Cooking for your kids (and yourself) isn’t always easy, especially when your kids are at that exciting, but difficult, age where they want to help or be involved in everything you’re doing.
It can be hard to do that when you’re looking to make a quick dinner, but there are certain recipes that can make it possible to have your kids help out with the cooking and not just hinder your efforts.
Desserts are a great place to have the kids help out. They don’t need to be finished until after everything else, so it’s okay if the process is slower. Here’s a recipe that the kids can do pretty much on their own, although it does need at least 2 hours in the fridge to set:
No-Bake Sweet Potato Pudding
All you need is a can of sweet potato casserole (if you don’t know where to get that, I know that Glory Foods has some), vanilla instant pudding mix, a cup of milk and some vanilla wafer cookies.
Use the cookies to create a layer on the bottom of a baking dish. Crumble a few more and put them aside. (This is a great step for the really young kids to do).
Pour the milk into a bowl and whisk in the pudding mix. Continue to stir it for 1 minute. Pour into the casserole. Whisk for another minute. Fold in the crumbled cookies. (The only potential downside to these steps are that kids tend to get tired of whisking and stirring pretty quickly.)
Pour the mixture over the vanilla wafers. Smooth the top. Place more cookies on top of the pudding. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours.
Sides are another great place for the kids to work together (and with you). Vegetable dishes and salads are a great way to get them involved without having to take up any space on your stove or get them close to the heat of the oven.
Here’s another easy recipe that the kids can do with minimal supervision:
String Bean and Tomato Salad
2 large (27 oz) cans of string beans, drain one can and put the liquid aside
¾ cup vegetable oil
1/3 white vinegar
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp black pepper
½ tsp salt
3 tomatoes, cut into wedges (you can do this before if the kids aren’t quite old enough for a knife)
Put the reserved liquid from the green beans, oil, vinegar and the sugar, salt and pepper into a blender. Blend to create a dressing.
Put the tomatoes, drained string beans and the entire can of string beans (including the liquid) into a bowl. Pour in the dressing, making sure the vegetables are totally submerged in the dressing.
Marinate in the refrigerator.
The main thing to keep in mind when trying to let your kids help with cooking is “it’s okay.”
Mistakes will be made. Mess will be made. But it’s not the end of the world. Cooking with your kids is a great way to bond and make memories so try not to get so caught up in the making of dinner that you don’t miss out on the making of memories.
About the author
Gina Vasselli is a professional writer on a number of topics, including travel, golf and southern food.