Sunday, July 12, 2015

Cooking Lesson Two - Lasagna

During this lesson, we had Princess Flame (aka Logan) and her sister, Princess Dragonfly (aka Macy). Princess Frost was unable to make this lesson (sad face), but all three will be there for Lesson Three.
I got this recipe for lasagna from my younger sister Ruth, who got it from someone she knew who got it from her grandmother who is from Italy. So there. I think I have that right.

Again, we planned the time of when we wanted everything to be finished and worked our way through the day. Because I'm limited on the number of pots and pans I have, we decided we'd cook our lasagna noodles while we browned the ground beef and sausage.

This way, after the noodles were finished, we could start on the sauce. Yes, the sauce was made from scratch... no Ragu going on here. They used tomato paste, sauce, tomatoes, oregano, basil from the garden, bay leaves, salt, pepper and some sugar.

Then they simmered their sauce...

While that was cooking, they made some chocolate mug cakes.

Then they grated parmesan.

And mixed the ricotta with egg.
They layered the lasagna.
While baking they found time to work on the puzzle.
And their finished lasagna!

Cooking lesson three will be pot roast and scalloped potatoes... and perhaps some dessert too!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Lesson One - Fried Chicken, Part Two

If you haven't read, Part One, go here now.

We got up, had breakfast and started with figuring out how much time everything was going to take and listing those times to know when to start what. Since we didn’t want to start the chicken until it was closer to time to eat, we began with making the shortcake. Princess Frost couldn’t wait to get her hands on that KitchenAid mixer.

Here they are with their prepared pans.

Next came the mixing.

And we can’t forget to add LOVE into everything we cook. Grandpa designed the covers for these old spice cans. Aren’t they the cutest?

I was neglectful in taking pictures the entire time, but while the cake was baking in the oven, I told the girls we could cut up the strawberries. Princess Frost wanted them sliced, while Princess Flame preferred chunked, and saving a few whole. I suggested that whatever you can do ahead of time, it’s better to do. That way you have more time at the end when you are really scrambling to put everything together to be served. Keeps things less stressful.

We were non-stop the entire time, except to have a bite of lunch.

Next was peeling potatoes. I thought I had the same kind of peelers. Princess Frost was having more difficulty than Princess Flame. I told them to switch peelers. Apparently they were not the same. This gave them an idea of how tools make all the difference. I dug out some julienne peelers—for some reason I have three and not sure if I’ve ever used them. But you can peel with them as well. They tried those and one of the three worked super easy… better than the regular potato peeler. We all learned something.

With time left, and still not ready to get working on the chicken, I told them they could set the table. I said, “You can set it as fancy or as simple as you wish.” They got pretty excited about this and ran downstairs to my craft area to make menus and name place cards. I dug out my cloth napkins to ask which ones they wanted to use. They chose white because then they’d pick out a colored ribbon to tie them with.

Oh, we decided to have their families come to the house for this dinner as it would be too difficult to keep fried chicken crispy and all the other goodies warm to drive home with.

Gold was their prime color theme and they had everything matching by the time they were done. I had to tell them to speed it up a bit as it was close to the time we needed to start on the chicken. After all, we had to cut up the chicken.

The girls were grossed out by the feel of a dead chicken, but after a while, they didn’t think it was so bad. Princess Frost played with hers. The feel of the liver, heart and gizzard gagged them a bit and they thought it was disgusting. I was like, mmmm, those parts are yummy.


I had the girls do EVERYTHING themselves, except cutting the chicken. I have a hard time cutting chicken and I didn’t want to spend time in the ER having a finger sewed on. As I cut their chicken, they dredged it in flour.

I have to add that I thought it was ironic that they wanted to learn to fry chicken. When I was their age, that was one of the first meals I attempted to prepare… only I didn’t have anyone showing me how. My mom had passed away, and I decided that I could make fried chicken like she did. Oh how wrong I was. The skin stuck to the pan, my potatoes were lumpy and my gravy resembled cat vomit with an inch of oil on top. My little sister protested, “I’m not eating that!” My dad dug in, told me how good it was and he’d brag to my friends, “Lynn makes the best fried chicken.” Forty years later I found out that my dad threw up that meal after he ate it—I had prepared fried chicken for him again, this time just like my mom’s. I told my kids about my first attempt and asked dad if he remembered. He chuckled and told me he puked! What?

I told them I sprinkle salt and pepper on my chicken every time I turn the chicken. Since the salt and pepper shakers didn’t work to their satisfaction, I told them to take the lids off and just sprinkle that way… although I meant with their fingers. I watched Princess Flame sprinkle with the lid off and a nice little mound of salt sat on her chicken. She scraped it off and worried it’d be salty, but I assured her that it would just end up in the grease and then she wouldn’t need to use any when making gravy. That’s exactly what happened.

After they fried their “spare” parts, (liver, gizzard and heart) the girls actually tried them. Without ANY coaxing on my part, I swear. I was impressed. Princess Frost spit hers in the trash after chewing for a bit. Princess Flame washed hers down with water, very quickly. But still, I have to give them credit for trying it.

Oh, I also poured the grease out of the pans for the gravy making. The pans can be heavy and when they are hot on top of it, well, we didn’t want any serious accidents.

The girls ushered their families away from the kitchen when they arrived. 

After everything was on the table, they brought them in. Oohs and aahs could be heard… well the two boys (Princess Frost’s brothers) looked less than thrilled. I watched them gobble the food though. Everyone loved it. Princess Frost asked her dad if he really meant it because after hearing Grandma’s story about her dad, she had her doubts. He assured her and so did I. This meal was nothing like the one I had prepared my first time.

Someone asked while at the table how they liked cooking. They both said they liked it, but that it was a lot of work. Tell me brother. It really was fun though!
Look at those desserts
Lucas (Princess Frost's twin) had seconds of dessert

Next lesson… lasagna... along with another new cook... Princess Flame's sister, Macy aka Princess Dragonfly.