Cooking with the kiddos

I don’t know about you, but when my boys grow up and leave our nest, I want them to have some mad skills in the homemaking department. These skills include: cleaning up the bathroom (inclusive of putting the seat down), ironing and baking at least 5 complete meals.

Yesterday, we worked on one of those meals.  It’s kind of a cheat meal, but that’s okay in my book! I bought a bag of frozen, stuffed giant pasta shells at the HEB. We already had a large jar of Ragu. Can you guess what main dish this became? I know you can.  Hayden and Carter made this for dinner. Simply grease a casserole pan, then pour one cup of sauce in the bottom. Place giant shells in the pan next. You can line them up in rows or you can be more random. Pour more sauce over the top. The amount is up to your personal taste. We used at least 2 cups. We sprinkled 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese on top and, just because, we decided to add 1/2 c shredded parmesan cheese over that. It makes a nice crust. We like nice cheesy crusts on our foods. The parmesan is a favorite of Carter. He really has strong feelings about it. Really. Strong.  Cover with greased foil (I feel I should tell you to put the greased side down on the casserole dish, not facing up) and bake for 1 hour. The boys made a nice tossed salad to go with this. It was lovely.

At dinner, I told them that someday, they were going to want to impress some girl by cooking for them and this was a great standby, quick meal. Great if you are entertaining a vegetarian as well. They are very picky people. (That’s for you, Erin)

So now you are probably wondering what other meals/dishes the Briggs Boys make, aren’t you? Here’s a partial list. I am keeping some of it a secret just in case you are the parent of the beforementioned girl they’ll impress someday!


Roasted whole Chicken


Scrambled Eggs (Carter does not make this because he hates eggs)

Boursin Cheese Dip (A Taylor specialty)

We keep adding to the list. It makes me happy. They make me happy when we come to the table and they are so proud of their work. Love.

In other news, the garden is IN. I am so excited. I wish it was bigger. I have visions of me in an apron and bonnet, a la Ma Ingalls, harvesting and “putting up” my crop. Given the size of my garden plot, that harvest should take me about 15 minutes. It’s a good start, though! I am trying square foot gardening and my book promises me I’ll have more cucumbers than I can imagine just by planting 4 plants and growing them vertically. I hope so. I have pickles on the brain. Sweet pickles. No bread and butter pickles for me.  I’ll try and take pictures as we progress but you have to promise not to laugh at my efforts, okay? Thanks.

I have no idea what’s on the menu for this week. I haven’t worked on it at all. I do have a chocolate chip cake in the oven right now, though. It makes me think about my sweet mother in love. It’s her recipe and always a hit. I wish she was in my kitchen right now sharing stories and wisdom while we waited for it to bake…



4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Christina
    Mar 07, 2010 @ 23:45:50

    I loved reading this, Janna!


  2. Jenn
    Mar 08, 2010 @ 01:22:03

    Loved this post! Please tell Carter to try his best to learn to make the scrambled eggs. A certain little Smith girl is in love with eggs, especially boiled and scrambled 😉 I can smell your yummy cake from here and the love between both of the Briggs women that makes it all the more sweet.


  3. Elaine
    Mar 08, 2010 @ 12:57:31

    Enjoyed your blog today. Nancy has been on my mind a lot lately. Isn’t it fun to make a recipe that reminds you of a loved one.


  4. Janna
    Mar 08, 2010 @ 15:26:53


    Jenn- I will try and tell him. Maybe that will work for him. 🙂

    Elaine, she is very much on our minds down here. It is hard to be so far. I wish I could be near her. We will be coming up very soon.

    Christina – Thanks! I love reading your blog!


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