My kids cook!

One of the best things about making food fun is that hopefully, some of that spirit of adventure will rub off on your children. That way, by the time they need to be self-sufficient they won't be known by name at the KFC/Taco Bell drive-through. Of my six children, almost all of them are adventurous eaters and some like to cook on their own, one even makes his living as a sous chef.

Colleen loves to eat and try new things. She likes the exotic, and loves to dine out. She is a good cook when she dives in. She is great for my ego because she is always calling me to ask for this recipe or that.

Katie is an avid home chef. She loves to take a recipe and play around with it until she makes it her own. She likes to try all kinds of ethnic foods and she even made all the food for her best friend Kari's bridal shower - bruschetta, crab-stuffed mushrooms, and one of her specialties, goat cheese and chicken pizza. A picture of the spread she made is on the right-it not only tasted fabulous, it looked great too.

Gavin is a "real" chef and he is a natural. He started out as a busboy in a local restaurant and by watching and learning in his time at the restaurant and playing at home, he worked his way up to become a sous chef. He can make something great out of whatever you have in your fridge, I guarantee. It's a gift. (The picture at left is only a representation- My son is a tall and thin, great-looking fashionista.... and not Chinese!)

Andrew is my fast-food afficionado. Occasionally he will cook and he can make anything on a George Foreman grill. But sometimes he can surprise you. Once he invented some great jalapeno poppers using peppers, velveeta and wonton wrappers, that we can convince him to make once in awhile that really turned out great. Even so, he is not an adventurous eater.

Bridget likes to cook and she is good at putting things together. Her first hit was her stuffed mushrooms and she has invented an incredible breakfast sandwich. Bridget is a sushi addict and she loves Chinese food and makes a delicious hot and sour soup that any restaurant would be proud to sell.

Molly is going through a fussy stage where she doesn't seem to want to try anything new. She goes through food phases. She does like to bake, especially if she gets to do it herself, and she is a whiz with our Magic Bullet. Her favorite meal is beef lo-mein, but she does like to make a salad... as long as it doesn't have pine nuts..or avocado...or peppers...
I am including some of their recipes so you can see for yourself and let me know what your kids do in the kitchen (as long as it fits on a food blog!)

Katie's Work-Week Tomato-Basil Soup
2 cans cream of tomato soup
1 soup can fat-free half and half
1 soup can of skim milk
2-3 tablespoons of pesto
1 teaspoon of crushed, chopped garlic
2-3 chopped fresh tomatoes

Mix ingredients together and bring to a boil to cook fresh tomatoes. When well combined and creamy serve topped with parmesan cheese. Serves 6

Gavin's Tomato Delight
Slice 1 tomato per person and place slices on cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Sprinkle with real bacon bits (I usually use the packaged kind to save time), and then top with grated pepper jack cheese. Bake at 350 degrees until cheese is melted and bubbly. This is a great side dish, and especially good when you have that bumper crop of tomatoes in the summer.

Bridget's Awesome (but messy) Breakfast Sandwich
For each breakfast sandwich, toast an english muffin, spread with neufchatel or cream cheese, add a bed of baby spinach, top with an egg over easy, add sliced avocado and top with other half of English muffin. To be truly decadent, add sliced bacon or ham. Go ahead, experiment, Bridget would!
Andrew's Out-of-the Fridge Jalapeno Poppers
Jar of whole hot peppers (jalapeno or cherry will work)
Velveeta or cheddar cheese cut in small cubes that will fit into peppers
Wonton wrappers
Vegetable or canola oil for frying
Dry off pepper as much as possible with paper towels. make an opening in each pepper and stuff with cheese cube. Roll up in wonton wrapper and gently twist ends dampening ends with water to stick together. Heat oil until cube of bread browns quickly. Fry peppers in hot oil until brown, and then drain on paper towels and enjoy!