Yesterday was unseasonably nice and after chores and school, the froglets spent the entire afternoon outside. Now, understand that on The Pond, in the winter, dark falls about 4:15. When the three big froglets came in, it was time for me to start dinner. The littles were playing computer games, and as much to stop a fight over electronics as anything I called the three big froglets into the kitchen. (This is also an excellent way to connect with kiddos you haven’t talked to for most of the day). I told them they could help make dinner and laid out the menu- spaghetti soup, salad with homemade bleu cheese dressing, garlic knots and chocolate lasagna for dessert. The way it worked out, each one started with a job for one dish (we combine bread and dessert tasks here). Ray Bear was in charge of salad and dressing, Lizard Breath made the soup and Jelly Bean helped me with dessert and bread. Lots of little steps and careful shopping, stirring and emulsing, mixing and kneading ensued. It wasn’t long before the kitchen smelled fantastic, and I had a group of laughing girls. Tiny Tadpole made a couple of disasters (a bowl of flour poured over his head like water *smh* and an upturned salad) but without fail, these were met good naturedly and as a team. Dinner was fabulous and the froglets got a lot of compliments, especially from Papa Frog who arrived at the end of dinner cooking. And the best part- they have all volunteered to help with dinner tonight as well. I am a firm believer that froglets should help cook. They should know the joy and the responsibility of feeding people. They should get to experience the service aspect and respect the work it takes to prepare the food they eat. And they should have the satisfaction of a thank you and plates scraped clean. At least that’s how we do things on The Pond.
Bleu Cheese Dressing
1 cup sour cream
1 cup mayo
2 T. chopped parsley
3 gloves garlic chopped
2 dashes of worcestershire sauce
5 oz bleu cheese, divided
Add sour cream, mayo, parsley, garlic, salt, pepper, worcestershire sauce and half the bleu cheese crumbles to a bowl (or to the bowl of a food processor). Using a stick blender (or your food processor), pulse together until smooth. Stir in remaining bleu cheese crumbles with a spoon. Adjust seasoning to taste.
1 lb ground meat of choice (we used bison but any meat will work)
1 lg onion, chopped
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 pkg baby bell peppers (or one large bell pepper) sliced
4 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1- 32 oz can of petite diced tomatoes
1 jar spaghetti sauce (or tomato sauce and extra spices)
2 tomato cans full of water
Brown meat in a pot. Add veggies and cook until tender. Add remaining ingredients and simmer, adjusting salt and spices to taste. In another pot bring 2 qts water to boil. Break 4-8 oz spaghetti noodles into 4ths and add to the boiling water. Once cooked, drain and add to soup base. Serve immediately.
1/2 c warm water
2 T. yeast
1 T salt
1 T. sugar
4-5 c. flour
Add water, yeast, salt and sugar to mixer bowl. Let sit until yeast is nice and bubbly. Add flour 1 c at a time, mixing well between each addition. When dough is no longer sticky to the touch, cover and let rise until doubled.
Garlic finely chopped or garlic powder
1/4 c. butter, melted
Make your bread dough and let rise until doubled. Punch down dough and roll into a rectangle. Cut dough into strips and knot each strip. With a pastry brush, brush the topsof each knot with butter mixture and bake at 350 degrees until baked through. At this point, I use any remaining butter to brush the tops of the knots again.
6 T. butter, melted
1 pkg cream cheese
1/4 c. sugar
2 small pkgs chocolate instant pudding
3 c milk + 2 T.
carton of whipped topping
Crush Oreos and combine with butter. Press into the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish. Whip together cream cheese, 2 T. milk and 1 c. of the whipped topping until smooth. Spread over cooking bottom. Combine pudding mixes and 3 c. milk. Whip together until set and spread on top of cream cheese mixture. Spread remaining whipped topping over chocolate layer. I garnished with chocolate syrup and chopped Reeses PB cups.