The Family Cook-In Part 3: Food.

Freshly steamed veggies and chilled fruit are favorites with most children.

Freshly steamed veggies and chilled fruit are children favorites.

by donR February 29, 2016

Okay, you’ve set goals and the agenda for your “Family Cook-In, aka Family Meal Series.” Now it’s decision time as you plan the food menu, a fun game, and age-appropriate conversation starters. Let’s start with a simple food menu and save games and conversation for another day. Choosing the right food for a Cook-In can be difficult but here are a few tips to make meal planing easier.

Organizer’s Toolkit found in The Family Dinner Project Website has lots of ideas for their Community Dinner Series.  You can also search their website for many meals doable with no kitchen.

  • Hummus, salsa, cut veggies and chips for appetizers.
  • Bagged lettuce for a simple green salad.
  • Fajitas with a sauce, cold-cuts, salsa, guacamole, cabbage and tortillas as a main dish.
Chicken Thighs

BBQ chicken thighs


With our recipes and small appliances, everyone can help prepare the meal. Browse our website for simple and easy meal combinations. Here are 5 sample menus to assemble during Family Cook-Ins.

  • Soup, slow-cooked chicken legs n thighs*,  green salad and steamed veggies.
  • Pulled pork* sliders, roasted veggies, deli potato salad, peaches & cottage cheese.
  • Hodge-Podge lasagna, garlic bread, Greek salad and Bear Creek® Minestrone soup.
  • Stir-fried veggies and Soba noodles, egg drop soup, BBQ pork* and oriental salad.
  • “One-Skillet” tuna, rice, broccoli casserole, cheesy whole wheat bread, green salad, and instant mashed potatoes

*These sides and entrees can be made by the lead families ahead  of time and kept warm in a roaster or slow-cooker. The menus may seem elaborate but every one can be served for less than $2.40 per person when portion sizes are within “Choose My Plate” guidelines.

What about dessert? Visit next week for full details on an excellent article I found about “Kids In The Kitchen.”

How are these entrees and sides cooked in a small amount of time?  Tune in tomorrow as we share 25 tips for preparing 30-minute meals.