This Slow Cooker Mexican Quinoa & Rice is a healthy and easy vegan side dish that even the most inexperienced cook can make.
I've talked a good bit about how much the boys and I enjoy cooking together. I am so proud that they are able to prepare meals for themselves, and will even cook a simple meal for the family sometimes.
Did you know that according to University of Michigan's Project EAT, children who cook with their parents are more likely to follow healthy diets as adults whereas those who are not talk to cook are more likely to resort to fast food? My boys are picky eaters, but one thing I'm thrilled about now that we are cooking on a regular basis is that if they cook it they are much more likely to try it.
Since the boys and I have been in the kitchen on a near daily basis, I thought I'd share some tips for getting your kids involved in cooking.
Tips for Getting Your Kids Involved In Cooking
The biggest things that changed for us with cooking was my attitude. Don't be afraid to let them make big messes and don't expect perfection.
Along the big messes line, DO get them involved in age appropriate clean up. One of my boys loves to scrub pots, and the other is great with a broom and dust buster. Knowing they are going to help clean up makes me much more relaxed when a cup of flour goes flying across the room.
Make it sacred time. Most kids (at least up to a certain age) love any time where they have mom or dad's undivided attention. This is especially true in today's digital world. I don't check my email or phone when we are cooking together. It is their time.
Believe it or not, TV can be a great motivator to cook, especially for boys. Neither of my boys consider cooking to be strictly for women. Since I do 95% of the cooking in our house, I can only assume it's because they've watched so much TV with me and associate cooking with strong male chefs.
Although cooking with my kids means they are much more likely to try things, it is still important to respect their likes and dislikes. Don't destroy their joy of cooking by making their least favorite dish together.
Let them help you pick out what you are cooking. I keep most of my recipes in Evernote, and I make a folder of things the boys and I might like to cook together. I then let them go through the folder and make the final choice.
If your children are old enough, let them be in charge of reading the recipe and getting the ingredients out. My boys treat it like a scavenger hunt. (I'm not sure what that says about my kitchen organization.)
Learn to step back. I'm so used to doing everything in the kitchen, I realized that I was over-managing the boys. Once you've taught them basis skills, let them use them without further instruction. The sense of pride they get from successfully completing a new to them task is amazing.
Start small. We are working on the boys being able to do at least 80% of a recipe by themselves. I'm keeping these recipes simple, like today's Mexican Rice. They can do everything in this recipe with little supervision.
Cooking with your children makes for a great beginning! Visit www.unclebens.com and click on The Ben’s Beginners™ Cooking Contest page to learn more!
- Spray slow cooker with vegetable spray. Add rice, quinoa, olive oil, salt and chili powder.
- In a saucepan, bring the vegetable broth to a simmer. (The point just before boiling.) Whisk in tomato paste and garlic and pour over quinoa and rice.
- Cover and cook on low for 2 hours. Remove lid and place a clean towel over the slow cooker. Replace lid and allow to sit for 5 to 10 minutes.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Uncle Ben's. The opinions and text are all mine.