Get your kids in the kitchen with this fun cookbook

"1,2,3 Cook! My First Cookbook" offers easy recipes and basic kitchen instruction

Dominic Teigen mixes the cheese sauce for his Dad Jokes Mac and Cheese while the noodles cook in a separate pot.
Danielle Teigen / On the Minds of Moms

Meal time. It can be a struggle for many parents.

I have three kids, and the youngest two are a bit particular when it comes to their food. I don't know how that happened, because I fed them the same array of foods when they were babies and young toddlers that I fed to their older brother, who has a much wider tolerance for new and unfamiliar foods.

It helps that Dominic enjoys cooking and being in the kitchen. Last summer, he attended a kids cooking camp put on by a local Family and Consumer Sciences teacher, and since then, he's become the official grilled cheese chef in our house.


That's why he was pretty excited when I showed him "1, 2, 3 Cook! My First Cookbook" and told him I'd like him to find some recipes he would like to make so I could write about it for work. He marked smoothies and other cool treats but also selected Dad Jokes Mac and Cheese as well as Tot-chos. We opted for the latter recipes, figuring that his younger siblings would likely eat those two items for a meal.

I made sure we had all the ingredients and then let Dominic take over. He opted for the mac and cheese first and was surprised to find that the cheese didn't come in powdered form in a paper packet (Kraft mac and cheese is a staple in our house). He carefully grated the cheese, measured all the ingredients, and combined everything as directed. The end product was a delicious pot of homemade mac and cheese he made himself.


Dominic shows off the pot of Dad Jokes Mac and Cheese he made.
Danielle Teigen / On the Minds of Moms

Everyone ate the dish, and it received mixed reviews. The younger two ate a little but noticed right away it lacked the Cheeto-orange color of the Kraft kind. Dominic himself thought it was okay, but wasn't wild about the flavor, which likely came from the crushed garlic. His dad and I thoroughly enjoyed the dish, but conceded that it tasted different than the mac and cheese we were used to. If Dominic were to make this recipe again, he'd likely opt to omit the garlic, he said.

The next night, Dominic made Tot-chos, which are essentially cheesy tater tots. They did involve mixing some spices he doesn't have regularly (like cumin, coriander and cayenne) and tossing the tots before baking. He again had to carefully grate the cheese, which was a mild Cheddar rather than the extra-sharp Cheddar the recipe called for. I explained to him I thought the mild version would agree with our palettes more than the sharp version would, and he seemed to agree.

Dominic mixes spices to coat the tater tots before baking them.
Danielle Teigen / On the Minds of Moms

Once the cheesy Tot-chos were ready to eat, Dominic served them to all of us to enjoy. He even strayed from his usual ketchup to try the guacomole the recipe called for, although he said he preferred ketchup. Thankfully, the spices weren't overwhelming, so the younger kids enjoyed the tots as well (with only ketchup, of course).

Dominic made these recipes a few months ago, and we haven't yet had a chance to revisit some of the other recipes he marked. But, he's still interested in being in the kitchen and has learned to make a few other things like Ramen and scrambled eggs.

The "My First Cookbook" retails for $22 and includes 50 recipes ranging from breakfast to lunch to snacks and desserts. It's visually appealing for kids and adults and includes a good amount of teachable kitchen lingo, like "What's a Dollop" and how to decorate a cake.

Plus, there are several kid-friendly jokes sprinkled throughout to keep everyone laughing while they wait for their food to cook.

Dominic shows off the Tot-chos he made.
Danielle Teigen / On the Minds of Moms

I don't know if Dominic will continue to enjoy cooking or want to develop his skills more, but I'm happy to know he's willing to learn. Plus, I think his eagerness in the kitchen has rubbed off on his younger brother, who has now started insisting he help me cook.

And wouldn't you know, he actually ate the food he helped make, rather than turn his nose up at it like he had countless times before. There's a first time for everything, right?

Danielle Teigen has a bachelor's degree in journalism and management communication as well as a master's degree in mass communication from North Dakota State University. She has worked for Forum Communications since May 2015, first as a digital content manager before becoming the Life section editor and then deputy editor. In 2020, Danielle recently moved back to her hometown in South Dakota, where she works remotely for Forum Communications as managing editor of On the Minds of Moms as well as writes occasional news and history stories.
What To Read Next
Get Local