One of the things I’ve been working on this fall and winter is having the big kids prepare a complete meal every week or so. They can both read and have been helpers in the kitchen long enough that they have a pretty good grasp of basic kitchen safety and techniques.
As long as the menu is simple I can write the directions on the kitchen white board and be available for advice but not have to be all that involved (I can go in the living room and fold laundry or nurse the baby without a disaster occurring!).
This week I neglected to make a menu (complete lack of ideas on Sunday and then I got busy) but on Thursday while I was digging in the chest freezer for something else I found a bag of ground beef and I knew what Mouse could make!
Meatloaf! Always popular and a good choice for ground beef that had been in the freezer for several months as my recipe is fairly strongly flavored (advantage of being a medieval history buff- I consider it perfectly reasonable to use spices to hide slightly undesirable flavors! (and this meat was on the edge of being freezer burned, not bad tasting really, just needing improvement.))
On the whiteboard then:
Ajvar is a kind of roasted pepper puree that we get at the local international grocery. It adds a slight amount of heat and a nice rounded sweetness and I use it frequently.
Mouse looked at the recipe and decided how to begin.
First step was to grind the spices. She decided to measure everything in with the peppercorns and grind it together.
I carried the mortar over to the meat and dumped it for her as it is a bit heavy for her to manage.
Next she added the rest of the ingredients before touching the meat. I snapped a picture and went off to feed Daisy (who was trying to grab the phone, making for a blurry shot!).
Mouse called me to look and we added a bit more tomato. She pressed the meatloaf into the pan and put it in the oven.
Jack had been watching, so she got him to come downstairs and pick the vegetables out of the freezer. I try to serve two vegetables every night, so they picked green beans and corn and put them into two saucepans with water ready to cook. They also scrubbed the potatoes and poked holes in them with a fork, so I could put them into the oven.
I really love the way that she involves a younger sibling when she has cooking or cleaning to do!
About fifteen minutes before supper she turned on the vegetables and mixed up the meatloaf sauce (ketchup, brown sugar and Worcester Sauce), then set the table.
I checked the potatoes and discovered that they were baking really slowly due to their size. Nothing a quick five minutes in the microwave couldn’t fix!
Meatloaf is always popular around here and the boys were very complimentary of her cooking skills!
I think Bull had four servings! He said “I ate so much I need to sleep before I can get up from the table.”`