cooking with kids

This summer I started letting True and Brave make meals themselves. They started doing both breakfast and lunch Monday through Friday. Breakfast is really easy since it’s O’s for some, and oatmeal for others. Lunch though, they started making various sandwiches and grilled cheese type things, as well and mini pita pizzas. Being able to use a griddle or the oven by themselves was a big deal.

I didn’t start cooking until I was 20, even then, didn’t really pick it up until 3 or 4 years ago when I started meal planning and using this blog to keep me accountable. Now, I love cooking and feel much more confident mixing my own things, and being brave enough to not follow a recipe to a T. I get really excited to cook for my family, and trying new recipes to see if they like it, but I do need days off from time to time. Therefore, popping in frozen pizza is okay with us too.

Ben has always loved to cook since he was in middle school and he learned how to cook pizza from Reading Rainbow. His only flaw in the kitchen is that he’s not a multi-tasker, so while it would only take about 30 minutes to make something, it would probably take him double (maybe triple) that. Whatever comes out though, is always guaranteed to be nutritious and delicious.

Anyway, back to cooking with kids, True and Brave have been expressing an interest in cooking, so we’ve been letting them find their own recipes to try out themselves. They write down their own grocery list, then we all go together to pick up the ingredients. We supervise them in the kitchen as they make it, along with little cooking lessons as they go on (e.g., how to cut with a knife, where the pot handle should face when on a stove, etc…).

True and Brave both made the meal pictured above. Brave made a savory Green Oatmeal (recipe from Chop Chop), and True made Chuckwagon Chips (recipe from this cookbook) to go along with it. Both recipes came out delicious, though Ben helped them modify it a bit to make it healthier. Brave was especially excited that True loved it because she doesn’t typically like oatmeal. My girls were so proud of their creations!

We subscribe to Chop Chop Magazine, which has many good food stories and recipes for kids. We like it so far and think this is a good starting place for them.

This old Martha Stewart Good Things for Kids that Ben and I have had since summer 2006 is really what help jump start the girls in cooking. This summer they were making some of the sandwich recipes found in here. We wish Martha Stewart had kept these kid magazines going. You can still find some issues on eBay, but I don’t see this particular one for sale right now.

My BFF got Brave this cookbook for her birthday, so the girls have been enjoying picking out recipes from here. They are simple and kid friendly, but not the healthiest, so you definitely have to do some modification to put more nutritional value into the meals. The kids love it though, so I say it’s given them another good place to start.

I think our Cutthroat Kitchen obsession also inspires them to want to be more involved in the cooking. After they make their dishes, they look at Ben and me and say, “Well judge, what do you think?” Then we pretend we are Cutthroat Kitchen judges and lovingly joke and critique their dish.

Have you allowed your kids autonomy in the kitchen? If so, any tips or tricks to share, or some good recipes for them to start with?



family meals: week 109

Fried Tofu and Spicy Dipping Sauce. Brave has been wanting to make tofu and this recipe looked delicious. I didn’t deep fry it, but did light pan fry instead. Also, I doubled the white pepper (you know we love that spice!). This was an easy and yummy recipe to make, and I will make it again.

Steamed Tilapia with Ginger and Garlic. Of course, we throw in a whole lot of serranos in it too! We make two batches of steamed fish, one for the girls, and another for Ben and me. I highly recommend you make this!

Wonton Soup. I made this on the hottest day of the week, not sure what I was thinking, but we had no problem devouring it. I guess the heat doesn’t stop us from eating what something we love.

Week of 9/21 – 9/25
Monday: Leftovers
Tuesday: Turkey Meatloaf and Mashed Cauliflower
Wednesday: Leftovers
Thursday: Vietnamese Pork and Noodles
Friday: Ceviche

What have you been cooking lately?


family meals: week 108

Spaghetti and Herb Stuffed Meatballs. You can’t go wrong with this meal! Here’s the recipe for the meatballs.

Week of 8/31 – 9/4
Monday: Homemade pizza
Tuesday: Leftovers
Wednesday: Bean Soup
Thursday: Turkey Tacos
Friday: Tilapia Ceviche

This week I tried out a new pizza inspired by the one I tried in Phoenix. It was a rosemary, red onion, and pistachio pizza; I thought it came out delicious and this will be added to my go-to pizza recipes!


family meals: week 107

Turkey Burgers and Baked Onion Rings. Next time, I’d go lighter on the cornmeal for the onion ring breading, but this will definitely be getting made again. Baked onion rings are amazing, same delicious taste as regular onion rings, but without all that deep frying! I was really craving onion rings, so I thought burgers would go well, but I was out of buns, so I made whole wheat focaccia and used those as buns. I used this recipe and tripled it, so that I have plenty leftover to freeze for when we want some homemade pizza.

Spaghettini with Roasted Tomatoes, Fresh Basil, and Toasted Garlic Breadcrumbs. This recipe with fresh tomatoes and basil from our garden was absolutely delicious. I highly recommend making this and tripling that breadcrumb recipe!

Week of 8/17 – 8/21
Monday: Wonton Soup
Tuesday: Leftovers
Wednesday: Spaghetti and Meatballs
Thursday: Homemade Pizza
Friday: Tilapia Ceviche

I need some ideas of simple meals to make for large groups. I’m thinking lasagna, but have never tried that, so I would love to hear (read) any suggestions you might have.



roasted broccoli

roasted broccoli Roasted Broccoli
4-6 servings 

1 lb broccoli florets
spray oil
1/4 tsp kosher Salt
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 425°F. On a standard baking sheet (we line it with foil or parchment paper for ease in cleaning), spray with oil. Evenly distribute florets and season with salt and pepper. Spray tops of florets with oil. Roast for 16-20 minutes or until the broccoli is tender and the tips of the florets are crisply browned. Scrape and serve.

roasted broccoli roasted broccoli roasted broccoli Vegetables and sweet aren’t two words that we associate with one another unless it involves carrot cake or candied yams. Roasting highlights the natural sweetness in vegetables as they caramelize. This recipe is about as straightforward as you can get with roasted broccoli. There are ways of enhancing the flavor without too much added prep (fresh lemon juice, garlic, or parmesan cheese to name a few), but since time is always so tight, we appreciate just being able to open a bag of pre-washed florets; add spray oil, salt, and pepper; roast them and done!



baked s’mores

baked s'mores Baked S’mores

McVitie’s Digestives
Nocciolata (similar to nutella, but much more delicious)
Milk chocolate bar
Giant marshmallows
Parchment paper

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Line a baking pan with parchment paper, and lay out cookies (with top side facing down) on top. Spread on the Nocciolata, add milk chocolate pieces on top, then place a marshmallow on top. Bake until the marshmallows are puffed and a little bit burnt (I like my marshmallows burnt, but if that’s not your style, just watch until they’re golden) for about 2-4 minutes. Remove from the oven and top with another cookie (top side facing up), and press down slightly. Now, devour!

baked s'mores baked s'mores baked s'mores baked s'mores We just had a Blaze Pizza pop up near our house, and they use digestive biscuits for their s’mores, and I loved it! During my study abroad in London, I have fond memories of my best friend chowing down on her digestive biscuits. When we were at the grocery store, she’d stock pile on digestive biscuits and I would stock up on Penguins (the best!!!). I think I much prefer these biscuits with s’mores than graham crackers!

I’m not sure if you can find these biscuits at the regular grocery store, but I know they do sell them at World Market. Thankfully, we have a little Indian market right around the corner from our house, and they carry a lot of UK brands, so I just picked up a package from there. A friend recently brought over brownies topped with s’mores, so I’m going to try these biscuits out with that recipe too.




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