Cooking with your kids is a wonderful way to introduce a variety of foods, encourage their creativity, and at the same time improve motor and math skills. Be prepared for cooking with your kids by first washing hands, keeping long hair out of the way, and allowing plenty of time so that the experience can remain fun! Ratatouille is a delicious dish that bears the same name as the Disney movie about a rat named Remy who loves to cook. This is a simple version of Ratatouille that my kids and I have enjoyed making together. At this time of year, you might even be able to walk out to your garden and harvest some of the ingredients! 1 lb (about 4 medium) ripe tomatoes
2 onions
3 zucchini
1 eggplant (about 1 lb.)
1 yellow or red pepper
3 Tbs. olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp. dried oregano or Italian seasoning
1/2 can (3 oz.) tomato paste
pinch of salt and of ground black pepper
8 large basil leaves, torn into small pieces

  1. Cut a cross into the bottom of each tomato. This will help the skins peel off. Put them into a heatproof bowl, then fill a second bowl with cold water.
  2. Cover tomatoes with boiling water. After 2 minutes, use a spoon to put them into the cold water for 2 more minutes.
  3. Lift the tomatoes out, peel them and cut them into quarters.
  4. Peel the onions, cut them in half, then chop them finely.
  5. Cut the ends off the zucchini, then cut them in half lengthwise. Cut them into strips, then cut the strips into chunks.
  6. Cut up the eggplant the same way. Cut the ends off the pepper and remove the seeds. Then cut it into thin strips.
  7. Put oil and onions into a large saucepan. Cook them on low heat for about 10 minutes, until the onions are soft.
  8. Add the vegetables, garlic, seasoning, tomato paste, salt and pepper to the pan (everything except the basil). Stir well.
  9. Cook the ratatouille on medium heat for about 3 minutes, continuing to stir. Then, turn down the heat so that the mixture bubbles gently.
  10. Put a lid on the pan and cook for 20 minutes. Stir every now and then. Remove the lid and cook for another 10 minutes. Stir in basil.

Serve with grilled meat or fish, spooned over a baked potato, or with crusty bread for a great celebration of late summer flavor.