Grilled Pizza

Pizza with KidsFeatured Recipe: Grilled Pizza
Featured Wine: Chianti, or if you’re feeling sassy: Champagne.

A dab of flour on noses, oops! a little juice spilled. Cooking with kids, what a delightful mess and such fun, say paper towel companies.

More like, splat! there went a dozen eggs. No, you can’t eat raw bacon. How did spaghetti sauce wind up on the ceiling?

So, cooking with kids. Delightful and fun? Yes. A mess? Definitely!

Despite the mess, I started inviting N to help me in the kitchen when he was about 3 years old. He’s going to be there anyway, so he may as well help out! Plus bringing kids into the kitchen teaches them math, science, following instructions, being independent, and self-sufficicient. And if they’re involved they’re less likely to complain about whatever is for dinner.

Just little things at first–mix this, pour that in there. By 4 he was doing more to make meals like brunch than me–making the bacon (using my baking technique), cracking and mixing the eggs. I just put things in the oven and stir them on the stove.

Yes, he makes a giant mess. But he gets better with practice, and anyway who does’t make a little mess while cooking?

One of the easiest cooking activities to introduce him to was the art of assembly. He loves making and building things (think Legos), and can quickly see his efforts rewarded with a finished product. Plus he felt like he had decision rights on what goes where. Sandwiches were good. Salads are easy. And pizza is great.

I like to grill individual pizzas since the grill can get hotter than my oven–I think it makes it a little more authentic. Pizza dough that is partially cooked on the grill, combined with prepped toppings, everyone gets just what they want, with sauce on the ceiling and flour on the nose to prove it!Grilled Pizza

Steak Kabobs

Kabob with kidsFeatured Recipe: Steak Kabobs, Grilled Asparagus

Me: N, what would you like to help me cook for dinner (expecting an answer of mac & cheese or pizza)

N: Steak. I want to help you cook steak. With vegetables. And a nice salad.

Me completely freaking out because he’s hilarious and awesome. And then trying to figure out how he can help me cook something that you literally just throw on the hottest surface you can find for 5 minutes and then slice with your sharpest cutting implement.

Kabob AssembledHe’s 4. He’s super good with assembling and mixing. Not so good with slicing and searing. That’s ok! Kabobs are all about marinating (essentially mixing) and assembly. I cut everything to size in advance and pre-mixed the spice blend (although older kids could easily do that part too). Then, just before dinner, N and I skewered the kabobs. I grilled them solo of course, but he still got to play a big role in helping mom in the kitchen.

Kabob N eatingSo kids can help prepare their steak and eat it too!

Weekly Menu: Cook once, eat 3 times

This week is all about cooking one day and then having plenty to eat for the rest of the week. Even though this is 3 meals, you could probably stretch out some of the leftovers for another day or two.

Menu # 1: Grilled Ribs

Honey Garlic Glazed RibsI actually like making ribs in the winter. Most of the cooking happens inside, with just a quick toss on the grill at the end to get a good crust on the ribs. Make a double recipe of the mac and cheese, omitting the tuna from the recipe. Serve some now on the side of the ribs, and save some for later in the week.

Honey-Garlic Glazed Ribs
Very Veggie Macaroni and Cheese
Garden Salad

Tuna MacMenu #2: Very Veggie Tuna Mac

Add tuna to the leftover macaroni and cheese and place in a casserole dish. Top with some extra cheese and bake at 375 degrees for 30-45 minutes or so.

Very Veggie Tuna Mac

Menu #3: Pork & Pineapple Fried RicePork & Pineapple Fried Rice

Use the leftovers from the ribs to make this super quick fried rice.

Pork & Pineapple Fried Rice
Steamed Green Beans

Shopping List:

pork spare ribs–4 pounds
2 6-ounce cans of solid white tuna
green onions
red bell pepper
whole wheat elbow macaroni
chili powder
smoked paprika
light beer
lime juice
soy sauce
rice vinegar
canola oil
frozen butternut squash
frozen peas
frozen mixed veggies (broccoli, carrots, asparagus are all good options)
cheddar cheese