September 13 is “National Kids Take Over the Kitchen Day.“
A little backstory about me, I grew up in South Georgia; this is an important observation because it proves that I was surrounded by food. Literally, all the time! Southern people look for reasons to eat. Sunday dinners, church potlucks, backyard BBQs, tailgate parties are just a few examples. Truthfully, if you give us an occasion, we will most likely be able to find a food to match it!
Throughout the 2020 COVID lockdown, everyone had to find creative ways to spend their days. For our family, in addition to virtual school, we did “unschooling”. Throughout our unschooling adventure, we learned about nature and science by planting a garden. Hours passed while we would watch the plants sprout, nourish them, weed them, and observe the critters that would come by our little garden.
Meanwhile, I took the opportunity to pass my love for flavor on to my son who was very slowly coming out of a picky eater stage.
Naturally, as part of our unschooling, I decided that I would teach my little man life skills, specifically, how to cook.
We began to watch the Food Network together and we would choose recipes that contained the ingredients in our garden. Online grocery shopping became an adventure to find new and exciting ingredients to add to our endeavors. As a result, my little man also developed a love for trying new things and trying new recipes.
I can honestly say, the times we spent in the kitchen were some of the very best moments of 2020.
Mamma, I get it. Being a working mom, owning your own business, being a stay-at-home mom, are all hard jobs. Day after day, you take care of everyone and everything. If you are anything like me, this leaves very little “me time” in your schedule. It’s not uncommon for moms to be so exhausted that we feel like we don’t have the energy to stand long enough to finish dinner, much less have a kitchen jam session with the kiddos.
Like any other project, involving children while cooking gets messy, time-consuming, and even chaotic at times; but it is worth it.
Honestly, it may not seem like much at the time, but these moments are the memories that your kids will look back on and smile. Later on, they will tell their kids about all of the creations, the “Nailed It” moments, and all of the laughter that took place with their mamma in the kitchen.
How do I know?
Because I remember being four years old and sitting on the stool while my Nana taught me to roll out dumplings. We have tons of family stories involving pizza sliding off the pan or burnt chili. Every time our family is together, we laugh as we replay the memories in our minds.
Although they seemed small in the moment, I have carried these memories, skills, and traditions with me through some of the darkest days of my life.
Below you will find some of our favorite suggestions for kid-friendly meals and treats:
- Pancakes – https://www.thespruceeats.com/kids-can-cook-pancakes-recipe-3542699
- Easy Breakfast Quiche – https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/20879/donnas-cheesy-quiche/
- French Toast Roll-Ups – https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchen/kids-can-make-strawberry-french-toast-roll-ups-3364594
- Microwave Nachos – https://www.yummly.com/recipe/Perfect-Microwave-Nachos-1229519
- Octopus Hot Dogs on a Bed of Mac and Cheese – https://www.food.com/recipe/octopus-hot-dogs-78834
- Empanadas – https://thegingeredwhisk.com/beef-empanada-recipe-princess-elena/
(This is a family favorite recipe to make. In fact, if you ask my son, this is his favorite food ever.)
- Rainbow pasta with Cheese Sauce – https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/rainbow-spaghetti.
- Taco-in-a-Bag – https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/20852/taco-in-a-bag/
- Pasta Sticks – https://www.tiktok.com/@emilyscooking_/video/6991824001706315014
- Lasagna Muffins – https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchen/kids-can-make-mini-lasagna-cups-3686282
- Make Your Own Pizza –
Make your own pizza is our family’s personal favorite. We use these pizza crusts. After you pick your crust, you will need pizza sauce, Italian cheese, and an assortment of toppings. Our favorite toppings include black olives, pepperoni, green olives, mozzarella cheese pearls, tomatoes, basil leaves, and green/red peppers.
- Chocolate Marshmallow Mug Cups – https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchen/chocolate-marshmallow-mug-cakes-7231112
- Funfetti Energy Bites – https://babyfoode.com/blog/funfetti-energy-balls-for-kids/
- Homemade Banana Ice Cream – No churn – https://momswhosave.com/banana-chocolate-chip-ice-cream/
- Fairy Bread – https://www.thespruceeats.com/fairy-bread-4771689/
I think it’s okay (every now and then) to just have fun and play with your food! Hopefully, one day my little man will back on these times together and smile. My desire is that he can teach his kids some of these recipes and remember how very much his Mamma loved him.
So, Mamma, today is National “Kids Takeover the Kitchen” Day, get in that kitchen and make some memories.