Many people are staying at home right now without a clue of what to do while social distancing due to the coronavirus. Instead of looking at it as a disruption or inconvenience, let’s look at it as a time to reconnect with our family. There are many activities that can be done at home to keep kids entertained and busy while having fun. One of these activities includes cooking together. Cooking at home has become a lost art. Cooking teaches children so much from teamwork, following directions, and even involves math and science concepts.
For those parents or caregivers who may want to teach children some basic cooking skills and how to prepare some easy recipes, Texas A&M Extension’s Dinner Tonight website https://dinnertonight.tamu.edu/ provides hundreds of recipes to choose from along with numerous instructional videos and tips on cooking techniques, nutrition, menu planning and healthy living. Another resource is Delish.com They will be hosting free cooking lessons on its Instagram feed. Can’t make it? They’re saving them as highlights!
Helpful Tips and Recipes
One tried and true recipe that most kids love eating and making tacos. Make your taco Tuesday (or Wednesday, or Thursday, or Friday……whenever!) the best it can be with these tips.
TIps for Taco Night:
- Start with lean meat or protein. You could use ground turkey, lean beef, fish or chicken Black beans and brown rice are other health options. You can season with a convenient taco seasoning or be creative and use your own seasonings.
- Healthy Tortilla – If you’re feeling ambitious, you could make your own corn or flour tortillas. Even if you go the store-bought route, there’s a simple way to make those soft tortillas even better. Most people warm them up, wrapped in foil, in the oven. That’s cool, but next time try tossing them in a hot skillet and sprinkling a few drops of water in the pan. Turn a couple of times and serve! If you’re looking for a healthier option, corn tortillas outshine the flour alternative or whole wheat tortillas. Whichever you select, be sure to top your tortilla with plenty of veggies and beans to make it a truly nutritious meal.
- Bring on the Veggies – Tortillas make for the most amazing blank canvas. Pile on the veggies and use the meat almost like a condiment.
- Set up a taco bar and let the kids be creative!
Pizza is another popular recipe for kids. And with the shortage of bread in stores, here is a quick healthier version using tortillas which to this point have been easy to find.
- 1 whole wheat tortilla
- 2-3 tablespoons of jar or homemade marinara sauce
- 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- Toppings (go wild!) Turkey pepperoni, green pepper, onion, mushrooms, black olives, spinach
- Preheat griddles to 325-350 degrees or use a non-stick pan on the stove top.
- Place tortilla on the griddle or in a non-stick pan. Spread the sauce evenly across the tortilla leaving 1/2 inch around the edges. Sprinkle with cheese and toppings.
- Fold over and cook until the cheese is golden and bubbling (no sooner!) and the edges of the tortilla are lightly browned, about 2 to 4 minutes. Let the pizza cool for a few minutes before eating.
Another favorite recipe that kids love to make are fruit smoothies. The great thing about smoothies is that you cannot mess them up. Be creative and try new fruits and vegetables in each recipe. One recipe that is a family favorite is the tropical fruit smoothie.
- 1/2 banana (fresh or frozen)
- 4 fresh strawberries
- 1/2 cup pineapple
- 1/2 cup frozen mixed tropical fruit
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup (low-cal) orange juice or fat-free milk
- 1/2 cup raw spinach
- 1 cup ice (optional)
- 1 tablespoon of a no-calorie sweetener or honey (optional)
- In a blender, mix fruit, spinach, juice, sweetener and ice. Blend 1 minute and serve. Enjoy!
If you would like more information about healthy recipes and kid-friendly activities, contact your local extension office.