I'm a big fan of kids in the kitchen. But I'll be honest, despite all of the reasons to get kids cooking, sometimes the reality of the giant mess that usually follows is completely unappealing. On the days that I just. cant. deal. with that kitchen mess, but still want to keep the spirit of kid involvement alive and well, I go DIY.
Below are five ideas for you to have some fun with mealtime. They've been a huge hit in my house and as an added bonus: the prep is done by me so my kitchen isn't a complete disaster by the time the meal is served. I hope they're a hit in your house too!
1. DIY Tacos
Who doesn't love tacos? Actually, one of my kids doesn't love tacos, so when we have DIY Tacos, he makes himself a quesadilla and eats beans and pineapple on the side. Fine by me. But for those who DO love tacos, you can make it fun with black beans, ground meat (season with chile powder and garlic), cheese, cilantro, limes, pineapple, avocado, guacamole, salsa, sour cream, lettuce, peppers and cucumber. Don't forget the tortillas!
2. DIY Bruschetta
The inspiration for this one comes from What's Gaby Cooking. I saw it and was instantly smitten. My family went bananas for this because there are so many flavor opportunities! DIY Bruschetta is fabulous for entertaining as well. Here we've got grilled bread with: goat cheese, ricotta cheese, fresh mozzarella and a slicing cheese, grilled corn, roasted tomatoes, roasted pepper puree, bean dip, hummus, grilled mushrooms, olives, caramelized onions, guacamole, grilled steak, prosciutto and pesto. Note: when we do this for dinner for just my family, we don't have this many options! This photo was taken before entertaining some guests. :)
3. DIY Oatmeal
Cook a big old batch of oatmeal and put some favorite toppers in a muffin tin for the kids to choose from. Ours include: strawberries, raspberries, coconut, banana chips, pumpkin seeds, chopped apple, chopped banana and golden berries.
4. DIY Pasta
Pasta can be a challenge in my house because my youngest can't eat dairy, my oldest loves dairy and doesn't like too many ingredients in her pasta and my middle child doesn't love meat and eats cheese sparingly. DIY Pasta is a blessing for us! We usually have it with meat or chicken (often leftovers cut up), peas, ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, basil, tomatoes and peppers. I frequently have tomato sauce as well.
5. DIY Egg Roll Ups
I got the idea for Egg Roll Ups from Aviva Wittenberg. Essentially, it's using egg as a tortilla replacement and it's pretty genius! Scramble the egg and fry it in a pan with a little butter, flip it after a few minutes and then slide out of the pan onto a plate. Once cool, you can use it like a tortilla and roll up anything you want! For us, it usually involves cheese, quinoa or rice, veggies (below, we have purple cabbage, zucchini, green beans and tomatoes) and ham or chicken (often just cut up leftovers).
Are there DIY meals that you make at home? We'd love to hear about them!