I posted the photo below of our last night's supper on Facebook last night after we got back home. And as of a couple of minutes ago, 14 people had liked the photo and about a dozen had commented on it. What made this meal remarkable--besides the fact that it was beautiful and delicious? Our 11-year-old granddaughter planned the menu and cooked it! A 5th grader prepared a meal that I would be proud to serve to anyone.
When I stayed at their house last year, she and I cooked together. We spent a good bit of time talking about what made a good meal--different colors, different textures, etc. And she learned how to chop, how to stir (without everything hopping out of the bowl) and other kitchen tricks. It was an unique experience for all of us---to have (or be) a "grandmother-in-residence" for about 9 months. And this "little grasshopper" learned her lessons well.
After I came back home to stay, Big Sister became the regular chef once a week. She plans the menu and does the cooking. Last night Big Sister invited us to dinner. I was her sous chef (mainly to speed things up since she got a late start) but she was in charge of the kitchen.
I love that this afternoon when I picked her up after school, she said, "Next time I think I'll add a little more broth to the pasta." She's becoming a confident cook, learning to trust her instincts.
Here are a couple of her recipes. Like her grandmother, she didn't exactly follow what was in the cookbook. I'm giving you her version. I wouldn't change a thing. (Except maybe add a little more broth to the pasta sauce.)
Creamy Mushroom Bow Ties
1-lb. box uncooked bow tie pasta
8-oz. sliced fresh mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons butter
1 package (4.4 ounces) garlic-herb cheese spread (find it near the cream cheese)
1/4 cup chicken broth
Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute the mushrooms, salt, and pepper in butter until tender. Add cheese spread and broth; cook and stir until blended. Drain pasta; add to skillet and toss to cook.
Big Sister said today that she didn't really like mushrooms but that these were good. She ate all of hers.
Green Beans with Garlic-Herb Butter
1 lb. fresh green beans, trimmed
3-4 tbsp. butter
1 small onion, minced
1 1/2 tsp. jarred minced garlic
1/4 tsp. dried rosemary
3/4 tsp. salt
1. Bring salted water to a boil in a large saucepan; add beans, cover, and cook 10 to 15 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain. Rinse with cold water to stop cooking.
2. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat; add onion and sauté 5 minutes. Add garlic, and sauté 2 minutes. Stir in beans, rosemary, salt; sauté 4 minutes or until thoroughly heated.
These were SO good. I'll be adding this recipe to my collection.
Stay tuned. The dessert recipe is coming next. Extra simple and completely yummy.