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Friendly Weekly Menu Plan
Menu Plan Monday: SureFire way To Teach Kids to Cook

To celebrate Menu Plan Monday and Christmas, I have a present for you.

I am going to talk about how to teach kids to cook so you don't have to!

Here's my philosophy in a nutshell:

Each year after 10, they learn to make one meal per year.

So at 11 they can make 1.
At 12 they can make 2.
At 13 they can make 3.

And so on, and so on, and so on.

That way, when they move out at 18, the goal is that they can make seven different meals well, and one meal for company. A more fancy one! Get it?

And this applies to BOTH girls and boys. Do not raise your sons differently from your daughters in this regard. First of all, the average boy doesn't marry until 27, so that's 9 years away from home first, unless you want him living in your basement and eating your food the whole time.

Even when he does marry, do you really want your daughter-in-law to have to do all the cooking? So train him for independence! You're doing everyone a favour!

So how do you figure out the meals to make? Let me do a different Menu Plan Monday to demonstrate:

Year 11: Spaghetti. It's easy, and most kids like it. You can start my just teaching them to make the pasta and heat up a can of sauce with some meat. Then teach them how to add some chopped veggies, like garlic or carrots or peppers. Then add some homemade garlic bread (just chop fresh garlic up, add it to butter with some parsley, and spread it on bread. Broil it, and you're done! Just check the timer. I'm forever burning mine).

Year 12: Chicken pie/chicken rice casserole. This is one of my children's favourite meals, so we taught this young. And it's not that difficult:

Add leftover chicken
1 can cream of something soup (whatever is in your cupboard)
1 cup gravy (leftover, or the instant kind, or a can)
a lot of frozen veggies, or chopped fresh carrots, etc.

Heat it all up, and then either put it in some pie shells and bake it, or add rice to it, add a bit of sour cream, sprinkle with cheese and breadcrumbs, and cook as a rice casserole. It's great either way!

Year 13: Chicken and potatoes (so they now have the leftover chicken to make the above. But most kids feel very threatened by making a whole chicken, plus they think the meat is gross, so it's best to leave this until a little bit later).

The benefits of learning how to roast a chicken is that your realize how easy it is! And if you teach them how to make different side dishes, from baked potatoes to mashed potatoes or rice, then they're all set. Now no matter which meat they roast they can make a meal! Gravy is a little trickier, but Rebecca's getting not too bad at it right now.

Year 14: Grilled ham. We make ours dipped in maple syrup and then grilled in a frying pan or on the barbecue, depending on the time of year. The kids love it! And we usually splurge on the Lipton's sidekicks for this meal.

Year 15: Shepherd's Pie. Again, it's easy. But I leave it until later because I always find this meal takes a bit of time because of all the peeling of potatoes and chopping and mashing, and the kids don't like doing that work as much. But here's our recipe:

Brown 1 1/2 pounds ground beef.
Add 1 tin of tomato soup
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
a bunch of garlic powder and salt and paprika

Layer this in a pan. Cover with frozen veggies. Add mashed potatoes on top of that. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake at 400 for half and hour. If it's not brown on top, broil for a minute or two.

We've started tripling this recipe and making three pans, because the kids love it and we leave it for leftovers.

So there you have five days of meals for your teens and preteens to start learning to make! That's also our recipe plan for this week. But notice that none of these recipes costs very much. They're all very affordable, and the kids like them. And one day, when they're on their own, they'll feel competent!

What recipes do you use to teach children how to cook? And how are they doing at it?

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At 9:00 AM , Anonymous Susan said…

I LOVE this idea - but I think I will try letting the 11 year old do one meal a month. Luckily she's interested, and I would welcome the help. Thanks for some recipe ideas for them, too.


At 11:45 AM , Blogger Teresa said…

I found your blog from the Menu Plan Monday thing on Laura's site. After reading your "about me" I had to post a comment.

Two things. I love the idea of teaching your children to cook according to their ages such as you mentioned in your post. And as the kicker for why I posted a comment, I too have a Rebecca and Katie. Too coincidental huh?


At 11:58 AM , Blogger Megan said…

I love this idea, and this is one of the things that my husband and I have written down in our "must do" parenting/homeschooling notebook. Also, we will be making a cookbook for each of our children that includes every recipe they make, along with a picture of them making it for the first time. They'll either die of the corniness or be thrilled with the heirloom when they grow up...haha.


At 8:15 PM , Blogger Mel said…

That is a great idea and love the way you have it laid out!!!


At 1:47 PM , Blogger Jennifer said…

i love this idea- it's a great one, and you've been very intentional about it= that's what makes it even better! i will remember this as my girls get older.

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About Me

Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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