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Now it might not sound like your cup of tea, I can certainly tell you I was apprehensive the first few times, but getting kids into the kitchen is giving them a gift that keeps on giving – it’s good for them, and it’s good for you believe it or not.

I have a love affair with food. It used to be specific to food that someone made for me, but in recent years I have reignited my love for cooking and getting creative in the kitchen – the same love I had when I was little. I’ve even become a little more adventurous with my meals and the results speak for themselves, kids with clean plates (sometimes) is the BEST form of flattery, isn’t it!

This all stems from being a bright eyed, excitable kid and having the most beautiful great grandma a girl could ask for, one that loved me unconditionally. The bonus was she made lots of cakes and sweets AND I was allowed to lick the bowl. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

Some of my favourite memories are of Grammy and I in the kitchen and it’s certainly helped shape my love of food, it’s something I want to share with my kids and whilst there have been a few, lets call them episodes, in the kitchen with my kids along the way, I can tell you that the good outweigh the bad, tenfold.

Here are the top 5 benefits I’ve experienced by getting my kids into the kitchen:

  1. They’re busy – Do you ever need to fill an hour or so? Getting creative with the kids in the kitchen is WONDERFUL to fill in some time- you also have the extra benefit of not having to worry about what to feed them (or yourself) for afternoon tea. It’s the perfect solution for a rainy day boredom buster.
  2. They feel as though they’re being helpful – I don’t know any little people who don’t like being helpful. The look of pride on my little girl’s face when I thank her for making dinner is absolutely priceless. She also beams with pride when I tell her Dad what we made that day. They just love to be helpful don’t they?!
  3. Encourage a love of healthy food – How many times have you made a yummy healthy dinner for the kids and they just refuse to eat it? Whilst my 2 year old is still in the fussy ‘I don’t want to eat it’ phase, my 4 year old LOVES to help (see point number 2), and when she helps we talk about how big and strong certain foods make her, she helps to put the meals together and then of course wants to try them as she has made it. Win/win!
  4. Quality time together – Cooking is something that everyone has to do at some point, so why not make it quality time? It’s a place for no screens (unless you’re reading a recipe from your iPad) and the perfect opportunity to talk about anything and everything. They tell you all sorts of fun things and I am hoping this will be something that continues for a very long time with my children.
  5. You can relax and laugh – now stay with me on this one. I know that getting the kids into the kitchen can be the stuff of nightmares … Believe me, I’ve been there. But the surprising thing about having a 2 year old pouring flour, milk and butter onto the floor is that you might think you’re going to lose it, but you can get through it. You can take a deep breath and realise that there really is no use crying over spilt milk and then you can pat yourself on the back and LAUGH about it. Because life is no fun unless things are messy!

To help inspire you to get kids cooking our friends at BEGA have set up an AMAZING competition that you don’t want to miss! 3 incredibly lucky winners will receive the ULTIMATE KitchenAid pack worth over $5,000 each. There are also 1000 Head Chef kids utensil packs to be won. For your chance to WIN head over to the competition page now to find out more

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It’s always best to start with some tried and tested recipes that you just KNOW your kids are going to love, so here are a few recipes that are sure to bring out that little MasterChef of yours!

 

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Cheese & Ham Scrolls

Using Bega Country Light Grated Cheese

Makes: 20 | Preparation Time: 5 minutes | Cooking Time: 20 minutes

  • 2 sheets frozen puff pastry, defrosted
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups Bega Country Light 50% Less Fat* Grated Cheese
  • 100g ham, coarsely chopped
  1. Preheat the oven to 200 and line two large baking trays with baking paper.
  2. Lay a sheet of thawed pastry onto a surface or chopping board. With help from the kids, brush a small amount of beaten egg over the pastry. Evenly sprinkle half the Bega Country Light Cheese and half the ham over the pastry, leaving 1cm of clear pastry on the edge.
  3. From the opposite edge, tightly roll the pastry like a jam roll, pressing the clean edge onto the pastry to seal. Cut the roll into 2cm thick slices and place on the trays, cut-face up.
  4. Repeat with the remaining pastry.
  5. Brush the tops lightly with the remaining egg, then transfer the trays into the oven to bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until the pastry turns golden.
  6. Serve warm or at room temperature for a delicious treat.

Tip: Try using other fillings like tomato, salami or your other favourite pizza toppings to make a pizza scroll.

* Contains 50% less fat than Bega Tasty Cheddar Cheese which contains 34.7g fat per 100g.

 

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Cheese & Bacon Muffins

Using Bega Farmers’ Tasty Grated Cheese

Makes: 12 muffins | Preparation Time: 20 minutes | Cooking Time: 25 minutes

  • 2 rashers rindless bacon, diced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 eggs
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 50g Western Star Original Butter, melted
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp parsley, chopped
  • 2 cups self-raising flour
  • 1 cup Bega Farmers’ Tasty Grated Cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 190
  2. Place a frying pan over medium to high heat. Add the olive oil, then fry the bacon for 1 – 2 minutes or until crispy.
  3. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, butter, cayenne pepper, salt and parsley.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, bacon and Bega Farmers’ Tasty Cheese. Then stir through the egg mixture until all combined. Spoon the mixture evenly across the 12 hole non-stick muffin pan.
  5. Bake the muffins in the preheated oven for 25 minutes or until well-risen and golden brown.
  6. Cool for 5 minutes before serving either warm or at room temperature.

