Chicken Parmesan linguine is a great recipe for children to try

Lilly Higgins: One of my sons loves garlic so he has become a real pro when it comes to garlic bread

This summer, I’m focusing on getting my kids to cook, helping out more in the kitchen and gaining confidence as they do so. There is a real sense of accomplishment and pride when they bring dinner to the table. They are 12, 11 and nine years old, so a good age to be able to work away peeling carrots or stirring a pot. This chicken linguine is one of their favourite dishes to make as there are a few easy and doable steps, the sauce tastes like pizza, and it also includes pasta and chicken, so it’s an all-round winner.

You might invest in a mini chopper to make the kitchen even more child-friendly. As much as I love and believe in honing good knife skills, I also think it’s more efficient and easier for kids to just pop something in the mini chopper and there’s no chance of anyone cutting themselves. As my kids get older they work with a gadget that is quite affordable (under €15) and it works by pulling a cord which is great fun for kids, so there are no plugs involved. It is almost a small paring knife, but needs constant supervision. The chopper I have is compact, affordable and ideal for creating recipes like this.

One of my sons loves garlic so he has become a real pro when it comes to garlic bread. If you have any wild garlic pesto stashed away in your fridge then mix that with a little butter and spread generously on bread. Otherwise, it’s a case of grated garlic mixed with soft butter and torn basil or a teaspoon of regular pesto. The bread gets topped with a little cheese and goes into the airfryer, and it really couldn’t be easier.

One of the keys to teaching kids to cook successfully is to show them how to clean as you go. Have a compost bowl on the counter next to them and a damp cloth for wiping down. Lay out their workstation and explain that this is the most important step (after washing their hands!). Read the recipe fully before beginning and you’re guaranteed success.


Recipe: Chicken Parmesan linguine

Lilly’s Kitchen Tips
  1. Use this sauce as a base for soup, just make a basic roux of 50g melted butter whisked with 50g four. Gradually add the tomato sauce, a little more basil and a swirl of cream.
  2. Use leftover garlic bread as croutons for soup or for Caesar salad.
  3. This sauce is an ideal base for spaghetti Bolognaise or lasagne too. Just add to some cooked beef mince.