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My best cooking weeks (from a parenting perspective) is when I can get the kids in the kitchen to help out. For me, this has always been tricky. I like cooking and it creates an escape for me from the other areas of life where I have less control and instant gratification.

At the same time, I know that having the kids in the kitchen is something that I have to make happen. I also know that this means that I might have a bigger mess to clean up. It can sometimes be an exercise in controlling my temper and working on letting go of things.

The beauty of getting your kids in the kitchen is that the experience functions on so many levels. At a basic level, they are learning how to prepare a dish, even if they are just doing basic preparation, like peeling carrots or getting spices from the pantry. Reading and understanding a recipe is an exercise in reading comprehension and applied executive function. Not to mention all of the math, particularly those pesky fractions that are always in cookbooks.

The dishes might not look the same as if I had prepared them. And, occasionally, we have had full or partial failure (crumb tops work better when you add margarine or oil) which meant that we had to scramble for an alternative. But the sense of accomplishment that our kids have when we take out the dish or dessert that they made is very powerful and totally worth it.

Sunday

Pizza – We’ll be making our own pizza dough again. Plain pizza for the kids and a white pizza with spinach for the grown-ups

Monday

Leftovers

Tuesday

Enchiladas*, quesadillas, spaghetti squash burrito bowls (trying out a new recipe – might transfer the squash to a casserole to make reheating easier for lunch)

Wednesday

Falafel (we still have some frozen falafel bowls in the freezer making this much simpler to prepare, bourekas (if I get really adventurous there might be some cheese ones in here too), mac and cheese (at least one child isn’t in love with falafel and a box of Wacky Mac is pretty easy to throw together), Israeli salad

Thursday

Sheet pan honey garlic salmon with potatoes and broccoli (I’m a big fan of an easy sheet pan recipe. I’m curious to see how this one turns out), fish sticks (not every love salmon)

Friday

Hot and sour soup (I’ve been making a version of the Kosher by Designs Short on Time recipe), garlic sesame schnitzel (probably will make this using turkey – it’s from the Dinner Done cookbook), French fries, cut veggies

Saturday

Kebabs (I usually broil them, but we just got a new grill, so I may try cooking them on there), Persian rice (also known as tahdig – my usual recipe is in a pot but I wanted to try the Instant Pot versian), roast broccoli