Including your kids when it’s time to whip up a meal exposes them to new ingredients, making cooking a wonderful way to help develop their palates and healthy eating habits. Plus, they’ll be more likely to eat what they make. Hooray!
Teaching your kids how to make quesadillas is also a clever way to let them flex their creativity as budding chefs (something my nephews love). Start with a basic cheese quesadilla. Once they have a handle on the essentials, your kiddos can customize their meal.
Why It’s Important to Cook with Kids
There are so many reasons to cook with kids. It provides you with bonding time—how many of us have fond memories of lending a hand to a loved one in the kitchen?
Cooking is also a great way to teach your kids about their cultural heritage, and other cultures as well. As the child of an immigrant, cooking side-by-side with my dad gave me a meaningful way to learn about my heritage, although I burnt a lot of rice in the process.
At the end of the day, cooking is one of those essential skills everyone should know, so it’s best to start your kids on the basics from an early age.
How to Make Quesadillas
You can also make quesadillas under the broiler.
4 flour tortillas, warmed
1-1/2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend
1/2 cup salsa
Step 1: Assemble the quesadillas
To create a kid-friendly workspace, place the tortillas on a baking sheet, then have your MasterChef Junior sprinkle the cheese and salsa across one tortilla. You can top with another tortilla right now, or plan to make a half quesadilla and fold it over later. Then, gently transfer the tortilla to a nonstick frying pan over medium heat.
For older kids, pop a tortilla directly in a nonstick frying pan, then sprinkle on the cheese.
Step 2: Watch carefully
Together, keep an eye on the quesadilla. You want to know when the cheese starts to melt, so you can use a spatula to check the underside of the tortilla. (This is a task for the grown-ups.) Once the tortilla is golden brown, it’s time to fold or flip.
Fold: If you’re making a half quesadilla, use the spatula to fold your quesadilla in half, sandwiching all the melty cheese goodness in the middle.
Flip: If you’re making a whole quesadilla, now’s the time to flip. Using a spatula, flip the whole quesadilla. Cook until the other side is golden brown, too.
Step 3: Slice into wedges
Transfer the quesadillas to a cutting board. Cut them into wedges and plate them. Older kids can do this step themselves with a pizza cutter. Of course, they’ll be hot, so make sure your chefs wait a minute before diving in!
More Ideas for Quesadilla Fillings
The beauty of the humble quesadilla is that there are endless variations. Here are a couple of our go-to combos:
Pack some protein in with shredded chicken breast. It’s a terrific way to use leftovers.
Pop in some pepperoni for the ultimate pizza-dilla hybrid.
If you have a can of beans in the pantry, this recipe for Bean & Cheese Quesadillas is perfect for picky eaters.
Make breakfast for dinner with Cheesy Egg Quesadillas.
How to Serve Your Quesadillas
There are so many fabulous sides you can serve up with quesadillas. You can stick with the theme and opt for Mexican side dishes like elotes (Mexican street corn), chiles rellenos or homemade guacamole. Rice and beans are never out of place when quesadillas are on the menu. If your quesadillas are heavy on the meat and cheese, get in some greens with a simple salad. You can keep it light with a simple soup, too. Tomato is always a winner!
