I think being able to put together an enjoyable meal or bake a batch of delicious cookies is one of the most underappreciated skills we posses. Considering we really only need food, water, shelter, and procreation to survive as a species, and granted procreation is more fun, the ability to provide a yummy meal is essential. Under the right circumstances it can sometimes even LEAD to procreation. With that said, I have two people to thank for my love of the kitchen.
My mother never hesitated to let me spend time creating in the kitchen. She never forced me to assist her in meal preparation, but rather let me follow my own culinary path. She was always there to assist me when needed, and more importantly, to clean up the mess I left in my wake. She also helped cultivate my pursuit of yummy food by buying me cookbooks. At first they where titles like the The Pooh Cookbook, and other wonderful tomes of childhood culinary excellence. By the age ten she picked me up a copy of the timeless, Betty Crocker’s Cookbook (1972 ed.). At that point, it was on.
My father had another modus operandi. His approach was less structured then moms. He prescribed to the “we don’t need no stinkin’ cookbooks” school of thought. He’d gather me in the kitchen in the pursuit of one very focused objective: to bake a cake. And bake cakes we did. I remember comments like, “that’s enough flour” and “better pour a little more sugar in there”. Most of our cakes were failures but I remember laughing and eating (a little) of each creation. As the story in the family goes, there was once the two of us produced a decent finished product. It was in celebration of my Collie Noodles’ birthday. Unfortunately dad and I felt Noodles would enjoy the cake even more if we threw in a few handfuls of dog food kibble. Needless to say Noodles was the only one to enjoy that birthday cake.
It was this combination of approaches that assured, by the time I left the house, I could put food on the table, and damn it, I could bake a cake! It’s to late to thank my father for his contribution, and I don’t thank my mother nearly enough. I know if it hadn’t been for them, letting me in the kitchen as a very young man, I wouldn’t be the cook I am today.
That little walk down memory lane got a bit verbose, and I apologize. I hope, however, it helps make the point I was having a difficult time articulating. That being, get your kids in the kitchen, let them make a mess, bake a cake with no recipe, and if the occasion is right, throw a handful of dog food in it.
I PROMIE you they will be grateful you did and very likely love you for doing so.
So now the recipes! I picked out four yummy recipes I thought you and your kids would enjoy preparing and eating together. Together being the keyword.
Thanks for letting me make a disaster zone of your kitchen Mom. I love you.
Sugar and Spice Porridge
Preparing this yummy breakfast with your kids is a sure way to start the day off on the right track.
1. In a medium saucepan, bring the milk and butter to a boil over medium heat. Stir in the raisins, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
2. Slowly add the oats to the boiling milk, stirring constantly. Cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Let stand 1 minute. Serve with milk. Serves: 2
Easy Yummy Tacos
Preparing these easy tacos is as much fun as eating them. Make a mess and have fun!
1. Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C). Place the taco shells in a shallow baking dish. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until hot and crispy.
2. In a small saucepan, stir together the refried beans and salsa. Cook over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes or until heated through, stirring frequently.
3. Fill the taco shells with the beans mixture. Top with the lettuce, cheese and tomato. Serves: 4
Frank and Bean Sandwiches
A really fun way to eat franks and beans, this recipe will surely bring a smile to young and old faces alike.
1. Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C). Place bread slices in ungreased shallow baking pan.
2. In a small bowl, stir together the beans and frankfurters. Spread he bean mixture over bread to cover each slice completely, mounding slightly in the center.
3. Bake for 10 minutes or until heated through. Place a cheese slice on top of each bean sandwich. Bake for 2 or 3 minutes more until cheese melts. Serves: 4
Cheesy Spanish Rice
This easy and super-yummy side dish goes well with just about any meal. Begin teaching menu planning with your youngsters when you combine this dish with the Easy Yummy Tacos.
1. In a medium saucepan, combine the tomatoes, water, chili powder, and garlic powder.
2. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir in the rice. Lower the heat and simmer, covered for 20 minutes or until the rice is tender.
3. Top with the Cheddar cheese. Serves: 4
If you enjoyed these recipes you should most definitely check out my friend Jessica’s site A Lot on Your Plate, she has some really cool kid-related recipes and crafts that I found very insightful.