11 Kid-Friendly Recipes

Got any wishes for Christmas this year?

Is it a full-on, legitimate, letter-to-Santa list?  Or is there just ONE thing you really want and everthing else may as well be pencil-shavings in comparison?

Things I've wished for, for Christmases past include:  Polly Pockets, American Girls Dolls, an encyclopedia (I was eight and this request prompted my Dad to introduce me to the "Internet" and Brittanica.com), a pony, and an Easy Bake Oven (Got it! Have since graduated to the big kids' oven.)

This year some of the "things" on my list are not actual things.  And I think that's totally acceptable, especially as a grown-up, to have lists of Christmas wants that do not take up more space in your life.  True?

Examples:  Massages.  World peace. Tickets to a concert or musical. (Alton Brown is coming to Tucson in March... just sayin'...) Romantic surprise date from the hubby.  

I mean... I'm not giving hints or anything...

And I know you've got some of those kinds of wishes, too.  I know some friends this year who are just - just - wishing for their kid not to be a picky eater!  But usually they feel that's wishing for nothing short of a miracle.

For you, my friends, I have an idea.  Ever get the kids to help make what they later eat?  Do your kids, by chance, like arts and crafts?  Somehow, I feel that the pride they feel after making you an awesome glue-and-popsicle-stick creation might be translated to food they've made themselves.  

My mom always invited my sister and I to help in the kitchen in some way or another.  As toddlers we helped wash broccoli and mix cookie dough.  Pretty soon we had both hands in the breadcrumbs for breading chicken, and were learning the perks of chopping duty as we snuck bites of fruit and cheese.  

When the final product was laid on the table, my mom would always announce our wonderful contribution to the meal, and my dad would exclaim how absolutely amazing it all looked.  I can't imagine how, after that, we could possibly refuse to eat all the great stuff we made.  And, of course, we always had to see how it tasted.  As you can imagine, we rarely turned a dish down.

So, this holiday season, maybe take some time while the kids are out of school (and you're totally not going nuts trying to think of what to do with them... like, at all) and get them involved in this wonderful thing we call "cooking."

Once they find out how fun and tasty some of these things are, they may not want to stop cooking!  Then you'll just have to start wishing they'd like cleaning the dishes, too...

1. Healthified Mac N' Cheese