I’m a busy mother, most of us are? And I like to cook for my family…but I don’t LOVE it. So I decided it was time to get every family member cooking in our house. Every person that ate, was going to cook!
I like to see them eating nourishing good food but it doesn’t need to be ME who personally prepares all the food they eat.
It wasn’t that I gave them the complete job of cooking the family meals, I just decided that it was time to share the load and if they were at the table each day eating meals, then I was going to get every family member cooking.
THEY PREPARE FOOD FOR THEMSELVES, THEY CAN TRY A MEAL!
They were already cooking pancakes and muffins when they wanted to after school or at the weekends, why not take it another step and include stir-fry, lasagne and macaroni cheese?
The truth is they were completely capable of preparing a family meal and I knew it, and they knew it!
Yes, they were busy sometimes, they had homework, sports and an afterschool job. But aren’t we ALL busy!?
You might call me a little heartless, but I don’t think I am.
In fact, it’s worked out that my kids enjoy cooking and at times ends up more of a communal conversation time chatting together. It’s no different to them hanging out in the kitchen while I cook.
1. EVERY FAMILY MEMBER COOKING CHOOSES A MEAL
How it works is that I grocery shop every fortnight, so while I’m putting my list together I ask each of them to choose two meals from my recipe book. I prefer meals we have had before and enjoy. It can take a few minutes for this to happen, mostly because they want to choose a good one! If you have kiddies that are younger but still want a turn. I would get them to choose a meal and assume you will cook ‘with’ them.
Hopefully, they don’t get too creative. I ask them to choose meals with approx. 30-minute prep/cooking time. You have to keep in mind, these are kids/teens and a 30-minute meal will still take up to an hour depending on how efficient they are. I have made the mistake of letting them do a more difficult meal that took a few hours…word to the wise, don’t do it. Stick to 30mins time frame.
I have 3 pre-teen/teenagers in the house so I get 6 recipes from them. I add two meals for myself and two for my husband, then I add 2 ‘fake-a-way’ meals for Friday nights that anyone can do depending who is motivated, plus I keep 2 free for leftovers, eggs on toast or soup (usually weekend meals) this gives me 14 days of meals.
2. PREPARE A GROCERY LIST FROM CHOSEN MEALS
The first one, Spaghetti Bolognaise will need beef mince, broccoli, onion, garlic, pasta and pasta sauce.
I have already put on my list Meat, Fruit and Vegetables, General, Dairy and so I put the items they need under the appropriate column. I do this with each recipe. If I have 3 recipes with 500g of beef mince, I just write 1.5kg next to beef mince.
Once I have checked the meals, done the list, and grocery shopped, I put together a fortnight roster according to what nights people will cook and what the recipe is they chose and place it on the kitchen notice board.
3. MAKE A SCHEDULE WHERE EVERY FAMILY MEMBER COOKS ONCE A WEEK
I try to work with their week’s schedule to eliminate too much stress on them. For example, I won’t book a child in for cooking dinner when they have football practice or paper run to deliver after school that day. They can change with each other if they want, but they need to change it on the roster so we all know. In all honesty, we have never had a week that has gone exactly to plan, because life happens, but the plan is there and we switch things up when needed.
They love to contribute good work and they really enjoy cooking a meal they love to eat and want to share with the rest of us.