Free printable pack for anyone learning to cook on their own

Included in this post is a free printable pack of tips, strategies, and easy recipes for anyone learning to cook for themselves!

It doesn’t seem long ago that I had many very eager (very young!) “helpers” in the kitchen.

Boys make cookies in messy kitchen.

Fast forward to now, and my eldest has decided it’s okay to just move on and be an adult and completely ignore my feelings about it! He found his way to Brazil to live for a few months and then headed into his first semester at university.

College kid standing outside apartment.

He assured me every day at school that he “kinda” cooks for himself, eats “some” fruit and veg, and is “definitely” looking forward to coming home to visit all the homemade food.

Unique children + unique circumstances

Each of these young adults has a different path, a different plan. Some of them may not leave home immediately. Others will go to college, job opportunities, church missions, military service, or life abroad! They may live with roommates, live alone, marry, or live with immediate or extended family members.

Every circumstance is incredibly unique!

Considering we are new to this phase of life ourselves, I have no advice on how to navigate the launch, fast-start, or not ready to navigate phase EXCEPT when it comes to cooking (and even then, circumstances in almost every situation call for an adjustment!).

Two teenage girls cook at the stove.
My two cute nieces are learning how to make Ebelskivers. Katelyn, behind, is graduating high school this month and going to college!

Boil 101 package

I’ve prepared an easy printable pack for anyone who might need some help learning to cook on their own (or even while still living at home).

This pack is a new and improved version of a resource I created years ago while teaching some youth in my church “how to be a rock star in the kitchen”.

The print version includes:

  • new tips
  • Dishes without a prescription
  • Grocery shopping strategies
  • indispensable kitchen equipment
  • a practical table of measurements
  • basic cooking recipes (many scaled down for smaller batches)
  • Compilation of easy dinner recipes (and some easy snack/treat recipes!)
Cooking 101 Pack: A handy guide for anyone learning to cook on their own.

As circumstances will vary including budget, interest in cooking and time available among others, consider this package an essential guide and starting point for anyone who could use a kickstart to self-cooking.

Teenager makes dinner.
Jackson is an excellent cook when he wants to be!

I hope it’s helpful in some way and inspires whoever uses it to learn new skills in the kitchen.

If they go beyond the recipes in the pack, I happen to know a really great, really delicious stash of recipes for them to try.

I truly believe that everyone can feel like a rock star in the kitchen (kid, teen, young adult or grown adult!) and have a blast doing it!

Two children are laughing and holding chocolate cake.
These two hilarious children (my daughter and her cousin) still have a few years before they reach young adulthood; They find LOTS of joy in creating masterpieces in the kitchen, like this cake they made for me!

It’s never too late to cook with kids

And here’s my quick plug for anyone with younger kids (and even teens): It’s never too late for them to start finding their way around the kitchen!

It’s hard to let go of control (and deal with the mess!) that comes from letting kid/teen hands create in the kitchen. I understand that 1,000%!!

However, once children find their way around the kitchen, they gain a great deal of confidence and know-how when they eventually cook on their own.

I try to help my children:

  • learn how to read and follow a recipe
  • Find recipes they want to make (that excite them!)
  • Learn from the mistakes that will inevitably happen
  • Understand how much it costs to prepare a recipe – and how to allocate the grocery budget accordingly

Of course, not all children are interested in cooking and baking. I have a couple of kids who willingly ask to make recipes or help me in the kitchen. And with some others, when I ask them to help prepare something for dinner, they act like I’ve ripped all their toenails off one by one.

Young girl making pretzels.

Sunday lunch tasks

In recent years we have implemented the cleverly titled system of Sunday Dinner Assignments. 😉 While I know this works for many of you, I found that assigning the kids a dinner night during the school year or summer didn’t always work for our family.

This is how the Sunday Dinner Assignments work.

  • Most Sundays I write down things I want to make for dinner.
  • Sometimes I’m specific with the recipe (ie main course is shepherd’s pie), other times I just write the category (like dessert) and let them choose what they want to make.
  • I write one of their names for each task. I don’t let them vote, otherwise one of my children, who is to remain nameless, would sign up for ice water every Sunday.
  • Where necessary, I fill in the gaps.

This very simple system has given the kids a chance to learn how to make homemade rolls and side dishes and take on a little more work for things like dessert or main course.

You will learn with my help how to time this so that not everyone has to come into the kitchen 15 minutes before dinner AND everyone has to wash their own dishes.

Children cook in the kitchen.

In case anyone is wondering, there are no angels singing during Sunday dinner assignments. It’s a bit messy. There’s always at least a bit of mumbling, and it’s often very chaotic. In the interests of full disclosure, there have been a few times (ok, maybe more than that) where I couldn’t take it a second longer and order everyone out of the kitchen and I’ll take over and be done.

But it *mostly* works.

And it’s really fun to sit down to dinner and have everyone tell Brian (who’s gone to church meetings all Sunday) what part of the dinner they made. Sometimes he tries to guess, but inevitably the kid who made the buns is very offended when he gives credit to his older sibling, who was only supposed to cut fresh fruit that day. 😂

This system may not work for everyone – it’s just an idea to get those brain juices flowing! For us, it helps my kids learn some basic cooking skills in the here and now.

If this isn’t your time or season to face the mess or stress of kids in the kitchen, that’s fine! Review it and come up with a simple plan when it feels right for you and your family.

We’re all in the same boat!

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