One of my favorite places to spend time with my children is the kitchen. I love cooking with my children. Not only does it reduce my own to-do list (which is always a good thing), but it’s an easy way to spend time with my kids and learn more about their lives. The holiday season can be very busy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find ways to cook with your kids. If you see the opportunity, your children can help out during this stressful time. God only knows how much I enjoy those nights my 9-year-old helps me with dinner.
Here are some ideas to get started.
If you know you are about to have one of “those nights,” ask for help. Keep the buffet ingredients on hand in your refrigerator for this type of emergency. With help, your children can set up an honesty bar. Just keep the ingredients on hand and help out with anything that’s unsafe (possibly cutting or heating, depending on the age of the child).
This is what you may want for each type of buffet. You will notice that most of the ingredients are interchangeable.
Sandwich buffet: bread (wheat, rye, buns) or tortillas, meat or tuna salad or egg salad, lettuce, cheese, pickles, peppers, cucumber, sliced tomatoes, mustard, mayonnaise and whatever else you like his family.
Salad bar: lettuce, tomatoes, croutons, sunflower seeds, dressing, tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumber, mushrooms, onion, grated carrots, radishes, cubes of cheese or shredded cheese, meat (grilled shrimp or chicken) and chunks of bacon.
Potato Bar: Bake potatoes, sour cream, butter, cottage cheese, sunflower seeds, cubes of cheese or shredded cheese, tomatoes, bell peppers, onion, salsa, meat (grilled shrimp or chicken), chives, and bacon bits.
Pizza Bar: Pizza dough or English muffins, pizza sauce, meat, cheese and toppings of your choice.
Taco Bar – Tacos or tortillas, lettuce, sour cream, guacamole, shredded cheese, tomatoes, jalapeños, onion, meat (taco meat, grilled shrimp, or chicken), and refried beans.
If you are having a Christmas party at home, ask your child to plan to make a plate. Whether it’s a salad or a dessert, the result will be something that can say “I made it myself!” Even a 5 year old can make a simple recipe if it is age appropriate. Maybe your child can make a vegetable dip. Supervise for safety, but try to encourage your child to do most of the montage alone.
One of the easiest ways to spark a love of cooking is to make cookies or cupcakes and decorate them. Include everything from sprinkles to gel frosting. You will teach art and cooking in one go. In addition, you can enjoy your delicacies.
These are just a few of the many ways you can encourage your little helpers to have fun cooking this holiday season.