Although I like to cook, one thing I hate doing is deciding what to make for dinner every night. Because of this, I started doing "Kids Dinner Nights" at our house. Riley and Kaiya each have one night a week where they help plan and prepare dinner. At the beginning of each month, we sit down together and brainstorm a list of dinners, then we get out the calendar and the kids choose what they want to make for each of their dinner nights. They have to plan well-balanced meals that include fruits and veggies and no one is allowed to repeat the same meal twice in a month. So far, our dinner nights have been a big success. Riley and Kaiya enjoy the one-on-one time with me making dinner and there are two less nights a week that I have to dream up what to make!
Here are a few of the kids favorite "kid friendly" recipes that they like to make:
These end up on the menu nearly every month. They are fun for the kids to make and they love how they taste.
8 oz cream cheese, softened (I usually use fat free to make it a little healthier)
2 cans chicken
1 tsp dried minced onion
salt and pepper to taste
2 cans crescent rolls (reduced fat work well too)
Combine cream cheese, chicken, onion, salt and pepper. Mix well. Open crescent roll cans and lay dough triangles out on the counter. Place a large scoop of the chicken mixture on each triangle. Fold edges of dough around the chicken mixture and pinch together so that there are no holes. Place bundles on a cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 13 minutes, or until golden brown. Makes 16 bundles.
Optional: to make this dinner a little fancier, use sliced green onions in place of the dried onion and add one can of mushrooms (diced) to the chicken mixture. Dip each bundle in melted butter and roll in Italian bread crumbs before placing on the cookie sheet. Serve with a chicken gravy made from one can cream of chicken soup mixed with a half can of water.
Another variation: instead of making "bundles", make "pillows"-- fuse two triangle dough pieces together to make a rectangle. Place a large scoop of the chicken mixture on each rectangle. Fold over and pinch edges. Makes 8 pillows.
Bread Bowls with Soup
These are a good comfort food for winter and the kids think it is so fun to eat out of the bread bowl.
Super Easy Version:
Thaw one loaf of Rhodes bread dough for about 2 hours. Cut into four pieces and shape into balls. Place on greased cookie sheet. Cover and let rise for about 3-4 more hours. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Cool. Slice off top and scoop out middle, then fill with your favorite soup or chili.
"From Scratch" Version:
Layer the following ingredients in a bread machine:
1 cup warm water
1 T shortening
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 cups flour
3 T sugar
1/3 cup dried milk
1 T instant yeast
Set bread machine on "dough" cycle. When finished, divide dough into four balls and place on greased cookie sheet. Cover and let rise about one hour. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
We had this meal at our church Christmas Party last year (hence the name) and it has become one of Riley's favorite dinners. I know it is almost an oxymoron to call it Bethlehem Pork, since the people of Bethlehem were Jewish and did not eat pork, but from what I understand, there wasn't enough money in the budget to get beef for the Christmas party, so pork was substituted, and the name stuck at our house!
2 lb pork loin roast (I like the kind from Costco that comes individually wrapped in a 4-pack)
1 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. rosemary
1/2 T. minced onion
¾ t. salt
1 t. oregano
1/2 t. marjoram
1/2 t. celery seed
1/4 t. red pepper
Mix all the seasonings together. Sprinkle over meat and gently rub in. Cook meat in crock pot (with just a little broth/water to cover the bottom) on LOW for 8-9 hours, or until meat pulls apart easily. Shred and stuff in pita pocket and serve. The kids love the pita pockets, but I actually like it better wrapped in a tortilla or on the new Orowheat Sandwich Thins.
Fruit Sundae Cones
waffle cones (one per person)
mixed fruit (we usually use strawberries, bananas, grapes and blueberries)
vanilla yogurt (our favorite is the Archer Farms fat-free vanilla yogurt from Target)
Layer yogurt and fruit in cones and enjoy!
Ryder, Riley and Rustin enjoying the results of Kids Dinner Night
Here are a few more recent pictures:
In other news, Jayson gave our website a new face lift. Check it out HERE. Now if only I can talk him into giving the blog an updated look as well!