Last week, I talked about how much food we actually cook. The same reader also asked about how much our kids help with the cooking. They do a lot more when school is out, of course, but they’re usually involved somehow, because it’s good for them and because I really need help.
For reference, my kids are 17, 16, 15, 13, 11, 10, 8, 6, 4, and 11 months. All but the youngest two are at school until around 3 at the earliest, and I usually don’t get home until 4 or 5 or 6. I generally make dinner in segments, cooking or prepping in the morning, heating it up again in the afternoon, and then adding something right before dinner. My husband usually gets home several hours later, and either reheats dinner or has something frozen.
This week, I had so much green stuff in the house, but I got spooked by listeria, and threw it all away. The action of tossing perfectly good salad into the trash triggered some kind of psychological aversion to vegetables in general, and I was unable to serve any this week, because I love my family.
That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. Here’s what we had this week, besides veg:
HAM AND CHEESE ON BAGELS; CHEESE PUFFS; COOKIES
On Saturday, Damien and I went to a music festival our 16-year-old daughter was singing in, so we left the others at home to fend for themselves with an easy meal. I ate before we left, because we’d be gone during dinner; and then when we got back, I ate again, because we had been gone during dinner. This is what we call “mindfulness.”
PULLED PORK, RED ONIONS, POTATO PUFFS; ICE CREAM
I had tons of writing to do, so I threw some hazy directions to my 17-year-old daughter about how to start the pork, and then went into my fortress of solitude. (Directions: Put it in a shallow pan, fat side up; pour a can of beer over it, sprinkle it generously with salt and pepper, cover loosely with foil, put in 250 oven for several hours.) My husband checked on it throughout the day. When I emerged, I shredded the pork while my husband sliced onions and put the potato puffs in the oven.
I had mine all heaped up in a fabulous mound of yumminess.
The kids helped by grumbling that there were no rolls.
PENNE with MEAT SAUCE
The older kids were home from school for some bogus reason, so in the morning, I had them fry up 1.5 lbs of Italian sausage and 1 lb of ground turkey meat with the leftover onions from the pulled pork. When I got home in the afternoon, I had another kid start water boiling (we use a giant stock pot, since we never cook less than 3 lbs. of pasta). Then I cooked the penne and mixed it with the cooked meat and jarred sauce in a casserole dish and heated the whole thing up.
HOT DOGS, BAKED BEANS
The older kids cooked this meal while I was driving back and forth and back and forth like an idiot. My husband had frozen chicken wings or something.
CHICKEN CHIPOTLE (but not that kind of Chipotle) CHILE on BAKED POTATOES
This is a new recipe for us, and my husband and I were the only ones who liked it! Such a disappointment. I used Pioneer Woman’s Chicken Chipotle Chile recipe and served it with baked potatoes, sour cream, salsa, shredded cheese, and cilantro. The kids mostly ate baked potatoes with sour cream, the ungrateful crumbs.
I mean, look at this!
I couldn’t even get them to help much, once they heard it was chili. I finally hounded my 11-year-old son into stabbing the potatoes with a fork so they wouldn’t explode it in the oven, and it turns out he paid his 6-year-old sister a nickel to do it for him.
Anyway, the recipe was pretty good. It was hot, with the chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, but not face-hurtingly spicy. I wasn’t bowled over by the taste of chili on potatoes, but my husband liked it.
ONION SOUP with croutons and parmesan; QUESADILLAS; AVOCADOS
Fannie Farmer onion soup, except I use beef broth instead of water. Benny helped with the bouillon cubes, as ever:
and she also spread melted butter on the ciabetta bread (on clearance at Walmart, which was weird because they don’t have a bakery at this Walmart. But they were on sale!) for croutons:
Her comment: “I LIKE THIS GAME!”
I cooked the onions and croutons in the morning, then finished the soup in the evening. I got the 17-year-old to cut them up for me while I got in a quick fight on Facebook.
I don’t count avocados as veg, because they taste good.
The soup actually went over pretty well, although some of the kids just had croutons and quesadillas. The rule is that I will make one large quesadilla for each kid, and anyone who wants more can cook it himself. Also, if you make yourself a second quesadilla, you have to agree to make a second for any little kid who wants one.
You’d think onion soup, quesadillas, and avocados would be kind of a weird combination, but it was actually great, very balanced and satisfying.
My husband got home late, and had leftover chili, with quesadillas which he made himself.
My gosh, it’s like we’re living at Applebee’s or something. Maybe even a TGIFridays! There are some rusty bicycles outside. I bet I could hang them on the wall, serve watery beer, and make a milllllllllllion dollars.
MAC and CHEESE; CARROTS and HUMMUS
I made this this morning, yay me. Just need to make some buttered breadcrumbs for the topping. I got help from Corrie, who cleaned off the whisk for me.
My mac and cheese recipe is from Fannie Farmer, except I double the cheese. I use milk, no cream.
I intend to spend the rest of the day working on one of my own favorite recipes:
Wella-hella-hella, what’s for dinner at your house?