Cooking Class for Teenagers

This is a bit of an impromptu post. I was planning on posting about something really exciting today (eggs and their sizes – see? fun!) but after the huge response on Instagram a few weeks ago to a somewhat random post, it sounds like a lot of you could use a free download (and probably a free lunch, free nap, free ride, free vacation…but we’ll stick with free download for today).

A few weeks ago, I did a short presentation for a group of 16-18 year old girls. Their youth group leader wanted me to focus on strategies to help them feel like a rock star in the kitchen (ok, in the interest of full disclosure, sweet Jackie said something like “can you give them some tips on grocery shopping and cooking?” and I interpreted it as “let’s talk about rock star status here”).

I thought a lot about what would be the most helpful for these girls. Most of them are close to graduating from high school and even now, many of them babysit, nanny and help out in their own homes. I wanted to give them tips, tricks, strategies and recipes that would help them feel like they could rock it in the kitchen without spending a lot of money and/or time (hello, young, exciting social life).

Cooking Class for Teenagers

I started the little class with a short, dorky slide show presentation asking them a few questions to help break the ice and let me know where they stand on the kitchen prowess spectrum. (Here’s the presentation; it’s in Keynote, a Mac application, so probably not accessible to everyone – if you can’t download it, here’s a PDF version).

After we got a few giggles out and realized that they ranged from self-proclaimed 10’s on the spectrum all the way down to a solid 2 (and everything in between), I walked through the handout with them.

In a nutshell, here’s what’s in the handout:

1) simple ingredients to keep on hand for fast dinners, no-recipe meals,
2) strategies for grocery shopping,
3) the only kitchen equipment you really need (with a fun list of optionals),
4) handy dandy equivalents and measurements,
5) 25 pages of easy peasy meals that are delicious, fast and healthy.

Cooking Class for Teenagers

I could tell the talking part wasn’t quite as exciting as what was to come so we kind of blazed through the info, knowing they were smart enough girls they could refer to it later if needed. I brought two huge laundry baskets of supplies that go along with the handouts so that when I was waxing poetic about my favorite knife (letting them know they didn’t need a whole arsenal of knives when they go off to college; one or two inexpensive but good knives will do), I could show them the actual knife I use. I tried to have each of the things listed under “the only kitchen equipment you really need” there to show them and a few examples of the optional but fun things (mini muffin tin, I’m lookin’ at you!).

After I got done blabbing, we marched into the kitchen and started cooking up a storm. I didn’t do any of the cooking – the girls jumped right in and got to work and asked questions as they went along.

I brought all the ingredients and the equipment for the perfect meal:

Skillet Macaroni and Cheese I had all the components measured out but nothing actually “made” – they shredded the cheese, whisked together ingredients, and cooked it all up
Amazing Romaine Salad (of course, if you are me, you leave all the ingredients for this at home – DON’T DO THAT!); I prepped all the ingredients except for the dressing with the idea they could make the dressing and assemble the salad
Healthier No-Bake Cookies again, I had ingredients measured out but they did the cooking, scooping and “cleaning” of the pot

The group of girls working on the no-bake cookies got started right away so the cookies could set up before the evening was over. The timing worked out great! The mac and cheese was ready and devoured right in time for the cookies to make their debut (all while I wept over the missing salad).

Cooking Class for Teenagers

It was light-hearted and seriously a ton of fun. I got caught up on all sorts of girl talk (I’m seriously not cool anymore) and the girls shared their favorite meals from their own homes with me and some of their fears and desires about cooking and food (and boys). They even promised me some recipes (if you are reading this, you better deliver, little missies!).

Cooking Class for Teenagers

All in all, it turned out really well and made me wish they didn’t live 30 minutes from me! I’d adopt every single one as my live-in personal chefs and nannies (I think I just heard ten audible sighs of relief).

If you are interested in the same handout I used, click below for a PDF version. I cute-ified the cover a bit by gluing the white cover page to a piece of black cardstock, cutting out a star band (with my hand dandy Silhouette machine) and attaching it, and then personalizing their names onto a tag (again, cut out with my Silhouette). The Silhouette files are purchased from the online store and so I won’t be distributing them here for download but the PDF below has all of the other pages and recipes.

Click HERE to download!

45 Responses to Kitchen Rock Star Class for Teenagers {Free Downloads!}

  1. Sheila says:

    Aw . . .no teenagers but loved reading this fun, informative post. Such wisdom in this statement: “I could tell the talking part wasn’t quite as exciting as what was to come so we kind of blazed through the info, knowing they were smart enough girls they could refer to it later if needed.” Home Ec. was a required course to graduate in high school. I hated it. We spent the whole semester listening to super boring facts about everything even how to unplug a cord from a socket. (We even had to get in a line and do this under the supervision of the teacher!) After 11 weeks of this type of teaching, we finally got to “cook” on the last class – we made cookies. Sure wish you had been our teacher.

