The weather is getting cooler. Though there are many after-school activities, we are trying to be a part of the slow home movement and put healthy delicious meals on the table for dinner. My husband, our five year old daughter and I cook most of our meals for the week on Sunday afternoon. I have had countless questions as to how we do it.
Our daughter loves to help in the kitchen. She washes her hands, puts on her apron, puts a headband in her hair and pulls up her step stool. Then we are ready to work. In the recipe below, she washed and hand tore the escarole, squeezed out the sausage from the casings, mashed the cannellini beans and poured in all of the ingredients. I move the pot to a spot on the counter away from the stove. Here she is stirring home made hot chocolate – what could be better after raking the leaves?
Cooking with your kids does require a few changes in your cooking style and takes a little more time and a bit more mess. But the results are well worth it! Your children will learn about food, you can make a game out of measuring (sneak in some math) and they are much more likely to eat it. Why? Because they will proudly announce at dinner – I made this!
If you are having trouble getting your kids to join you in the kitchen, try asking them to help you make cookies after!
Here is another tip: make a meal in a bowl.
Every Sunday, our slow cooker or a large pot on the stove is simmering with a hearty soup that we can dip into all week with a chunk of hearty bread and a side salad. This is a great recipe for tailgate parties too – just serve it in some heavy duty plastic mugs.
White Bean, Sausage and Escarole Soup from ‘Gourmet Every Day’
Makes about 9 cups
1 lb. sweet Italian sausage
1 tbsp. olive oil
1-2 heads escarole (about 1 lb.), chopped
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
2 15 oz. cans chicken broth (I use low sodium and organic)
2 cups water
2 19 oz. cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
Squeeze sausage from casings into a 5-quart heavy pot and cook in oil over moderate heat, stirring to break up large lumps until golden. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon drippings.
Stir in escarole and garlic and saute over moderate high heat until escarole is wilted. Add chicken broth and water and simmer 5 minutes.
Mash half of cannellini beans with a potato masher or fork. Add all beans in mixture and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in cheese and season with salt and pepper.
P.S. When I designed our kitchen, I put the safety of our future children at the top of my want list. I am available to help you design a kitchen that works with your family in mind. You can learn more at Avery Design Interiors.