Cooking Lessons Warm Winter Days

One of my firmly held beliefs is that cooking and eating at home is a good thing. Not only is the food delicious, but you can use the preparation time to spend with your children. I mourn the loss of home economics in many schools, but with a little encouragement, kids can learn to cook. It’s more about being exposed to the experience and all it can mean as life goes on.

Cold winter days are the perfect time to gather the kids in a cozy kitchen and cook up something together. I’m not really talking about teaching cooking techniques, but much more fundamental lessons. Several years ago, I had an idea to write a book about the things I’ve learned while cooking with my mother. I would call it Cooking Lessons. The lessons were nothing about actual cooking, but rather life lessons. Learning to be helpful, to respect each other and appreciative of the food we prepared.  Being successful at these tasks showed me how much I was appreciated by our family. The memories she created for me will last a lifetime.

It doesn’t really matter what your cooking, your family can always help. Make a point to get in the kitchen and cook up a treat to share. I’ve suggested a couple of easy recipes below that are made with a Martha White® muffin mix to get the kids started.

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Have-It-Your-Way Taco Pie and Chili Con Cornbread are two easy main dish family-friendly recipes that offer plenty of opportunities for the kids to pitch in and help.

Summer Fun in the Kitchen

Cooking together is a great way to spend time as a family, and there are all kinds of things that kids can learn in the kitchen like reading, math and valuable life skills. Though summer cooking projects can be educational for kids of all ages, it’s mostly just fun to get in the kitchen and cook.

Chocolate Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes are the perfect dessert to make with kids. These delectable cupcakes take minutes to prepare and are easy to make using a convenient muffin mix. And there can be no more kid-friendly pairing than the beloved combination of peanut butter and chocolate.

The cupcakes are made with a Martha White® Chocolate Chocolate Chip Flavored Muffin Mix, sugar, sour cream and milk. The fun twist is a peanut butter cup. All you have to do is press the peanut butter cup into the center of each cupcake until even with the batter and bake. If you want, you can top off the cupcakes with the delicious peanut butter frosting.

The kids will love treating their friends to a fun snack that they have helped create. These cupcakes are sure to become a favorite this summer and all year long.

Mealtime Should Be a Family Affair

When I was growing up, our days revolved around mealtime. In those days, nobody ever thought about missing a meal because there weren’t a lot of other options and we loved my mother’s cooking. It was a wonderful opportunity for me to learn how to cook, set the table, practice good table manners – and it was a great time for talking. My father was a great story teller and with four older brothers and sisters, there was always plenty to talk about.

Being involved in the mealtime preparations was very rewarding to me and with just a little planning and creativity, family mealtime can become one of the most enjoyable parts of your day.

Depending on age and interest, kids can be a big help with preparing and serving meals. You will be surprised that they are more likely to try new foods that they’ve helped prepare. For a quick dinner that’s always fun for families to make together, try Mexi Corn Cakes and Barbecue Stacks. The kids will love helping cook the corn meal pancakes. They can even help stack them with purchased or homemade barbecue and slaw.

With a little extra planning, family meals can be transformed into a time of sharing responsibilities and meaningful conversation – a time to create memories you will all treasure.

What mealtime traditions do you have at your home? I would love to hear them.