Thursday, October 22, 2009

Kids in the Kitchen: Easy Lunch

Some of my favorite childhood memories are in the kitchen. We learned to cook about as soon as we could count. I want my children to have wonderful memories of us cooking together so I'm always looking for creative ways to include them in meal preparation or in making snacks.

My older boys are 4 and they are always eager to help. And I find that if they have helped to make something, they are very likely to find it tasty. It's a great way to help picky kids eat vegetables or different types of food. So my boys made lunch (with supervision, of course) and here is what they made.

ENGLISH MUFFIN PIZZA
3 english muffins, split*
1-8 oz. can of tomato sauce**
2 Tb. Italian Seasoning
1 - 1/2 c. shredded cheese
toppings

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Mix the tomato sauce and the Italian seasoning together (or if your kiddos are older, they can do this themselves). Prepare any toppings you want. We used green pepper, cherry tomatoes, and chopped, fresh spinach but anything would be good - mushrooms, pepperoni, onion, pineapple, ham, sausage, whatever you have on hand.

Let the kids build their own pizza! Mine were very serious and very excited about this as they carefully created their masterpieces.

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Put under the broiler (I set mine to low) for about 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted and starting to turn golden.

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ENJOY!

While the pizza where baking, I cleaned and cut some celery for the boys to make ants on a log.

ANTS ON A LOG
Celery
Peanut Butter or Cream Cheese
Dried Fruit, Nuts, and/or Seeds***

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I spread the peanut butter on the celery but again, if you have an older child, they could do that. We used a dried fruit mix and the boys went to work.

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They loved making these and they gobbled them up!

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*You could also use bagels, tortillas, or regular sliced bread. 
** There will be leftover sauce - you can save it for another day or put it in your pasta sauce or nearly any recipe that calls for tomato sauce.
***Raisins are the traditional topping for ants on a log but don't let that stop you from trying something new! Even flavored cream cheese would be good! 

Enjoy cooking with your kids - yes, sometimes it takes longer and sometimes it messier but the memories you will make will more than make up for those small inconveniences!