Need ideas for cooking with my toddler.

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3 nights ago we were cooking pasta and asked our daughter to “help”. She LOVED it. She loved the idea of scooping pasta out of the box, measuring water and measuring salt. Does anyone have any good ideas of what else I can “cook” with my toddler? We are clearly short on imagination in our house. :) For last 3 nights we have been “cooking” pasta with her. We need new food group. :) She is in no-eating-phase so cooking is a really effective way to make her eat dinner. I mainly grill for myself and my husband and we don't feel comfortable involving her in that.

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Melissa - posted on 08/18/2010

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Well my husband loves to cook and he thinks its never too early to learn how to do it. So the first thing we did with her was cook a hot dog. We let her take it out of the package, roll it up in paper towel, put it in the microwave, and push the button. When it was done we taught her about how hot things can be and how you have to be careful. Then last week was my husband's birthday so I let her help me bake a cake. I let her dump the mix in and I gave her a spoon. She "helped" pour the other ingredients in and I taught her what an egg is before it's cooked. We make PB and J sandwiches now and she is really good at cooking something in the microwave. We have a quick cook button that is 30 seconds and that is her button to push. Or if we need something cooked longer I set it and let her push START. We've taught her about how the stove and oven can be hot but she has helped put frozen food on a sheet to bake and we have a kitchen timer that dings and she knows when things are ready. I cut up some of her food one day and just the other day she took her fork and tried to cut up her egg with it. Breakfast food seem to be our winner at the moment because there are alot of simple things she can pour, So you might have to have breakfast for dinner one night. We let her get the vegetables out of the pantry and help wash them too. Then as my husband or I are cutting we talk about how important it is to be careful and that soon she will be a big girl and can help chop things. We don't let her stand close during this but I think she's getting it. We put easy to reach things in the bottom of the fridge door so she can bring them when its time. We made sanwhiches yesterday and I let her get the Miracle Whip and mustard and take the chips out of the bag. Once you see how capable they are and don't worry if something gets dropped or spilled its really easy to let them help with EVERYTHING!

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Heather - posted on 08/18/2010

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Pizza is a good one. I buy the raw whole wheat pizza dough and she watches me roll it out and then helps give it a good "pat". We have fun "decorating" the pizza together. It's a good way to encourage veggies too because she like to make it "pretty" with lots of colors and then she can peek as it bakes.
For lunchtime she likes to help make pita sandwiches. We get mini whole wheat pitas and she likes to help open up the pocket and stuff the turkey, cheese and lettuce inside.

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