Looking back on my childhood, many of my favorite memories revolve around our kitchen – it truly was the heart of our home. Family dinners and Saturday morning breakfasts were important meal times, not just because we ate together – because we also cooked together.
Helping my mom prepare meals for our family represent some of my most cherished memories. Just thinking about spending time with her and my siblings and actually creating something together that we would later eat and enjoy still warms my heart. Even though my own children are little, I try to include them in our meal preparations as much as possible. Whether it’s having them pour pre-measured ingredients into a bowl, stirring or simply coloring at the kitchen table while I’m cooking, I like to ensure they’re always “under foot.”
Of course I was hoping to instill the same family togetherness and unity that I remember from my own childhood, but what I didn’t expect was the pride and sense of accomplishment my children would feel by participating. After helping around the kitchen, they are suddenly eating everything on their plates – without being asked, simply because “they made it.”
So go ahead…encourage your kids to actually help prepare the meal, not just eat it. You too might be surprised at the sense of fulfillment it brings to everyone.
If you’re looking for the perfect recipe, I dare you to try and whip up this one without singing, “Chickity China the Chinese Chicken, you have a drumstick and your brain stop tickin,” out loud (or to yourself). But, just a bit of forewarning to you, this recipe (as well as cooking WITH your family) can be quite addicting.
Chinese Chicken Crunch Pasta
- 4 cups bowtie pasta
- 1/2 cup sugar snap pea pods, snipped into pieces
- 1/4 cup almond slivers
- 3/4 cup cooked chicken (shredded or cut into chunks)
- 1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
Dressing Ingredients: I sometimes double the dressing
- 1/2 cup peanut (or vegetable) oil
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup sugar
While you are boiling the pasta, slowly sauté the sugar snap pea pods, chicken, almonds and red onion (all you really want to do is slightly “warm” the mixture) and mix the dressing ingredients together. Once the pasta is ready, toss the pasta, chicken/almond/pea/onion mixture and dressing together in a large bowl. Enjoy! Is “Chickity China the Chinese Chicken” running through your brain on repeat yet?
Kelly Lewis is a crushed ice loving, world-traveling, bike riding, apron wearing, snowboarding, fabric obsessed, marathon training, Disneyland loving, sparkle skirt wearing, surprisingly shy triathlete, REAL Orange County housewife and mama of three, with ADD crafting tendencies and an MBA degree.