Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Valentine's Day for Kids: Share Your Love of Cooking With Your Child

Valentine's Day for Kids: 
Cooking is a great way to spend 
Valentine's Day with your child!

Like to cook? Why not pass your love of cooking on to your child? A great way to spend time together is to make a Valentine’s Day meal!
A wonderful way to start the day cooking with your child is by making homemade pancakes! The best recipe is Favorite Pancakes, a recipe that was in a cookbook my grandmother gave me for my thirteenth birthday, and it’s the same recipe I make for my own children now. Here it is:
Stir together 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, 3 tsp. baking powder, 1 tbsp. sugar, and ½ tsp. salt. Set aside. In a smaller bowl, combine 1 beaten egg, 1 cup milk, and 2 tbs. cooking oil. Add to dry ingredients, and stir just until moistened. (For thinner pancakes, add 2 tbsp. more milk.) Bake on hot, lightly greased griddle using ¼ cup batter for each 4 in. pancake or 2 tbsp. batter for each dollar-sized pancake. Makes eight 4-inch or 16 dollar-sized pancakes.
Pending the age of your child, one of the great non-cooking activities you can do with your child is to make submarine sandwiches together! My father seldom cooked while I was growing up, but when he did, his favorite thing to make us was submarine sandwiches. Before assembly, cut a three-foot loaf of French bread or Cuban bread in half from one length to the other. Also, cut luncheon meats in half, creating half circles. My father always used to use Munster cheese instead of the traditional American cheese. Try it! I promise you won’t regret it. Also, slice fresh tomatoes into a bowl, and fresh onions slices in another (if desired). Now comes the assembly! Sprinkle Wishbone Italian dressing over the insides of both halves of the bread. Next, place the luncheon meat of your choice over the bottom half, overlapping the pieces slightly. Then, add another layer of another type of meat. Add a layer of cheese, and tomato slices over the meat. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. (Sea salt is best.) Add torn lettuce. (Cut lettuce will brown quicker.) Last, add fresh onion slices, if desired. Sprinkle with more Italian dressing, place the “top” on the sandwich, cut into desired slice sizes, and serve! Add chips and it’s a casual Valentine’s Day meal you will always remember!
But if you’d like to really cook, then make homemade pizza with your child! First, get the Chef Boyardee pizza double pack.* Next, prepare the dough as instructed in a glass bowl, open the oven door and place a dishtowel down on the open door. Set the glass bowl as close as you can to the heat as you can and cover with another dishtowel. Wait five minutes. (The heat activates the yeast in the dough.) Next, oil a large, round pizza pan as well as your clean fingertips. (Your child will love this!) Push out the dough from the center to the edges, careful not to tear the dough. However, if dough tears just pinch it back together and it will seal nicely. Then, spread pizza sauce over the dough, leaving the edges bare. Place pepperoni; fried, crumbled sausage; vegetables; or items of your choice on the top. Last, sprinkle shredded Mozzarella cheese over the top. Bake on 400 degrees on the top shelf until edges of crust and cheese are golden brown, about 10-13 minutes. Once the pizza is cool, enjoy the pizza with your family … but enjoy the memories even more!
*NOTE: Martha White packaged pizza dough mix can be used instead and is just as delicious!
Now for desert! Homemade S’mores! Although the ideal way to make s’mores is on the open campfire, they’re great in the microwave, too! Just place two graham cracker squares on a plate. Then, place half of a chocolate bar on top, along with a marshmallow. Microwave for 15-20 seconds, place another double graham cracker square on top and enjoy!
No matter what recipe you make, the most important thing is spending time cooking with your child. Some of the best memories I have of my family is when we cooked together. Create lots of memories, and a fabulous meal, too!

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