Recipes to Teach Your Kids
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Chicken Parmesan Slider Bake
Sliders are the perfect finger food for any get-together, and this flavorful chicken Parmesan version won’t disappoint. —Nick Iverson, Denver, Colorado Get Recipe
Cheesy Chile Casserole
A short list of ingredients packs full flavor in this easy-to-assemble casserole. Serve it as the star of your next southwestern meal. —Phyllis Bidwell, Las Vegas, Nevada
Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal
The classic flavors of peanut butter and bananas come together in this yummy oatmeal. It’s a healthy recipe that fits in my diet and satisfies my husband’s taste buds at the same time. We enjoy it often. —Debbie Perdue, Westland, Michigan
Kids’ Favorite Chili
This third-generation hearty chili is a family favorite. It’s a sweet and easy chili that’s sure to warm up the whole family on those chilly fall nights. —Terri Keeney, Greeley, Colorado
This chocolate frozen dessert is the perfect summer treat! Invite your kids into the kitchen to help you stir the pudding. —Ruth Ann Stelfox, Raymond, Alberta
Garlic Bread Pizza Sandwiches
I love inventing new ways to make grilled cheese sandwiches for my kids. This version tastes like pizza. Using frozen garlic bread is a timesaver. —Courtney Stultz, Weir, Kansas
White Cheddar Mac & Cheese
My mac and cheese is simple and has lots of flavor from the cheeses and ground chipotle chile. I use conchiglie pasta because its shape allows more melted cheese to pool inside. Yum! —Colleen Delawder, Herndon, Virginia
Rainbow Fruit Salad
When my children were young, I would often dress up fresh fruit in this easy salad. Decades later, my grandchildren and great-grandchildren still love digging in to the fruity layers. The salad goes well with barbecued meats or cold sandwiches. —Jonnie Adams Sisler, Stevensville, Montana
Dogs in a Sweater
For a new twist on an old favorite, try these skewered hot dogs wrapped with breadstick dough and baked. They’re fun to dip in ketchup, mustard or ranch dressing. The dressed-up dog recipe comes kid-tested from the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
Lunch Box Pizzas
When you have these fun-to-make mini pizzas, it’s no challenge finding lunch fare that the kids enjoy. Plus they pack nicely in sandwich bags and travel well, so there’s no mess. —Rhonda Cliett, Belton, Texas
Fluffy Scrambled Eggs
When our son, Chris, wants something other than cold cereal in the morning, he whips up these eggs. Cheese and evaporated milk make them especially good. They’re easy to make when you’re camping, too. —Chris Pfleghaar, Elk River, Minnesota
Blueberry Pancake Smoothie
My family loves this pancake smoothie in the morning. I don’t normally measure the blueberries, so go crazy! If you have fresh blueberries, I would recommend freezing the banana ahead of time. —Kailey Thompson, Palm Bay, Florida
The Elvis Sandwich
Like the King sang himself, you’ll be “all shook up” once you taste this savory-sweet sandwich. —James Schend, Taste of Home Deputy Editor
Sausage Spaghetti Spirals
My family loves this flavorful casserole with hearty chunks of sausage and green pepper. The recipe makes a big pan, so it’s nicely sized for a potluck. —Carol Carolton, Wheaton, Illinois
Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies
Baking peanut butter kiss cookies to share doesn’t get much easier than this. Stir together four ingredients. Bake. Top with a kiss. Done! Your family will love this Hershey’s peanut butter blossom cookie recipe. —Dee Davis, Sun City, Arizona
Peanut Butter Granola Pinwheels
I came across this easy and tasty snack while searching online for healthy munchies for kids. Great for after school, it’s really quick to make and filling enough to hold the kids until dinner. To satisfy heftier appetites or to serve as a power lunch, cut each tortilla into fewer pieces or provide one per child. The recipe is easy to increase as needed. —Mary Haluch, Ludlow, Massachusetts
Turkey a La King
This is a smart way to use up leftover turkey. You might want to make a double batch! —Mary Gaylord, Balsam Lake, Wisconsin
Spinach Ravioli Bake
This entree is unbelievably simple to prepare yet tastes delicious. The fact that you use frozen ravioli—straight from the bag without boiling or thawing—saves so much time.—Susan Kehl, Pembroke Pines, Florida
Chocolate Monster Cookies
My four grandsons started attending “Grandma’s Cooking School” when they were as young as 4. These easy monster cookies are a favorite of the youngest, Brandon. He has fun making them and is always delighted with the results, as is the rest of the family. —Helen Hilbert, Liverpool, New York
