Cook With Your Kids

Slow Cooker Chiapas-Style Mexican Pork

If I was stranded on a desert island and could only bring one cooking tool with me, it would be my slow cooker.  (Don’t read too much into that sentence since if I was on a desert island, I could fashion a grill from native trees and rocks and probably an oven, too, if I was smart.  What I am saying is how much I like my slower cooker.  And yes, I know I’d have to have some sort of battery for it, but if the Professor can figure it out, so can I.)

Anyway, I my slow cooker rocks because it transforms tough (read: cheap and flavorful) cuts of meat into something tender and sublime.  Even better, whatever you cook in slow cooker absorbs all of the flavors around it, meaning you can create some true masterpieces in 4-6 hours.

Masterpieces like…

Continue Reading

Okay, so a little while back I released some recipes for Cooking With Your Kids, but as my friend Marc tells me, if you are going to cook with your kids, you are going to need some stuff from



Of course, he owns, a cool little kids’ boutique, so he’s not really the most impartial of witnesses, but he does have some cool stuff.  This cool stuff will include, very shortly, some of my kid-friendly recipes and perhaps even a contest about cooking with your kids.

In the meantime, check out some of the cool stuff on his site.  He’s got everything from the perfect gifts for the mommy-to-be, baby clothes, shoes, stuff for dads, baby baskets, baby carriers, and the one must have for everyone who loves to cook with their kids: aprons (although I do need to get BWD, Jr. a chili pepper bandana!)  Here are few aprons from his catalog:









Not too shabby.  Now, if only he could get some aprons with some manly prints like footballs or monster trucks or dinosaurs.  G.I. Joe maybe?  Transformers?  BWD, Jr. would love that!  (Though he might like the pink, too, but that’s another story.)  🙂

Anyway, go and check out and check back here for the official contest annoucement.  Maybe buy an apron.  Enjoy!

Why Cook With Your Kids

Over the past six days, we’ve looked at several different recipes which are kid friendly, both in how they taste and (mostly) in how they are prepared.  At the very least, the recipes were reasonably healthy and there were at least a few steps that younger children could do under adult supervision.

But one question remains.  Why?  What’s the big deal about your cooking with your kids?

I wish this question were a no-brainer, but the more I read about health issues, childhood obesity, and even childen who fail to adjust as adults because no one spent time with them, I just keep wondering how we can afford to not cook with our children.  Really, in the end, cooking with your children isn’t just a great way to nourish their bodies, but their minds and their hearts, too.

Nourishment of the Body

Without a doubt, food you cook at home from basic ingredients (ie nothing straight out of a box and into the microwave) is going to be healthier than what you get at a restaurant or from a box.  Restaurant food (while delicious) is stuffed full of butter and oil and sodium and stuff you and your children really don’t need.

That’s why we stressed healthy over the past six days.  It was imporant that we didn’t just show how to make a burger and fries or chicken strips.  They are easy enough to do, but they should be sometimes foods.

And granted, we didn’t always succeed.  There was butter in the noodles and oil in the rice, but overall those dishes are going to be healthier than their equivalent dish at a restaurant.

Still, that’s largely secondary to the real reason you should cook with your kids…

Nourishment of the Mind and the Heart

Cooking with my son is time we spend together and as a dad who travels a lot and works a lot, that’s invaluable.  If I were to be nothing more than pragmatic, when BWD, Jr. and I cook together it kills two birds with one stone.  We get food on the table and we spend a good thirty minutes together.

But it’s so much more.  My son takes genuine pride in the fact that he’s my sous chef, I’m the head chef, and Mrs. WellDone is the pastry chef.  (Well, technically she’s the bakestry chef, but that’s close enough.)  We use cooking as a way to get him to try new things, learn new skills (like counting, fractions, colors, etc.) as well as learning to love cooking. 

Plus, he takes pride in the things he makes, even if at this point all he makes is um… interesting combinations of soy sauce, seasoning salt, and whatever cheap spices we can find on sale at the grocery.  (Oh, by the way, he makes us try them using the same logic on us that we use on him when it comes time to try something new… shudder.)

Ultimately, there was just something deeply profound about the last time I had to travel for work and I told him that he was the man of the house.  His reply: “Does that mean I’m the head chef and mommy’s the sous chef?”

Pretty cool.

Cooking With Your Kids: The Guide

Despite these recipes and the fact I love cooking with my son, cooking with your kids is hard.  Especially when they are younger and can’t read recipes.  Here are some things I keep in mind when I cook with BWD, Jr.

I look for recipes which involve minimal cutting (which I always do) and lots of steps that he can handle.  At this point, those steps are fairly limited, but include stirring, rinsing, kneading dough, and using a pizza cutter on dough.  You know your kids and you know what they’re ready for…find recipes that fit their skills.  Then let them participate.

The important thing you have to remember is not to get upset.  That’s the problem I have…I start worrying more about the dish than about the time with my son and sometimes I have a tendency to take over or get short.  It’s not worth it.  Use the time to be with your children.  Leave the gourmet for some other time.

Hopefully that helps.  Now, get out there and cook with your kids.


I can’t believe I haven’t shared my recipe for

The Sushi Chef’s Noodles

Seriously, this is one of my son’s absolute favorite dishes in the world.

What is it?

It’s the noodles we get when we go to “sushi.”    Which to the rest of the world is usually called “Japanese steakhouse,” but in my family goes by the name sushi.

Why do we call it sushi?  As the story goes, I love sushi.  Love it.  Love it.  There’s only one problem.  As a restaurant experience, waiting for a platter of artfully arranged raw fish takes time, especially in the quantities in which I like to order it.  Sadly, the amount of time it takes to make the sushi far outweighs the patience of a typical one, two, three, or four year old.

