The aprons are on, the counter is set up and it’s time to whip up a recipe. Doesn’t that sound like perfect picture? As a mom, I know cooking with kids is a great way to spend time together. But as a first-born child myself, I tend to have a need for control. Are you with me? I don’t like messes, I don’t have extra time and I like to do things the right way as the recipe says so it’s efficient.
True confession: I have taught over 150 kids cooking classes in the past 4 years and made memories with kids I don’t really even know. And I would come home after these classes thinking – I am teaching other people’s kids how to cook but don’t have the time nor energy to fulfill that with my own children.
Enter the United States of MyPlates Challenge. A way to stay accountable each week to cooking with my kids. And I hope that you are inspired to do the same. Let’s be real. It can be messy, we don’t always wear aprons, it can take a few extra minutes of time and isn’t as efficient after a long day of work. But I am committed to making these memories with my kids. Who else will teach them?
Not only am I making memories, but I am helping my kids with:
Math and Measuring: Counting and fractions are a part of cooking.
Reading Skills: From labels to recipes reading builds language and vocab.
Following Directions: Moms will love this one – recipes teach great project management skills. Reading though steps, gather ingredients, put it all together. Doesn’t that sound like something that will carry her/him into the future?
Love of Science: Everything is a science experiment in the kitchen.
Better Eating Habits: My kids are more eager to try new foods that they have been involved in growing, shopping and cooking than if I just said – “Here. Eat this Swiss Chard.”
Whatever age of your kids, start now. Think of the kitchen like an airport hub. It’s a place to make connections, embark on new adventures and learn. Those memories will live for a long time.
Inspired from The Healthy Lunchtime Challenge Cookbook, recipe submitted by Aidan Gould of Colorado. I changed quite a few things from this recipe – our family is not into the mint scene.
Makes 6 servings.
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup diced green pepper or an orange pepper would fulfill the rainbow
1-1/2 cups frozen corn
3/4 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups cooked quinoa
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
3/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup canned diced tomatoes (no need to drain)
Juice from a freshly squeezed lime
1. Heat a large skillet over medium hot. Add oil, onions and peppers. Sauté for 3 minutes.
2. Add corn to the pan. Saute 3 minutes.
3. Pour ingredients from pan into bowl. Add black beans, cilantro, cumin, salt, tomatoes and juice from lime. Stir together gently.
Make it a MyPlate Meal by adding a whole grain tortilla, lean chicken breast or strips of lean steak and a glass of milk. Strawberries make a great dessert.
MyCart Shopping Tip: Quinoa is a must try food. To cook it, just start with 2 cups of liquid (broth or water), bring it to a slight boil with the lid on the pan. Add 1 cup of dry quinoa and then lightly boil for 12 minutes or until quinoa is fluffy and has absorbed all the liquid.
Husband: 5 – He loves Mexican flavors.
Adventurous Son: 5 – He scarfed it right up, he has always been adventurous.
Cautious Daughter: 3 – Hey, she tried it and helped make it. I am proud.
Dietitian Mom: 5 What else would I give it? Fresh cilantro makes the recipe.
See the mess? I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I would like to thank Oldways for the inspiration for this post!