The Mommy Chronicles: Kiddos in the Kitchen

Beaux William cooking pasta for the first time. Cooking with your kids is a fun way to help them assert independence, while spending quality time with you. Beaux William cooking pasta for the first time. Cooking with your kids is a fun way to help them assert independence, while spending quality time with you. Marlena Rice

With the New Year comes resolutions. This year, one of my goals is to work toward investing my time, rather than merely spending it, in all endeavors! As a working mom, I have learned that meal prepping on a Sunday is beneficial for my family and gives me more time to invest in other areas during the work and school week. 

Recently, I added a twist to my routine by allowing my Little to join me in the kitchen. After a full day of work and extracurricular activities, cooking can sometimes become a tedious and slightly overwhelming task. So, loosen up, grab a kitchen chair, and let your Little slave over that hot stove with you. And attention all “smother mothers” (guilty!): This is a great way to spend more quality time with your kiddos. Give this non-traditional, “kiddie” spaghetti recipe a try.

Non-Traditional “Kiddie” Spaghetti


  • “Fun” pasta (try 1 box of bowtie pasta, penne, or tri-colored noodles) 
  • Two jars of your family’s favorite pasta sauce 
  • 1 pound of hamburger meat 
  • 1 package of mild Italian sausage 
  • Salt and pepper 
  • Oregano or Italian Seasoning 
  • Olive oil


  • Assist your child with rolling up sleeves and washing hands. While they’re washing, fill a large pot with water to boil noodles.  
  • Put the ground beef in a bowl (I’d recommend doing this yourself), and let your child season according to taste – making sure the seasoning is evenly distributed. 
  • Add the seasoned, uncooked hamburger to a large pan and heat on low – allowing your Little to use the spatula to stir as it cooks. Once done, help your Little put the cooked beef in a strainer to drain the grease. Once drained, put in a separate bowl. 
  • In the same large pan, cook half of your Italian sausage. Drain, and add to the bowl with the ground beef.  
  • Let your Little add their favorite noodles to the boiling water. Cook the noodles according to the package directions. 
  • Add the ground beef and Italian sausage to a pan, and let your Little add the jars of sauce and stir until heated.  
  • Once the noodles are done, drain and have your Little stir in olive oil. Let them scoop the noodles onto the plates (assist them with ladling the meat sauce) 
  • Enjoy!

Note: There will be moments of excitement during this cooking adventure, and with excitement comes hands that want to touch HOT things! Take time to help your Little understand the workings of your stove, and explain how heat can transfer through utensils.   

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Marlena Rice

Marlena Rice is a busy mom and writer who lives in Tuscaloosa with her husband, Rod, and their son, Beaux William. Her new book, “Pacifiers, Flatbeds and Barn Wood Thingamajigs, a ‘Come to Jesus Guide’ for the New, Southern Mom,” will be available on soon. 


Druid City Living (DCL) is Tuscaloosa, Alabama's premier community newspaper, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.



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