    What a great responsibility you took on as those beautiful girls shared their hearts, wishes, fears and information concerning boys with you! That’s the part of cooking together I love — the conversation, laughter, wisdom and ideas that come forth from women cooking together and then the yummy food.

  2. Nicole Hunn says:

    You are just too much, Mel! I can’t get enough of teenagers (even my own!) so I would have adored that. I smell a new business venture, btw. You wouldn’t have to do much at all to version this into a one-time class for adults. Now would you? 😉

  3. Helen says:

    I love this !!! As a mom who has used many of your recipes in teaching my teenagers the joys of cooking (A couple who are now young adults and out of the house and on their own)….. What a great thing you have done here !!! I Regularly send recipes via email to my missionary son and a big majority of them have come from you ( first one he requested was chocolate chip cookie in a mug ) … This little book gave me a bunch of ideas of more recipes to send him …. And made me want to put together a permanent book that I can send with all my future missionaries and college students and even some of their friends !!! Thanks for your attention to detail and creativity … You my friend are the true ‘rockstar’ ❤️

  4. Alicia says:

    This is awesome! When I saw this on IG I was excited for when you’d share this. My missionary daughter also has requested several loved recipes from your site (missionaries have limited internet access –emailing family once a week and going to the church’s website is OK, but that’s it) so I’ll be sending her the recipe section. I would’ve loved to have been at your class. Lucky girls!

  5. Ruth says:

    Wow, I am impressed! You must have really rocked that presentation. Your handout is such a great resource for those gals….and for us. I bet you had a great time. Thank you for sharing this with us. There are so many young folks who will benefit from all your time, effort, and creativity!

  6. Lauren says:

    Mel, you are a rockstar! This is amazing. Your attention to detail, quality, and delicious recipes is unmatched.

  7. Teresa R. says:

    What a wonderful thing to do! I agree, you are a rockstar!

  8. cherie says:

    FANTASTIC. What a great job this pamphlet is – and how much they must have enjoyed it. I’m all for empowering my teens – only one loves to cook [well, parts of cooking LOL], one only does it to eat what SHE wants [varying messes in the skillet, which I applaud because it gets her fed without me having to get involved at her odd hours!] and one only wants to eat LOL – the boy -but I make sure he knows how to make what eat east incessantly – even if he’ll rarely bother – eventually he won’t have a choice LOL

  9. Sharon says:

    I love that you did this. Sounds like a perfect evening. I can’t wait for my young girls (and boys, if I had any) to be teen rock stars in the kitchen.

  10. Liz says:

    Very cool (I’m sure that dates me properly 🙂 !! )

    I was so fortunate to have parents who spent a lot of time teaching both my brother and I how to cook, shop, budget, use tools, do home maintenance and repair … i.e. all of the skills needed to run an efficient home. Mostly, we were just included and time taken to explain. Both my brother and I learned to sew as well.

    It is different time now but the skills are still needed. What a great way to work with young people soon to have to manage their own homes. That pamphlet and the menu – wow… seems so basic, but what a great start to build on!

  11. Jackie says:

    It was one of our favorite mutuals! You are so great!

  12. Laurel says:

    I’m geeking out right now! So excited to share this with my YW. Can’t believe how quickly you got it posted. Thank you, thank you!!

  13. Anne Wright says:

    Mel, you’re awesome! Wish you were in my ward. 🙂

  14. Jill says:

    Thank you so much! You are amazing. I am yw president and my Laurels wanted an evening of recipe exchange and preparing for college. This will be perfect. Wish you could come here to teach it — want a road trip to Lehi, Utah? 🙂

  15. Paula says:

    I just sent my oldest daughter off to college and I’m happy to say that she has everything you listed above as far as kitchen supplies. (Except we forgot a potato masher! Amazon here I come!) Her first shopping list looked almost exactly like yours. We are big fans of your blog so I know she will see this today. She made a half recipe of your turkey chili this last Monday and she has been eating it all week not just as chili but with nachos, pan fries and with cornbread muffins (your recipe) she has frozen and reheated. She is determined to not eat from a can or box because she knows how much healthier she will be. Her roommates have been sick but not her. I hope it stays that way! Thank you so much for posting this. I will be sharing this with my friends!

  16. Jennifer Agle says:

    YOU are the rockstar! The only thing I would change…is the addition of your amazing browned butter rice krispie treats to the menu!! They are awesome and so are you!!

