Cooking with the kids in the kitchen is such a wonderful learning opportunity. The sights and smells of new and interesting foods and the textures and tasks of cooking provide children with a rich experience. Then there is the awareness of accomplishment. Kids can help to prepare the food that feeds the family. Kids can learn the steps of cooking a meal from start to finish. This week in our Cooking With Kids A-Z series, we are exploring Mushrooms. We made a vegetable quesadilla while learning along the way.
This post is part of our month-long Learning with Free Materials series where we are sharing learning ideas for homeschoolers and school-extension activities using items that are free or mostly free (i.e. CHEAP or you already have in the home), and is part of the 31 Days of Homeschooling Tips as we blog along with other bloggers with learning at home tips and tools. While the food needed to create this meal is not free, you do need to feed your family. So, while doing the chore of making dinner, why not learn along the way? The educational oppourtunities that go along with cooking are a free lesson in math, process, direction following, listening skills, and safety.
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How can kids learn when cooking?
When cooking with kids, there are so many learning opportunities. Create a list of steps for the recipe and have your child read as they work. Children can check off completed steps. Stress the importance of completing the recipe in order. Oral and verbal direction following are worked on while kids cook. Kids can learn about safety while cooking. Shredding cheese with a grater, using a knife, and cooking at the stove are opportunities for safety lessons.
We began our Vegetable Quesadilla recipe by shredding a cup of cheddar and Monterrey Jack cheese. Put these aside on a plate.
Vegetable Quesadilla Recipe
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Vegetables (peppers, mushrooms, onions, etc)
1/2 cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
salsa, ranch dressing, or sour cream to dip
Chop, dice, and slice green peppers, red peppers, yellow peppers, onion, and mushrooms. The nice thing about a vegetable quesadilla is that you can substitute and add any vegetable. Add in tomatoes, squash, beans, hot peppers, or eggplant…your produce department or garden is the limit!
Next, warm 2 tablespoons olive oil in a pan. Saute all of the vegetables except the mushrooms. After 2-3 minutes, add the mushrooms to the pan. Continue cooking until soft. Teach the kids about safety with the oven at this point!
Warm a Quesadilla Maker and place a tortilla on the bottom. Spread out the cooked vegetables over the tortilla. Sprinkle cheese all over the vegetables and layer a second tortilla on top of the cheese. Close the lid to the quesadilla maker and allow it to cook until the light changes, indicating done-ness (about 4-5 minutes).
Slice the quesadillas along the section lines using a pizza wheel.
Serve with salsa, sour cream, or ranch to dip.
With a vegetable quesadilla, children get the opportunity to try new vegetables that might be new to them. The hand-held finished dish is a fun one to eat. Dipping the quesadilla slices into ranch, salsa, or sour cream may encourage your child to try this recipe and new tastes. Have fun experimenting with vegetable combinations!