Giveaways and Reviews

Cheesy Beef Casserole #GetKidsCooking #BensBeginners

Cheesy Beef Tomato CasseroleA recent survey commissioned by the makers of UNCLE BEN’S demonstrates that while 77 per cent of Canadian families eat home-cooked dinners five or more nights a week, only 12 per cent let their kids help cook these dinners.
Uncle Ben’s is working to change this with the creation of their #BensBeginners campaign. Easy recipes, cooking tips, and of course some patience from parents all combine to help get kids in the kitchen (#GetKidsCooking) to learn basic (and sometimes advanced!) skills.

Last week we shared our experience making Stuffed Pepper Soup with all three of our kids (11, 7 and 4). The soup was delicious, and the kids were proud knowing that they contributed to our dinner.

Looking at the Ben’s Beginners recipes, we found an interesting one for Beefed Up Lasagna and Rice. Using that as our inspiration, this week my 11 year old son took the lead and made a Cheesy Beef Tomato Casserole start to finish (with mom and dad assisting when needed, which wasn’t much!)


The survey revealed that 90 per cent of parents actively believe that teaching kids to cook is an important part of helping them live healthier lives, yet we’re not actually doing that teaching. Let’s work to change that! Here’s our recipe creation for Cheesy Beef Tomato Casserole:

4.9 from 8 reviews
Cheesy Beef Casserole #GetKidsCooking #BensBeginners
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 cups Long grain rice
  • 3 Tbsp. Margarine
  • 3 cups water
  • 20 Cherry Tomatoes cut in halves
  • 1 tsp. Minced dried onion
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1 tsp. Dried basil (crushed)
  • ¼ cup Sharp Cheddar cheese (shredded)
  • ¼ oz. Mozarella cheese (shredded)
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. In a saucepan, cook ground beef and add minced garlic on low-medium heat for 10-15 min. Drain fat, let sit.
  3. Add dried onion, salt and basil.
  4. In another saucepan, cook uncooked rice in margarine until golden brown, stirring frequently.
  5. Add water, bring to boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 5 min.
  6. Mix the meat, cherry tomatoes, and rice together and pour into casserole dish. Cover and bake for 45 min.
  7. Uncover, add both cheeses to top of dish and bake for an additional 5-10min.

This recipe was more than enough for our family of 5, with leftovers for lunch the next day. So, you could always cut the recipe in half if needed.

uncle bens get kids cooking contestRemember, by participating in the weekly challenge at each week, and sharing your image on the site, YOU could win 1 of 3 prizes of a $10,000 RESP! The contest submissions I’m seeing so far look yummy!

We’re hosting our own giveaway to celebrate getting kids in the kitchen – I’m positive that the winner will have no problem getting started with this great price package!


Uncle Ben's Giveaway


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  • My kids were in the kitchen watching me cook before they could crawl lol I figured by them watching me they would learn and they did and they all love to cook! Now, I get to do it with my grandchildren and I couldn’t be more thrilled!

  • My kids started out early helping in the kitchen, measuring, stirring ect.. They love cooking and creating things in the kitchen, my oldest son is going to be attending to Culinary school.

  • I’ve set up crockpot meals for my 4yr old to put together since she was 2. I should have her in the kitchen more often.

  • When my nieces/nephews are over I get them involved in the kitchen by helping me read the recipe, add ingredients, stir etc. We often end up spending time in the kitchen.

  • Kids are naturally curious in the kitchen. I know they may make a mess and that is frustrating for some but it is all part of the learning process. Simple quick recipes such as muffins and cookies are the best place to start in my opinion. They require few bowls and utensils and also not too many ingredients.

  • my grandson started helping his dad starting at 2 years of age , he’s sit up on the counter and add ingredients to the mixer, or pots and at 6 years of age still loves being involved in making the meals

  • I have done baking with my cousins when they were younger. Getting them to help measure ingredients and mix the batter is a great way to get them involved.

  • Just by chance, my middle daughter baked her first banana bread last night! We have encouraged cooking and baking from an early age, starting by using playdoh! My son is called Egg Man because he is crafty when cooking with eggs. One daughter cannot cook if her life depended on it, but she loves baking and like me, finds it therapeutic! 🙂

  • I got my kids cooking and baking at a young age. Being on the go with them in sports it sure helped out along the way when they got older. My son now does most of the cooking in his home and does a good job on cakes. I tried the past summer to get the grandkids involved. My grandson did do his French Toast and he cooks his own oatmeal, but my granddaugter did not even want to help make chocolate chip cookies.

  • my daughter is almost three. would love to have her in the kitchen to help me but she doesnt understand to do those sorts of things just yet.

  • My girl has been watching me well….love that she’s paying attention so well. When the time is right, I’ll let her prepare some items!

    Looking forward to it!

  • I always stressed when they were in the kitchen, but I had to learn to stand back and let them achieve and further their skills!!

