March 14, 2011

Kids Cook Monday: Cheesy Ckicken Pot Pie!

This week we said goodbye to our recipes from around the world and started looking through library books for easy, fun recipes that we might want to incorporate into our regular weekly menu.  Today we made a recipe from a book called Grandma's Casseroles, which had no author listed and appeared like a kind of locally compiled book with a thin paper cover and one of those plastic tubes binding the pages together.  I'm not sure you'll be finding it at your library because our library seems to specialize in books compiled by  little old ward women rather than actual nationally published book.  Small town.  Go figure.  But it was full of yummy and easy dinner ideas! 

When the time came to cook, Hannah Jane was absorbed in drawing with sidewalk chalk on this first warm day of spring so it was just me and the boys making the family dinner.  We went for cheesy chicken pot pie and the boys were super excited about a pie you can eat  before dessert!

Hunter cut the chicken into chunks.  I find that there are lots of things kids can do in the kitchen, except that as a mom I'm not thrilled to hand them raw meat or sharp knives.  To get around that, I pre-cook chicken in the microwave (it will have plenty of time to soak up the cheesy juices in the oven) and let him cut it with safety scissors.  Yup!  It works!  And he thinks it's really fun!

Haven wasted no time dumping in a bag of frozen mixed veggies while he not-so-patiently waited for Hunter to finish cutting up the chicken breasts.

 So far, that's 1 bag of frozen mixed veggies and 3 pre-cooked chicken breasts cut into rough 1/2 inch chunks.

Hunter poured in 1 jar of Ragu Cheesey Creations (found near the Alfredo sauces) over the chicken and veggies and mixed it all around, giving everything a good coat.

Haven started on the crust.  We used cheap, cheap, cheap and easy Jiffy brand pie crust.  Just add 5 tbsp of water and go!  Haven poured, mixed, and finished the crust all by himself, no help, because Hunter left to go draw with Hannah Jane and he felt he had it all under control.  "You just take my picture while I chef this, mom."  That's all I did, too.  He cheffed it alright!  LOL!

He more than lightly floured his surface and rolled out the dough...

He placed it across the dish and pinched off the excess dough...

He used the excess to make a star from the cookie cutters he got for Ayyam-i-Ha.  I thought this was to decorate the pie, so I threw it on top.

Looks pretty nice, huh?  But nope.  Haven cried gigantic tears and said it was to keep.  It was certainly not for the pie.  I explained that it's food and will go bad if we keep it.  We might as well make the pie pretty, right?  But no.  He cut a second star, presumably to put on the pie so he could keep the first one, but no.  That was to keep as well.  It was the third star that he finally placed on the pie with a grumpy little, "There!"

While the pie baked in the oven, the dove decoy Haven found in the field happily pecked at the dough stars.  Eventually he told me that he had considered my side and that he promised that when the stars start to mold he will put them on an apple pie because he knows I wouldn't want him to keep moldy bread around.  Never mind that I wouldn't want to eat moldy apple pie because that would be entirely beside the point!  Ahh...motherhood!

If you're following along with this one, you'll want to cover your dish in foil, pop it in a 450 oven for 20 minutes, take it out and uncover it before putting it back in for another 20 minutes.  Prepare to be dazzled by what your little chef can do!   I may just leave the "cheffing" to Haven from now on!  He's got it totally under control!  

So here's the finished project!  So cheesy and delicious!  How much more willing are kids to eat veggies when they are smothered in cheese sauce?   Way more!  And the pretty little star on top made everyone so happy.  It was like cutting the cake at  kids birthday party when everyone calls out what part of the icing pictures they want on their plate.  Everyone called out, "I want some star!"  Joe tried to take all the star for himself, but the kids protested and he had to dole it out.

Try this one tonight, and don't forget to get the kids in the kitchen on Mondays or more often!  Kids that help with cooking learn to make healthier choices about what they put into their bodies and everyone wins!  And pop over to the new Kids Cook Monday official site to see what other participating families and communities are doing to make Mondays just a little healthier!

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