I’m so excited to let you know that I’m part of an ebook that is just about to be released called Little Chefs (I’ll let you know as soon as it is released…it will be soon!), and it is filled with several chapters related to spending time in the kitchen with kids. I’m so excited about this project because it contains great reflections as well as useful tips from several different bloggers you may already know and love, as well as some who might be new to you!
But the tie that binds us all together is Chef Boyardee, a company that has launched a campaign centered on the value of involving kids in the meal-making process. I have personally experienced how great it makes my child feel to be part of the action in the kitchen. She seems to take a lot of pride in the final product, and she also is a bit more eager to eat the meal she helped prepare rather than asking me to fix her a peanut butter and jelly sandwich!
Recently I had Darah spend some time with me and Tim in the kitchen. It was a Thursday afternoon, just after ballet practice. We needed something that would come together fairly quickly, but I was also searching for something that a 3 year old could really help create. We opted for the Chef Boyardee Pizza Kit (which was a staple in my home growing up and is like comfort food to me as an adult). Since we received our CSA produce the day before, I thought we dress up the pizza a bit with some extra vegetables. Here’s the recipe we made up that evening:
1 Chef Boyardee Pizza kit
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 cup fresh spinach
1 fresh tomato, sliced
1 cup mozzarella cheese
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Remove pizza sauce from the can and empty into a bowl. Add 1 tsp Italian seasoning and stir. Let sit while you continue to work. Prepare vegetables by washing and drying spinach and tomatoes. This is an area where a child can be a really big helper. Tear spinach leaves to your liking and set aside in a bowl. Slice tomatoes.
Prepare pizza dough according to package directions. We typically take both dough packets and make two large pizzas so that we have plenty of leftovers. Be sure to let your child be the one who dumps all the ingredients into the bowl!
After your dough is spread out on your pan or pans, spread your pizza sauce on the dough, followed by the packet of cheese included in the kit. Next, add 1 cup of Mozzarella cheese (we LOVE cheese in our home, so more is pretty much always better for us!). Then arrange your tomato slices on top of the cheese layer. On a whim, I actually sprinkled a little bit of Italian seasoning directly on the tomatoes, as well. Then add your beautiful, fresh spinach. The next time we make this I will probably double the spinach amount, just fyi. Finally, let your child inspect the creation to determine if it is ready to go into the oven!
Cook the pizza according to package directions. Start watching it as the pizza nears the end of its scheduled cooking times, as oven temperatures do tend to vary, and you want to make sure your pizza doesn’t get overcooked.
Finally, enjoy the fruits of your labor!
Also, watch out for any babies in the home who think that a Chef Boyardee Pizza makes the perfect first food to try! Layah grabbed the plate and started pulling toward herself as soon as she saw it!
For the next 6 weeks, The Little Chefs Project series will be having virtual Cook-Alongs every Thursday at 2pm ET, starting this Thursday, October 11th. Each Cook-Along runs just 30 minutes, and covers a different topic related to cooking with kids. I’ll be at the first Cook-Along this week, and we are going to be focused on how you can feel like a kid again in the kitchen, and how cooking with your own kids brings back those memories for you. It’s going to be so much fun!
The authors from the first chapter of The Little Chefs ebook will all be on hand to talk about how you can bring back your own memories of cooking with your parents by getting in the kitchen and recreating some of your childhood favorites with your own kids, just like we did this past week with our Chef Boyardee Pizza Kit. We are going to be sharing great stories, delicious recipes for cooking with Chef Boyardee, and we’ll talk about tips we have for feeling like a kid again in the kitchen.
To participate in the Feel Like a Kid Again Cook-Along on The Motherhood this Thursday from 2-2:30pm ET, click here to get registered! If you don’t have a member ID for The Motherhood, it’s easy and free to get signed up. And this is a network that hosts some of the most practical, meaningful, and genuinely helpful conversations on the web, so I highly recommend checking them out. I’ve been very impressed with every chat I’ve ever participated in with The Motherhood!
Here’s a list of all the bloggers who will be co-hosting with me!
Annie, Stowed Stuff http://www.stowedstuff.com
Carrie, Carrie with Children http://www.CarrieWithChildren.
Connie, MiscFinds4u http://www.miscfinds4u.com
Heather, Our Kids Mom http://www.ourkidsmom.com
Janel, A Mom’s Take http://www.amomstake.com
Leigh, Hines-Sight Blog http://www.hinessightblog.com
Pam, It’s Time for More Coffee http://dakotapam.com
Tiffany, Stuff Parents Need http://stuffparentsneed.com
I’d love to hear what memories you have from childhood related to cooking in the kitchen! Any favorite dishes that still bring you a lot of comfort to eat?