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Two Moms, Three Kids, And The Great Cinnamon Roll Challenge

by The Next Family February 12, 2016

By Brandy Black

Pillsbury Grand Cinnamon Rolls

My family loves a challenge, and will always rise to the occasion when competition is involved. Inspired by the versatility of Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls and Food Network’s “Chopped”, my wife and I staged a kid-friendly version of the show for our mini chefs, ages 4, 4, and 7.

Pillsbury Grand Cinnamon Rolls

The Rules:

Each chef is allowed 20-minutes on the clock (not including cooking time).

Kids can use one parent (Mom or Mama) to help with execution, if needed. 

Mom and Mama however, are on their own, help-wise (a problem for me – I’m a horrible cook!)

Playing Chopped with Kids

The Ingredient “Box”:

2 Pillsbury™ Grands! Cinnamon Rolls (one with cream cheese icing, one with regular icing)

And ANY of these OPTIONAL ingredients:


Chocolate Chips





Nuts, Variety

Whipped Cream

Lucky Charms Cereal




Cheeses, Various

Bread Crumbs



Caramel Sugar

Chocolate Sauce

Carrot Puree


Cooking with kids

We went over the rules¸ the clock was at 20, and all chefs were in position. We were READY… we were SET …time to…GO!”

Moms and kids alike raced around the kitchen grabbing ingredients and creating a flurry of spreading, slicing, dolloping, and sprinkling.

The results were impressive and the competition fierce. Each creation perfectly reflected the personality of its maker. 

Four-year-old Bella abandoned all hint of a savory option and covered her rolls in marshmallows, cherries, icing, and caramel sugar. 

creative cooking with kids

Her twin brother created a scene, literally, by unravelling the rolls into “streets” on which drove Lucky Charm cars, marshmallow trucks, and pretzel bikes. Sprinkled cheese served as “snow” on the roads. 

cooking with boys

Our oldest daughter, ever the planner, mapped out her ideas on a color-coated chart before even heading to her cooking station.  The result: a sweet and sour cinnamon pizza with cherries and chocolate chips. 

cooking with kids

Being the novice cook in the house didn’t stop me from going all out. My cinnamon ice cream sandwiches and broccoli parmesan cinnamon balls proved to my family that I can actually create something worth eating.

My wife, being the only real cook in the house (and taking a clue from our son?) made a cinnamon taxi driver with melted cheese and a cinnamon cheese cake roll. 

We took the voting seriously, accounting for flavor, texture, and of course, presentation.  The three with the most votes won (and no voting for your own dish!).

When my Broccoli Parmesan Cinnamon Balls came in first place, I could not contain my excitement.  Not only was this my first ever cooking challenge WIN (and, actually, my first ever cooking challenge), but knowing the kids enjoyed eating something that I made thrilled me. I can count on one hand the number of times my family has loved one of my meal creations.  And…it had broccoli!  Win-win. 

The kids had so much fun cooking something that they could be proud of and believe it or not, everything was pretty darn good.  We had a blast making memories in the kitchen on a rainy afternoon. It proved to be the sweetest part of my day. I encourage you to hold a family “Chopped” challenge of your own!

Cooking with kids

Here are the winning concoctions:

Broccoli Parmesan Cinnamon Balls

Pillsbury™ Grands! Cinnamon Rolls


Goat Cheese

Parmesan Cheese

Panko bread crumbs

Cinnamon Taxi Driver

Pillsbury™ Grands! Cinnamon Rolls

Melted Cheese

Sweet Cinnamon Pizza

Pillsbury™ Grands! Cinnamon Rolls


Chocolate Chips


“Disclosure: This post was sponsored by General Mills through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select. While I was compensated to write a post about Pillsbury™ Grands! Cinnamon Rolls, all opinions are my own.”

The post Two Moms, Three Kids, And The Great Cinnamon Roll Challenge appeared first on The Next Family.

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