Together we chose recipes that the kids loved, and that were healthy and easy to prepare. Mediterranean Pasta was their hands-down favorite, and it has been prepared for family and friends numerous times.
We discussed what goes into a well-stocked pantry, and the importance of having all the ingredients measured before you start cooking, and of cleaning as you go.
Each day, we prepared an item or two (which we usually ate for dinner) until we checked off all of these items on our curriculum:
- Breakfast foods. Popular with most teenagers and easy to prepare, these were first on the list. Pancakes, omelets, and scrambled eggs are easy anytime meals.
- Beverages, ranging from a good cup of coffee to steeping hot and cold tea.
- Baked goods, including Mom's favorite oatmeal cookies, as well as muffins, breads, and doctoring cake mixes.
- Pasta cooking techniques, including quick-and-easy sauces and various combinations to increase vegetables and fiber in the meal.
- Seasonings, including tips on cutting an onion, mincing garlic and fresh herbs, as well as a list of cupboard must-haves.
- Grilling basics for poultry, steaks, burgers, and vegetables, suitable for the portable grill.
- Soups, stews, and crock pot dishes. All make inexpensive, nutritious, and filling meals.
- Ethnic cuisine, including favorite recipes for tacos, spaghetti, and simple stir-fry dishes.
- Multiple ways to prepare chicken and ground beef.
- Simple salads that can serve as side dishes or main meals.
Handle With Care
Kids in the kitchen are not always the neatest, and germs run rampant on college campuses. You can't be too careful when it comes to proper food handling.Mom 101 (and my daughter's advanced-level course, Mom 201) put great emphasis on the importance of proper dishwashing, soaking utensils, and cleaning up after meals. Food safety, hand washing, cleaning of sponges and cutting boards, sanitizing the workspace, proper food storage, leftovers, and using thermometers in both the freezer and refrigerator were addressed.
One More Thing Before You Leave
It was difficult for me to say good-bye to my son three years ago, and it's going to be even harder when I take my daughter to school this fall. Spending this special time with each of my children gave me a wonderful opportunity to impart some domestic wisdom, but, more important, it was cherished time to be together.