Our 13-year-old daughter, Dana, loves to make this crunchy and flavorful snack for us. Her four older brothers finish off a batch in no time. —Sue Manel, Milladore, Wisconsin
Quick & Easy Turkey Sloppy Joes
When we were first married and poor college students, I found this sloppy joe recipe and tweaked it. The fresh bell peppers give it a wonderful flavor. —Kallee Twiner, Maryville, Tennessee
Slow-Cooker Mac and Cheese
What could be more comforting (or easy!) than a Crock-Pot mac and cheese? Nothing! This classic casserole is a rich and cheesy meatless main dish, and I’ve never met anyone who didn’t ask for second helpings of the cheesy slow cooker dish. —Bernice Glascoe, Roxboro, North Carolina
Chicken & Bacon Roll-Ups
My children like these so much that they ask for them every day for lunch during the summer. Whenever I have leftover chicken or turkey breast, this is a delicious way to use it up. —Patricia Nieh, Portola Valley, California
This is a super fun way to serve lasagna for make-ahead lunches, potlucks or other fun get-togethers. My daughter took some of these to work and by noon was emailing me for the recipe. —Sally Kilkenny, Granger, Iowa
Here’s a dish that has it all—sweet potatoes, eggs, ham and cheese—for a powerful start to the day. —Annie Rundle, Muskego, Wisconsin
Frozen Chocolate Monkey Treats
Everyone needs a fun, friendly way for kids to play with food. These rich bites are nutty and yummy. Just coat bananas in chocolate and dip them into peanuts, sprinkles or coconut. —Susan Hein, Burlington, Wisconsin
Gnocchi Chicken Skillet
Stovetop chicken and gnocchi recipes like this one make for a homey dinner in a hurry. Personalize it with your own favorite sauce and seasonings. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
Richard’s Breakfast Bars
My chewy fiber bars with a complex taste are extremely addictive. For clean slices, spray a pizza cutter with cooking spray before cutting.—Richard Cole, Richmond, Texas
Easy Turkey Noodle Soup
Rich, homemade taste that’s easy on the budget makes this chunky soup a family favorite. We enjoy it with hot bread in winter and with salad in summer. —Elaine Bickford, Las Vegas, Nevada
Garlic Toast Pizzas
Between working full-time, going to school and raising three children, finding time-saving recipes that my family likes is one of my biggest challenges. These quick pizzas pack a huge amount of flavor. —Amy Grim, Chillicothe, Ohio
Chewy Oatmeal Cookies
I packed chocolate chips, raisins, nuts and cinnamon into my oatmeal cookie recipe. These soft cookies are easy to make. Best of all, our kids love them! —Janis Plageman, Lynden, Washington
Lunch Box Special
Dates, orange juice and apples bring zest and crunch to the plain old peanut butter sandwich. —Bernice Morris, Marshfield, Missouri
Quick Chili Mac
This combines chili with one of my favorite pasta dishes. I often serve it for company or potlucks and occasionally add taco seasoning or use beanless chili and add black beans. —Lee Steinmetz, Lansing, Michigan
Pizza Meat Loaf Cups
Fix and freeze these moist little meat loaves packed with pizza flavor. They’re great to reheat for an after-school snack or quick dinner on soccer night. My family likes to drizzle extra pizza sauce on top. —Susan Wollin, Marshall, Wisconsin
Full of summer fruit, these thick berry blends are the perfect way to savor hot days. “I serve tall glasses with strawberry garnishes,” says Ruby Williams of Bogalusa, Louisiana.
Ham Noodle Dinner
Whether I’m cooking for company or my own brood of five children, this delicious casserole is always well-received. —Eileen Nilsson, Plymouth, Massachusetts
Chewy Pecan Pie Bars
This is one of my husband’s favorite recipes, and he suggested I send it in. I’ve been making these pecan pie bars for many years. —Judy Taylor, Shreveport, Louisiana
Hot Dog Roll-Ups
Not only do my grandchildren love these cheese-and-bacon filled hot dogs, but they enjoy helping put the meal together, too. It’s the perfect solution to a last-minute lunch. —Lyletta Searle, Morgan, Utah
Tuna Ciabatta Melts
Use any good crusty bread when compiling this tuna spread sandwich. Top with slices of crunchy cucumber or luscious tomato for extra freshness. —Barb Templin, Norwood, Minnesota
Ham and Scalloped Potatoes
“I fix this saucy skillet dish often, especially when I’m running late, because it takes so little time to prepare,” reports Emma Magielda from Amsterdam, New York. “The recipe won first prize in our local paper some years back.”
