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Create rainy day fun with kids in the kitchen

Posted Mar 31 2011 9:00pm
(ARA) - The rainy weather during the spring months can often keep your children cooped up indoors, begging for entertainment. Instead of spending the afternoon watching a movie or playing video games, invite your kids into the kitchen to help whip up a delicious meal that doubles as playtime.

Cooking with your kids is a great way to introduce them to basic math, chemistry, different cultures and foods, and more - no matter how young they are. Best of all, it can be both fun and rewarding, especially when your kids proudly pass around their creative dish to share with friends and family members.

If you're interested in finding a great way to have fun with your kids on the next rainy day, consider some of these creative kitchen cooking activities
  • Plan a menu with a rainbow of colors. This will introduce your kids to a variety of foods and tastes, and also help them creatively incorporate some of the more unusual food colors into a meal plan - and everyone will have fun eating the rainbow of colors.
  • Cook family favorites with your kids. There are some simple ways to creatively involve kids into the cooking process. Younger kids can easily find ingredients in the cupboards and help wash vegetables or stir in ingredients. Older kids can help with measuring and mixing ingredients together. Just think about simple tasks that they can accomplish and before you know it, you'll have an "assistant chef" at your side.

    Your kids will love to help make this delicious Ore-Ida Steam n' Mash mashed potato recipe - they can help measure the ingredients and do the mashing.
Loaded Mashed Potato Casserole
Ingredients
1 package Ore-Ida Steam n' Mash Cut Russet Potatoes
2/3 cup evaporated milk
2 tablespoons butter
3 ounces cream cheese softened
1/2 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons fresh chives chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper ground
1/4 cup crumbled bacon
1 cup cheddar cheese shredded

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat 8-by-8 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Microwave the potatoes according to the package instructions. In a large bowl, mix together hot potatoes, milk and butter, and mash until smooth. For a smoother consistency, mix with an electric mixer to desired consistency. Add cream cheese, sour cream, chives, salt and pepper, and mix well. Spread evenly into baking dish. Top with bacon crumbles and cheese. Bake uncovered for 25 to 30 minutes, or until heated through.
  • Play "name that taste." Prepare a variety of different food items in your kitchen and, with your kids blindfolded, see if they can name the items in the taste test line up. Just use some simple snacks that they are already familiar with, such as cereals and fruits. Then throw something new into the mix and see if they can guess what it is. You can even offer a fun reward for dessert if they get it right.
  • Have imaginative fun with your food. Who doesn't like pancakes shaped like an animal or cookies that spell out their first name? Let them sculpt and create fun, imaginative displays that will have family members 'oohing' and 'aahing' at their edible artwork. Mashed potatoes can also be a great canvas for creativity and with Ore-Ida Steam n' Mash potatoes you can have real homemade mashed potatoes in less than 15 minutes. That's because the real potatoes are already peeled and chopped. You microwave and mash the way your family likes, then let the kids create their mashed potato masterpiece.

If you are looking for more ways to get creative with your kids in the kitchen, visit the Ore-Ida Steam n' Mash Mash Destruction contest at www.mashdestruction.com . The contest is searching for the most creative, fun ways to mash potatoes - from the obvious to the obscure. Simply submit a drawing of your kid's idea through March 29 and you could win up to $5,000. You can also visit the site from April 5 through April 15 to vote on your favorite potato mashing ideas.

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