  17. Meg says:

    This is awesome. I’m a Mia Maid advisor and my girls have been wanting to do some kind of cooking night. This is a great blend of informative and hands-on fun. Thanks!

  18. Sam says:

    This was the best mutual ever! I learned so much and had a blast cooking. I am SOO excited to use these recipes for college. I made the mac and cheese and the spicy thai noodles for my family and they were a hit! I cant wait to try out more recipies. The booklets are so amazing and helpful. I’m planning on putting mine in a binder with plastic sleeves to keep it safe for years to come 🙂

  19. Libby says:

    You are amazing–thank you! And your timing is impeccable. I am weeks away from having a baby and my teenage daughter has offered to take on some of the cooking. (How lucky am I?) I am printing this packet for her right now!!!

  20. Diane says:

    This is PERFECT!! I have been mentally planning an activity like this for my laurels but haven’t had time to actually get any of it done. This will save me SO much time!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you for putting the effort into doing this!

  21. Kat says:

    What a great hand out! Love it. Looking through the recipes, so many of my favorite recipes of all time are in there. Namely Korean Beef (I could eat that twice a week) and Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookie bars (the only dessert I crave for breakfast). There were lots more, but those were the top 2. Thanks for the fun download!

  22. Danielle says:

    thank you for sharing! this is so great! I am impressed and super thankful for the great resource…I am saving it away for when I can use it. Thank you!!

  23. Janet says:

    My 40 year old son wants to learn to cook…….this will help. Great idea!!

  24. Jess says:

    This is wonderful! What a superb mission!!

  25. Chelsea says:

    I am blessed to work with this same age group of girls. This will be amazing to give to them and discuss. They are super interested in learning cooking skills and this will set them up for success. Thanks!

  26. Lauren says:

    Thank you so much for posting the how to’s for your special night w the girls! This amazing work you do is all about sharing & reaching out to others, so that we all may share & reach out, too…making the world a better place for others & for ourselves. Can’t wait to print copies for my soon-to-be 20 year old son & 22 year old daughter. I really love checking out what’s on the site each & every day. You are such a big part of my life! Thank you.

  27. Holly says:

    Wow! This is fantastic! I am sure the young women really enjoyed the activity!

  28. Ashley says:

    Oh, thank you! Just had presidency meeting yesterday and we were talking about how much our girls need to learn how to cook. I’m totally stealing your ideas.

  29. Christine says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this! My 17 year old daughter has recently developed an interest in cooking and will be heading to college in the Fall. This will be a perfect resource for her. You are such a blessing to our family, even beyond your terrific recipes that have become family favorites over the years. So glad I discovered your blog all those years ago!

  30. Jessica says:

    I’m in my YW pres and they all think I’m a kitchen rock star because of you! I can’t wait to share this at mutual! YOU SERIOUSLY ROCK, MEL!!!!!!

  31. Camille says:

    Thanks so much! I am going to present this to my girls at church, and send a copy to my daughter at college. I am so excited you put this together and made it so easy for the rest of us! Thanks again.

  32. Kelsey says:

    This is SO FUN! Those girls are going to have a lot of fellas after them when they head to college and start cooking up a storm!

  33. Jen T says:

    This is awesome Mel! My oldest is a senior and headed to BYU in the fall where she (hopefully) will be living in Heritage where she will have to cook. We have been working on a cookbook, and this is exactly what we needed. Thanks soooooo much! I am also YW pres so hopefully you don’t mind if I share with my other girls? You are truly a Rock Star!!!

  34. Jennifer says:

    This is amazing! And the fact that you shared the printable is going to bless so many young people! You are so generous to go through all of the time and work to put this whole thing together. This is one of my favorite posts in the 8 years I’ve been using your site.

  35. Sarah says:

    This is awesome!!! I have brothers still at home, needing to learn the basics of cooking before they leave for missions. One only has a year, and this will be such a great guide for my Mom. Thanks Mel!! I was so excited when I saw the IG post and comment saying you would share. 🙂 I do however look forward to that egg post in the future!

  36. Marilyn says:

    Thank you for the download…I have 5 granddaughters that will love this.

  37. Mickie says:

    Last minute change of plans due to a sick leader and 8 beehives are headed my way in a few hours. So glad I had this post in the forefront of my mind and with your proper training I have everything for the whole night. Thanks for saving my Bacon dear Mel! Hoping the night goes off with out a hitch. 🙂

  38. tiffany says:

    Just wanted to tell you thank you for all of your hard work!! I used your info tonight with my girls group. We baked and had them make recipe binders (decorate the page you slide in) and they loved it! Thank you!

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