National Kids Take Over the Kitchen Day & Turkey Burgers with Greek Salsa

Charlotte_baking_February_10 - CopyWith homework, soccer, music and dance classes and who knows what else, September is a busy time for kids – and the parents who cart them around! Now, kids face an additional challenge. September 13th is National Kids Take Over the Kitchen Day . This unofficial national holiday encourages children across the country to prepare a meal for their families.

It’s not a bad idea. Lots of kids like to cook. For those that don’t, well, a little encouragement couldn’t hurt. Whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner, children can benefit from active involvement in meal planning, preparation and clean-up. Cooking with your kids will help them learn important life skills as well as build self-esteem and foster healthy eating habits.

Start with a trip to the farmers’ market. The kids can help you shop for beautiful produce, fresh eggs and meat. You might even find some local apples for a pie or crisp. Back in the kitchen, children can help in many ways.

Although each child is different, with adult supervision:

Children five years and under can generally:
Read simple recipes
Scrub or rinse fruits and vegetables
Tear greens, break and snap the ends off green beans or asparagus and husk corn
Measure and pour some ingredients
Mash and hand mix
Shake and spread
Use a cookie or biscuit cutter
Roll out dough
Set the table

As they get older, children can do all of the above plus:
Read more complicated recipes
Crack and separate eggs
Grate cheese
Cut soft vegetables, fruits and cheeses with a plastic or dinner knife

Older children can do all of the above plus:
Use the electric mixer
Stir food on the stove
Use and read a candy thermometer
Operate a can opener or food processor

Cooking with kids is also good for parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. It teaches patience and provides a wonderful bonding experience for you and the kids. When you cook together, you can share more than family recipes. It’s a great opportunity to introduce your children to the cooks and stories behind those recipes.

Get out the aprons and step stool and have fun with your kids in the kitchen! Bon appétit!

Turkey Burgers with Greek Salsa
Even if the kids are taking over the kitchen, it’s too early to put away the grill. Mom or Dad can flip the burgers on the grill while the kids set the table for dinner on the porch. Enjoy! Turkey_Burger_Greek_Salsa_03
Serves 4

2-3 tablespoons minced red onion or shallot
1 small carrot, grated
1 clove garlic, minced
Dash or to taste hot sauce
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 – 1 1/4 pounds ground turkey
2 tablespoons sour cream
Olive oil
Greek Salsa (recipe follows)
Small pita breads or tortillas

Put the onion, carrot and garlic in a large bowl, season with hot sauce, salt and pepper and toss to combine.

Add the turkey and sour cream to the vegetables and gently mix until combined. Impeccably clean hands are great tools for this task. Don’t overwork the turkey or the burgers will be tough. Divide the meat into four pieces and form burgers.

Preheat a charcoal or gas grill to medium hot. Brush both sides of the burgers with a little olive oil.

Place the turkey burgers on the grill and cook for about 5 minutes. Flip and continue grilling until cooked through, about 5 minutes more. Place the pita on the grill and, turning once, cook for 1 minute or less.

Pop each turkey burger into a warm pita, top with a dollop of Greek Salsa and serve.

Greek Salsa
Take advantage of local tomatoes before it’s too late. For fun, introduce your children to some interesting heirloom tomatoes. They will love the variety of shapes, sizes and colors.

1 vine-ripened tomato, seeded and finely chopped
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
1-2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
About 2 ounces feta, crumbled
About 1/4 cup Kalamata or black oil cured olives, pitted and chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1-2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Put the tomato, cucumber, scallion, garlic, feta, olives and herbs in a bowl, season with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Drizzle with vinegar and olive oil and toss again.

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One Year Ago – Watermelon-Limeade
Two Years Ago – Curried Green Bean Pickles
Three Years Ago – Grilled Ratatouille Stacks
Four Years Ago – Apple Crisp
Five Years Ago – Ravioli with Sage Pesto
Six Years Ago – Brie & Sun-dried Tomato Omelet

Or Click Here! for a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog!

Do the children in your house like to cook? Feel free to share – let’s get a conversation going.

Want more? I’ve got links to lots more to read, see & cook. In addition, I hope that you will take a minute to learn about my philanthropic project Eat Well-Do Good. © Susan W. Nye, 2014

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