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August, 2008

Cookin with the Kids Image
While the competing schedules of today’s busy modern family make it difficult to share a home cooked meal together, it is not impossible with a little planning and can even be fun. Melissa’s encourages parents to find the time to gather as a family once a week for a dinner that everyone pitches in to prepare. It’s a great way to teach your children some basic cooking skills and, more importantly, cooking with your children will build memories that will remain in your hearts forever.

Each COOKIN’ with the KIDS feature will offer a simple, healthy and delicious recipe that can be prepared by a child or a group of children working together, under the supervision of an adult. Parents should always read through each recipe carefully to decide the division of labor based on age and ability as well as where help will be especially needed. Since the recipes are the kids’ contribution to a family meal, each article will include suggested complimenting dishes from Melissa’s recipe archives for the adults
Here’s a very simple salad recipe that is perfect for outdoor dining, like a summer picnic or BBQ, which demonstrates that salads can be fun too! Not only will children have a great time preparing this tasty dish, there’s a surprise twist to its plating because there is no plate at all! This recipe is a take on the traditional pasta salad using Melissa’s Couscous, which is the smallest of all pasta varieties. In fact, using it for a picnic takes advantage of the fact that its mildly nutty flavor seems to improve when served at room temperature or just slightly chilled, so the dish need not take up valuable room in the picnic cooler. Preparation is very simple: just cook the Couscous, combine it with all the other ingredients, mix in Melissa’s healthy dressing, then construct each wrap. Truly child’s play and ready to travel for an away from home outing!

The recipe has a nice mix of jobs for all ages. While slicing and dicing is certainly a part of any culinary education, Couscousit can be too tedious for the attention span of a child and knives, of course, are an accident waiting to happen. A safer and quicker preparation is to teach an older child to operate the food processor. Even very young children can be given the task of pulling grapes off stems, measuring the various ingredients and mixing it all up in the bowl.