Getting family together to prepare a meal is a great way to teach kids about foods and flavors and also to teach some basic kitchen skills. Where to start? My go-to ingredient is California Avocados!

I actually grew up near the site of the original Hass Avocado tree in Southern California, so they’ve always been a favorite of mine. In fact, every Hass Avocado eaten worldwide can trace its lineage to that Mother Hass Tree.

California Avocados have been included in my everyday healthy eating plans since my kids were small. It was a great way for me to help increase their fruit and vegetable intake and to add a delicious, heart-healthy, whole food source of naturally good fats to their meals and snacks. I involved my kids when they were young with meal prep and in fact, my son has followed in my food footsteps and is now a food coach.

Hands on cooking helps kids discover new flavors and tastes and there’s an age-appropriate task for everyone. For example, older kids can learn food prep skills such as slicing, chopping, mincing, mixing, peeling and cracking an egg. They also can learn cooking skills such as frying, baking, simmering and sautéing. Younger kids can read and follow recipe instructions, learn math skills by measuring ingredients and learn organization skills by gathering all ingredients and utensils and cleaning up. Even the littlest family members can mash a California Avocado and stir ingredients together.

zucchini and cheddar waffles

I created a delicious family friendly recipe, California Avocado, Zucchini and Cheddar Waffles, that I hope you and your family will enjoy. The secret to this recipe is simplicity starting with a whole grain pancake mix and kicking it up with add ins. Mashed avocado adds additional nutrients and a good fiber boost. Cheddar cheese adds loads of flavor and a bit of crunch when sprinkled over the top of the batter before cooking.

Set out the waffles with a variety of toppings to engage younger family members – and who am I kidding, adults too – by letting them personalize their own waffles. Diced California Avocado, fresh pico de gallo or salsa, sliced green onions and fresh cilantro all are delicious ways to add flavor. Topping waffles with fried or scrambled eggs turns this into a meatless main dish!

This recipe is great for breakfast and also is easy enough to pull together for a busy weeknight dinner — especially when everyone works together to get the job done! And here’s a time saving tip: double the recipe and freeze the leftovers (if there are any) – these waffles make a great snack. Reheat thawed waffles in the waffle iron. A toaster or an air fryer also will reheat and crisp them quickly.

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Patty Mastracco

Patty Mastracco is a talented recipe developer with more than 30 years culinary experience. From commodity boards, branded food products, food service companies and farmers, to serving as the food editor of a major retail chain’s magazine, Patty has created thousands of mouth-watering recipes. A frequent guest on national PBS and local Sacramento and Fresno television shows, she offers simple tips and approachable ideas to make the most out of cooking for loved ones. She takes pride in creating reliable recipes that work so even novice cooks can feel at ease in the kitchen. Showcasing many of her recipes on her website, Patty believes food is art, taste and celebration!

Patty is a registered dietitian nutritionist for the California Avocado Commission. Their content on the California Avocado Commission website and/or blog are part of their partnership with our organization.

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