 

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Mini Cheesy Shepherd’s Pies

Using Bega Farmer’s Tasty Grated Cheese 

Makes: 4 | Preparation Time: 15 minutes | Cooking Time: 1 hour and 10 minutes 

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 500g lean lamb mince
  • 2 tbsp salt reduced tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 500ml beef stock
  • 700g potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 65g Western Star Original Butter, chopped
  • 100g Bega Farmers’ Tasty Grated Cheese
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)
  1. Preheat the oven to 180. Grease 4 small ovenproof pie dishes.
  2. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and carrots, then cook for 4 – 5 minutes until softened. Add the lamb, cook for a further 8 – 10 minutes stirring regularly, or until browned. Now add the tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce and stir to combine. Pour in the stock and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and cover with a lid. Simmer for 35 minutes.
  3. While the lamb is cooking, bring the potatoes to a boil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Boil for 10 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Drain into a colander, then return the potatoes to the pot. Add the butter, milk and half of the Bega Farmers’ Tasty Cheese, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Get the kids to mash it all together until you have a smooth mash.
  4. Divide the mince between 4 pie dishes, top with the mash and sprinkle over the remaining cheese. Transfer the pies into the oven to bake for 20 -25 minutes or until the cheese has meted and starts to turn golden brown.
  5. Remove the pies from the oven and allow them to cool for 5 minutes before serving. Steamed peas and greens make great accompaniments for a delicious dinner.

Tip: Try using beef mince instead of lamb to make these mini cottage pies. Or you can add other vegetables like mushrooms and corn to suit your taste.

 

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Stringer® Scooters

Using Bega Stringers®

Makes: 4 scooters | Preparation Time: 5 – 10 minutes

  • 2 sticks celery, halved and sliced into 8 long thin slices
  • 4 Bega Original Stringers®
  • 1 cucumber, sliced thinly
  • 8 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 8 pretzel sticks
  • 8 toothpicks
  1. Build the base. Lay two thin slices of celery next to one Bega Stringer. Place a small toothpick through each end, securing the celery and Stringer together.
  2. For the wheels, place a slice of cucumber and a cherry tomato half on both ends of the toothpicks.
  3. Make a T-shape with two pretzels for the handlebars and secure with some extra cheese. Bega Bar-B-Cubes are great for this or try melting a small piece of Stringer in the microwave to make it pliable. Place the T-shape into one end of the Stringer, pressing carefully but firmly through the cheese.
  4. Repeat with remaining ingredients to create three more scooters as part of a fun healthy snack.

I hope that by instilling the above my kids will have a love for food just like I do, then cooking won’t be such a chore (or a bore!).  For more recipe ideas, head to the Bega website.

  • Great recipes, my daughter and I love making creations in the kitchen.

    Reply

  • thanks, we like making the scrolls, great for parties

    Reply

  • My mum always encouraged me to help in the kitchen from a really young age and never minded how messy the process was. Consequently, I love to cook and have always felt very confident tackling any kitchen task. Let them do simple things at first and watch how they soon turn into a superb little chef!

    Reply

  • My son has a gift with food. He loves to cook, and when I supervise him
    It has reignited my desire to create new and exciting dishes

    Reply

  • five befits


    • good to get the kids in to see what goes into the things they eat.

    Reply

  • This is a great idea for kids! I love the recipes too.

    Reply

  • My daughter loves getting in the kitchen with not only myself but her grandparents.

    Reply

  • Love the recipes! I agree my daughter loves to help in the kitchen…I just have to remember to start an hour earlier as it takes slot longer and there is a lot of mess to clean up after!! Lol. But one of my favourite memories as a kid was helping (with my sisters) mum make biscuits or cake and fighting over who gets to lick the spoon or the bowl!!

    Reply

  • What an awesome prize! Have to check that out. I love getting in the kitchen with the kids, it’s time we all enjoy together. And they’re learning valuable life lessons too as cooking is something we all need to know how to do


    • yes and then the kids want to eat what they have made

    Reply

  • I love cooking with my daughter she gets so much joy from helping me, will have to try making the scooters they look cool.

    Reply

  • I Agree kids cooking st supervised younge age ,as I feel parents so busy the don’t teach there kids to cook .Stops so much junk food eating .

    Reply

  • Totally agree my kids love cooking and being in the kitchen together and I can only hope that they carry on their love of food and cooking as I have into adult hood

    Reply

  • I love the recipes. I have tried with my son who is now a teen and doing Food Tech at school. Funnily enough, he is so impressed by what he brings home but not interested in cooking here. My hubby’s taken it on himself to upskill our son to cook basic foods. It will be a work in progress until he can prepare enough simple meals for when he leaves home.

    Reply

  • This is a great article thank you for sharing especially love the little scooters

    Reply

  • You are so right, Jacinta. Today I had the joy of cooking a 3 ingredient banana cake (from the MOM recipe collection) with my (almost) 3 year old. All my kids love cooking, and that starts in our own vegetable patch, to the kitchen, to the table. No fussy eaters here, because nothing beats crunchy, munchy carrots or sweet strawberries picked from the garden that afternoon. And hail to the tried and tested recipes passed down from mums and grandmas (thanks Mum, Grandma & Nanna).

    Reply

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