Cooking with kids

Ironically, the next things I want to share with you on this blog are fun ideas for working with kids on summer vacation. If you dare to take them as another list of things to do to be a Good Mom—well—don’t make me come back there!


Confession: I’m trying several new things this summer with cooking. Knowing me, that will mean disaster at some point, but in the meantime we are enjoying ourselves very much.

First off, we’ve set up a weekly menu. When my kids are home, they want to eat all the time–in season and out of season, when they walketh by the way and when they sitteth down and when they riseth up–and I just couldn’t face the pressure of thinking up appropriate food six times a day. So we set up a schedule for breakfast, lunch and supper, plus morning, afternoon, and bedtime snacks. Honestly. We eat that often.

I was already in the habit of making up a week’s worth of supper menus on Monday, but for the busy summertime our new chart takes the pressure off menu planning entirely, with simple basics we carry over from week to week, tweaking as we go, and adding whatever side dishes we have on hand (including lots of fresh fruits and veggies).

{View our Menu Schedule here. Here’s a blank template if you want to create a plan that suits your family!}

We’ve deviated a lot already, with joy—but I keep these ingredients on hand, and love having a plan to fall back on.

Friday night is my favorite so far. Some nights we’ll have a meat and bean dip with tortilla chips, but what I like best is tossing cut potatoes in a little oil, adding a lot of herbs and spices, and oven-roasting them. Then I add whatever toppings I want—sautéed chicken breast strips, shredded cheddar, and bacon crumbles; or taco meat, shredded cheese, sour cream, and green peppers. Yum!

taco stack

And chicken night? Endless options there. If you’ve never made Japanese Chicken, you need to try! We’re in love.

chicken 1

The other fun thing we’re experimenting with is a weekly Cooking School. It sounds so much better than Helping Mom Make Supper. Each of the older kids gets to pick a recipe to make and serve up for supper. We spend time in the afternoon learning together. Hence “Kids’ Pick” on Thursday’s schedule.

Regan made a cookie pizza.

regan's cookie pizza

Kelly helped cut up a salad.

kelly's salad

And Aarick made a chicken pot pie. He is laughing because I accused him of “shaking it all about” so much I could hardly get a picture, and then of course I had to sing the Hokey Pokey…

aarick's pot pie

pot pie

What summer cooking plans do you have? How do you stay sane in the kitchen while the juniors are on vacation?

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10 years ago

You are so good at calling me to be intentional. Gotta do some planning:)

10 years ago

Yes. This is the kind of thing I need! How simple to make a plan instead of battling with the “what in the world shall we eat??” question all the time?!

mom coblentz
10 years ago

Love this post… the ideas, the pics. I envy your kids!!

10 years ago
Reply to  mom coblentz

I learned from the best.

GrandmaKitty Brown
10 years ago
Reply to  Shari

Love spoken here…..

10 years ago

Japanese chicken is a favorite here, too. We learned about it from Anthony and Lynda. These photos of the children are delightful. Why is it that children are just all smiles when they get to play with food?? Jolynn

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