Ok the title of this post was a bit of an exaggeration. My oldest daughter really is a pretty good helper in the kitchen and does a great job. I really need to start giving her more responsibility in the kitchen so that she can learn to cook for herself someday. You know, that whole growing a productive human being thing. It sucks sometimes.
Last week I received an email asking if I would be interested in blogging about a new healthy Monday campaign, Kids Cook Monday. Kids cook Monday is trying to encourage getting kids in involved in the kitchen and family dinners by having them help prepare the meals and starting off the week with a sit down family dinner. The campaign organizers are looking for bloggers to write about family dinner nights and recipes. Well, that pretty much sums me up. We sit down as a family to eat together and talk about our days most nights. It's the one time when my kids sit still and talk to us and not AT us.
There is a ton of great reasons to have your kids help out in the kitchen. They are more likely to eat what they cook, food tends to be healthier when it is homemade, teaching math skills, and parent/child bonding time are just a few. My personal and totally selfish reason is because the more I teach them, the less I have to do myself.. I seriously have a master plan where the kids will take over all the household duties and I will just manage and delegate while sipping a mojito. Yes, I realize that is totally not going to happen and not the point, but every middle aged housewife has a dream and this is mine. Realistically, I want them to be able to take care of themselves when they aren't with me. I don't want them bringing me their laundry and asking me to fill their freezers when their 30, so might as well teach them young!
I decided to kick this week off with a bit of a cheat meal. I found myself with a ton of bread leftover from a batch party earlier in the week, so I decided that a wonderful french toast casserole would be the best use for it. There are several great recipes in a cookbook I found called , You've Got it Made by Diane Phillips.
The first one is a triple chocolate french toast. I didn't have 3 kinds of chocolate on hand so it is all semi-sweet, but other wise we followed the recipes pretty closely. Ashley ( my oldest) has enough experience in the kitchen that I was able to just hand her the cookbook and let her go to it (with a bit of direction) while I did some other cooking in the kitchen with her. She is almost 11 and really loves the independence and feeling like she did it on her own.
This french toast recipe started with 8 eggs, but we used eggbeaters to try to combat some of the fat coming later.
Yeah that fat? Here it is- 2 cups of heavy cream.
Oh and you can't forget the cup of sugar.
And the ton of bread
Ashley favorite part was adding in the chocolate chips.
She mixed it all up in the bowl in spread it in a 9*13 pan. We covered it in Press- n-seal and then a layer of foil before sticking it in the freezer until her birthday morning in a couple weeks.
The next recipe was a PB&J french toast. We decided that this would be a could breakfast to have the morning after her dad returned from a week long work trip. He usually handles weekend breakfast duty, so this would give him a chance to relax his first morning in.
Basically she started by mixing the bread in with the custard she had made of egg, peanut butter and cream. This was fun for her because she got to use my Kitchenaid stand mixer that NO ONE gets to use. :) Then she put half of the bread mixture in the 9*13 pan.
Then she dotted the top with Raspberry preserves and spread it over the bread. Then she topped it with the other half of the bread mixture.
Ashley sprinkled peanuts over the top as a finishing touch. She was very proud of her dish and could wait for her daddy to see it!
Oh and we also learned the important lesson of labeling things. There is nothing like pulling a tin of "mystery dinner" out of the freezer. Sharpies are our friends. She even included the cooking instructions so we wouldn't have to look for the book.
I wish I could say that I have a finished product picture of this, but I don't. My husband nicely let me sleep in on that morning and when I got to the kitchen, the entire pan had been pretty much devoured. There was a corner left for me, but it had obviously been a big hit. The consistency was more like a bread pudding than a french toast, but the flavor was great. It was not nearly as sweet as I had expected, but that may have been because we used natural peanut butter with no sweetener and sugar free preserves. It was definitely sweet, but not send you to the dentist immediately sweet.
Hopefully I will be able to get a finished product picture of the Chocolate French toast to post. Until then get your kids in the kitchen! Someday it might help you get an evening off.