Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Cooking With Kids

My kids and I love to bake together. They love to roll out the dough for sugar cookies, and then help frost and decorate. When we make bread, they help knead the dough. (Yes, the flour gets everywhere.)

A few weeks ago, my daughter and I got out all of our "kid cookbooks" and picked out a few new recipes to try. I have a pretty big collection of cookbooks written specifically for kids. Every year I do a cooking unit in the classroom, so I'm always on the lookout for inexpensive cookbooks to add to the collection. Cookbooks for kids are easy to find. There are usually big bins of books for sale at my grocery store. I find some on ebay or at Half Price Books. You'll see them everywhere if you're on the lookout.

This time, instead of choosing something to bake, my daughter and I picked a few recipes for dinners and snacks. We picked a broccoli mac and cheese, clam chowder, and a cereal based snack.

My daughter is only 6, and had a great time being in charge of dinner for the family. I love the way directions in kids' cookbooks are written so simply. Reading recipes ties right into our work with "sequence of events" in literacy. They are easy to follow and the language is just right for a beginning cook. They are full of photographs too, which make them ideal for young chefs. (But, really, who doesn't love good pictures in their cookbook?)

Here are a few things we made:

Here's the whole wheat mac and cheese with broccoli. Whole wheat pasta does not photograph well. It tastes better than it looks.

This is the cereal based snack mix we tried.

Here's the clam chowder.

Overall, we had a great afternoon together. We had Sunday night dinner, snack for the week, and a casserole to put in the freezer for later. I purposely didn't share these recipes because my daughter's favorite part of cooking together is the hunt for the perfect recipe. If you haven't cooked with your kids before, I encourage you to find a few kids' cookbooks and give it a try. Put them to work washing vegetables, tearing salad greens, and mixing ingredients. It looks like we'll be snowed in today. It may be a great day to cook up some memories. Cooking with kids is a joy!

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