Apple and Peanut Butter Stackers
The best way to get kids interested in cooking and eating right is to let them help. These apple and peanut butter “sandwiches” are one fun way to pique their interest and kitchen creativity. —Shirley Warren, Thiensville, Wisconsin
We serve these quesadillas as chili dippers or load them up with salsa and sour cream for a super starter. —Terri Keeney, Greeley, Colorado
Favorite Skillet Lasagna
Whole wheat noodles and zucchini pump up nutrition in this delicious, family-friendly dinner. Topped with dollops of ricotta cheese, it has an extra touch of decadence. No one will believe this one’s lighter. —Lorie Miner, Kamas, Utah
Dipped Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies
You’ll love to give tins of these chocolate-coated cookies to your lucky friends. The shortcut holiday recipe is almost too simple to believe! Here’s how to make peanut butter cookies without eggs. —Jackie Howell, Gordo, Alabama
My brother-in-law teased that I only knew five ground beef recipes. I proved him wrong with my inventive spicy burritos. —Kim Kenyon, Greenwood, Missouri
These Walking Tacos are great for an on-the-go dinner, campfire meal or easy game night supper. The ingredients transform a bag of chips into a taco in a bag! —Beverly Matthews, Pasco, Washington
Peanut Butter and Jelly French Toast
I’ve always tried to make cooking fun—for myself, my daughters and my grandchildren. Cooking also teaches children the importance of following directions and being organized. This gourmet peanut butter and jelly recipe is easy to make and kids really like it. —Flo Burtnett, Gage, Oklahoma
Cereal & Milk Ice Cream Sandwiches
Go ahead and buy those sweet cereals you normally stay away from. This is dessert! —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
Leftover meat sauce makes a hearty calzone that tastes like it’s made from scratch. Top the calzones with a sprinkling of Parmesan. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
Skillet Ham & Rice
Ham, rice and mushrooms make a tasty combination in this homey stovetop dish. It goes from start to finish in just 25 minutes. —Susan Zivec, Regina, Saskatchewan
Mexican Hot Chocolate
This delicious, not-too-sweet Mexican hot chocolate is richly flavored with cocoa and delicately seasoned with spices. The whole-stick cinnamon stirrers come in handy, as the old-fashioned chocolate mixture settles if not stirred before drinking. The blend of cinnamon and chocolate flavors is wonderful! —Kathy Young, Weatherford, Texas
Miniature Peanut Butter Treats
This recipe is one of my family’s favorites, and I make the treats a lot, especially at Christmas. I have three children and eight grandchildren, and every one of them loves those “peanut butter thingies,” as the grandchildren call them! —Jodie McCoy, Tulsa, Oklahoma
Little Cheddar Meat Loaves
These cheesy meat loaf minis are perfect when you’re craving meat loaf but don’t want to wait a long time for a full-size one to bake. My husband and I just love these served with au gratin or fried potatoes. —Paula Petersen, Granite City, Illinois
These little pizza pockets are a fun mashup using the waffle iron. Try your favorite toppings or even breakfast fillings like ham and eggs on this waffle pizza. —Amy Lents, Grand Forks, North Dakota
Fresh Strawberry Breakfast Tacos
When our son was growing up, this was one of his favorite breakfasts. I’ve used low-fat ingredients in the past with good results, too.—Joan Hallford, North Richland Hills, Texas
Apricot Turkey Pinwheels
I created these pinwheels for a football game snack using ingredients I had on hand. They were a huge hit, and I love how quick and easy they are to prepare. —Melanie Foster, Blaine, Minnesota
No-Bake Cereal Cookie Bars
We pull out all the goodies for these chewy bars, like raisins and coconut. For more color, sprinkle on the M&M’s once the bars are in the pan. Then press them in. —Connie Craig, Lakewood, Washington
Game-Night Nacho Pizza
Some like it hot with jalapenos; others like it cool with a dollop of sour cream. But one thing’s for sure: This is “nacho” ordinary pizza night. —Jamie Jones, Madison, Georgia
Saucy Mac & Cheese
I love the curly noodles in this creamy recipe. Cavatappi (aka cellentani pasta) has a corkscrew shape, but any type of spiral noodle will work. This dish is fun to make and looks so pretty topped with extra cheese and crunchy, golden panko. I like to add ground pepper to my serving. —Sara Martin, Brookfield, Wisconsin
This recipe features the flavors of your favorite pie but only takes a few minutes to make—and there’s no cooking or baking required. Perfect for when you’re rushing to get kids on the bus! —Elizabeth Dumont, Boulder, Colorado
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