Fall means excitement over all things pumpkin! But don’t let enthusiasm for pumpkin cause you to overlook many of its tasty gourd cousins. Various squashes and gourds are are packed with nutrients and flavors and perfect for adding to the table. Capitalize on your kids’ excitement over pumpkin to encourage them to try new recipes with other gourds in this creative recipe developing activity!
What You Need:
Any variety of different gourds – Spaghetti squash, acorn squash, butternut squash, and canned pumpkin
Sample recipes for inspiration
Various ingredients for cooking recipes (may vary by what you have on hand. Suggestions include black beans, greens, spices, olive oil, chicken, bread crumbs of choice, and cheese)
What You Do:
This activity gives you latitude to adjust to your children’s age and skill levels.
For younger cooks: Choose a couple of gourd varieties and bake them prior to your activity so little ones can quickly add flavor. Choose a few no-fail ingredients that should taste good on any gourd and pre-measure those ingredients. Good choices include extra virgin olive oil, parmesan cheese (or nutritional yeast for dairy free chefs), garlic, salt, and pepper. Though simple, letting little ones pour and shake ingredients will give them a sense of control and excitement that will make them eager to try their new taste sensations!
For older cooks: You can increase the variety of gourds offered to older children, but depending on the time and patience level of your chefs, you may still wish to pre-bake your gourds. With older children, you can print out several recipes to have for your children to peruse for ideas and adaptations, or just offer a host of ingredients and let their imaginations do the work (see suggestions in list above).
Give your children’s creations a place honor at the family dinner table later that night and let the whole family sample the new creations. Your kids may just develop a new family favorite!
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