July 16th, 2018

From Our Table: Family fun in the kitchen

By Medicine Hat News on September 26, 2017.

Getting your family involved in the kitchen cooking together has multiple benefits. It’s family bonding time, it teaches cooking skills and math skills, it helps get everyone eating the meals — even picky eaters. It’s an opportunity to talk together and many more benefits.

You can involve the whole family in a variety of meal preparation activities. From getting the food ready to cook, cooking it, setting the table and of course the ever popular clean up.

We learned a very fun ‘who does the clean up’ game from our friends the Thompsons. One person writes down a number between one and 100 then everyone takes a turn guessing. If the chosen number is 45 and the person guesses 30 the person who picked the number replies the number is between 30 and 100 so everyone knows it’s above 30. If next pick is 48 the response is, the number is between 30 and 47. You keep narrowing the number gap until someone unwillingly picks the number and they do clean up. You play the game as many times as the number of people you need for clean up. Super fun and fair. Try it this Thanksgiving.

Here’s a few fun tips to involve your whole family in the kitchen:

* Create a menu for the week and post it on the fridge. Put the recipe for that day’s meal on the counter and whoever gets home first can get it started. Even if you get older kids to prepare a veggie tray for everyone to snack on as they get home this is a big help. In fact, if there are fresh veggies washed and cut up in the fridge younger children could also make a creatively designed veggie tray served with healthy hummus or tzatziki and will likely love doing it.

* Get the youngest family members to help set the table. Even toddlers can help carry light unbreakables to the table and look at them light up when they get to be involved.

* The younger children can help gather ingredients and utensils, measure ingredients and read through the recipe, stir recipes and help pour things that aren’t hot.

* Older children can do almost anything with supervision depending on their age and ability. Let them be involved in choosing recipes and even make some on their own as they learn to cook and become comfortable in the kitchen.

* Get your family to taste recipes while they are being prepared and give their opinion on how it tastes and what should possibly be changed.

* Let kids help prepare their own lunches, sandwiches, wraps, etc. Then they are much more likely to eat it.

Getting your family involved in all of the meal preparation from breakfast to supper to snacks will help them realize they are part of an amazing team that works together to accomplish things as a fantastic family.

Here is a simple delicious recipe that can be enjoyed at lunch, supper or as a snack. Everyone in the family, young and old, can pitch in to make this mouthwatering meal.

Joanne Smith is a registered dietitian.

Ham and Cheese Quesadillas.

1 cup shredded cheese of choice- sharp cheddar gives great flavour

8 6-inch tortillas

8 slices ham chopped into small pieces

1/2 cup salsa (strain if lots of liquid)

Dipping Sauce

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup sour cream

1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro

1 Tbsp finely chopped chives or green onion

2 tsp grated lime zest

1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice

Sprinkle 1/2 cup cheese evenly over 4 tortillas. Sprinkle ham evenly on the same tortillas. Drizzle each tortilla with 2 Tbsp salsa and top with remaining cheese on each. Cover with the other 4 tortillas.

Put tortillas on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake in preheated 350 F oven for 10-12 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted.

Cut into 6 wedges.

While tortillas are cooking prepare the dipping sauce by combining mayonnaise, sour cream, cilantro, chives or onions, lime zest and juice in a small bowl. Mixing well.

Serve quesadilla wedges on a plate with the dipping sauce on the side.

Serve with raw veggie sticks and use the dipping sauce for these too.

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