  • When my son was younger it would stress me but now that he is a teen it is fun to cook together and have him make the decisions

  • I always had my kids in the kitchen helping when they were old enough, they tend to eat it if they help cook it

  • My daughter loves to bake with me but we haven’t cooked too much together. I’m trying to get both my kids into cooking but I am probably over cautious when it comes to the stove or oven

  • My niece and nephews are still too little to help out but I would love to spend some time cooking with them in another year or two!

  • Our kids first started with scones and oatmeal cookie. We always let them help us cook on Sunday afternoons when we had time to enjoy each other’s company!

  • My son would always help me to make cookies and pizza when he was young,,now that he is 16,he don`t feel like helping do know how to cook and make some things for himself though!

  • Handing them knives (not the butter knives mind you, but like paring knives) scared me a lot! I was so afraid that they would accidentally knick themselves. but I’m fine with it because they enjoy cooking and are always careful

  • I love getting kids involved in the kitchen. There are always “safe” tasks for them to do which takes all the worry out of it. The best part is if something goes wrong you can simply start again or change what you’re making into something new. I think cooking is a great learning tool for children and I’d love to see more of them getting involved in the kitchen.

  • Getting the kids to help when young was I would measure and I would ask them to put into the recipe but the older they got I let them measure and pour. Sure I get nervous but I make mistakes in the kitchen too. It all about learning and having fun together

  • My daughter is still fairly young but she likes to help out with cooking. She likes to be able to add her own ingredients to whatever we are making.

  • It’s a love/hate relationship lol my girls love to help and I love watching their faces light up…however…they always find something to bicker about. Always. Without fail lol

  • I’ve always involved the kids since they were little, especially when baking. They now feel bery comfortable in the kitchen.

  • I can remember right after I had my daughter thinking how much fun it would be when she was old enough to cook with me. She loved helping with meals and all my children did. Now I cook with my grandchildren and they enjoy it too. My 12 year old granddaughter bakes a lot on her own and is a great little baker.

  • My kids are cooking chef’s. I have taught them to cook lots of stuff. We started off really simple and now they are making a little bit more complicated things.

  • My girls are 2 and 5 and they love to help! So I do lots of measuring into small contaioners so tehy can help! More of a mess for me but they have fun so worth it!

  • I like cooking with the kids. It makes them interested in the food and encourages them to eat it without any difficulty. I’ve baked with the kids and it’s fun. They measure and mix.

  • My son is only 22 months but loves helping in the kitchen with stirring! I’m not sure how much he will want to help in the future but I’ll be glad to show him how to cook and bake!

  • Our 2 1/2 year old likes to see what’s cooking in a pan, and we pull a chair over to the counter when we are mixing up ingredients for cookies or cake so she can help dump in the measured ingredients. She likes to see the mixer working 🙂

  • I let the kids pour and mix ingredients when we’re baking, they are still small so I don’t let them BBQ or anything lol

  • my son was in his teen before he would go near the stove, guess he didn’t have the interest, we always baked cookies when he was young and he would help out by adding ingredients and rolling out cookies

  • I’ve had my daughter in the kitchen helping me since she could safely stand on a chair. She loves it, and I find the easiest way to get her to help is to cook things she suggests! Don’t be afraid, it’s a great thing to do as a family!

  • My kids are grown with homes of their own,when they were young we cooked together all the time starting with simple treat right up to full meals,my daughter at 14 could mix up a batch of Homemade Raisin bread that would make you drool.Now we enjoy cooking with the grandkids and they made their first Black Bean cake last weekend and it was delicious

  • My youngest loves to help in the kitchen. It just scares me when she’s cutting things up. I’ll let her mix and stir all day though!

  • My kids always wanted to help cook , which i loved it , my youngest will try and cook anything , it doesn’t scare , me but my oldest not so much lol he had the microwave on fire , no cooking for him alone 🙂

  • My older teens cook for themselves but I wasn’t a fan of kids in the kitchen. They learned to cook in school – Home Ec class.

  • Sophies only five but she help with getting thing from the fridge or the pantry and putting them away. She gets to stir and add ingredients when we bake.

  • My kids began in the kitchen at young ages. They would help me when I was baking or cooking, they would ask questions about how to do something and then ask if they could try it. I made sure I was there to supervise all the time and today all three of my boys are good cooks and love it. Now my grandchildren are cooking at young ages and they love it too.

  • I don’t have children, but my husband scares me in general when he’s in the kitchen if that counts :)) I do have a little niece and nephew who would have fun with this prize pack, they’re always helping in the kitchen 🙂 So cute!

  • My niece and nephew love to bake with me in the kitchen when they’re over 🙂
    we always have so much fun baking cookies, cupcakes and so much more!

  • My kids don’t really want to help out in the kitchen. They sometimes like to get me things or help mix but but they are 5, 6 and 8 and just don’t have any interest (all boys). My 18 year old son can do a bit of cooking, but again he’s just really never been interested in learning more than just how to scramble an egg or use the microwave.

