After all the meals you’ve made for your family, do you long for the day when your children will prepare and serve dinner for you? At a soccer game last weekend, my daughter’s 12-year-old friend, Katie Zehner, proudly told me that she had cooked another recipe from my cookbook, Rosemary Lemon Pork Chops with Yogurt-Feta Sauce.  Katie’s mom (my friend, Elizabeth) has really never relished cooking, so she is thrilled that one of her children is showing some passion for the kitchen.

It may not surprise you to know that I think it’s important that our kids learn to chop, dice, sauté and bake.  Learning some basic cooking skills can ensure that they don’t have to rely on packaged foods and restaurants when we’re no longer cooking for them, and it can even give us a break in the kitchen once they get more experienced at cooking and cleaning. So why not get your kids into the kitchen with you at least once a week?

Kids Cook Monday is a public health campaign to get families to cook and eat healthy food together at least once a week. (They choose Mondays because they feel that is the day people get back on track after the weekend and set their health intentions for the week.) To make it easy for you and your children, the site has recipes, videos, materials, and tips for kids, parents, and teachers.   The campaign, which was started in association with Columbia Mailman School of Public Health and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, notes that, “When kids pitch in making meals, they’re empowered to consider the portions, the vitamins and the nutrients of what they’re eating.” 

Along with easy and healthy recipes, the Kids Cook Monday website has entertaining videos of kids learning to cook that may inspire your junior chefs, such as this one: http://www.thekidscookmonday.org/2011/02/10/cooking-with-mama-skyla-carrot-chips/

Your kids can easily master Baked Apricot Chicken, which is a quick weeknight meal.  The chicken comes out moist and delicious, and the apricots add an elegant flair.  Your child (with supervision, if necessary) can prepare the chicken any time during the day, and then bake it just before dinner. Just keep in mind that it might need a few extra minutes to cook if it’s been chilling for awhile.

For dessert, enjoy these Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies from Kids Cook Monday.

Do you already cook with your kids? Kids Cook Monday would love to have you submit your original recipes.

Do your kids like to help in the kitchen? What tasks have they mastered without much supervision?

Recipe: Baked Apricot Chicken

  • Prep Time: 5 min(s)
  • Cook Time: 25 min(s)
  • Servings: 4

Your kids can easily master cooking Baked Apricot Chicken, which is a quick weeknight meal.  The chicken comes out moist and delicious, and the apricots add an elegant flair. 

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ - 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup apricot preserves or jam
  • ½ lemon, juice only, (about 2 Tbsp)
  • 2 Tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
  • 2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 6 dried apricots, coarsely chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lay the chicken flat in an oven-safe dish with sides that is just large enough to hold it in a single layer.
  2. In a large measuring cup or medium bowl, combine all the remaining ingredients except the dried apricots. Pour the mixture over the chicken. Top it with the apricots.
  3. Bake the chicken for 20-25 minutes until it is just cooked through (chicken should no longer be pink in the middle of the thickest part), or marinate it in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 24 hours before baking it. Alternately, you can freeze it for up to 3 months.

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