Monday, March 21, 2011

Cooking with Kids: Naturally Green

Parties with my mom's group are always a challenge.  I love sweets.  I love to bake sweets.  But we always have too many.  As St. Patrick's Day approached, I found myself torn between the sweet, unnatural cake I stared at on my Betty Crocker Calendar, and something on the healthy side which was naturally green and free of chemicals and preservatives.  Undecided, I took the high road and posted a vote on Facebook: Grasshopper Fudge Cake or pasta with pesto.  Unbelievably, the pesto won.  Moms really do want healthy foods!  Silently relieved, as the pesto was not only healthier, but cheaper and easier to make, I went about enlisting my son to be my helper.  He loves assisting me in the kitchen and this project was no exception.

 First, he helped me brake the basil leaves from the stems.

The recipe called for chopping in bits; a few bail leaves and a bit of garlic.  Chop.  A few more leaves and garlic and chop.  We repeated this step several times until the leaves and garlic were gone.  My son loves turning the blender on and off!

Next, he added the pine nuts.  We did the same as before; a few pine nuts, chop.  A few more, chop.  Etc.  The parmesan cheese and olive oil were also added in the same fashion.

Next we added the pesto to the pasta, a little at a time. 

 He did a great job stirring!

          The finished product was delicious and well received at our party.  The best part was seeing my son eat his creation and ask for more later in the day.  He wouldn't let me take a picture of him eating but the fact he asked for more, made me proud.  

Cooking healthy not only promotes healthy eating but also teaches kids basic math and science skills.  My son is learning about measuring and change (heat changes things and so does blenders).  He is also learning about following directions.  I constantly remind him of this when he tries to get ahead and do his own thing (like dumping salt in our food without measuring!)  Many parents are afraid to let allow their kids in the kitchen (including my husband), after all, it can be a dangerous place!  But they won't learn if we don't teach.  Let them be involved with you.  You just may have the next Rachael Ray or Gordon Ramsay standing next to you.  


  1. Pasta with pesto is one of our favorites =) Hope he enjoyed eating it as much as he enjoyed making it!

  2. I made that with spinach pesto a while back. Yummy.

  3. I make Pasta with Pesto atleast once a week and never thought of it as a possible green food for kids to do. Thanks. I am sure that the kids will love to help with the cutting and the blending.

    1. For sure. My son loves when I pull out that blender for anything...especially smoothies! All he wants to do is flip the switch lol.



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