February 13, 2017
Family Day weekend means eating together - we’ll have the extended family over for brunch and dinner, likely an enormous lasagna or pot of spaghetti and meatballs, which always makes everyone happy. But I love the process of cooking together almost as much as eating together, and gathering your kids in the kitchen to help chop, measure and stir not only provides you with an activity that doesn’t involve a computer screen, it teaches important cooking skills they’ll have for life. And at the end, dinner’s ready.
When we were kids, my sisters and I each had a night of the week when we were responsible for dinner - planning and prepping - we’d have to let my mom know what to pick up at the store. It was empowering to get to make that decision for everyone, and we learned a lot about menu planning, timing and meal prep. I haven’t gone that far with my own son yet, but I do often call him into the kitchen to help. Perhaps we’ll make a night of it every week.
It’s nice to have a few things you know how to cook really well - and helpful for kids, once they leave home, to have the knowledge to make at least a few staples. Everyone loves spaghetti and meatballs, and rolling the meat mixture into balls is a perfect activity for little hands. I have a recipe for meatballs that simmer right in the pot of sauce, so you don’t have to worry too much about them being even. Lasagna is something everyone loves - and is more fun to layer with someone. I like to make two while I’m at it, and freeze one to bake later (bake it straight from frozen, adding t10 minutes or so onto the cooking time.) I like to make quick baguettes (really!) to go with them when I have a full table - there’s not much better than warm bread with saucy pasta, especially in the middle of winter.
Butter chicken is also a hit around our house, particularly with the cousins - everyone is so amazed that it can be made from scratch, this weekend I’ll enlist some help and teach them how. (It can be made with boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, or if you have kids who don’t like curry, pick up a deli chicken, feed them the legs and chop the rest of the meat to add to your curry.) Homemade naan is also fun to make when you have some time - soft and chewy, cooked in a hot cast iron skillet for those of us who don’t have a tandoor in our kitchens.
And on weekend mornings, waffles (or pancakes) are essential; I’ve been making them for so long, I’ll get someone else on waffle duty. (Most pancake batter can be cooked in a waffle iron, and vice versa.) There are few better breakfasts than a crisp waffle with butter, tart-juicy blueberries and real maple syrup.
Happy family day weekend, everyone!
lean ground beef
boneless skinless chicken breasts
dry lasagna noodles
We’re looking at ways to make breakfast not just more important, but more interesting, and something you’ll look forward to each morning.
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