My boys are both in double digits now (10 and 13), and I’m happy to say that I can count on them to make their own meals if necessary. I’ve taught them basic cooking skills. They can use the stove and the oven. I trust them with the kitchen knives. At this point, there are certain things that they can make without my help, and as they grow older, we’ll work on adding to the things they can make for themselves.

 

Yesterday, the Washington Post had a piece about the 10 foods a kid should learn how to cook. The writer, Casey Seidenberg, gave her list of foods she’d like her kids to be able to be able to cook for themselves, and she encouraged readers to make their own lists. I thought I’d take her up on that.

 

Here are 10 dishes that my boys are (mostly) proficient in cooking or throwing together:

  1. Scrambled Eggs – This is a great place to start. Teach kids the basics of scrambling and egg and then introduce them to adding fresh chopped herbs and vegetables or cheese.
  2. Quesadillas – Anything can go in a quesadilla. Shred whatever cheese is available, add some vegetables, meat or beans and grill between whole wheat tortillas.
  3. Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup – All kids love this combination. My kids call the soup “grilled cheese dip.”
  4. Fried Rice with Vegetables – They can take leftover rice, fry up some vegetables and perhaps leftover meat in some sesame oil and soy sauce, scramble up an egg, and throw it all together.
  5. Honey Baked Chicken – This very easy recipe is one of my boys’ favorites, and it makes sense that they should know how to throw it together. We use organic boneless, skinless chicken thighs and use a local wildflower honey in the sauce.
  6. Pasta and Sauce – Spaghetti, macaroni, ziti – whatever dried pasta happens to be in the cupboard makes a quick meal with jarred organic pasta sauce. The trickiest part of teaching the boys to make this was making sure they were tall enough to drain the pasta water over the sink with no trouble. You don’t want them climbing on a stool with hot water.
  7. Baked Potato – Scrub a potato, wrap in foil, and bake it in the toaster oven for an hour. Top it with all sorts of things found in the fridge.
  8. Peanut Butter Granola Bars – These are easy, the boys and their friends love them, and they go quickly when they’re made. So the boys need to make them on their own sometimes.
  9. Homemade Brownies – Someday I’ll teach them to make cookies on their own, but cookies usually require more time because you have to cook them in batches. Brownies mix together easily and don’t take nearly as long to cook.
  10. My Favorite Chocolate Cake – Okay, we’re still working on this, but someday, I’d love for them to make me a cake without any assistance on my birthday.
 

These 10 things will obviously not make incredibly well-rounded eaters out of my boys, but they are the items they’ve (mostly) got down. As they get older, I’ll teach them more. In a few years, I hope to hear one of them calling to me in my office saying, “Mom, dinner is ready!”

 

What are the foods you’ve already taught your kids to cook?

 

Related cooking story on MNN: Kids who cook choose healthier foods

 

MNN tease photo of cooking: Shutterstock

 

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