Cooking with Kids (Fish in a Bag)


Sometimes the world seems to split up into two groups: those who love to cook and those who cook because they have to. I am happy to say that I fall into the first camp. I’m not sure when I started to love cooking, but I’m pretty sure it had something to do with watching the Frugal Gourmet on PBS and helping my mom in the kitchen. I remember taking pride in making mac and cheese or even the first time I cooked a TV dinner in the microwave all by myself. The food was never fancy and a lot of it was instant, but it was still fun as a kid to be able to say I cooked not only for myself but also for my friends and family.

Now that I'm on the verge of having my own family, I see the importance of cultivating a sense of pride and a love for cooking with my children. Recipes to cook with young children need to not only be fairly healthy, but should also be fun and have a good chance of turning out tasty.


Almost all of my favorite memories from childhood involve watching one or both of my parents preparing food for a family gathering, or enjoying a delightful meal together. Since I was a baby, we always had a garden full of fresh veggies (my dad's an heirloom tomato aficionado, so our counters were constantly covered with colorful varieties that we weren't allowed to touch until he saved seed), and I learned to cook at a young age - I think it came naturally for me (though you'll have to ask my parents if that was really the case haha). 

Now that I cook for a family of 4, I view cooking as a sort of therapeutic break from the business of the day (and the busy-ness), and I try to stay creative to expose the kids to new things, healthy choices, and the fact that home-made can be just as easy (and is usually better for you) than meals from a box. We even make our own pizza (sort-of) from scratch, using easy-to-find and affordable ingredients!

Me at Tomatopalooza 2008 - those sunglasses are cool.

Me at Tomatopalooza 2008 - those sunglasses are cool.

The following is a recipe from Julia Findley, an experienced (and hilarious) mom who has two children, ages five and eight. According to Julia,

“My main goal for cooking with my kids is to get the kids to eat a colorful meal that is heavy on fresh fruit and veggies.  So most of the meals involve my prepping veggies so they can grab what they want and assemble to their liking.”

Project Simpatico has selected the individual ingredient brands for each recipe so that the cooking team can not only make tasty meals together, but can also work to make the world a better place. Each recipe incorporates specific ingredient brands that support a certain progressive-value based theme that.Fish in a Bag: Julia’s greatest success story : )

The specific ingredient brands & companies below are supportive of LGBTQ rights + gender equality.


1. Frozen Tilapia or Salmon

  • Market Pantry Tilapia or Salmon (Target) - Target is a corporate sponsor of HRC and received a score of 100 from the organization. Target is also a member of the Family Equality Council and the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.
  • Great Value Tilapia or Salmon (Walmart) - Walmart received a score of 100 from HRC.
  • Kroger Tilapia or Salmon (Kroger) - Kroger received a score of 95 from HRC.

2. Veggies (fresh and prepped)

  • Broccoli Florets 
  • Sweet Peppers 

3. Frozen Corn

4. Frozen Edamame

5. Parchment Paper or Aluminum Foil

6. Sharpie

7. Stapler


1. Preheat oven to 375 or 400 (and if you're prepping rice as a side, now would be a good time to start that)

2. Cut a piece of parchment paper approximately - 10" square.  Call up the kids!

3. Let each kid grab a piece of paper (or foil) and grab whatever veggies appeal to them. Have them pile them in the middle of the paper. Then place a frozen filet of fish and place it directly on the veggies. Then I let them sprinkle some EVOO or put a pat of butter on top the the fish as well as salt and pepper or any seasonings they may be willing to try. Then, if using the parchment paper, wrap the paper around the fish and veggies and staple the ends together. Finally, I let the kids decorate their dinner with a sharpie on the outside of the parchment paper. Place the fish pouches on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. 

4. Serve with rice or your favorite side and a piece of fresh fruit, and you're all set!