Adventures in cooking

So after whining about my picky eater, both of my children scarfed down firsts and seconds of dinner tonight. Of course, it fit on Bella's short list of desirable meals: fruit, cheese, yogurt, some mixture of tomato sauce and noodles.

Tonight's dinner was lasagna, salad, and garlic bread. Bella signed more and please after inhaling her first plate - which was definitely on the skimpy side considering I never know what she'll eat. Javi, on the other hand, had two pretty big portions (for a 7 yo).

But, I figured out a secret to get Javi to eat: let him cook with me. I have so far avoided getting a kid helper because I get annoyed quickly and I'd rather hurry up and get the cooking done.

However, Javi really wanted to help me make chicken noodle soup last night, so I gave in. He helped me shred chicken (left over from a whole chicken we cooked on Wednesday night), peel bouillion cubes, and dump frozen veggies into the soup pot. He then helped me stir and, when everything was boiling, he helped me add tri-color rotini.

He was a great little chef and took a lot of pride in helping. When we sat down to dinner, it was as though he was vibrating with excitement that this was a meal he had helped cook. And the soup was delicious, which helped!

So tonight when we decided to have lasagna, I asked him if he wanted to help. Of course he did! He got out all the ingredients while I chopped onion to cook with the hamburger. Then, while I browned the meat/onions, he mixed together ricotta cheese, an egg, my favorite mixture of spices, and shredded cheese. By then the water for the noodles was boiling, so I let him salt the water and add the noodles one by one.

He also helped stir the tomato sauce into the meat mixture and layer all the ingredients. We then set the timer for 35 minutes (gotta make sure that egg is cooked!) and cleaned up our mess.

It was slightly annoying that he asked me 800 times "is it ready yet?" and I answered 800 times "not until the timer goes off." But the good definitely outweighed the bad and now that I've seen how he devours the food he cooked, I plan to involve him in cooking as often as possible.

However - there are certain meals he doesn't need persuading to try, including macaroni and cheese, grilled shrimp, pizza, roasted chicken, spaghetti, and peanut butter sandwiches. He is a 7 yo, you know!


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