  • My oldest is eager to help, but to be honest I don’t like anyone to be in the kitchen with me. So I have to force myself to think about and plan his participation. I definitely want them to learn earlier than I did, which was in my late teens 🙂

  • my boys are teenagers now, but when there were little I got them to help me in the kitchen like baking. And then I had signed them up to kids cooking classes which they liked.

  • having a clulanary background i started my don young by three he could rip lettuce and knew all the producr and veggies he is now 10 and loves looking at cookbooks and helping me plan dinner. if you envolve kids give them a choice and help them make they will eat ad they feel like its there dinner they made it and it also give them indipendance.

  • Cooking has always been something we have always enjoyed doing. From me, my daughter and now my grandchildren. It’s just something we have always done.

  • I am starting to become more comfortable with it now that we got the hang of things! We give them little tasks to engage them in cooking.

  • I am worried about my daughter trying to be independent and one day using the stove without my supervision. But she understands the rules and why I have them. She helps by washing ingredients, getting out kitchen tools and ingredients, measuring, stirring, peeling, cutting soft foods. We love to watch Chopped Canada and the Kids Baking Championhips together on tv.

  • My kids love to be in the kitchen helping out so I have always given them smaller jobs to do. It isn’t scary if you tell them what they can and cannot use when you are not home.

  • My daughter has always shown an interest and is not scared but I have spoiled my son and always did everything for him and I am now trying to get him more involved so he can prepare his own snacks and meals when he wants them.

  • I like to hand out big encouragement even if it’s just for stirring or dropping cchocolate chips into cookie batter.It’s fun to cook with kids because they are so cheerful.

  • I have trouble cooking with my daughter. She wants to help but sometimes she just makes such a mess and gets in the way, so I really have to put time aside specifically to cook with her when we’re not in rush.

  • The kids do more baking with me than cooking dinner, they do see me make things, I just have to be more conscious about letting them help with dinner prep

  • I have one who considers himself a ‘chef’ though I have to keep a sharp eye on him. The other one likes to cook when its something that he wants/loves to eat but only wants to help if he’s in the mood.

  • My kids are great chefs! I started teaching my oldest how to cook when he was very young because he was a picky eater and I found he was more open to trying foods that he had helped prepare.

  • My kids love cooking so it pretty easy to get them involved teaching them how to cook and food safety. Thanks for the chance at this great prize.

  • I get them to help me to make muffins and cookies. At the beginning was a bit of disaster but now it’s getting better

  • It makes me a bit nervous to have my toddler in the kitchen, as it is sometimes hard to keep a close eye on her, and making sure she doesn’t hurt herself. She is eager to be involved, so this will help as she gets older, and is more capable.

  • My daughter loves helping with baking–muffins, cookies etc. Usually results in the quite the mess, but I’m slowly getting over that 🙂

  • My little boys are 5, 4, and 2. They absolutely love helping in the kitchen. Sometimes they are more of a hindrance than a help but I know that in the long run, it’s very important for them to know kitchen skills.

  • My kids are grown and because they helped me out in the kitchen so much my son and daughter are great cooks.

  • My boys love helping out in the kitchen! I let them measure the ingredients and stir them…they do the easy stuff and also help set the table. Great way to get them involved in the kitchen!

  • I love baking with my Niece and Nephew. It is a little scary and definitely takes a lot more time (and mess) but seeing them enjoy the fruits (or brownies) of their labour makes it worth it. My LO is too young for cooking yet but I look forward to teaching him as well. Thank you for a great post and giveaway. Good luck all!

  • My 9 yr old is in a lil chefs cooking class at the leisure centre and she love it , i get the younger kids helping by letting them wash the veggies or by handing me what i need next

  • i get the kids to help me make cookies. It becomes a math lesson and a fun,messy time. The biggest issue for me was letting go and getting things messy

  • I always let the kids help me. Learning basic safety around the kitchen is very important and starting to learn this early is good idea.

  • My daughter enjoys baking. Adding ingredients and stirring them is fun for her. She isn’t very interested in cooking meals yet but we try to involve her when we can.

  • My son loves to pour in the ingredients and mix them together. I’m hoping to get him to do more eventually but he’s not too interested yet.

  • We don’t have kids but I bake with my niece, it’s hard to keep her hands clean though. I’m trying to get her to understand every time she touches something other than food or our tools she needs to wash her hands. She likes to touch her face & hair & cats. shudder.. Lol, I try not to think about it too much though & I pretend not to notice her licking her her fingers when she thinks I’m not paying attention. I don’t eat much of what we make.

  • My daughter when she was little, was there right beside me cooking. I had no problem with it. I enjoyed teaching her and she played my little fetcher for all the ingredients.

  • My son just turned 5, so while he helps with cooking, it hasn’t been anything particularly dangerous to be afraid of.

  • My kids are all grown now but when they were little we always cooked together. Both kids are now great cooks & my son is fearless in the kitchen & is a better cook than I now.

  • MY children learn to cook young by watching and helping me. My granddaughter loves to help when she visit, she’s 3. She loves to wash the dishes because she’s playing in the sink with water. I’m sure that will change fairly quick.