Preschool sous chefs

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Cooking Buzz is produced in partnership with the Junior League of Houston, a women’s charitable and education organization founded in 1925.

As a mother of two young children, ages 6 and 3, a lot of my day revolves around food – preschoolers and kindergartners are obsessed with eating (or asking for food and then not eating it). Parents and caregivers devote significant energy to grocery-store trips, planning meals, opening snacks, cooking and precise plating for those kids who don’t like foods to touch! Since this is such a big part of our daily schedule, we have made an effort to enjoy making meals together when we can.

Dining out with children is always an adventure, so we eat at home often. Fortunately, Houston has wonderful grocery stores, many of which make shopping fun and convenient with little ones. My kids are excited to pick out their favorite color grocery cart, sample a tortilla or put their snack on the conveyor belt at check-out. Short trips to the grocery store for key items keep everyone happy, and I also rely on grocery delivery for those days when no one wants to leave the house. I find that my children are much more interested in eating food that they help choose, so I involve them.

Another easy way to get children excited about eating is the time-tested trick of serving breakfast for dinner. German Apple Pancakes from Stop and Smell the Rosemary are a big hit for all ages; my kids love to help measure out the dry ingredients and start the food processor. Sifting powdered sugar on top is the highlight – particularly since it requires no precise measurement. The Brown Sugar Bacon Twists from Peace Meals are the perfect pairing, with sugar and cinnamon for the kids and brown sugar and pepper for the adults.

Teriyaki Sirloin Kabobs from Stop and Smell the Rosemary are another dinner favorite. I let the beef marinate overnight, and kids can make their own skewers the next afternoon, counting and making patterns as we go. Kabobs are obviously customizable, so we have been known to put chicken nuggets, fruit and French fries on skewers for those sous chefs who are harder to please.

Cooking is fun, but making dessert definitely tops the list. My children love to stir, so A+ Cookies from Stop and Smell the Rosemary are always fun to make. The peanut butter and oats give me a little less mom guilt. The ultimate kid-approved recipe involves making a mess with permission. Cookies and Cream Bites from Peace Meals call for breaking up cookies with a food processor, but I put a few cookies in a bag for each child and let them crush the cookies using their hands. They also love scooping each cookie and dipping them into chocolate. I let them add sprinkles if we’re feeling extra festive. These refrigerated cookies make a great after-school treat throughout the week.

Source, September 01, 2018, The Buzz Magazine, Jayne Sheehy Johnston