making sure my family has a well-balanced meal for dinner is really important to me. so i have partnered with got milk? to bring you this post that shares how i am teaching my boys how to plan and cook well-balanced meals. by doing this, i hope that in the future, they will know how to make the right choices in what they choose to cook and make for themselves.
ever since my boys were young, they have shown an interest in cooking and baking. i have found that letting them cook the meals and have full rein of the kitchen, has helped them appreciate new foods and have a desire to eat better meals. believe it or not, there are many meals that kids can cook with little help from grown ups...and the grown ups will still like the meal. the key is cooking something that doesn't require precise measurements, so in case the kids are accurate, the outcome is still yummy.
meal planning is also an important step in the process of teaching kids to cook. this is one skill i still need help with. often times i find myself at the grocery store by every i don't need and forgetting the key ingredients i came for. before the meal my boys made, we sat down an planned the dinner they would make. we made sure that all the key food groups were represented.
our kid approved meal included: Mini Meatloaves, Scalloped Potatoes, Grean Beans, Strawberries and Milk.
one thing i always enforce at dinner is that the kids only have a choice between milk or water. of course, most of the time the kids choose milk which they really need. drinking got milk? can fuel a better future for kids, as milk has 9 essential nutrients: Calcium, Protein, Potassium, Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, Vitamin A, Riboflavin and Niacin. it also helps with healthy hair, strong nails, preventing risks of cavities/promoting strong teeth and strong bones. starting healthy eating habits like drinking milk now, can lead to a healthier, brighter future.
here is the recipe for these quick and easy Mini Meatloaves. they taste really yummy and are not heavy at all. most everyone will eat two of them. and you can adjust the seasonings to your own palette.
the ingredients you need are: lean ground beef, an egg, ketchup, mustard, quick oats, seasoned salt, and green onions (optional).
the rest is as easy and putting all the ingredients in a bowl and mixing it together until fully combined.
then you divide the meat mixture up and place it into a muffin tin. speed a little bit of ketchup over each meatloaf and place them in a 350º oven for 30 minutes or until fully cooked.
i am not kidding when i say these are easy enough for children to make. here is a short video of my boys making them.
kids can also make these Easy Scalloped Potatoes. if you aren't comfortable with your kids cooking on the stove, you can do the stovetop cooking part. also, if you don't feel comfortable with your kids using knifes, have them slice the potatoes with a cheese grater using the slicing side, or cut them ahead of time for them.
in a sauce pan over medium heat, melt the butter. add them milk and stir for 3-4 minutes. whisk in flour and stir until mixture is boiling. now add the cream cheese, nutmeg, salt and garlic. once melted, stir in shredded cheese. once it is completely melted, remove from heat.
now you are ready to assemble the casserole. start by putting a scoop of cheese sauce into the bottom of a baking dish. then layer your first layer of potatoes over it. once you have made your first layer of potatoes, crack a bit of pepper over that layer. if you want to sprinkle some green onions on each layer, that is good too. then do a layer of cheese sauce. then repeat with another layer of potatoes. repeat until you have used all your ingredients or your baking dish is full. you don't want to fill your dish too high or else the cheese sauce will bubble over in the oven when baking.once you are finished with the layering, sprinkle to top with some shredded cheese. place into a 350º oven for 1-½ hours until potatoes are fully cooked and soft.
to garnish, sprinkle some green onions on top. let cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. they will be piping hot. you will end up with some great looking cheesy potatoes when you are finished. my boys were very proud of the dinner they made, and the entire family enjoyed it. i think they ate their entire dinners just because they made it themselves. what a fun learning experience i had with them. it turned out pretty good if i say so myself! check out the full recipes below.
1 pound lean ground beef
¼ cup quick oats
½ cup ketchup
1 heaping teaspoon mustard
1-½ teaspoons season salt
¼ cup chopped green onions
Mix all ingredients in a bowl until full combined. Divide meat mixture into a muffin tin. Brush each meatloaf with ketchup. Place into a preheated oven for 30 minutes or until fully cooked through. makes 6 two loaf servings.
3-4 large baking potatoes
3 tablespoons butter
2 cups skim milk
¼ cup cream cheese
1-½ cups shredded cheese
½ teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1-½ teaspoons season salt
¼ cup chopped green onions (optional)
First wash and slice the potatoes into thin slices.
In a sauce pan over medium heat, melt the butter. add them milk and stir for 3-4 minutes. whisk in flour and stir until mixture is boiling. now add the cream cheese, nutmeg, salt and garlic. once melted, stir in shredded cheese. once it is completely melted, remove from heat.
To assemble the casserole:
In a 9 x 9" or 9 x 13" baking dish, spread a layer of cheese sauce on the bottom. Next do a layer of potato slices. Crack pepper over there potatoes. Then another layer of cheese sauce. Repeat with another layer of potatoes. repeat until you have used all your ingredients or your baking dish is full. you don't want to fill your dish too high or else the cheese sauce will bubble over in the oven when baking.
Once you are finished with the layering, sprinkle to top with some shredded cheese. place into a 350º oven for 1-½ hours until potatoes are fully cooked and soft.
To garnish, sprinkle some green onions on top. let cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. Makes 8 servings.