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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Cooking lessons

One of the things I like to do with the kids is that they get one meal a week. One meal to plan, making sure it is at least somewhat balanced, and then they prepare it with my help.

So I asked Daisy and she wanted to make "noodles that look like a shell, with the white sauce on it."

Ok, pasta with alfredo sauce, that's fairly easy. What protein?

Her first idea was ranch style beans. Now I love ranch style beans, but I don't know about loving them with alfredo sauce. After some more thought, she decided on chicken.

And mushrooms.

And onions.

(I know there was also a vegetable but I have forgotten what it was.)

It turned out well, she enjoyed it except it took so long to cook. Possibly it took so long because she kept bumping the burners down to low.

Then for Junior's meal he chose spaghetti with meat sauce. And Broccoli as a veggie.

Before we started cooking, I sat down with him and asked if he liked how I made spaghetti sauce. Then "are you sure you like it? Do you want to make it just like Mommy always makes it?" He said yes, and then I told him I always cook it with onions. Always.

He burst into tears because he "hates onions." He did decide that if I always cook it with onion and he likes it, the onions can't be completely evil. Sometimes I also use bell pepper, but I thought that would be pushing too much.

So we got out the mandolin and he put in the onions that were then fried up with ground beef. The pasta was boiling in a separate pot and he asked if he could put in the sauce.

Yes, I confess we use jarred sauce. Specifically Ragu Super Chunky Mushrooms (don't tell Junior, he also "hates" mushrooms).

So I tell him sure he can pour in the sauce.

And he did. Right into the pasta water.

I stopped him before he got very much in there but . . . apparently he really needs the cooking lessons.

Then the broccoli was just frozen broccoli cooked in the microwave, then we sprinkled salt and real parmesan cheese (not that stuff in the green can, real parm yumm).

Both meals turned out beautiful, and so each was satisfied with their efforts.

Try letting your kids cook, they might enjoy it.

And maybe even learn onions aren't completely evil.


  1. Hmmm. I'm not ready yet. And nor are the kids..

  2. Too funny!! I LOVE stories like that.

    In a funny twist - my mother in law grew up in a very large poor family... and they always had spaghetti with pinto beans on the side... she still makes it that way now and it takes me a moment to comprehend it every. single. time. - I guess the beans were a good way to stretch the protein factor when you had 7 kids, but what a strange combination!!

  3. You brave lady! I wouldn't have the courage to tell my son that one of the meals he eats and likes has something in it that he is certain he hates.

    I think it's great that you are teaching your kids to cook. I used to have my son in the kitchen more often before baby sis came along... toddlers in the kitchen are fun if you're looking for someone to fill the job of mess-making and have no desire to actually get anything done. ;) I'll have to start working with him again soon though. And her too, when she's a little older.

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