Cooking can be so much more than simply getting dinner on the table. When you cook with your kids, it can lead to better relationships with food and with each other.
Getting kids involved in the kitchen gives them life skills they'll need, teaches them about new foods and healthy eating, and it can be a great way to have fun and bond together.
Kids of any age can play a role in cooking up a good meal, even the youngest ones:
- Scrub fruits and vegetables
- Tear salad greens
- Snap fresh beans
- Wipe tables
- Pour liquids into batter
- Spread peanut butter or butter on bread
- Mix muffin batter
- Shake ingredients together
Four and five-year olds can:
- Mash soft fruits and vegetables
- Measure ingredients
- Juice citrus
- Beat eggs
Older children can help with more complex tasks, including slicing ingredients for a meal and cooking parts of it themselves.
One 10-year-old who is very comfortable in the kitchen is Sydney Fialkow, of Atlanta. She and her mother Stacy were named the grand prize winners of the Ben's Beginnerstm Cooking Contest, sponsored by the UNCLE BEN'S® Brand. Sydney Fialkow was selected from a field of more than 700 contestants (ages 5-12) who videotaped themselves preparing a kid-friendly rice dish and discussing the experience of cooking with their parents. Her winning dish, Sydney's Rice & Chicken, won her a $20,000 cash prize as well as a $50,000 cafeteria makeover for her school.
This recipe is a great way to start cooking with your kids, letting you make a great meal, and some good memories together. For more kid-friendly recipes, visit www.unclebens.com.
Sydney's Rice & Chicken
- 1 cup chopped onions
- 4 - 6 boneless skinless chicken breast filets (about 1 1/2 pounds)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse-ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup UNCLE BEN'S® ORIGINAL CONVERTED® Brand Rice or UNCLE BEN'S® Natural Whole Grain Brown Rice
- 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
- 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
- 1 cup frozen green peas
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- Yellow food coloring (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Spray glass baking dish evenly with cooking spray.
- Place onions in baking dish; top with chicken filets. Season the chicken evenly with salt, black pepper, and garlic powder.
- Pour chicken broth into baking dish and bake for 20 minutes.
- Remove baking dish from oven. Transfer chicken breast filets to container and set aside.
- In baking dish, add rice, bell peppers, peas, cilantro and oregano. If desired add 2 shakes of yellow food coloring. Stir rice mixture.
- Arrange reserved chicken breast filets over rice.
- Cover and bake for 25 minutes.
- Remove from oven, gently stir rice mixture, cover with foil and bake an additional 10 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked and rice is tender and all liquid is absorbed.
4 to 6