Cooking with Toddlers: Chicken Soup

photoI’d like to introduce my new series. Here I will be sharing easy wholesome recipes that your entire family may like along with tips on how to include small children in on the cooking. Little ones LOVE to help and when they are included in the process of making food, they are more inclined to eat it. Plus, it’s really sweet to see their enthusiasm with the simplest things. If they cook with you at such an early age, their skill will only grow and they will take this into later childhood and adulthood. Who knows, if you start now perhaps when they are older they will bring you breakfast in bed!

Chicken Soup Recipe:

Stock –

1 whole Chicken

1 onion

1 head garlic

1 tomato

center soft pieces of celery

tops of carrots

handful of parsley and thyme

Soup –

1/2 cup barley

1 russet potato

4 stalks celery

3 large carrots

1-2 tbs thyme leaves

salt and pepper to taste

(feel free to alter or add anything you like. Sweet potatoes make a good substitute and spinach makes a good addition. You can also use noodles instead of barley. Cook separately and add in the end)

Directions:

First wash your veggies, with your child’s help. Once you show them how to scrub the veggies you will be surprised at how clean they become. Next, Place a large stock pot in front of your toddler and let them know about the fun you are about to have. Cut the onion, garlic, tomato and celery into large pieces for your child to toss into the pot. Bring a few cups of water to your toddler to dump in the pot. move pot away and add whole chicken and fill with more water to cover. Make sure to show your little one what they helped make (asking NOT to touch, because of the raw chicken.) Now bring to medium, boil for 1 1/2 hours. The two of you can play and enjoy the yummy smells together.

Once cooked, remove chicken and set aside. Strain out vegetable and toss. Chop up carrots, celery and potato into bite sized pieces. Here you can have your child help chop with a butter knife if you feel comfortable with that (we do) and then have them add to a bowl so that YOU can add the veggies to the hot pot, along with the barley. Now comes some fun! You will need to pick off the thyme leaves from the twigs and this is an activity that your little one may just love. It takes awhile but it’s a great fine motor skill activity. If they end up eating all of their leaves, oh well, just finish the job on your own and add them to the pot. Don’t forget to show the soup to your child again. Let veggies cook for about 30 minutes or until desires softness.

Once the veggies are cooked the chicken should be cool enough. Tear apart all of the chicken meat and add it to the soup. I let my son help with this but be advised that they will eat some chicken while they work, unless you discourage this. Add it to the pot and cook for another 5 minutes to warm up chicken. Now it’s DONE! Make sure to excitedly let your child know too. Serve warm with bread if you like and watch your child enjoy their food on a whole new level. :)

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