My daughter wanted to cook dinner this week while I chose the ingredients. I told her while she cooked that I was going to sit back and drink some wine. She pointed out that I would have to help her with the stove. I have such short-lived dreams. I still chose some pretty easy ingredients for her first time to ease her into cooking by herself. I chose:
- Jack Daniel’s BBQ sauce
- Frozen/Roasted Sweet Potato Slices
- Plain Bagels
- Organic Free-Range Chicken wings
Right away, my daughter wanted to make croutons with the bagels. I guess she remembered the last time I did it with Hawaiian bread. So, I said, “Get to choppin.” She told me she couldn’t use a knife, and I had to cut it. I told her I wasn’t doing anything and gave her a knife, while she retrieved the cutting board. My knife was too dull to continue (I feel like there should be an infomercial pitch here somewhere), so she ended up tearing them in pieces. Overwhelmed by the smell of the bread, she couldn’t help but inhale its doughy goodness and asked if she could start eating. But being the kitchen Nazi that I am, I said there’s much more to do. We put the bagel pieces on a sheet pan, covered it with avocado oil, and put it in the oven. I taught her my 350° rule and told her to remember that it was in there, because I would surely forget.
Her next plan was to “put the BBQ sauce on the chicken.” Of course, we had to cook it first in a pan. I told her to put in some oil and heat up the pan. Then, I helped her open the package even though I hate touching raw chicken, but I didn’t want her to touch it.
Me: “Don’t touch the chicken and, then, touch your mouth.”
My daughter: “Why can’t you touch the chicken and touch your mouth.”
Me: “Because it’ll make you sick.”
My daughter: “You touched it.”
Me: “Yeah, but I washed my hands.”
My daughter: “Oh, I thought you meant because it tastes gross.”
I helped her put the wings in because she didn’t like the oil splattering, but I hate that part, too. I have been told, in the past, to get over it, because it’s a part of cooking. I wasn’t going to tell that to my six year old though. I asked her to look through the spice cabinet and see if she wanted to add any spices to the chicken. She smelled each one and decided she liked the smell of garlic salt. She continued to sprinkle some, little by little, on each wing, in the slowest way possible.
While the chicken cooked, we checked the croutons and she said they looked ready. After pulling them out, she got the salad supplies from the fridge and tore some lettuce. We usually put apples on our salad, but she went with green grapes and, of course, carrots. She, then, had the idea to put the chicken on top of the salad after it was cooked to make a “chicken salad.” I reminded her that she still had to do something with the frozen sweet potatoes. I helped her brainstorm by asking about different ways she has eaten potatoes. She came up with the idea to turn them into mashed sweet potatoes. We started to boil them in a pot.
After getting them soft enough, I asked her if she wanted to add anything to them. She added cinnamon and butter. The we mashed them in the blender. I told her to try them, so she could decide if it needed anything else before serving.
That was not a hopeful result. I can’t wait to try it…
When the chicken finished, she put in the BBQ sauce and mixed it up. We added the chicken to the salad and put ranch dressing on top and the sweet potatoes on the side. It was time to eat.
The salad was tasty with the chicken wings and a healthy dinner idea. I wouldn’t have thought of the salad idea, so I’m glad she did. My daughter and I did not finish our potatoes. She had actually asked me kindly not to give her any. I tried them…and they tasted like perfume. I don’t think it was her fault, though. Frozen AND roasted sweet potatoes are not meant to be mashed. It was worth it, however, when she told me, “Mama, it’s fun cooking [because] I’m doing stuff…instead of waiting and waiting and waiting.”