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Chefs in Training: Cook Up Something Special with Your Kids

Chefs in Training: Cook Up Something Special with Your Kids
By: Jennie Bradford Curlee

Cooking can be a fun way to celebrate a holiday or special occasion. Whether decorating cookies for Santa or making ghost marshmallows at Halloween, teaching kids to play with their food in the name of creativity can spell fun for the whole family. All it takes is a little planning and preparation to create an enjoyable evening for all ages.

Love is All You Need

Show your family how much you love them this Valentine’s Day by preparing a meal together. Let each family member help make their favorite food and create a menu full of love and yummy fare. Let dessert be the literal icing on the cake by making something that everyone will enjoy. Chocolate fondue is a hands-on dessert that is quick, easy, and delicious. Serve it with skewers and lots of foods to dip.

Recipe: Chocolate Fondue

10 ounces semisweet chocolate

1/3 cup milk

1/3 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Dippers: strawberries, bananas, pineapple, cookies, pound cake, marshmallows

Directions: Heat chocolate, milk, and cream on a stovetop over low heat, stirring often until the mixture is smooth and chocolate is melted. Stir in vanilla. Pour the mixture into a fondue pot or slow cooker. Place dippers on skewers and enjoy.

Green Machine

St. Patrick’s Day means all things green. Why not let that translate to your family’s menu on March 17? Go crazy and let green be your theme, by adding a little green food coloring to your family’s favorite dishes or design a traditional Irish carte du jour to celebrate this emerald holiday. Let your kids help make these yummy Leprechaun floats!

Recipe: Leprechaun Floats

Lime Sherbet

Lemon-Lime soda or Ginger Ale

Limes, sliced

Directions: Add two scoops of lime sherbet to a cold glass. Fill with lemon-lime soda or ginger ale. Serve with a slice of lime and green straws.

Lights, Camera, Action

Perhaps your family is celebrating a birthday, planning a spring break staycation, or commemorating a milestone. Planning a movie night for the family, complete with supper prepared by all, makes for a grand evening. Whether it’s taco night, where everyone gets to make their own, grilling kebobs hand-fashioned by each individual family member, or even breakfast for supper complete with pancake toppings to suit every single person, cooking together can be a fun way to kick off movie night. An all-time favorite is make-your-own pizza night.

Recipe: Make-Your-Own Pizzas

Pizza dough or pre-made pizza crust available at your grocery store

Sauces: tomato, alfredo, pesto, ranch, barbecue

Cheeses: cheddar, mozzarella, parmesan

Meats: pepperoni, sausage, chicken, ground beef

Veggies: mushrooms, onions, peppers, black olives

Directions: Prepare pizza dough or crust according to package instructions. Drizzle olive oil over each crust. Top with sauce of choice, followed by meat and veggie toppings, and cheese. Sprinkle with garlic salt, red pepper, or oregano, if desired and bake in a pre-heated oven according to package instructions or until golden brown.

Spending time in the kitchen with your kids can be a fun family activity that not only makes memories, but encourages them to enjoy the art of cooking from a young age. Following a recipe teaches children math skills, how to follow directions, communication, and patience, all things on which adults can also use a refresher.

Jennie Bradford Curlee is the public relations and international sales director for the Tupelo CVB. She and her husband, John, both love to cook, and enjoy getting to cook with and clean up after their son, Miles.

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