I’ve been getting a little concerned of late about our diet.
I don’t know why I say ‘of late’ – we’ve never been one of those ‘no cereals in the house, only natural yogurt for breakfast’ type of families. Lately though, and especially since the the other morning when I came downstairs to find out Belle had eaten bacon crisps for breakfast, I’ve had the feeling that I need to take some action.
I was heartened the other week when we made the rice and black bean tacos, and I discovered in the process that Belle actually liked black beans. Actively quite liked them, not just eating them because I’d promised her a chocolate button at the end if she did. Spurred on, I decided that I would take an hour after school and teach her how to make a proper lasagne. They have cooked lasagne at school before, but to be quite honest, it wasn’t a patch on mine. Plus the school recipe went something like this:
- Onions (optional)
- Carrots (optional)
That’s hardly encouraging healthy eating is it?!
The lasagne went extremely well. Belle loved spending that time in the kitchen with me, and I loved eating the lasagne at the end. Everyone was a winner. Plus she ate the whole thing at dinner time, including the non-optional onions and carrots.
It totally backed up what we all know deep down – that children are much more open to trying new things if they are involved in the cooking process, and feel invested in their food. Of course at the end of a busy day you’re not always in the mood to let a child loose in the kitchen with a bottle of oil and a packet of raw beef mince, but even if it’s just once a week, cooking together as a family is beneficial.
This weekend, we had a go at another of the recipes from the Uncle Ben’s Ben’s Beginners website – an easy chicken, broccoli and rice casserole. This recipe uses cooked chicken, so is perfect for using up leftover Sunday roast. I think that a variation on this recipe could quite easily became a variation on my infamous ‘fridge pasta’, (where I add anything in the fridge to pasta). Fridge rice casserole has quite a ring to it. Basically you can add in anything you fancy.
For the official recipe though, you’ll need:
- 1 250g package Uncle Ben’s® Long Grain and Wild Grain Express Rice®
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 medium red pepper
- 150g chopped onions
- 175g chopped broccoli
- 120 ml milk
- 115g cream cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon each salt & sepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 150 g chopped cooked chicken breast
- 60g grated cheese
You can take the lesson here, or follow along as Belle and I cook. Essentially you just fry up the vegetables, cook the rice for a couple of minutes, and then stir everything up together into a big tasty mush, topped with grated cheese. It’s a lovely autumnal meal – proper wholesome comfort food.
Gather your ingredients and chop you onion in advance, but other than that we’re going real time, showing you just how quick and easy it is to make. Hopefully your child won’t complain as much about their arm aching from all the stirring.
That was nice and easy wasn’t it? If you followed the lesson on the Ben’s Beginners website, you’ll get a cool badge at the end, but if you watched our video instead, here’s the badge for you. Congratulations! You are Captain Casserole :-)
If you’re keen to get your children involved in cooking but aren’t sure where to start, the guide below from Uncle Ben’s has some great tips for different skills to introduce at different ages, so do have a look. You can also find out more about the full range of Uncle Ben’s products, including nutritional information, here.
Do you find your kids will eat better if they’ve been involved in the cooking process?