I am a firm believer that the best and easiest way to get people into healthy eating habits is to teach them as kids about real food and how to cook! There are so many ways to get kids involved in the kitchen. From taking the kids to the Farmer’s Market in the summer to help pick out fresh produce (a weekly ritual for us), to getting them in the kitchen helping form a young age there are teachable moments every day. Even toddlers can do their part, and they love helping at that age. You can start with getting them to fetch items, put things in the garbage, wash things up, and helping set the table. If kids think cooking fun and a family affair, they will grow up wanting to keep the tradition alive, and get in the kitchen versus ordering out, or grabbing processed meals. Plus you will be teaching them the skills they need to cook once they are no longer living with you.
There was a recent study commissioned by the makers of UNCLE BEN’S® that found while 77% of Canadian families eat home-cooked dinners five or more nights a week, only 12% let their kids help cook these dinners. However 90% of parents actively believe that teaching kids to cook is an important part of helping them live healthier lives. This inspired Uncle Ben’s to strive to create a world of healthier meals and better habits for kids. They feel the same as I do about getting families in the kitchen and cooking together, they have come up with a plan to help get everyone cooking! Logan Guleff, winner of U.S. MasterChef Junior – Season Two, will be issuing weekly challenges and, providing a cooking tips, from July 20th to October 11th on their website, Get Kids Cooking. Here is this weeks cooking tip and challenge:
All you have to do to get in on the fun is take up the challenge, then upload photos of your crafty cooking for a chance to win one of three $10,000 RESPs. If you are stuck on ideas, just go to the website, and check out all their awesome recipes! It is sure to get you inspired!
We are taking up the Ben Beginners Cooking Challenge, and we made a recipe that is perfect for busy weeknight dinners: Easy Chicken Quesadillas. I decided to make quesadillas because I like the fact that little kids can help assemble the dinner. They feel involved, but it is safe for their younger age. Also Quesadillas are perfect for families where each person likes different things as you can easily customize each one to what that person likes. Everyone is happy, and the kids feel excited that they helped out. So lets get cooking. Here is what you need for easy weeknight Chicken Quesadillas.
Easy Weeknight Chicken Quesadillas
- 1 Onion, diced
- 1 Can of Corn, drained
- 1 Package (250g) Uncle Bens Bistro Express Basmati Rice
- ½ Cup Salsa
- 1 cup Cheddar Cheese, grated,
- ½ cup Bell Peppers, diced
- 2 Chicken Breasts, cooked and diced
- 8 Soft Tortillas
- Salsa and Sour Cream for the side if desired.
- In a large frying pan cook onions for 3-5 minutes on medium heat until they are starting to brown.
- Add in rice and corn stir to combine and heat for 3 minutes.
- Stir in salsa to rice mixture and remove from heat.
- Assemble quesadillas by topping half of a tortilla with rice mixture, chicken, peppers and cheese Spread out so the ingredients cover half the tortilla while leaving a 1cm gap around the edges
- Fold tortilla over to make a half circle and secure with toothpicks
- Toast quesadillas on a griddle or in a large non-stick pan , greased with light spray of cooking oil over medium heat.
- Cook until tortillas are browned on both sides and cheese has melted.
- Serve warm with salsa and sour cream. Enjoy!
What I love about this recipe is that you can prepare everything ahead of time, then just assemble, heat and enjoy. I will cook up chicken breasts and use a couple for stir fry, and then save a couple for another recipe such as this one. This shortens the prep time you need to get dinner on the table.
What is your favorite way to get your kids involved in cooking? What recipes do you make together?
Disclusure: This post was brought to you by Uncle Bens. All opinions are strictly my own.