Monday, April 9, 2012

Kids in the Kitchen- Hodgepodge Casserole

I'm hosting #KiK with my good friend Carrie from YoungLivingOilLady
We're glad you're here - please feel free to link up any family friendly recipes - we love the 
healthy ones and those with kids helping out - but it isn't required 
Our goal is to encourage families to spend time together in the kitchen cooking and eating

Let's bring the family back to the table! 

Got leftovers? We use our leftover ham, chicken, or turkey to make Hodgepodge Casserole
We chop and add onions - I usually cook those until translucent in a skillet with a tab of butter 

Little guys can chop onion carefully with a regular kitchen knife - if you do a bit of prep first 
I use a sharp knife to chop my onion in half - peel it - then slice into thinner rounds - then it is easy 
for my 6 year old to chop it up into the size I show him. (makes him very proud) 

Younger children are capable of grading cheese too - with adult supervision of course! 
My 7 year old handles it like a champ - I always cut of a piece that is the right size for him to use
I never fail to remind the kids that every knife and grader is sharp - that if they can chop onion or slice
cheese they can also cut little fingers. They are instructed to take their time and concentrate on the task at hand. They take their jobs very seriously! 

The water boils for the egg noodles (you can use rice noodles or whole grain for a healthier or a  gluten free version) I use whatever I have on hand - I try to buy whole grain as often as possible. 
My oldest son of 10 - stirs up a homemade sauce. He starts with a tab of butter in the cast iron skillet - as it melts - he'll add 2 tbs. of whole grain - non-bleached flour and stir - little at a time he adds low fat milk - about 1 1/2 - 2 cups total - you can always thicken it up with a bit more flour if need be 
(If you do this - or use corn starch- be sure to mix it with a little milk in a separate bowl before adding to the heat - or it will clump) Then he stirs in the cheese for our beautiful homemade cheese sauce! 

All that's left to do is pour it over your drained noodles then add the onion and bite size meat! 

If you want to get fancy - you can add it to a casserole dish and sprinkle on crush Ritz or Durkey onions to top it off - then stick it in a hot oven just long enough to brown the topping! 
*This recipe even works with canned tuna or chicken in a pinch! 

Cooking 101 - What they are learning: The boys are learning to follow directions - they are reading the ingredients and recipes - they are learning team work - and gaining a sense of accomplishment. 

Their eyes light up when the family sits down to eat a meal they had a large part in preparing! 

They are learning how to plan nutritional meals. They are also learning about the value of a dollar - as I include them in the meal planning, budgeting, and shopping for food. They will search the grocery fliers for sales - and then look for recipes or brainstorm ideas for interesting meals. 

They are doing kitchen math as we measure or tweak a recipe to fit our family. Good communication skills are needed in a kitchen - as well as appropriate safety measures. 

I hope these little tid-bits will encourage you to go ahead and bring the whole family to the kitchen for meal time prep! If you set the rules - then relax - yet stay vigilant - you can enjoy the time and make wonderful memories to go with your yummy food! 

Grab a button below via copy and paste- 
or grab the code from my side-bar: 

Please link up your family recipes and join the fun 
by commenting on at least 2 others who post! 

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Rebecca said...

OH, that' s something I haven't tried. I love the way you're working with them in the kitchen! I've been a 'fail' there lately!

Francesca said...

Hi Kelli! I just can't believe how good your boys are at cooking. My daughter Sayaka (she's also following you, as hungrycaramella) loves to eat but hates to cook. Originally we are from Trapani, my husband is Japanese though. We are in Rome because Sayaka is looking for a job and in Sicily it's impossible to find any work. Not that it's easy here in Rome, but at least there is more opportunity. I followed her because I'm her personal chef:) I teach a few classes a week so it's enough for pocket money. She's now doing an internship for an international organization and we're hoping that they will hire her full time. Things are very difficult here in Rome, and in Italy in general. Practically one out of 3 young people are out of work. 30 and 40 years old are still lving at home because they earn too little or not at all. Companies are now hiring only interns or volunteers.

Larri @ Seams Inspired said...

Yum! Love that your boys enjoy cooking. We have been remiss in the kitchen due to painting. Hopefully, we'll be back on track next week. My kids love to cook, and each one helps prepare dinner on a certain night. Son#2 loves it the most, and can pretty much put together a meal start-to-finish on his own. Happy Tuesday!

Lisa said...

I love how your children do even the "difficult" jobs in the kitchen! Awesome! You are teaching them well! :-)

Hodgepodgemom said...

YUM! Hodgepodge is good in lots of ways :) and kids in the kitchen is always makes for great learning. Love it! said...

Thanks Kelli and Carrie!

Kelli Becton-AdventurezInChildRearing said...

Thank you all for visiting and for your input! I appreciate the support and encouragement!

Francesca - I was wondering about your daughters teaching certificate (I don't know the initials) isn't that a certificate to teach English? I'll pray for her to find a job that will be good for her and the family - great of you to help her - maybe we can teach her to cook - lol - she is very stylish ;) Francesca - thank you for sharing the info about the Italian economy - I will share it with my children- there is some of the same going here yet not limited to young people - entire families are loosing their homes. We are praying for our Nation - I'll pray for you too.

Susan said...

There are so many fantastic things that kids learn by helping in the kitchen! Great job, and thanks for sharing the recipe :)
I'm glad you linked with Look What We Did.