Shopping with children can be a very pleasant and educational pastime. Truly! Years ago when my son was little, grocery shopping was a matter of how fast I could get into and out of the grocery store. I missed all the goodness that can be gained for my child from the contents of the supermarket. I am wiser now – and will share these tips with you while we gather ingredients for this tasty dinner recipe.
4 large chicken breasts skinless and boneless
3 potatoes any kind
3 peppers ( you can mix the colors of the peppers – red, yellow, orange, green)
2 onions ( you can mix the kinds of onions – red, white, yellow)
4 cloves of garlic ( if you don’t like garlic leave this out)
4 Tablespoons of olive oil
Couple of sprays of Pam Spray
2 Tablespoons of Paprika ( you can reduce this if it is too spicy for you)
2 teaspoons of Ground Cumin
2 teaspoons of Salt
1 cup of Chicken Stock ONLY If you are using a slow cooker – I use Better than Bouillon but if you cant find it any stock will do – just dilute it as instructed with water.
Preparation Time: 20 minutes – yes even if your child is helping you!
Cooking Time: 1 hour if in oven ( you can give the children their baths while it is cooking) and 10 hours if in slow cooker
My grandson loves to push a chair up to the counter where we will be cooking and to stand on it. The other option is to put the child up on the counter so that they can actively help you cook. Watching you do things is no fun. Doing it with you is great fun.
1. Turn on the oven to 350 degrees – hold your little one up to show your child the numbers and how the dial works so that he or she can count 1, 2, 3 -you can fill in the hundreds if the child is too young to count that high.
2. Peel the potatoes using a potato peeler. Have your child collect the peels to put in a garbage bag ( we recycle all cuttings and give them to our goats or chickens or quails) but you could put them into the disposal or in with your garden cuttings if you have one. Cut the potatoes into thin slices – using the ‘doing adult tasks while cooking’ hint in the Tips Column. Put the sliced potatoes into cold water on the side.
4. Slice the onions– cut the ends off first, then one big cut down the middle to cut the onion in half — put the cut side down, and slice quickly into pieces. I always tell my grandson that onions make me cry – but then since he pretended to cry too ( really cry!) I had to explain that it made my eyes water which was not really crying. So we do this part very fast and slide those cut onions into cold water really fast and throw away the peels so that all that fresh onion juice is under control!
5. Slice and core the peppers pulling out the seeds ( the children love to do this part) – add to the onions. Now drain all the vegetables through a colander – that means that the children can pour the veggies into the colander and see how it works with all the liquid running out. A grand experience!
6. Take out the cloves of garlic– I repeat every ingredient each time I handle it so that the children can repeat after me. (Which reminds me that last week I forgot the garlic at the supermarket so I took off with my grandson in the basket and we ran and pushed the cart fast through the aisles singing loudly – we forgot the garlic, we forgot the garlic. The other shoppers thought it was weird and funny – and we had a good giggle! He told his mother later – Grandma forgot the garlic – as if that was the funniest thing he had heard in a month – I thought it was pretty funny too – being silly is another one of the benefits I have earned through age). Anyway back to our cooking! Press the garlic with a big knife ( I wrap a dishtowel over the children’s hands for this one to prevent them smelling of garlic) and then chop it finely and add to the bottom of a large casserole into which you have sprayed PAM spray which will make it easier to clean later ( or if you prefer and are doing this in the evening for dinner the next night, into a slow cooker which you will plug in the next morning before you leave for work).
7. Add one tablespoon of olive oil to the garlic in the bottom of the casserole or slow cooker.
8. Mix all the spices ( paprika, cumin, salt and the rest of the olive oil) together and put half of it over the vegetables and mix well – let the children mix with their hands – which are clean – remind them not to touch their faces once done but to use the baby wipes to clean off their hands before going to the next step. if they are sitting near a sink I will use paper towels and warm water to wash their hands off once they have mixed it all together.
9. Take the chicken breasts out of the packet – the kids find the texture a bit slippery and yucky but my grandson handled it with a shudder. We cut the breasts into large pieces and put them into the casserole with the garlic and olive oil and then added the rest of the spice mixture and made sure that all the pieces were covered with the paste. Then we cut them into smaller pieces in the casserole and left them there.
10. Now pour all the vegetables over the chicken, garlic, olive oil paste mixture.
11. Put the casserole in the oven and let it bake for one hour.
12. If you are using a slow cooker – then place everything into the cooking casserole including the chicken stock – and put it in the refrigerator overnight. The next morning before you go to work, turn the slow cooker on low – and 10 hours from that time it will be ready for you – a lovely one dish meal when you come into the house – with the aromatic smells of cooking too.
A low fat, low calorie and wonderfully good tasting dinner. And the best part is – if you doubled the recipe – you will have chicken leftover to create at least two more meals for the week – Little Farm Grandma’s Scrumptious and Easy Leftovers!