One of my big projects this year has been teaching the boys to cook.
One might assume that as a food blogger and cookbook author, something like this would come easy to me.
I am here to tell you that I may have gotten the cooking gene, but I sure as heck didn't get the teaching two maniac boys to cook gene.
Some days it requires patience I don't have.
Picture this. Me in a clean kitchen, with all of the ingredients for dinner carefully measured and neatly lined up. The recipe we are working has been typed up and is sitting on the counter.
A toddler running around, most likely finding the one sharpie marker in the house that was within her reach and drawing on herself, the wall and the clean laundry with it during the 60 seconds I turn my back.
Two boys, so excited to finally be in the kitchen with Mom (I've held them off for years - #badmom) that they can hardly contain their enthusiasm and start dumping things while I'm off dealing with a sharpie covered toddler.
One of said excited boys cracks an egg and adds it to the dish because "his brother got to crack one and they needed to keep it even." This egg was not called for in the recipe.
There is suddenly flour on the floor, even though we aren't baking and our recipe only called for a tablespoon.
In the blink on an eye my kitchen suddenly looks like the boys room a week after Christmas, with not a clean surface to be found.
I'm only half joking guys.
In truth, we have had our challenges.
(Like the fact that my conscious prevents me from lassoing Skye while we are cooking.)
But I'm totally impressed with their progress.
I have no doubt that more than one woman is going to thank me some day because my boys are becoming....gulp...self sufficient. This is a fact that I like a whole lot more in practical use (when they are doing the cooking) than I do when I stop and think about how big they are now.
Today's casserole is the perfect example of the kinds of things they are learning to make.
What about you? When did you teach your little one's to cook? Were you a natural or did it test your patience?
Cheesy Tomato Basil Casserole with Quinoa Penne
- 1 onion chopped fine
- 1 green bell pepper seeded and chopped
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 28 ounces crushed tomatoes
- 16 ounces tomatoes with onions and peppers
- 8 ounces tomato sauce
- 1 pinch coconut palm sugar or organic sugar
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil chopped
- 16 ounces quinoa penne
- 8 ounces mozzarella cheese
- 4 ounces parmesan cheese
- ½ cup fresh basil chopped fine
- Spray a saucepan with oil and add onion and bell pepper. Cook for 8 minutes, until tender. Add garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, sugar, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to low. Cook for 35 minutes. Stir in basil.
- Cook pasta according to package directions.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Spoon ½ cup of sauce into a 13x9 baking dish. Add half of the penne, half of the mozzarella and parmesan. Top with ½ of the remaining sauce. Add remaining penne and top with remaining sauce and cheese. Bake for 20 minutes.
- Stop with remaining basil and serve.