Encouraging your kids to cook can be rewarding. Initially you may need to work alongside them giving little demonstrations of cutting techniques and measuring. However, allow them to enjoy working with food and eventually, you could have your own personal chef on call - well, at least for a couple of meals a week.

BYO SALAD

Build your own salad in a jar. Choose a selection of prepared vegetables, pasta, rice or fruit that you enjoy. The diced chicken could be replaced with cheese.

INGREDIENTS
3/4 cup small pasta shells or similar
1 Tbsp olive or sunflower oil
4 Tbsp each: mayonnaise, plain yoghurt
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cup each: peas, diced cooked chicken,
2 feijoas, peeled and diced, optional
1 red capsicum, halved, seeded and diced

METHOD: Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Add the pasta, stir then boil for about 12 minutes or until the pasta is just tender. Drain in a sieve, return to the saucepan and combine with the oil. Cool.

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Combine the mayo and yoghurt well in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Microwave the peas until hot. Cool.

To assemble, place the pasta in the base of two jars. Top with the mayo mixture. Then layer the other ingredients in the order that you wish. Screw the top on and keep cool.
- Serves 2

HERBY BUTTER CHICKEN

INGREDIENTS

2 Tbsp canola oil

700g skinned and boned chicken thighs

1 onion, diced

50g packet butter chicken spice paste

2 Tbsp tomato paste

400g can coconut cream

1-2 Tbsp paprika

1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs eg basil, mint, coriander

METHOD Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan on medium-high. Stir-fry the chicken in batches until lightly browned. Remove each batch to a plate as it cooks. Add the onion stir-frying until softened but not browned. Stir in the spice paste and tomato paste and heat for a few seconds. Return the chicken to the pan and mix well. Slowly stir in the coconut cream and paprika. Simmer on low heat for about 1 minute, until the chicken is cooked. Stir in the herbs. Great served on cooked rice.
- Serves 6

QUICK CHICKEN ENCHILADAS

INGREDIENTS

1 cup light sour cream
3 spring onions, finely diced
1/2 tsp each: chilli flakes, ground cumin
2 cloves garlic, crushed
6 small flour tortillas
400g skinned and boned cooked or smoked chicken, cut into thin strips
Topping: 1 cup Mexican-style salsa
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
chopped fresh herbs eg parsley, coriander
Omit the chilli, if preferred.
METHOD Combine the sour cream, spring onions, chilli flakes (if using), cumin and garlic. Warm the tortillas for 30 seconds in the microwave. Place the chicken down the centre of each tortilla. Top with the sour cream mixture then roll up and place seam-side down in a lightly greased 28cm x 21cm baking dish.

Spread with the salsa and sprinkle with the cheese. Cover and microwave for 4-5 minutes, until bubbling. Garnish with the chopped herbs.
- Serves 4-6

MICROWAVE GADO GADO

INGREDIENTS

Peanut Sauce:

1 Tbsp oil; 1 onion, diced; 1/8 tsp chilli powder; 1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter; 1 cup water; 2 tsp soy sauce; 1 Tbsp lemon juice

Salad:

3 medium potatoes

1 cup each: broccoli florets, sliced frozen beans

1 large carrot, thinly sliced

1 spring onion, sliced

Top with halved hard-boiled eggs, if preferred.

METHOD

Place the oil and onion in a microwave bowl and cook on high (100 Pper cent) power for 2 minutes. Add all the other ingredients for the sauce. Stir well and microwave for 2 minutes. Peel the potatoes and thickly slice. Place on a microwave plate or dish. Sprinkle with a little water. Cover and microwave for about 5 minutes, until cooked.

Place the broccoli, beans and carrot in a large microwave casserole. Cover and microwave for about 6 minutes, until hot and just cooked. Layer the potatoes onto a serving plate. Top neatly with the other cooked vegetables. Add the spring onion. Pour the hot peanut sauce over just before serving.
- Serves 4