Archive for ‘Cookin’ Kids’

September 2, 2012

The Eldest Cooks Now and Then

As a little boy, the eldest loved to help out in the kitchen. Especially when helping meant that he could be part of the cooking itself. I was browsing through pictures this afternoon and found two pictures that captured his favorite type of participation.

Making Dinner Then

Dad stirs.

The Eldest adds corn to the wok.

What is wonderful is that his comfort in and love of the kitchen continues to this day.  He spent the past year working in the kitchen of our local beer garden and deli, and has had the opportunity to work closely with professional chefs. Best of all is that we now get to benefit from his expertise and ease in the kitchen.

Returning home from a visit to my mom the other day, the Eldest and I were talking about what to make for dinner.

“What,” he asks, “do we have in the kitchen?”

“Hmm…” I said, “we have some ground pork from South Mountain that I’d to use.”

“Okay,” he said, “any veggies?”

“I think we have some red peppers, tomatoes, and onions from the CSA.”

“I know,” he said, “I can cook all that up, and add them to some pasta, and we’ll be good to go.”

At this point, I am sure that I looked over at him with a huge grin.  He’s not headed to college for another year yet, but I know that he’ll be able to cook for himself…although I believe the reputation of college cafeterias remains a key component of his decision to apply to some colleges over others!

Making Dinner Now

We got home, and he got right to work.

First, he cooked the ground pork.

While the pork was cooking, he chopped the peppers, and got the water boiling for the pasta.

Then, he exhibited some professional kitchen skills (at least they looked that way to me). He moved the pork to one side of the frying pan, and added the peppers in so that they could sautee (and the meat stay warm).

Meat to the side of the skillet, peppers cookin’ up!

Meanwhile, he found some parsley in the fridge, and chopped that up nice and fine while the peppers cooked.

Check out the excellent chopping form

Then he mixed up the peppers and pork, and added the parsley, 

Mixing them up

and some wonderful cherry tomatoes to the mix.

It’s more fun when you can “flip” the tomatoes.

To finish it up, stir in the rotini.

Ta da!

Pork Pepper Pasta a la Eldest

Besides no longer needing to stand on chairs to cook, the main difference these days is that doing the dishes doesn’t have quite the same draw that it used to.

Doing the dishes used to be fun!

Happy Sunday all!

June 20, 2012

Paella Recipe From The Eldest

Paella Recipe.

Shared by my eldest son, direct from Spain!  For those of you who follow my blog with little kids, here is what your little ones might be  writing when they are rising seniors in high school

J-man — when you get back, you will be cooking for us!

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March 1, 2012

Can You Make Dinner on $5.50 for 5 People? The Family Foodie Gave It A Try.

I hated history in school. Lists of dates were just drop dead boring. Fortunately for my kids, their school district uses a curricular approach called “History Alive.”  This year, they have reenacted The Civil War, immigrated through Ellis Island, carried out trench warfare from World War I, and had a 20s Dance Party. But this week, the kids got to do my favorite assignment…the Depression Dinner.  Each kid has to plan, shop, and prepare dinner for a fixed amount of money determined by the number of family members you are making dinner for. As a family of five, the twins each got to spend $5.50 including tax. And we got to enjoy two “Depression Dinners.”

Of course, both kids are well aware of the time that I spend grocery shopping, and turned to me for advice. First, they both checked with their teacher to make sure that they could use coupons. Then, they checked what was on sale that week. Then, they spent some time dreaming.

The Picky Eater asked her teacher if we could use the pesto in the freezer that we made from the garden last year. No go, said the teacher, you need to use something prepped recently from the garden (uh, it’s February) or else get it from the store. Of course, she doesn’t eat pesto, so I guess she was just planning on plain pasta.  I think she just thought she could count it as free.

Then she checked the sale circular. Chicken thighs/legs were on sale for 69 cents/lb. So she started thinking about chicken. She quickly abandoned that as too expensive when she realized this was for the value pack size. Next up, she decided to make the potato-leek soup that we had made a couple of weeks ago, with some homemade biscuits. Cool, I thought.