Enter Japanese steakhouse and the fire, the onion volcano, the banging on the stove with wooden sticks, etc.  All of that is more than enough excitement to keep a little one entertained for as long as his father needs to wait (un)patiently for his sushi.

Even better, my son will actually eat the food at the Japanese steakhouse, including the noodles, which he loves so much we always have to order extra.  Here then, is the recipe for those noodles.

Continue Reading

Happy #MeatlessMonday!  Today we’re talking about Cooking with Your Kids and making

Apple, Banana, and Peanut Butter Sandwiches

Yes, this recipe is very simple, but it’s important to know that there are fun, meatless alternatives we can give our kids that aren’t fried or full of sugar.  Sure, some peanut butters are little more than hydrogenated oil and sugar, but this recipe can be healthy if you use the no sugar added peanut butter.

Besides, if you add enough apples, bananas, and perhaps a touch of honey (or agave), they’ll never know the difference!

Continue Reading

BWD, Jr. loves his rice, so let’s talk about

Healthy Fried Rice

I know, there’s something about “fried rice” that means it can’t be healthy, right?  It has the word fried in it, so it has to bad.  Listen,I know I’ve seen fried rice made where it in no way resembled a health food.  It was dripping with oil and butter and who knows what else.

But, it doesn’t have to be that way, trust me.  The way we make it at Blog Well Done central uses only a little oil, some soy sauce, and whatever veggies or meat we want to throw in there.  The version we make is a little high in sodium because we use soy sauce, but you can use low sodium soy to get around that if you like.

In terms of making this with the kiddos, this is a perfect recipe.  It requires a little cutting in the beginning (the type only adults should do.)  However, once that’s over, all that is required is stirring.  As long as you don’t mind a little mess, kids of just about any age can handle this recipe.

Continue Reading

Homemade Spaghetti and Meatballs

So as coincidence would have it, tonight my son wanted to make homemade spaghetti and meatballs.  Never one to turn the boy down, I thawed out some hamburger, found the flour, and we started cooking.

As a meal to make with your kids, spaghetti and meatballs is pretty good.  Most kids like it and though there is a not-so-trivial effort in handmaking noodles and meatballs, a lot of that effort can be done by even the youngest child.  On the other hand, it’s not exactly a speedy process.  In order to constantly give your children tasks to do, make sure you follow the order as I have it laid out here.  That way, something is always cooking.

Continue Reading

Red CabbageReady for something a little daring, try

Purple Cabbage Slaw

(Note: purple cabbage = red cabbage, but at home we call it purple cabbage.)

Okay, as a “kid dish” this slaw is a bit of a risk.  First and foremost, it’s a slaw.  That means lots of vegetables and in the case of this slaw, there’s no sugared mayonnaise to mix in to mask the presence of so many vegetables.  Secondly, the flavors are a bit more, shall we say, mature.

On the other hand, the flavors are not so far out there that kids should get turned off.  Plus, this is something they can help to make.  Younger kids can mix the dressing and the slaw while older children can shred the cabbage (as long as they are well supervised.) 

Of course, all of this misses the obvious point: the slaw is purple.  And kids eat purple.

Continue Reading

MacAndCheesePoint of order.  Yes, I skipped a night last night.  My fault.  But I’m back and blogging away, this time with

Macaroni and Cheese with Tuna Fish

Let me start off by saying that I despise this dish.  Yeah, I know, I should keep it positive, but seriously, bleck.  And I mean bleck from the bottom of my heart.

However, my son loves the stuff, which as far as I am concerned, is as good a reason as any for a paternity test.

With that aside, you might be wondering how healthy mac and cheese with tuna fish can be.  It’s a fair question.  A lot of mac and cheese comes from a box and tuna is pretty high in mercury.  Also, unbleached flour isn’t exactly fantastic for kids.  Plus, there’s a lot of cream and butter in mac and cheese and that’s not so good.  And if you are wondering all that, you have a lot of nerve.

Still, I have solutions to all of these issues.

Continue Reading

Okay, so for the next seven days I’m going to be posting on Cooking With Your Kids.  Seven recipes that you and your children will like.  (Oh, and don’t tell them, but I’m going to try and make them healthy as well as fun.)  

To get thing started, I thought I’d call in a ringer: Heidi van Pelt.  Heidi is a great vegan chef, which means she’s the expert at getting kids to eat their vegetables.  She’s got a great vegan restaurant in Kansas City called Fud which serves up a mean plate of food if you know where to find it.

I asked her for this recipe in particular after see her demo it at a food event.  It’s very easy and it’s so colorful most kids won’t care that it’s good for you and filled with weird stuff like purple cabbage and chard.

So, without further ado:

Rainbow Wraps

If you’re looking for something really easy, fresh and full of nutrition, all you need to do is think about the rainbow. Eating the rainbow with every meal is the best way to get what you need.

If you’re wondering why eat all the colors, well the answer is easy. We see in the rainbow spectrum. All foods for human consumption come in those colors and each color delivers a variety of nutrients from that
color category. In fact, when we need a vitamin our body should naturally crave a color that vitamin is most dominant in.

Sometimes, due to mass marketing of colored candies and food packaging, it’s confusing for us to really source the real stuff. Sometimes the real stuff doesn’t taste as good as the packaged stuff because we’ve grown accustomed processed foods with added sugars and fillers.

One way to retrain your body to be attracted to the foods necessary for proper healing and growth is to start with fresh ingredients and make a tasty wrap. I call this the Rainbow Wrap.  Here’s how to do it.

Continue Reading