How has your week been? I hope it’s been a satisfying and productive one! It always feels good to check off those To-Do lists and free up the weekend, leaving lots of room for relaxation and ample time to be lazy with your favorite people. ♥
For *fun* this week (ha!), I established a blogging schedule that will help me remain focused and organized (and accountable!) as I write these posts. I will blog a minimum of 3 days out of the week (M,W,F), focusing on different aspects of my quest: teaching my kids how to cook.
My Blogging Schedule:
- Monday’s post: will sum up our progress from the previous week AND introduce our new meal plan for the current week.
- Wednesday’s post: will be a fun day to share tips & tricks I’ve learned when cooking with kids in the kitchen.
- Friday’s post: will be the perfect way to wrap it all up and share one of our favorite dinner dishes from the week, while covering all aspects of teaching my child to cook that specific meal. Since most of our dishes come from recipes I’ve found on the world-wide-web, we will also review the dish and make any recommendations; such as, adjustments to make it kid-friendly.
What’s in a name?
Friday’s posts will be nicknamed: Ditto Dinners! As the definition of Ditto literally means “to duplicate or repeat the action or statement of another person.”
I am excited to begin this series of Ditto Dinners and hope you enjoy reading…not only for the entertainment value it
hopefully provides, but also the helpful component of teaching kids how to follow a recipe and produce an appetizing dish.
So without further ado,…
Ditto Dinners: Part 1!
This week’s Ditto Dinner is brought to you by Patrick (age 9).
For his dinner on Wednesday night, Patrick’s menu selection consisted of *Chicken Noodle Soup, steamed broccoli, and Chex Muddy Buddies for dessert….YUM!
(*Side Note: One of these days I need to write out a simple recipe to share, but this “comfort food in a bowl” is comprised of chicken, veggies, noodles, and broth. For now, I will describe the process in pictures below.)
For this week’s highlighted dish, we chose to kick it up a notch and incorporate delicious and easy, Homemade Egg Noodles from the site Mel’s Kitchen Cafe. I’ve had her recipe in my stash for a few years now, and these noodles never fail to ramp up the flavor of our favorite soups and fill our bellies.
We started off by making the dough for the noodles so it could rest for an hour while we prepped the rest of the ingredients for the soup. (For reference, this meal would fall under ***, or 3 asterisks, category in my Dinner Suggestions index.)
Gathering all the ingredients:
- white flour
- baking powder
Such a simple recipe!
To prevent too much of one ingredient from getting into the mixture, have your child measure over another container/bowl before adding to the mixing bowl!
Teach him to use the flat surface of the measuring scoop, or the back of a butter knife, to level the ingredients in the measuring cup.
Teach your child to gently strike the egg on the counter, then dig his fingertips into the crack and pull apart as if he is prying open a box. This may take some practice! instruct him to crack the eggs into a separate bowl before adding to the mixture. This will prevent eggshell from ending up in your delicious noodles!
Just remember: PATIENCE is key and you LOVE you him! 😉 There’s nothing wrong with wasting a
dozen few eggs all in the name of teaching your kids to cook!
Add your wet ingredients to the already mixed dry ingredients for an even flavor throughout the dough.
Stir! Stir! Stir!
You might need to jump in and help at this point. He will need to help out in the kitchen for a while to build up those mixing muscles!
Not quite there yet…
The mixture will look slightly dry and crumbly. At this point, we dug in with our hands. Just knead it a few times…but no need to over work it. It’ll get there!
Now it’s time to cover and set aside while we prep our veggies. The recipe suggests letting the dough rest for one hour.
What a mess!
It’s a good idea to help your child learn to clean as they go. Not only will clean-up be a breeze at the end, but the work surface will remain sanitary.
Have your child use a chopping knife or other flat-edged utensil to scrape the flour into a pile for easy clean-up. Then use a wet rag to wipe up the rest of his work surface.
When your soup is ready for the noodles, sprinkle a good amount of flour on your work surface (you don’t want the dough to stick to the counter!) and instruct your child to shape the dough into a rectangle. Teach him to steadily roll the dough back and forth a few times, then to shift his body and roll back and forth the perpendicular (opposite) direction (side to side).
Again, your child may need you to help out with those adult arm muscles while his are still developing. But let him work at it as long as he is willing.
Remember! Don’t just jump in and take over if he is still having fun. Encourage him! Praise him! It does NOT have to remain in a perfect rectangle before cutting. These noodles are very forgiving and taste delicious in any shape. 😉
Starting to take shape!
We opted to cut the sheet of dough down the middle before cutting into strips. That minor adjustment to the recipe gave this little chef more control over the pizza cutter when cutting down the noodles.
Pile o’ noodles
Almost ready to eat!
Have him drop those tasty strips one by one into the pot of boiling soup. It only takes about 2-3 minutes for raw noodles to cook, so get your bowl’s ready!
Even his toughest critics approve. Great job, Patrick!
This meal was delicious! The epitome of comfort food. The noodles were soft and well-formed. Their shape and texture was very rustic and dumpling-like. And the flavor was delicious!
Although we make this dish quite frequently, it does take a wee bit more time than your average, busy day allows. Make sure you have at least an hour or two to devote to the kitchen. This will help relieve some pressure off you (to teach effectively) and allow your child to really let loose in developing those skills.
- Cutting the dough in half before cutting into strips really helped Patrick hone his skills with the pizza cutter. It can be a bit tricky to cut noodles all the same size!
- Measuring ingredients into one bowl, and then transferring to the main mixing bowl, allowed Patrick to have the most control of his ingredients. This is also a good idea when measuring multiple measurements of the same ingredient. For example: if a recipe calls for 7 cups of flour, have your child measure into a separate bowl while counting out the cups. That way, if they under-measure or over-measure, you can dump it back into the container and start over.
- Breaking eggs into a separate bowl (see above) and also having a dedicated bowl for the eggshells, meant less clean-up. AND we didn’t have to eat crunchy soup!
What would we change next time?:
Toward the end of our meal prep, we were in a hurry to make it to basketball practice. So…we rushed the entire process of rolling out the dough! More time would have allowed us to roll it out even thinner before cutting into strips. (See the recipe to learn how thin to roll the dough out.) Luckily this setback did NOT subtract from the taste!
Thank you for reading all about our first Ditto Dinner! We had so much fun creating this meal and sharing it with you. If you choose to make it with your kids, please come back to comment and tell me how it went! Also, be sure to comment on Mel’s blog and let her know how much you enjoyed her recipe! It’s one of our family’s favorites.