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Get Kids in the Kitchen: Lesley Waters' 10 Meals for Children to Cook
Categories: Cooking

kids in the kitchen

If letting children loose in the kitchen is your idea of a nightmare, you need to think again. Helping them to make dishes for themselves is a great way to spend time together and makes mealtime much more interesting. It’s also a really important life skill and I’m always grateful to my Mother for teaching me the basics of cooking (even though I can never look a rock bun in the face again!).

One of the great people I met at the team wholegrain event was Lesley Waters. I spent a bit of time with her talking about cooking and nutrition.

Lesley is a TV regular and I was keen to find out from her what are the 10 dishes I should be teaching my daughter to cook from scratch.

lesley waters

What I love about Lesley’s practical tips is her enthusiasm and also that the dishes are relevant. We talked about my daugther’s likes and dislikes and Lesley was full of brilliant advice. She’s keen to encourage children to get involved in cooking and eating healthily.

So over to Lesley for her make cooking fun advice.

1. Pizza
Home made pizza is a great one because they love making it and you can make a wholegrain base and add various toppings. I can vouch for this – it’s a brilliant idea because it keeps kids entertained and they love adding the toppings and shaping the dough.

2. Bread
Make bread from scratch – that’s a lot of fun for children and they can really get their hands in dough. If you have a breadmaker like we do, there’s still a great sense of anticipation as the machine does it’s job. We add seeds, olives and herbs to the bread to make it more unusual.

3. Soup
Home made soup is a really good one to try and you can add lots of vegetables. We make one with chicken stock and noodles and add cubes of chicken and carrot and finely sliced baby courgettes and miniscule garlic. I’m going to let Miniminx loose in the kitchen to create her own though.

4. Risotto
Risotto is very easy and you can add lovely vegetables like butternut squash; we add peas.

5. Pancakes and Popovers
Eggs are a problem food in our house – boiled eggs are dissembled but not eaten, omelettes and Spanish tortilla snubbed so I have to sneak them in some other way. Lesley says make batter and then use it for savoury pancakes and batter pudding which you can fill with fruit or something savoury.

6. Fruit
Smoothies are another great way to top up fruit intake and if you’re having problems with getting kids to eat their five a day with anything resembling enthusiasm, kebabs are great fun – load them up with fruit and dip chocolate sauce

7. Fajitas
Children love fajitas because they can add their own fillings and roll them up. Using chicken you can add a veg sauce or a healthy hoummous to go alongside chopped up carrots and peppers and grated cheese.

8. Pasta
It’s quick and simple to make pasta and you can also teach children to make a bolognese sauce to go with it. We’ve tried to make pasta from scratch at home and it ended up as a modern art project, it tasted unreal but we still laugh about it. I think we’ll try again though.

9. Meat
Burgers and meatballs are good for children to make and if they don’t like the texture of minced meat there are ways to make it smoother and more palatable– add grated carrot, breadcrumbs and egg and roast in the oven

10. Cous cous
Lesley says that kids love cous cous and bulgur wheat because of the element of surprise and discovery when adding hot water to the grains. You can get your kids to chop up tomatoes and cucumber and herbs to add to the mix and you have helped them make a nutritious side dish.

This is by no means a definitive list but it’s a great starting point and should help to inspire a little, if not a lot. In fact, Miniminx and I did make salmon fishcakes from scratch the other night and I found the whole experience quite uplifting. She sliced the garlic and lemon for the salmon which we baked and then she mashed the salmon. We made mashed potato using a potato ricer which she loved and then proceeded to make shapes out of them – she also liked tasting the mash and fish during the preparation which in it’s own way meant she was feeding herself. They tasted really good.

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3 Comments to “Get Kids in the Kitchen: Lesley Waters' 10 Meals for Children to Cook”

  1. Funny you mention fajitas — my onevery picky daughter LOVES them (even with tomatoes and a hint of garlic). She knows how to fill and wrap them, it is good fun. Great tips!
    .-= A Modern Mother´s last blog ..It’s here! CyberMummy 2010 =-.

  2. Thanks for that. I moved away from mexico when I was really young, and I really want to rediscover my heritage. I’ve been trying out a lot of random mexican recipes, and the best I’ve found yet is this taco recipe – it totally remind me of my childhood. I dont remember much of it except for the spicy smells and delicious food on every street corner.

  3. Chana Deramo says:

    Youngsters loves cooking food, I have not long ago got a cooking kit for kids and I discover that they really like it and appreciate assisting me.

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