I have a friend who has all her children begin cooking family meals at age ten once a week.  I’ve always thought this was a fabulous idea, its been one of the things I’ve been looking forward to starting with my two.  Of course they’ve always been involved in various baking projects, but actually putting meals together is another skill entirely.  Now that we have officially entered double digits, I was excited to put Emmeth to work.

I plan to have her involved in choosing the meal each week, but that just wasn’t possible with all that’s going on currently. This week I choose a simple meal from the menu (that makes me sound much more organized than I really am this week), enchilada bowls. Quick and easy, they offer a novice chef opportunity to safely learn new skills. I don’t follow a recipe for these, however I created a general guide for this post, adjust to your family’s taste. I’ll have to figure out how to take more pictures for these posts, today I needed to be hands on Mom more than documentarian.

Enchilada bowls

  • 2-3 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1/2 large yellow onion (I chopped this one, as I prefer my onion in small pieces and new chefs can’t quite manage that. I also wanted to make it through the process this first time with no ER visits)
  • 1-2 cans black beans, rinsed.
  • 1 large zucchini, diced
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1-2 tsp cumin. I just eyeball this, adjust to taste.
  • salt and pepper
  • If I have some cooked chicken I’ll dice that up and throw it in as well.
  • Enchilada sauce. Mild for my crew, we’re not brand loyal although I’ve found that the Trader Joe’s variety is too spicy for my youngest
  • Sour cream and cheese. Necessary for my crew.


  1. Cook your rice. No judgement here if you use the bags of frozen rice, but if so you’ll want to time things differently.
  2. Saute the onion in a little olive oil till translucent. Toss in the zucchini, corn and black beans (chicken if you’re including). Add in cumin, salt and pepper and cook until vegetables are soft and everything is hot.

We keep the rice, vegetables and condiments separate and let everyone serve themselves, as I have some that don’t want sauce, others that don’t want as much rice but you can mix it all together too. So easy a ten-year old can do it.

Emmeth decided her first family dinner warranted her birthday tablecloth and flowers from the garden. It was such fun watching her arrange everything.

Do you cook with your children? How do you approach teaching them to cook? The knife still scares me, any tips?