Kids Cook

We are on school vacation this week, so I suggested to my boys (who are now 9.5 and 7.5) that perhaps they would like to each make dinner one night this week.  We have a Children’s Quick and Easy Cookbook that they paged through and then picked something to make.  While I don’t quite agree with all the recipes as they are written, there are great pictures, and the book was useful for the kids to pick something and be excited about what they were preparing.

J picked the barbeque spare ribs.  Now, the recipe calls for grilling the ribs for 15 minutes on each side.  That is NOT how we make ribs around here!  Low and slow!  This gave the hubby an excuse to pull out the smoker, of course!  We prefer baby back ribs, so I picked up some of those.  J helped Daddy rub the spice rub all over the meat (“gross!”) in the morning.  Normally, we would do it the night before, but we forgot until after J had gone to bed.  We use a homemade spice rub that we make in larger sized quantities and store in the cupboard.  He then helped Daddy put the meat in the smoker, check it, take off the aluminum foil, take it off the smoker, baste with sauce, etc.  For the sauce, we just use Bullseye Original if we aren’t making our own.  J is not fond of vegetables (we keep trying!), so he and Daddy made an apple slaw for a side dish.  They julienned three apples (different varieties) using a mandoline (carefully monitored as it’s super sharp), and tossed with an awesome little sauce that Hubby made up.  Stellar!  And then we also roasted up some Brussels sprouts.  J was so excited about making dinner and licked his plate clean.  The ribs were worthy of plate-licking.

Apple Slaw

3 apples, unpeeled and julienned (we used granny smith, honey crisp and fuji)
Dressing:
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. honey
1/2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
Salt to taste

Stir up dressing.  Mix into apples.

K made dinner tonight.  He chose a sausage/pasta baked dish.  It required quite a bit of assistance from Mama, but he helped cook the entire thing.  I wouldn’t necessarily call it “Quick and Easy” but maybe it would have been quicker and easier if a 9yo wasn’t doing every step.  He tried cutting up the onion, but that was a bit difficult for him, so we did it together.  (Sharp knives!)  He enjoyed using the garlic press, and the can opener, and especially the mini prep food chopper (we made fresh bread crumbs to sprinkle on top).  He was also able to cut up the sausage links (it had sweet Italian sausage in it) with a paring knife by himself.  We have these kids knives and while fun to use, not up to the task of dicing an onion.

I cook a lot, and always encourage the boys to help me, but they are usually too busy with their own activities to be interested…unless it involves licking the cookie dough bowl.  This little project really engaged them from start to finish.  I think the many photos in the book helped them pick something more readily.  And then having chosen the meal, they were more invested in its preparation.  We will definitely have to do this again!  Keeping in mind that the 30 minutes of prep + 25 minutes of baking really equals 60 minutes of prep +25 minutes of baking when cooking with a 9yo.

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