help them learn how to use measuring cups.
  • Spaghetti
    • All you have to do is boil water and add the noodles.  Boiling water should be a skill every college freshman should have.  Add some bottled sauce and walla, dinner.
  • Chicken Nuggets and French Fries
    • Get these both from the freezer section at the grocery store.  The kids can learn to use the oven.  How to turn it on, read the temperature off the package, and set the timer.
  • Make an easy casserole
    • Here is my easy “Frito Casserole” recipe
      • 1 lbs. Ground beef fried with diced onions
      • ½ -1 lbs. Grated Cheddar cheese
      • 2 Cans Chili
      • A little sliced olives
      • A bag of Fritos

In a cake pan (any size) fill the bottom with Fritos.   Layer half the ground beef, 1 can chili, cheese, the other half of the ground beef, another can chili and the rest of the cheese and then sprinkle sliced olives on top.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.  Eat with more Fritos.  Some like to scoop with Fritos and some like to use a fork.  Either way it is yummy!

Let them cook once in a while.  It makes the feel good about themselves and it can give you time together as you teach them a really important life skill.

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