Can Your Toddler Make Dinner? The Answer is Yes!

Since most of the kids are out of school today, why not give them the responsibility of fixing dinner tonight?  Now before you start freaking out imagining your kitchen torn upside down, flour footprints all over the house, and your child’s hair on fire, (parental supervision is a must), but allowing your children to cook has many “side-effects” you may not be aware of.  Believe it or not, allowing your child to cook can help them to be less fussy eaters! Cooking is also an excellent outlet for creativity, not only for adults but for children as well. Cooking allows for experimentation with flavors, colors, and textures. From decorating cakes to creating their own recipes, the possibilities are endless. It is important to be supportive of children’s creativity and to express to them that it’s okay if things don’t turn out perfectly.

The kitchen is an excellent environment for children to develop a variety of skills. Allowing children to use butter knifes and other blunt objects to help chop, mash and prepare food items can help develop their motor skills. Cooking with your kids allows for a bonding experience that can match no other. Preparing food together in the kitchen lets children and adults learn from each other and spend priceless time together.  The kitchen is also the perfect place to teach kids about making healthy choices when eating. New foods and ingredients can be introduced to kids while cooking. Allowing them to taste, touch and smell new foods can not only broaden their knowledge base but can also help them develop their own individual palates as well. When children are exposed to healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables at an early age, they are more likely to choose these foods throughout life.

The following recipe is super easy, delicious, and one that your kids will enjoy making.  You may be surprised, but it might be one of the most enjoyable dinner preparations for you too? 

Corn Quesadillas

  • 1 red onion
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 can yellow corn
  • 1 small bag of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 package whole wheat tortillas
  • 1/2 cup of  medium salsa

1.  Prepare the ingredients First chop the red onion and then slice the red pepper into strips. Let your child chop the red pepper into coarse pieces using a blunt dull knife.  Allow your child to drain the corn in a strainer.

2.  Stir, stir, stir!  Heat the olive oil in a pan and let your child add in the following ingredients:  onions and peppers and cook for about 3-4 minutes.  Now add in the corn and cook for 2 minutes.  Stir the ingredients.  (Mom’s don’t freak out, the corn may go flying, but it is easy clean up, let your child gain confidence, and praise them even when it’s not perfect!) Now let them add in the vinegar, honey, and squeeze 1/2 a lime juice.  Stir once more and let cook for 1 more minute and let mommy remove from heat.

3. Spread, spread, and sprinkle!  Spread the corn mixture onto the tortilla with a spoonful of salsa and then add a little more corn mixture. Last, sprinkle the cheese all over the mixture and reserve some for the top.

4. Roll and Cook.  Roll the tortillas up and put ona cookie sheet.  Scatter over the rest of the cheese and broil the quesadillas in the oven for 1-2 minutes until the filling is hot and the cheese is lightly golden brown.  (Parents will want to put the quesadillas in and remove from the oven.)

While the quesadillas are cooking, you can have your children help set the table, maybe even decorate the table in festive colors, better yet,  let them make their own snack for the next day with this great easy recipe that is healthy, nutritious, and promotes their creative thinking.

Ants on a Log

  • Celery Sticks- chopped into 2 inch strips
  • Reduced Fat Cream Cheese or peanut butter
  • Dried Cranberries or Raisins

Let your child chop the celery with a blunt knife into 2 inch strips, spread the cream cheese or peanut butter in the celery, and top the celery with the dried cranberries or Raisins   (the cranberries can be red ants)

 

 Just remember cooking is simple, it doesn’t have to be perfect, and cooking with your kids can be quality time you will remember for years and years to come!  

Cheers!

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