Holiday Cooking Tips for Your Family

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With the holiday season in full swing, many families are gathering in the kitchen and making their favorite holiday meals and treats. I can remember helping my grandmother in the kitchen as I was growing up, and the simple, fun tasks she would give me to do. She showed me the basics of kitchen safety and how to measure ingredients. Cooking can be fun for all ages and can help build confidence in the kitchen. So I wanted to share some tips and a recipe that is kid approved for all ages.

Let’s start with the basics – kitchen safety and why it is important to be safe in any cooking environment. The four key points we teach are: Cook, Clean, Chill, and Separate.

  • Cook: make sure all foods are cooked to their proper temperatures. We show youth how to use cooking thermometers to tell when their food items are done.
  • Clean: make sure you have clean hands, clean cooking utensils, and a clean cooking space. We teach youth proper hand-cleaning techniques and how to clean their prep and cooking areas with soap and warm water.
  • Chill: keep cold foods cold and put them away as soon as you finish. You want all your chilled foods to stay at the proper temperature for safe eating.
  • Separate: keep all raw meats away from your fresh and cooked foods to avoid cross-contamination.

Let children pick a recipe they would like to make. By letting them choose, it gives them a sense of accomplishment when they are done preparing the food. Help them gather all materials, such as food, utensils, and other items they may need to prepare the recipe. This is a great time to show them how to measure ingredients, how to read a recipe, and also share family traditions. If the recipe allows modifications, let them put their own twist on it. Some of the best cooks in the world love taking ordinary recipes and adding a special twist. Remember to make it fun and exciting to make memories that will last a lifetime.

Here is an easy, tasty recipe you can make this holiday season:

Pocket Fruit Pies

Makes 4 servings

Serving Size: 1 pie


  • 4 whole-wheat tortillas
  • 1 large apple or 2 medium peaches
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons fat-free milk
  • Sugar (optional)


  1. Wash hands and preparation surfaces.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  3. Warm tortillas in microwave or oven to make them easier to handle.
  4. Peel and chop fruit into small pieces.
  5. Place 1/4 of the fruit on each tortilla.
  6. In a small bowl, stir together brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Sprinkle over fruit.
  7. Roll up the tortillas with the fruit inside.
  8. Place on an ungreased baking sheet and make small slashes in the top to allow steam to escape. Brush with milk and sprinkle with additional sugar if desired.
  9. Bake for 8-12 minutes, or until lightly browned.
  10. Serve warm or cold.
  11. Refrigerate leftovers immediately.

For more information, contact Joanna Rogers, Extension 4-H Youth EFNEP Assistant, at 910-671-3276, by email at, or visit our website.