Cooking as a Family

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Cooking can seem like a daunting task. It is the end of the day and work has been busy and virtual school was tough. You have no clue what is for dinner and the kids are bored. Why not turn cooking into a family activity?

Cooking makes kids feel very proud and also important because they get to help prepare the food! Completing tasks in the kitchen also teaches them a lot and sets them up for better success with cooking when they are older. Children also ask more questions and learn all about foods and cooking techniques when they can help in the kitchen.

Before you get started, make sure boundaries and rules are set when in the kitchen. This could be anything from asking permission before turning on the stove or remembering to wash your hands before you begin. While you are preparing ingredients and making the meal talk to your kids about food safety and eating healthy foods. Here are some basic activities that your child may be able to help you with:

  1. Younger children, or children new to the kitchen, can stir, pour ingredients, shake spices, roll out dough, and tear lettuce.
  2. If your child is older or more experienced, move to cutting fruits and vegetables (start with soft foods and a plastic knife first), cracking eggs, and reading a recipe.
  3. Teens or children with a lot of experience in the kitchen can move on to cutting with a real knife, measuring out ingredients, grating cheese, and more.

Don’t forget to include things like washing dishes, sweeping, or wiping down countertops in the meal preparation and clean up. These are other skills that aren’t as fun, but definitely necessary to learn!

Try out this recipe below with your family and be sure to tag us in your pictures on our N.C. Cooperative Extension of Sampson County Facebook page. Be on the lookout for more recipes and chances to learn different cooking skills!

Zucchini Pesto Pizza Rolls

Yield: 12 rolls; serves 4 to 6 people

Cook time: approximately 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1-pound whole-wheat pizza dough, thawed if frozen
  • ½ cup of basil pesto
  • 1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups shredded reduced-fat mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup marinara sauce, warmed
  • Cooking spray

Directions

  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 400°F. Meanwhile, let the dough sit out a room temperature while the oven is heating. Coat the wells of a standard 12-well muffin tin with cooking spray.
  2. Place the dough on a work surface and use your hands or a rolling pin to stretch it into an 11×16-inch rectangle. Spread the pesto evenly on the dough. Place the zucchini slices evenly over the pesto, then sprinkle evenly with the cheese.
  3. Starting at a long end, roll the dough up into a tight log. Place on a cutting board seam-side down. Cut crosswise into 1-inch-thick rounds.
  4. Place a round cut-side up into each muffin well. Bake until golden-brown, 20 to 22 minutes. Serve with the marinara sauce.