Cooking with kids- for me, two words= stressful and stretching. However, I realize it is necessary for them to learn skills in the kitchen and it will also help them learn to try foods more readily if they are participants in the preparation and cooking process. So this is our latest family cooking activity retold for your entertainment.
This recipe was truly a work of the entire family! Even my husband got involved and offered some suggestions, which he rarely does. Anyways, my 9 year old son decided in the afternoon that he was going to treat me to a "gourmet soup". He has taken quite an interest in making food (mostly soups) since I started this blog. However, usually he starts chopping some carrots and celery and then wants to abandon ship for something else that has caught his attention. He decided previously that he is not going to be cutting up onions again anytime soon-- after he made a couple slices in one and immediately developed watery eyes and could not find any goggles to cover his eyes adequately. So with this in mind and the fact that I have been quite ill with a severe sinus infection and sore throat for quite some time, I really did not feel like going through this process again with him right now.
Suffice it to say, he went ahead and pulled out some carrots and started cleaning and chopping them while I was trying to rest. Later he came to me and told me of his progress and informed me that he could not find anything else to put in the soup. By the time my husband came home from work, our son was again thinking about what he could use- putting lettuce in the soup was vetoed. As I looked through the fridge and saw we had some cabbage, my husband offered the idea that a cabbage and potato soup with carrots would be good. So as I tried to convince my son that this would be a good direction to go in with the soup, he pulled out some corned beef luncheon meat that I had picked up at the discount grocery the previous week. So we all were able to brainstorm and come up with things to pull together a tasty soup, and were we ever surprised at how good this soup turned out!!
Our son was so thrilled at being able to "make" the soup (admittedly with a little help from mom), and our 4 year old daughter was happy she was able to help chop up some of the vegetables. While I am a bit of a control-freak and nit-picky about messes in the kitchen, it is a good feeling to be able to make something with one's children and see everyone enjoy the fruits of the group's efforts.
1 large onion, chopped
4-5 medium-large potatoes, chopped
1 cup carrots, peeled (if needed) and chopped
2-3 celery stalks, chopped (we did not have them for this recipe)
1/4 medium head of cabbage, sliced or small chunks
10 oz. sliced corned beef, cut into pieces
8 cups water
4 chicken bouillon cubes
3 beef bouillon cubes
1 palmful of Herbes de Provence
1 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tsp seasoned salt (I use adobo with pepper or cumin), or to taste
fresh parsley or cilantro, chopped for garnish if desired
Combine all the prepared ingredients into a large soup pot and add the water, bouillon cubes and seasonings. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 30-40 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked and soft. Serve with some buttered toast, garlic bread or other type of bread.
Note: Herbes de Provence is a mixture of herbs that you can find in most any grocery store. I just purchased some from Penzey's herbs online. It is a wonderful blend of rosemary, thyme, fennel, basil, lavender, oregano, savory, marjoram and some include sage, chervil, dill and tarragon. The Penzey's brand seems to contain the largest variety of spices I have seen together. This is a wonderful blend for using in many dishes and is well worth keeping on hand. It goes wonderful with eggs, potatoes, chicken, vegetables, fish, stews or soups, as I found with this experiment.