I’ve been wanting to cook something with my kids in which they were actually making dinner. I looked in the fridge the other day and realized we had a leftover rotisserie chicken that needed to be used. I decided a barbecue chicken salad would be a good way to do just that and that the kids could definitely help. And, can I say, this recipe was awesome for cooking with my kids, Cate (9), Anna (6), and Owen (2). There were tons of jobs they could all help with and my cuties actually made getting dinner on the table easier. By the end of this cooking activity, everyone was in a fabulous mood!
So, let’s get to it! I’ll share what everyone thought of the recipe, how we divided the tasks and, of course, the recipe itself!
Choosing the Recipe: Barbecue Chicken Salad
This was one of our first recipes where the girls actually helped make dinner, rather than making a treat with me. I wanted to make something I knew they would be interested in eating (they love all of the ingredients of this recipe individually), and I also wanted them to feel like they actually helped, which they totally did! Dinner prep definitely went faster with their helping hands. This was a great recipe to make with the kids, and we were all very happy when we sat down to eat (i.e. no fighting!).
Rankings: We loved Barbecue Chicken Salad!
We loved making this recipe AND we loved eating it! Honestly, it's a great recipe to make with kids of all ages because there are so many different tasks that the kids can do. My girls had a blast (little brother was napping most of the time), and they all ate at least part of their salad for dinner!
Steps in the Recipe Where Kids Can Get Involved
There were all kinds of things the kids could help with in this recipe, and they felt very empowered helping me pull this dinner together. A lot of these tasks are good for kids of all ages — adjust accordingly!
- Washing and tearing up the lettuce: My 9-year-old Cate took this task on and loved it so much she wouldn't let anyone help! She washed the lettuce, broke it into bite-sized pieces, and dried it in the salad spinner. I'm going to have her do this for me more often!
- Husking the corn: You can certainly use canned corn for the recipe, but if you'd like to make it fresh, put your kids in charge of husking the corn! Both girls helped with this task.
- Grating cheese: I hate grating cheese but my kids love doing it, so I am perfectly happy handing over the reigns on this one! Both girls got in on the grating action.
- Mixing up the chicken: My 6-year-old Anna was in charge of mixing up the chicken with BBQ sauce and she loved that job.
The girls were super proud when we set up the salad bar. Cate mixed all the ingredients into a salad on her plate and ate a good portion of it. Anna kept her ingredients a little more separated on the plate but still had a good meal! Owen (2 years old) liked the ingredients individually as well, although he was sort of a bad eater that night and his opinion can't entirely be trusted ...
The Final Product and the Recipe!
The final product was delicious! It's perfect for summer, filled with flavor, and packed with ingredients that are both healthy and kid-friendly! BARBECUE CHICKEN SALADIngredients:
- Romaine lettuce — chopped or broken into bite-sized pieces
- Canned black beans, drained
- Corn — either canned and drained, or fresh (for fresh, husk the corn, wrap in a wet paper towel, and cook in the microwave on high for 5 minutes, then cut kernels from the cob)
- Grated cheese — cheddar, monterey jack, or mozzarella
- Chicken — either from a rotisserie chicken, or cooked boneless skinless chicken breasts ... chopped or shredded
- Your favorite barbecue sauce
- Your favorite ranch dressing
- Adjust the amount of ingredients based on the size of your family and on how much you like individual ingredients!
- Mix chicken with barbecue sauce, until well-coated.
- Toss together the lettuce, black beans, corn, and ranch dressing. Top salad with barbecue chicken.
- Alternatively you can put all of the ingredients out in bowls for a salad bar and let people build the salad right on their plate, which is a good technique for storing leftovers, too!
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