Even the best chefs get a little assistance in the kitchen sometimes! Involving kids in the cooking process is a great way to get them interested in exploring new foods, flavors and textures (Plus, it’s fun bonding time!). We’ve got five super delish, totally simple recipes that are perfect for you to whip up with your little helper. Grab your aprons, grab your mini sous chef and get cooking!

photo: Apron Strings

1. One Pot Tomato Basil Pasta
If you’re looking for a quick no-fuss meal, this one-pot pasta recipe is the definition of easy! Best of all, since you just need to dump everything into one pot and let it cook, there’s time for a quick story or snuggle while you wait for dinner. Check out the recipe right here.

What the Kids Can Do: Little kitchen helpers can pick basil from the stem and tear the leaves, pour all of the ingredients into the pot and garnish the dish with parmesan when it’s done.

photo: GI 365

2. Honey Garlic Chicken & Broccoli Stir-Fry
This simple stir-fry from Kari of GI 365 is big on flavor and comes together in less than 30 minutes. You can substitute any protein that you like in place of the chicken, or switch it up with any veggies that need to be used up in the fridge. This one is sure to be a hit with everyone in the family! You can find everything you need here.

What the Kids Can Do: They can whisk the sauce, peel the broccoli or crush the garlic in a garlic press.

photo: Amazing Almonds

3. Crispy Parmesan-Crusted Fish
You’ll never reach for a box of frozen fish sticks again once you see how fast you can make these yummy fish fillets with a crunchy parmesan and panko crust, courtesy of !Hola! Jalapeno.

What the Kids Can Do: Mini chefs can jump right in by squeezing the lemon, seasoning the fish by sprinkling it with salt, mixing the panko and parmesan and helping to coat the fish. Get started with the recipe by clicking here.

photo: Gabriel Bergin via Flickr

4. Grilled Flank Steak with Rosemary
Grilled flank steak in three easy steps sounds like a dinner dream come true! With the addition of this sweet and savory marinade, you’ll have a fast summer meal that everyone will cheer for. Click here for the recipe.

What the Kids Can Do: Your sous chef can help with dinner prep by picking the rosemary from the stem, stirring up the ingredients for the honey-spiked marinade or mixing the steak and marinade in a Ziploc bag.

photo by Dairy Made Easy

5. Baked Roasted Veggie Pasta
Packed with colorful veggies and topped with tangy feta cheese, this delicious pasta dish from the cookbook Dairy Made Easy is a treat for the eyes as well as hungry tummies! Check out the full recipe here.

What the Kids Can Do: Little fingers can help out by washing the tomatoes in a colander, tossing the veggies with olive oil, tearing basil leaves or crumbling the cheese on top.

Do you plan to try any of these recipes? What are your best tips for having kids help in the kitchen? Let us know in the comments below!

—Anna Doogan