But then, we went to the grocery store (we had to get a receipt – so the farmer’s market was not an option….). She got 5 potatoes, weighed them, and was dismayed to realize that it would cost her $2.50 to get enough potatoes.  Then, she looked at the leeks, and just about died when she saw that they were $3.99/lb. Thinking on her feet, she asked if she could use green onions as a substitute. Sure I said. At $1 a bunch, they were closer to her budget. But then she was at $4.50, and still needed to get chicken broth or boullion.  That was the deal breaker. She was over $6.

While she was regrouping and thinking about plan two, the Fruit Hater and I (aka her twin brother) turned to his menu. He had decided to make one of our favorite go-to dishes: pasta with lemon, ham, black olives, and thyme. Fortunately, spices and olive oil didn’t count against his total, so he just had to get lemons, ham, and black olives in addition to the thyme.

Ham was easy. We stopped at the deli. Boiled ham was on sale, and he got 1/4 lb for $1.15. Then, he looked for lemons. All he could find were organic, and he asked the produce man if they had any of the “regular” lemons in the back. Lucky day for him — they said no — but they gave him an entire bag of lemons for 99 cents — score!! Then he found a can of black olives for 88 cents (big decision was sliced or not…). Next stop was the pasta. Straightforward – pasta was available for $1.29. So, he was pretty confident that he was good at $4.45. But then he remembered parmesan cheese. Shoot – how could he afford that? After, much decision, he returned the olives, and got a small can of fake parmesan. He came in under budget. No vegetables at all, but certainly an edible meal. And enough lemons to add to our required water (no milk for the kids or wine for the grown-ups).

Meanwhile, the Picky Eater was thinking. As we were pricing pasta, she found store brand macaroni and cheese for 22 cents a box. So, 2 boxes of mac and cheese became the cornerstone of her meal. As we wandered past the processed meats, she saw some smoked sausage on sale for $2.50. As a lover of all things hot dog related, that fit both her budget and her preferences. But then, she wanted to use the coupon we had for frozen boxed vegetables. If we bought 3 and used the coupon, the price per box would be 67 cents. So, we bought 2 boxes of brussel sprouts (her choice, can you believe it?!) and a single box of sugar snap peas for the freezer and another meal.  So, she was feeling victorious – and well under budget. She had a brief moment of panic however, when her mac and cheese rang up at 79 cents a box. Turns out that the 22 cents was what was saved because they were on sale…. but since she was only planning to serve two boxes of brussel sprouts, she was okay.

And then they both prepared their dinners. While we missed our regular salads, we were certainly fed. And among other things, the kids learned about how much food costs — and why we have a garden, and use coupons, join a CSA, and frequent the farmer’s market.

What would you make for a family of 5 on $5.50 for a meal?

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August 25, 2010

Kids cook and draw too!

Wait – they have a kids’ version – need to add that too!! Kids Cook and Draw.  Maybe I can convince my foodie kids to participate….

June 29, 2010

Picky no more?!

Loyal readers, the picky eater prepared the meal pictured here with her dad last night…. and ate every last bite.  Something appears to have happened while I have been focused on the chaos of my day job.  So, I came home last night after a long day, and the house was quiet.  I walked into the kitchen to say hello and found the picky eater engaged in intense food preparation with her dad.  There were two large chicken breasts being thinly sliced, a pile of lemon basil waiting to be chopped, a farmer’s market peach, and multiple cherry tomatos from our garden.  As I watched, they prepared an herb crust with zatar and lemon herb seasoning and lemon basil, prepared not one, but two salsas (one sweet and one tangy), and sauteed the seasoned chicken pieces. 

Prepared and served beautifully, the best part of this entire meal was that the picky eater not only shared in the cooking, but sat down and ate the entire thing, chicken and both salsas.  I am still in awe, and not really sure how long this will last, but it was really fun to watch her dive into the process and eating with such enthusiasm!

May 20, 2010

Food for Thought

If you’re looking for some interesting and/or inspiring reads, here are a couple of recent articles…

Urban farming here, urban farming everywhere…even in New York City

What happens when foodie kids grow up

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