(Family Features) The holiday season is here, giving families an opportunity to spend quality time together in the kitchen. Engage little ones by involving them in the process and teaching them some lifelong kitchen skills while having fun.
Taking part in something as important as holiday meal prep not only reinforces confidence, but also can help teach crucial skills like math, science and reading.
Encourage your family to cook together in the kitchen, turning cooking time into family time, with these tips from Uncle Ben’s “Ben’s Beginners” campaign.
- Have Kids Set the Table. During the holidays, dinner becomes a much bigger event. With family members visiting, the dinner table can get quite crowded. Convince your kids to help set the table by putting out utensils, plates and napkins. It’s a simple task to get children of any age involved in family routines.
- Let Them Stir. Give those fidgety fingers something to do by letting kids stir room-temperature ingredients. Mashed potatoes, stuffing and gravy all typically require mixing.
- Get Clean. Use this time to teach food safety as your children help you scrub produce. As a bonus, it also helps reinforce washing hands, too.
- Count on the Counter. Put your kids to the test to help count and measure ingredients as you add them to the recipe.
- Rock ’n’ Roll. Blast some fun holiday tunes. This can help hold kids’ attention while working.
- Share the Holiday Cheer. Make every moment sharable by staging the final product for a quick photo shoot. Encourage your little ones to show off what they helped make and capture their proud moments in the kitchen.
- Have Fun. Dress for the occasion with matching aprons and chefs’ hats. Tweak recipes to embrace your family’s interests and make dinner something to smile about.
The holidays are all about spending quality time with loved ones. Although it may feel as if too much time is spent in the kitchen, cooking time can become memorable family time when the whole gang is involved. For more tips and tricks on getting kids in the kitchen, and for recipes the entire family can cook together, visit beginners.unclebens.com.
Prep time: 30-45 minutes
- 1 box Uncle Ben’s Long Grain & Wild Rice, Original Recipe
- 2 1/4 cups water
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 2 cups chopped leeks (white parts only)
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
- 1 large clove garlic, passed through press
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- In 2-quart saucepan, add rice and spice packet, water and 1/2 tablespoon butter. Bring to boil, cover and reduce heat to simmer. Cook 25 minutes.
- In large skillet, melt remaining butter. Add leeks and cook over medium heat 15 minutes, stirring, until soft and golden. Add orange juice, lemon juice, sage and garlic. Cook over high heat 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add cooked rice to skillet and stir 1 minute until rice is hot. Add salt and pepper, to taste, and cinnamon.
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