Monday, January 30, 2012

Cooking with Kids - Creamy Garlic Penne


I've involved my kids with cooking and food prep, pretty much since they could stand on a chair and add chocolate chips to cookies.   As they each get a little older, I've taught them more and more skills in the kitchen.  My 7 year old is now pretty sufficient at the basics like making sandwiches, orange juice and snacky food.  He often will get his younger brother and sister drinks and snacks on a Saturday morning allowing me to sleep in just a little bit longer.  A couple of weeks ago, my husband went out of town for just over a week.  At some point while he was gone our son decided that he wanted to make his dad a special meal to welcome him home.  I have to laugh because my husband confessed to me that he was expecting hot dogs and Kraft Dinner, but was prepared to like whatever it was our dear boy had prepared.  He was pleased and blown away with what recipe was served to him.   
Our son just loves Penne pasta.  It's his favorite, so he asked me to help find him a good penne recipe that he could make for Dad.  I found this one on  There were not a lot of ingredients, it had easy to follow directions and it was tasty!  All key points in letting a child do the cooking.  It is also a quick recipe to make, taking about half an hour all together.  I was working right beside him to keep him on track, but he did the majority of it himself.  There were a few things I wouldn't let him do (nor, would it have been safe at his age) - like drain the boiling hot noodles, but the measuring, stirring and mixing he handled quite well.

Here's the recipe:
  • 1 (1 lb) box penne cooked as directed, drained and kept hot
  • 2 tablespoons butter 
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced (he crushed them through a garlic press)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth 
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons parsley flakes
  • grated pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese (we didn't have quite this much parmesan cheese on hand, so we used about a 1/4 cup of that and added a couple of slices of havarti to the mix)


  1. Melt butter and add garlic in a medium sauce pan.
  2. Cook over medium for 1 minute.
  3. Add flour and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  4. Stir in broth and milk and cook, stirring frequently, until sauce boils and thickens.
  5. Add parsley, pepper and cheese. *my kids won't eat anything with parsley in it, so we left it out and just sprinkled a bit on top of Dad's and mine to look 'fancy'
  6. Stir until cheese is melted.
  7. Toss hot pasta with sauce and serve immediately.

My boy stirring the sauce on the stove.

Mixing the noodles and sauce together.

Dinner is served.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Snowman Cupcakes

Have I mentioned yet my new found love of Pinterest? Of course, if you are crafty you probably already know about it and are more than slightly hooked on it. Well, my daughter turns 2 tomorrow. We aren't having her party until next weekend, but I couldn't let the day pass without something special. I decided to make cupcakes for her to take to daycare and share with the kids there. I searched 'cupcakes' on Pinterest and my goodness there are some amazing cupcakes out there! Wow! I needed something fairly simple though and I saw these. Aren't they cute? My daughter loves snowmen so this is perfect. The eyes and mouth are upside down chocolate chips and the nose are cut up pieces of fruit gummies - so simple.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Maritime Christmas, make that New Year's Feast!

I was sick, and I mean the kind of sick where you don't move for a few days kind of sick over Christmas. We still had our turkey dinner, but I didn't make it. In fact, I didn't eat it. But my husband and our guests (good friends who understood me sleeping on the couch) enjoyed it. Thank goodness my husband knows how to cook (and well!). By New Year's I was feeling well enough to eat, just not well enough to go anywhere and do anything New Years-ish. I had also been seeing a lot of friend's Christmases on Facebook. It seemed every family I know who lives here in our little village, or one of the nearby villages bought lobster pretty much right off the boat for their Christmas Feasts. I haven't had lobster since just before we moved away to Toronto a couple of years ago, and now being back here, it just fits. So for New Year's we had Surf and Turf. Jonathan marinated a couple of t-bone steaks with his own special seasoning rub and I picked up 2 lobsters. Here are a few photos of our little feast. Did I mention Jonathan did up his own homemade onion rings and deep fried shrimp to go with it all?
 Giving the lobsters a little last run.

 The feast.
 mmm lobster!
 steak with shrimp

*Sorry, no recipes this time - just the pictures!

Monday, January 2, 2012

BLT with a twist - guest post

If you know me well, you know I didn't make this and I didn't eat it either. Much to the amazement of my friends and family who swear by it, I can't eat bacon. But my husband is among those who just love bacon. And this is his creation. 
Bored with your BLT ?

Try this one on for size. It is a BLT with a twist.

Preheat your oven to 350. Next grab two baking sheets.
Lay out your bacon onto the sheets. Mix the following seasonings together:
Granulated garlic, onion powder, Cajun spice, and a dash of Jerk Seasoning.
The mix should be 2/3rd garlic and onion powder and 1/3rd Cajun and Jerk seasoning. Next sprinkle this mixture over the bacon evenly. It is good to have a moderate coating of the spice.

Bake the bacon at 350 for 10-15 min. or until desired crispness is reached.

Slice some fresh tomatoes. Toast a hoagie bun lightly. Add mayo. When the bacon is cooked, take 3 or four strips per sandwich and cut it into chunks (this prevents a whole strip of bacon from coming out of the sandwich on your first bite). Layer tomato slices over the bacon and sprinkle fresh oregano over the tomatoes- just a light dusting.

Cut the sandwich in half, et voila. A delicious twist on a classic sandwich. Add lettuce if you must.