Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Chris Cooks Days 2 & 3

On Monday nights, Phil and Chris are always in charge of dinner since I work late. They alternate between spaghetti, breakfast, hot ham sandwiches and macaroni and cheese. So, for Chris Cooks week, he planned breakfast for dinner.

Monday nights are busy for the boys as well. Chris has both Scouts and baseball practice now, so dinner has to be put on the table very quickly. As a result, Phil played a pretty major role in dinner prep.

Nevertheless, they enjoyed their waffles and bacon immensely.

On the menu tonight was "Oodles of Noodles Pasta Salad", Peaches and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies. The pasta salad needed to chill, so we started preparing dinner as soon as he got off the bus. Both recipes tonight were perfect for him to prepare. I did very little to help.

We started with the cookies and worked on the pasta salad while the cookies were baking. Chris's friend Tristan joined in the fun tonight, too. Too bad I didn't take pictures. I was too busy managing the chaos.

While the pasta salad was chilling, Phil, Chris, Tristan and I made a quick trip to YMCA to work out for bit. We returned home and enjoyed our dinner outside.

Here's the recipe for the cookies. These are great for your kids to make...easy ingredients, measurements, mixing, etc.

Emeril's Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies
from Everyday Food

1 c. creamy peanut butter
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees with oven racks in the upper and lower thirds. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients adn stir with a wooden spoon. Divide dough into 24 portions (I didn't get quite that many), about 1 heaping tablespoon each. Roll each piece between your hands to form a smooth ball. Place dough balls, 1 inch apart, on two ungreased baking sheets. Using a fork, press on dough in two directions to form crosshatch pattern.
Bake cookies until puffed and lightly golden, 10-12 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Let cookies cool on sheets.

Enjoy with a glass of cold milk!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Chris Cooks Day #1

Sunday morning dawned bright and early at our house. CJ was up before 7am to get breakfast in the oven. He made a great, simple recipe from Paula Dean's Kid's Cookbook. They were cinnamon rolls made with crescent rolls and marshmallows. He thought they were a disaster when some of the marshmallows exploded out of the crescent rolls, but they still tasted delicous. And, he made them almost entirely by himself.

Then, for dinner, he made cucumber salad...one of his FAVORITE things to eat (recipe follows) and chicken enchiladas. He also made chocolate milkshakes for dessert.

By the time we were nearly finished with the enchiladas, he was getting a little tired of cooking, I think. He really wanted to go out and check on what Phil was doing (he was outside doing some yard work). But, he stuck it out and even helped with some of the clean up. Hopefully this week doesn't ruin his love for cooking! :)

Cucumber Salad

3 English cucumbers (the ones wrapped in plastic at the grocery store), halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 med. sweet onion, halved and thinly sliced
1/2 c. fresh dill, coarsely chopped (we left this out tonight, but we usually add it)
3 TB olive oil
3 TB fresh lemon juice
2 TB white wine vinegar
coarse salt and ground pepper

In a large bowl, toss together cucumbers, onion, dill, oil, lemon juice, and vinegar; season with salt and pepper.

This can be made up to 3 hours ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator.

Chris Cooks Week Commences

About a week and a half ago CJ told me that he was wanting to do more cooking, and he didn't mean that he just wanted to help me cook dinner that night. He wanted to plan a week's worth of meals and prepare them.

I gave him an extra menu-planning worksheet I had on hand, and he grabbed his two cookbooks for kids. He sat down at the kitchen table, and looking an awfully lot like I do on Saturday mornings, set out to plan his menu for the week.

He used his cookbooks, some of my cooking magazines and a list of often-made meals I keep on hand to design his menu. He took great delight in planning dessert for most of the evenings as well. And, with a little prompting, he added either fruits, vegetables or both to his plan. And for the weekend, he planned breakfasts as well.

I already had meals planned for the following week, so he had to wait until to today to get started. I'll try to follow along throughout the week with updates and recipes. But, for now, here's his menu:

Sunday breakfast - Cinnamon rolls (from Paula Dean's kid's cookbook)
dinner - Chicken Enchiladas, Cucumber Salad, Chocolate Milkshakes
Monday - breakfast
Tuesday - Oodles of Noodles Pasta Salad, Peaches, Peanut butter & chocolate chip cookies
Wednesday - Sloppy Joes, Carrots, Grapes
Thursday - Pasta with Bacon and Tomato Sauce, Salad, Bread
Friday - Hamburgers, Chips, Smoothies, Pineapple
Saturday breakfast - French toast
dinner - Italian Beef, Carrots, Strawberry Cream Cupcake Dessert